Hitting form at the right time

First goal of season: 'And we should have won it,' says James Coppinger.                  Picture: Steve uttley
First goal of season: 'And we should have won it,' says James Coppinger. Picture: Steve uttley
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WING wizard James Coppinger is ready for the fight as Doncaster Rovers battle to avoid relegation.

Coppinger bagged his first goal of the season at the weekend as Rovers drew 1-1 away to high-fliers West Ham.

And the 31-year-old, who has just recovered from a six-week injury lay-off, is firmly back in the first team fold and ready to fire on full cylinders.

“We’ve gone four games unbeaten now, that’s the type of form we need to keep showing to get out of the relegation zone,” said Coppinger.

“We’ve just got to keep concentrating because there’s a still a lot of work left to do.

“I don’t think we can be too concerned about what other teams are doing, we’ve just got to focus on our own business.

“This team is good enough to stay in the Championship, that’s what we’re all fighting for.

“Like the gaffer [Dean Saunders] has said, I reckon we need six wins from our remaining games to make sure we’re safe.

“There’s no reason we can’t do that if we maintain the form we’re showing.”

Coppinger is quickly approaching 300 appearances for Rovers and, having been in relegation fights before, he hopes his experience will be a key factor in helping the club retain their Championship status: “Any experience helps, it’s important we don’t panic and keep going about our business like we have been doing,” added Coppinger.

“It was great to score at the weekend, it was good to get off the mark for the season. To get a draw against West Ham is a great result, but I thought we should have won it.

“To get a result like that means a lot, especially after the start we had. They were all over us, but when Ricardo Vaz Te went off [injured] it changed the game.”

Teams and ref

ROVERS (possible): Ikeme; Chimbonda, Beye, Martis, Spurr; Coppinger, Barnes, Gillett, Bennett, Diouf, Piquionne (4-4-2).

READING (possible): Federici; Cummings, Pearce, Gorkss, Harte; McAnuff, Karacan, Leigertwood, Robson-Kanu; Hunt, Roberts. (4-4-2).

TONY BATES (Staffordshire): Has taken charge of 29 matches this season, handing out 71 bookings but has not brandished a single red card. Ironically, the last time he officiated a Rovers match was in the 2-2 draw with Sheffield United last term where he dismissed Dennis Souza for two bookable offences.