Doncaster v Wigan: Rovers aim to spoil title party

BEING the party-poopers on a rarified occasion for opponents Wigan Athletic today would be nothing new for Doncaster Rovers.

James Coppinger: Set for new deal.

Darren Ferguson’s side famously halted the Latics’ promotion band-wagon with a shock 3-1 Keepmoat victory towards the tail end of Rovers’ 2015-16 relegation campaign, which ended a brutal and season-defining 17-match winless run in League One in the process.

This time around, promoted leaders Wigan have rubber-stamped Championship football next season, but are now aiming to add polish to an outstanding campaign with silverware – and a point this tea-time would seal the title.

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After humdrum performances against Oldham Athletic and Wimbledon, there is at least an added edge for Rovers. After pushing the Latics’ title rivals, Blackburn Rovers, all the way on home soil in a narrow 1-0 loss 11 days ago, Ferguson will be seeking a replication of that spirit, if not quite the result.

Ideally, he would also like to sign off this season with a goal or two with 14th-placed Rovers having not found the net for almost six-and-a-half hours and without a win in their last five matches.

Ferguson, likely to freshen up his side after Tuesday’s jaded showing against Wimbledon, said: “I think Saturday takes care of itself for a player.

“There will be over 10,000 and Wigan will probably sell about four and these games are easy to play in.

“We have had it a couple of times now. I remember Burton and Blackburn celebrating here and we have got to do a professional job.

“In many ways, playing against a team who will definitely attack us could open up space for us.

“But we are more than capable of getting a result and that is how the players feel about it.

“It is the last game of the season and we want to finish well, the atmosphere will be a good one and everyone wants to get the win for the fans.”

Club legend James Coppinger is likely to feature for Rovers after not being involved in the last two matches, with Ferguson keen to retain the 37-year-old stalwart, who is at the end of his 14th season at the club.

The Rovers chief met with the club’s hierarchy yesterday to further discuss budget plans for next season and has pledged that Coppinger will be offered a new deal.

Today’s Roses encounter will be Rovers’ fifth home game in 18 days and seventh match in the space of a congested three-week period.