Doncaster Rovers (+AUDIO): Patience is a virtue for David Cotterill

No matter how hard you work, sometimes things just come down to simple luck.

David Cotterill heads into Saturday’s trip to Nottingham Forest having played back-to-back games for the first time in 2014.

David Cotterill is delighted to be back in the Rovers' side after a 'frustrating' run of substitute appearances.

David Cotterill is delighted to be back in the Rovers' side after a 'frustrating' run of substitute appearances.

The Welshman has impressed in recent weeks with his appearances off the bench and been lauded by Paul Dickov for his hard work on the training ground.

But he himself knows his starts against Huddersfield and Watford came down to good fortune with a timely birth and an injury going in his favour.

Now he is not leaving anything to chance in terms of holding on to his spot.

“James Coppinger was supposed to be playing against Huddersfield but he had his baby girl,” Cotterill told the Star. “And then there was the circumstances with Gabby Tamas getting injured and Copps goes in to right back so there’s the chance for me to stay in.

“It was nice to get my chance, particularly with all the hard work I’ve been doing.

“I got my goal against Huddersfield and I’ve stayed in the team so I’m happy.

“To be fair, the two wide players have been two of our best players for a while so I’ve had to be patient.”

Patience has had to be a virtue for Cotterill who has gone from being last season’s leading assist provider across all four divisions to someone who has spent more time on the bench than the field.

The 26-year-old will not deny feeling frustrated for the majority of this season but insists he has focussed his mind purely on hard work and giving Dickov something to think about.

He said: “It’s been frustrating because as a footballer you always want to play week-in, week-out.

“If you’re not frustrated, I don’t think it’s very healthy.

“You’re in a hard position because when you’re on the bench you want your team mates to do well because you want to stay in this league.

“But it’s difficult having to come on when you’re a couple of goals down and trying to impress enough to force your way in for the next game.

“I’ve just tried to work as hard as I can on my game which is something I’ve done for the majority of my career.

“I’ll stay behind after training doing shooting, crossing or other bits and bobs and I hit the gym almost every day.

“I stay as professional as I can even when I’ve been on the bench or not playing as much as I would’ve liked.”

Cotterill also says he has taken the direct route when it comes to catching Dickov’s attention and praised the nurturing nature of the Rovers boss.

“I’ve been and knocked on his door a few times saying I want to play,” Cotterill said.

“He always told me I’d get my chance and he’s been true to his word.

“He’s been great with me, pulling me to the side, saying I’d get my chance and letting me know his door is always open if I want to go and chat.”

Cotterill’s return to the starting XI has coincided with Rovers’ first back-to-back league wins of the season.

And he says the mood in the camp has taken a major upturn in positivity following Tuesday night’s win over Watford, plus a bit of good fortune for Rovers from elsewhere.

“We all came in completely exhausted because we’d put everything into it but we were delighted because it was a huge win for us,” Cotterill said.

“It was massively important we got the back-to-back wins.

“When we beat Huddersfield, results elsewhere didn’t go our way. What are the chances of us winning and everyone else doing it as well?

“But it just shows if you can string a couple of wins together, most of the teams down there aren’t going to do it themselves.

“Results didn’t go our way on Saturday but they did in midweek.

“We’ve got that bit of breathing space. We need to just keep our little run going and get survival as soon as possible.”