Doncaster Rovers: Paul Dickov: James Coppinger defensive switch was not a gamble

James Coppinger
James Coppinger

Paul Dickov insists it was not a gamble to use James Coppinger at right back - and says Rovers’ longest serving player has the ability to play in most positions.

Coppinger returned to the starting line-up in an unfamiliar defensive role against Watford after missing Saturday’s win over Huddersfield to attend the birth of his new baby daughter.

The 33-year-old grew into the role - designed to combat the Hornets’ back three - and also set up Chris Brown’s goal with an inch perfect cross.

And Dickov told The Star he was confident the winger would adapt to the role in the absence of Gabi Tamas.

“I don’t believe it was a gamble to play him there,” said Rovers’ boss.

“He’s such a clever player you can put him in most positions and he’ll do a job for you. James is such a hard worker and a good professional. He switches on not just in his position but other positions.

“We’ve spoken to James about playing there before - especially when we come up against teams playing three at the back.

“We wanted to try and push their wing backs back by getting two versus ones high up the field.

“I thought he was fantastic,” he added. “He’s 33 now, that’s the first time he’s played at right back and I thought he was excellent.”

Coppinger returns to Nottingham Forest on Saturday, where he spent time on loan last season.