Darren Ferguson says Doncaster Rovers must stop relying on James Coppinger as the source of their inspiration.
Coppinger was a typical bright spark after coming off the bench during Tuesday’s horrendous 4-2 defeat at Walsall, when Rovers were already chasing the game.
And Ferguson could not help but laugh through his frustration at his side’s continual reliance on the 37-year-old skipper.
“At this rate we’re going to need Copps to play until he’s 50,” Ferguson said.
“I said that to the players.
“He cannot play every game. He’s played six games on the bounce and that was probably too many any way.
“I’m a big fan of James. I wish I’d had him earlier in his career, I’ve said that many times. I’m fortunate to have him for a decent period of time.
“But he’s playing too many games. We can’t keep relying on James Coppinger.
“James Coppinger will not play until he’s 50.
“He came on and did the things we expect Copps to do.
“On Tuesday I had to give Copps a breather because I cannot keep playing him.
“Unfortunately he is 37.
“You run the risk of injury – not that he gets many, touch wood. Also, you’re not going to get the performances you need out of him if he plays too much.
“But again, we were very poor on Tuesday night.”
After making his 500th league appearance for the club last weekend against Charlton, Coppinger will make his 500th start the next time he is named in the starting XI for Rovers.
One player Ferguson may look to this weekend is Mathieu Baudry, who will be available to face Fleetwood Town.
Ferguson said: “Frenchie trained on Monday and he trained fine but it was his first session.
“We looked at it for Tuesday with a bit of ‘why risk him?’
“To be honest, although we lost four goals, I thought Tom Anderson and Andy Boyle did fine.
“The back three did what they needed to do. It was the other performances that were a bit disappointing.”