Doncaster Rovers legend James Coppinger hoping for farewell friendly as he prepares to bow out behind closed doors

James Coppinger says his only disappointment is that Covid-19 stops him saying goodbye  to the Doncaster Rovers in his farewell appearance.

LAST GAME: 40-year-old James Coppinger retires after Doncaster Rovers' League One home game against Peterborough United
LAST GAME: 40-year-old James Coppinger retires after Doncaster Rovers' League One home game against Peterborough United

The club legend pulls on the red-and-white hoops for the final time at home to Peterborough United at the Keepmoat Stadium after 694 appearances and 78 goals for Rovers alone.

"I have ummed and aahed all season (about retirement), especially with the fans not being in - that has been disappointing because when I signed my contract in July I thought fans would be back," he admitted. "Them not being able to support me and the team and for me to say farewell and thank them for all the support they've given me through the highs and lows in 17 years at the club, it's been tough.

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"I would only play another year just to say goodbye to the fans and I don't think that's right for the club or for me. The timing's perfect for me in terms of what's next and I'm genuinely excited about what's next.

"Getting to 40 was something I wanted to do as a player and I've got that.

"Every single week or month it feels like there's been different accolades coming and I want to draw a line under it and help the club.

"It's not finalised but I'm confident something will get done in the next couple of weeks."

Coppinger is expected to stay at Rovers, the club he joined in having had spells at Newcastle United, Darlington, Hartlepool United and Exeter City as a youngster, continuing the work he currently does as a mentor and working on the psychological side of the game.

There could yet be a farewell friendly in front of fans, but with the current uncertainty, nothing is yet in place.

Limited numbers of fans will be allowed into stadia from May 17, and there appears to be growing confidence that next season could kick off in front of full capacities after almost a year of behind-closed-doors football.

"We've had discussions about that (a farewell game) but when we know when fans can come back without social distancing we'll have a better idea of what that looks like and when that will take place, if it will take place," said Coppinger.

"I would love that to happen.

"The amount of messages I've had has been unbelievable. After scoring that goal against Hull (to claim a 3-3 draw in February) the amount of people who messaged me telling me how it played out for them. Even though they weren't in the stadium, it felt like they were.

"Everything's been different for everybody and it's just the way it is. I've almost come to terms with that but if I can say goodbye and have one final farewell that would be a dream come true."

Loanees Taylor Richards and Scott Robertson are set to miss the game against Peterborough, who are managed by Coppinger's former Rovers boss Darren Ferguson. Brad Haliday trained on Friday, but the game is likely to be soon for him.

Already-promoted Posh will form a guard of honour for Coppinger at kick-off.

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