Doncaster Rovers v Peterborough United - James Coppinger’s final act after 694 games

Even as he prepares for his final game as a professional, Andy Butler says James Coppinger still inspires him, and Doncaster Rovers will be fortunate to retain two people who love the club so much beyond tomorrow’s final League One game of the season at home to Peterborough United.

Interim manager Butler was born into it, whereas Guisborough-born Coppinger forged a deep attachment as much through the lows as the highs of a 17-year, 694-game Rovers career.

“To play at the tender age of 40 is incredible, it’s something I’m looking to emulate,” says Butler, a young buck at just 37. “He still inspires me. Age might seem to slow you down but you’re still mentally sharp to get that extra two or five yards you need.”

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Coppinger is in talks about a role which will see him mentor Rovers players and work with them psychologically, whilst if Butler is unsuccessful in next week’s second interview for the manager’s job he will be kept on as a player. Retaining their knowledge is important.

James Coppinger has played 694 games for Doncaster Rover (Picture: Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

“It’s huge at every successful club,” said Coppinger. “It’s about how to deal with setbacks and disappointments. Myself and Butts have seen and done it and are able to share what the club is about, what’s expected of you and the standards that need to be set.

“When you go through disappointments and setbacks together as a group of players and fans, you mould yourself to it.

“I feel a connection with the fans. That won’t change.”

The hat-trick which takes Coppinger to 100 career goals might be asking a bit much but Butler, who may give minutes to some youngsters, says those who play have a responsibility.

The final game for Doncaster Rovers' James Coppinger (Picture: Richard Sellers/PA Wire)

“Don’t come off the pitch knowing you’ve not put a shift in for a player who’s given everything he’s got to Doncaster Rovers,” he warned.

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