Rovers duo bid to return

James O'Connor: Yet to start a game this season after his cartilage operation.    Picture: Steve Taylor
James O'Connor: Yet to start a game this season after his cartilage operation. Picture: Steve Taylor
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DONCASTER Rovers’ attacking midfielder James Coppinger could return to action in Saturday’s testing Championship clash away to Cardiff City.

Coppinger missed the club’s last two games prior to the international break with a calf injury, but he returned to action in a behind-closed-doors practice game against Huddersfield Town.

He is likely to be included in the Rovers’ squad to face the Bluebirds if he shows no adverse reaction at today’s training session.

Defender James O’Connor, skipper Brian Stock and defender Shelton Martis also played in the game,

O’Connor has yet to start a game for the club this season following a cartilage operation during the summer - though he did come off the bench midway through the second half of the Carling Cup second round tie against Leeds United.-

He also played the second half of the club’s last league game against Bristol City which saw Rovers pick up their first point of the season.

Stock, who came on for the last three minutes against Leeds, also had his longest run-out since returning to full training following his ankle reconstruction operation at the end of last season.

It was centre-back Martis’ first game since an operation in the summer to tighten up ligaments and tendons in his ankle. We’ll have to wait to see if any of them suffer any reaction, but they all came through the game unscathed, which is good news,” said Rovers No 2 Richard O’Kelly.

Rovers had originally hoped to play two practice games during the last ten days to give the likes of Stock and Martis, in particular, a run-out.

“We didn’t feel that they were ready to play last week,” said O’Kelly. “It was the first week that we felt that the players who’ve been out a long time were able to get out there and do themselves justice.

“It was a proper competitive game in atrocious conditions - windy and rainy - and it was really good,

“Some played the full game, some played for an hour, They all played as long as we thought that they needed to.”

Coppinger and O’Connor, were they to come through today’s session without any problem, would look to stand the best chance of featuring in the starting line-up at the Cardiff City Stadium.

Given their situation in the league, and Cardiff’s useful start, Rovers are unlikely to gamble on anyone not deemed 100 per cent fit in the first of two successive away games.

Kyle Bennett picked up a knock in the 1-1 draw with Bristol City, but he is back in full-time training.