Saturday marks the 500th appearance of James Coppinger for the club, an enormous milestone that will rightly be celebrated by all at the club. Coppinger is now in his thirteenth season with the club in which he has played a crucial role in a League One title-winning team – netting the winning goal that handed us that accolade – as well as promotion at Wembley and a Football League Trophy triumph, and it is hard to argue with his place among the greats at Doncaster Rovers.
His status is assured but his form this season continues to add to the legend. Two goals and three assists in the opening six games have earned the skilful midfielder a nomination for Player of the Month, and he will be a key man when Rovers head to high-flying Morecambe this weekend aiming to return to the top three after a loss to Crewe ended a four-game winning run.
The Shrimps were top of the league after a run of four straight wins until losing at home to Leyton Orient last time out, so Jim Bentley’s side will be a tougher opponent than their pre-season tag as relegation favourites suggests. This is the first meeting between the two teams since 2003, when Rovers finished behind Morecambe on goal difference in the Nationwide Conference but went on to win promotion in the inaugural Play Offs and the differing trajectories of both clubs has kept them apart ever since.
Rovers’ injury curse shows little sign of relenting as we look to bounce back from a first defeat in five games, new signing Frazer Richardson unlikely to be fit to feature after taking a knock in the 2-1 defeat at Crewe meaning Darren Ferguson may have to rely on a makeshift defence once more. Riccardo Calder is pushing for a start after another encouraging performance off the bench, whilst messrs Williams and Marquis will surely continue up front looking to get back amongst the goals.
One to Watch
Barry Roche is up alongside Coppinger for the Player of the Month award after a series of inspired performances helped the club he has served for eight years head to the top of the table. Clean sheets in games against Yeovil and Portsmouth show the importance he has, and even in defeat against Leyton Orient last Saturday Roche was acclaimed for a Man of the Match display that kept Morecambe in the game.
All eyes will be on the visiting #26 as James Coppinger breaks the 500 appearance barrier, extending his club record. He is a man in top form, turning in vintage displays and with his propensity for shining when the big occasions come calling, expect nothing less than another masterclass from the Rovers captain.