Doncaster Rovers: James Coppinger eager to avoid another ‘wasted season’

James Coppinger
James Coppinger

James Coppinger says last season’s play-off flop will be a motivating factor when the new campaign gets underway tomorrow.

Coppinger, about to go into his 12th season as a Rovers player, looks back on last term’s 13th place finish with palpable frustration.

Having slalomed their way into sixth spot, Doncaster proceeded to win just three of their last 13 games to slip into the bottom half - something Coppinger is anxious to avoid this time around.

“What happened last season is a big motivating factor, for me personally and as a group,” he said.

“The older you get, you’re wasting time with seasons like last season. It’s frustrating.

“But you’ve got to learn from it and if you don’t learn from it there’s no point playing football.

“Without doubt we’ll be going into this season aiming for the top six and promotion.

“It’s going to be a testing season for everybody,” he added.

“We had a disappointing year last year.

“So things have to be done properly and people have to come to the forefront.

“The manager’s made some good signings and those lads will want to prove themselves and do well for the club.

“Pre-season has been good for the lads in terms of getting up to speed and integrating.

“But I always say after ten games you’ll know whereabouts you are as an individual and as a team.”

Coppinger, 34, struggled to shake off an ankle knock towards the end of last season but says he reported back in the ‘best shape of his life’.

He said: “I probably feel the best I’ve ever felt in terms of the 18, 19 pre-seasons I’ve done. Physically I feel in the best shape of my life.

“I’m looking forward to the season. Hopefully it’ll be one of the best I’ve ever had.”