Doncaster Rovers v Portsmouth: James Coppinger on filling the gap after John Marquis’s departure

James Coppinger.
James Coppinger.
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John Marquis’s summer departure may have left a gulf in the attacking ranks which Doncaster Rovers are yet to fill but James Coppinger insists there are no concerns over that among the in-form squad.

Marquis will make his return to the Keepmoat today with Portsmouth, whom he joined for close to £2m in August.

So far, Rovers boss Darren Moore has put his faith in young loanees to fill his lone striker role.

Veteran Coppinger believes the key to that approach being successful is providing the right atmosphere for youngsters to develop.

“I think personally it’s about creating an environment which young players thrive in,” Coppinger said.

“We tried to do that last season with the likes of Herbie Kane and Mallik Wilks.

“I imagine if you asked them they’d say they enjoyed training, enjoyed being part of a group that wanted to work hard and be successful.

“It’s exactly the same with the likes of Ben Whiteman, Ben Sheaf, Cameron John, Jon Taylor, Alfie May. You want to create an environment in which people are improving and growing, not just taking a wage and going home like a lot of teams do.”

Marquis netted 66 goals in 154 appearances for Rovers before moving to Fratton Park just before the start of the season.

He has managed just two goals so far for Portsmouth, who have made a surprisingly stuttering start to the season with just two wins from eight matches.

While Marquis has yet to reach top form for Pompey, Coppinger knows full well the striker should not be underestimated.

“It’ll be interesting to pit our wits against him,” he said. “The two centre-halves will be looking forward to it – Tom [Anderson] worked with him all last season.

“We’ll be looking forward to it.

“Hopefully he won’t score and we’ll put in a good performance.

“When we signed him in League Two, he was the perfect fit.

“We needed someone like him who would score goals and demand every day.

“His standards were really high and he demanded off everyone.

“For the last two or three seasons he was outstanding.”