DONCASTER ROVERS: Tractor Boys sound out James Coppinger availability

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IPSWICH Town boss Paul Jewell remains keen to take Doncaster Rovers’ star James Coppinger to Portman Road.

Jewell, who valued the 31-year-old Coppinger at £300,000 in the deal, made an unsuccessful £2.6m joint bid for the midfielder and striker Billy Sharp last summer.

“It was a big decision for me,” said Coppinger. “I knew Paul Jewell was interested and I spoke with the (Rovers’) chairman – but it wasn’t to be.” Coppinger ended up signing a new three-year contract instead and said at the time that he expected to finish his career at Championship level at the club.

But all that could change for the club’s longest-serving player as a result of Rovers’ relegation back to League One.

Jewell, who is looking to bring in ‘four or five’ players during the summer in a bid to transform the Tractor Boys’ fortunes after a disappointing campaign, made no secret of the fact during the build-up to last Saturday’s game between the two sides at the Keepmoat Stadium on Saturday, which his side won 3-2.

He told local journalists that he planned to sound out Rovers’ boss Dean Saunders about Coppinger’s situation, though Saunders claims that the two men didn’t discuss Coppinger on the day.

Rovers’ supporters would be loathe to see the popular Coppinger leave.

But with Saunders going on record that some high-earning contracted players would have to move on this summer to both enable him to balance the books and rebuild the side, he is unlikely to stand in his way.

Coppinger hinted that he would welcome the opportunity to remain in the second tier of English football.

“I want to be playing at the highest level I can and it is difficult for Doncaster,” he said.

“Now they have been relegated, everything changes and the budgets will get slashed.

“We will have to wait and see. I don’t think it will be solely in my hands and I don’t think anything is going to get done in the next month or so.”