Doncaster Rovers: It’s business as usual for long-serving Coppinger

James Coppinger.
James Coppinger.

He might be on the verge of making his 400th appearance at Doncaster Rovers, however, humble James Coppinger isn’t one to shout about his incredible achievement.

Saturday will mark a monumental milestone for the 33-year-old as an appearance against Birmingham City will see him become only the fourth member of Rovers’ elite ‘400 Club’ - alongside Fred Emery, Bert Tindill and Colin Douglas - who has Rovers’ record of 468 appearances in all competitions.

That’s quite a return considering Coppinger only cost the club a reported £30,000 from Exeter City back in 2004.

“It’s been a fantastic ten years for me at the club. To have 400 appearances is a good achievement and I’m really proud,” he said.

“I never thought I’d be here for that amount of time but the club’s moved forward and I’ve moved forward with it and it’s been a fantastic journey. I hope it continues.”

During a successful ten years at Rovers for the mecurial midfielder, he’s helped Doncaster towards a Johnstone’s Paint Trophy win and two League One promotions - one the 2008 Wembley win over Yorkshire rivals Leeds United and the other having scored ‘that’ winner at Brentford last season.

Having began life as a Darlington trainee nearly 20 years ago before signing for Newcastle United in 1998, Middlesbrough-born Coppinger took in two loan spells with Hartlepool before settling in Exeter.

Impressive performances for the Grecians saw Rovers’ then-boss Dave Penney swoop in for the speedy winger.

“When I first signed we were at Belle Vue in League One and we played three or four seasons in League One and then we won the JPT at Cardiff, promotion at Wembley and the promotion most recently.

“It will be something I will remember for the rest of my life.”

With testimonial plans this year and revelling in the birth of his baby daughter Phoebe recently, 2014 promises to be nothing short of memorable for Coppinger.

And despite all the media furore surrounding him at Cantley Park’s training ground yesterday, ‘Copps’ took it all in his stride as he got on with signing autographs - one of which was an action shot of his Brentford match-winner.

He was also keen to step out of the spotlight and look ahead to Saturday’s game as a vital three-pointer over his historic achievement.

“Four hundred appearances is a great achievement but the main thing is the game on Saturday,” he said.

“It’s a massive game against Birmingham and hopefully we can wrap up our Championship status as soon as possible because we’ve got some tough games coming up, each game is a cup final.”

Coppinger is scheduled to be presented with a plaque from longest-serving Rovers player Douglas on Saturday. A minute’s applause in the 26th minute - Coppinger’s squad number - is also expected to take place.

He added: “It’s an honour. For the club to do this is amazing. I’ll be looking forward to Saturday and getting the result as well.”