Morecambe v Doncaster: James Coppinger content with life at Rovers

Doncaster Rovers' James Coppinger (Picture: Andrew Roe).
Doncaster Rovers' James Coppinger (Picture: Andrew Roe).
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James Coppinger makes his 500th appearance for Doncaster today and has no regrets about staying loyal to Rovers.

In 12 years at Rovers, first at Belle Vue then the Keepmoat Stadium, Coppinger has seen managers and players come and go.

The midfielder had chances to move and further his career elsewhere, but a permanent transfer never materialised.

Today, Rovers’ all-time leading appearance maker will reach an impressive milestone.

“I have come really close to leaving, but for whatever reason it hasn’t happened, and I am glad,” said Coppinger.

“In a football career you can move to earn more money, play at a higher level, but for me that’s never been my focus. My focus has been to be happy, I have a family, and to enjoy my football.

“That’s paid dividends for me personally, because I am at a good club who I have had a great relationship with, and I am here at 35 still enjoying my football, still playing and offering something to the football club.

“It’s a proud moment for me and I’m happy to get to 500,” added Coppinger, born in Guisborough, near Middlesbrough.

Starting out at Darlington, he was a big-money signing for Kenny Dalglish at Newcastle United, before being signed in 2004 by Dave Penney at Rovers via Exeter.

He regards his hat-trick against Southend United in the League One play-offs, which clinched a 2008 Wembley showdown against Leeds United, as his outstanding moment for Rovers.

“It’s obviously the semi-final,” said Coppinger. “It was a full house, beautiful evening, and to score a hat-trick and get us to Wembley, I don’t think you could write that sort of stuff.”

As for the future, Coppinger has no plans to hang up his boots just yet. He said: “I strive to prove people wrong, but am happy just to take it season by season.”