DONCASTER ROVERS: Copps may be next senior star to leave

Wanted: James Coppinger in a tussle with Sheffield Wednesday's Nejc Pecnik in the pre-season friendly at the Keepmoat.                                         PICTURE: steve ellis

Wanted: James Coppinger in a tussle with Sheffield Wednesday's Nejc Pecnik in the pre-season friendly at the Keepmoat. PICTURE: steve ellis

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CUTS have been made to reduce the wage bill and more are on the horizon at Doncaster Rovers.

As part of the club’s major summer overhaul following relegation to League One, George Friend and Brian Stock were offloaded to ease their financial worries. Now Rovers fans fear James Coppinger could be the next high profile senior player to leave the Keepmoat Stadium.

Hull City are weighing up a move for the talented winger, who is due a testimonial when his current contract expires in 2014. It is understood Tigers boss Steve Bruce has held high level talks with Rovers hierarchy over Coppinger’s availability during the close season.

With the club having lost in the region of £6m in television and sponsorship revenue as a result of falling into the third tier of English football, Saunders accepts he has no choice but to let some of his star performers go.

“I don’t want to lose players; I didn’t want to lose Stocky [Brian Stock] but we have got to survive,” Saunders told The Star. “We have to cut our cloth accordingly. We can’t afford to pay the wages are players are getting and I understand that. “

Coppinger, one of the highest earners at the club, has hinted he wants to play at the highest level. While he is happy to stay at Rovers and spearhead their promotion push, the 31-year-old believes he possesses the attributes to play, at least, at Championship level.

Saunders has confirmed Hull are interested in Coppinger’s services but have yet to make an official offer.

The Welshman said: “We might get a call this week with a bid. We might not. There’s a chance we’ll lose Copps.”

He added: “I would rather keep them all but we haven’t got the money to do it so I have to build a new team.”

Two of Rovers latest additions, Rob Jones and Jamie McCombe, are set to be paired together at the heart of the defence in the club’s first league fixture of the campaign at Walsall this Saturday.

Both Jones and McCombe are tall, powerful figures and Saunders expects the duo to contribute goals from set pieces.

“I would like to think Rob and Jamie will get goals for us, especially with David Cotterill’s delivery which is bang on,” he said. “I am pleased to get Jamie in as we were short at the back. Jamie is a big unit. We are going to have a lot of teams playing direct football against us so we have got to be able to combat that.”