Family at home, and at Doncaster Rovers, holds key to James Coppinger's future

JAMES COPPINGER admits that he will put family first when he makes the fateful decision on his future involvement in the game.

James Coppinger: Contract at Doncaster is up at end of his 14th year with the club. (Picture: Marie Caley)
James Coppinger: Contract at Doncaster is up at end of his 14th year with the club. (Picture: Marie Caley)

The ever-green Doncaster Rovers veteran, in his 14th season with the club, reached another playing milestone on Saturday when he made his 550th appearance in the club’s colours in the 1-1 derby draw with Rotherham United.

When he does finally call time on his playing career, a move into the coaching realm has been mooted by some, although Coppinger is circumspect in that regard.

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Coppinger, whose current contract ends in June, said: “Family for me is a big part of my life. I would not be stopping playing and going into a job where I would be working from seven to seven and I think managing and coaching means you have to be prepared to put the hours in if you want to be the best.”

Doncaster's James Coppinger in action last season. (Picture: Chris Etchells)

Coppinger’s longevity is such that he actually played in the previous Keepmoat meeting between Rovers and the Millers just over a decade earlier in January 2007.

He may turn 37 in January, but the club legend admits he has entertained thoughts of reaching more appearance milestones.

Rovers’ all-time leading appearance maker has also hinted that the drive and competitive edge of his team-mates is likely to be a significant factor in his decision whether to play beyond this season.

“I would love to get to 600 and 700. But I take it a season at the time,” said Coppinger.

Doncaster's James Coppinger in action last season. (Picture: Chris Etchells)

“It is difficult to make that decision (to carry on). It is not just me; I have a young family and travel in from Middlesbrough every day. It does take its toll, not physically, but mentally more than anything.

“But I love the club and doing what I do and that is why I have played for as long as I have.”

“Hopefully, I can continue and keep enjoying it. The lads play a big part as we have such a good group with the banter and craic.

“They want to do well and are a good, professional bunch who want to work hard for each other. I think if I did not have that, I would struggle.”