Coppinger’s return has given Rovers timely lift

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DONCASTER ROVERS’ transfer window activity may have been minimal but manager Brian Flynn says that the return of James Coppinger has had the impact of a high-profile signing.

The silky-skilled midfielder is back on board at the Keepmoat Stadium after an unproductive loan spell at Nottingham Forest and his availability is a major boost for Rovers heading into the business end of the campaign, according to Flynn, who recently was handed the managerial reins at the club for the rest of the season.

Coppinger has fitted back into title-chasing Rovers’ squad seamlessly in the view of Flynn, whose side are seeking to extend their marvellous unbeaten away streak in the league to 13 games at struggling Bury this afternoon.

Coppinger was played behind lone frontman Chris Brown in Rovers’ last outing, a comfortable 2-0 victory against Leyton Orient, but he could well be fighting to keep out top scorer Iain Hume, who was ruled out of that encounter by a calf strain.

Of today’s trip to Bury, Flynn said: “The important feature for me was keeping all our players, along with James Coppinger coming back.

“It is like signing a new player and having him is a real boost because he has looked bright and sharp and is obviously fresh through not having played games, although he is a naturally fit lad anyway. He has settled back in really well.”

Former Wales Under-21 coach and senior side caretaker Flynn says last weekend’s break in Rovers’ schedule has come at a good time and enabled the players to recharge their batteries ahead of a pivotal month ahead.

But the diminutive Welshman is under no illusions that today’s game at Gigg Lane against struggling hosts, who have traditionally held a bit of an Indian sign over Rovers, represents a potential banana skin.

Flynn had a spell with the Lancastrians in the mid-eighties and with Kevin Blackwell’s troops scrambling for every point they can get in their battle against the drop, he is envisaging a real battle across the Pennines.

He said: “It has been a good break and we have used it well and freshened up and we are ready for the Bury game.

“I did play at Bury for a short period – where Martin Dobson, who I played with in my Burnley days, was coach – before moving to Limerick where I first stepped into management and it was rewarding.

“I expect Bury to be scrapping for their lives and one of the elements you have to deal with being top of the league is that people want to knock you off your perch. It is another added pressure you have to deal with.”