Coppinger return confirmed by Rovers chief

Doncaster Rovers fans will be getting a belated Christmas present – the return of James Coppinger.

Chairman John Ryan has confirmed that the crowd favourite is on his way back to the Keepmoat Stadium.

Ahead of Saturday’s encounter with Milton Keynes Dons which was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch, Ryan explained the club’s position. “Speculation has been rife that James is coming back to us and I have already spoken with his agent, our old friend Shaun McDaid, and he will be back in the ranks when his three-month loan spell at Nottingham Forest comes to an end.

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“It will add more quality back to our ranks as we push on in the second half of the season and I am surprised that a player of Copp’s quality, and a real match-winner, hasn’t had more chances at Forest.

“We didn’t want him to go to Forest in the first place – it was purely financial – but he will be welcomed back with open arms.”

Middlesbrough-born winger Coppinger has made almost 300 appearances in helping the club rise up the divisions to the Championship before relegation last season saw them need to slash their wage bill.

Coppinger interested several Championship clubs before he opted to join former manager Shaun O’Driscoll on loan at Forest but has become disenchanted by his lack of opportunities.

With financial pressures having eased, manager Dean Saunders has been told by the board he will be able to sign striker Iain Hume on a permanent deal ‘and look at signing three other players as we give the green light for promotion’.

Today, Rovers are not only hoping to claim a league double over Oldham but also avenge their recent 3-1 FA Cup second round defeat at Boundary Park.

Saunders hopes to have David Syers and Martin Wood available after injury.

“Games come thick and fast over the Christmas break and I knew we would be tested at this time of year so we have to make sure we keep everyone fit, training properly and being mentally prepared for every game.

“If we are in the same position as we are now after the next four games, it will give us a great platform for the second half of the season.”

Last time: Oldham 3 Doncaster Rovers 1; December 1, 2012; FA Cup Rd 2.

Last six games: Oldham WLWWLL; Doncaster WWLDDL.

Referee: R Lewis (Shropshire).