DAVID Cotterill’s career seemed to be at a crossroads when he joined Doncaster Rovers in the summer.
Released by Swansea last January, and not offered a deal by Barnsley after ending the season at Oakwell, Cotterill must have wondered where it had all gone wrong after making a dream start to his career.
While others probably started to doubt Cotterill, Rovers boss Dean Saunders, who had worked with him during his time as the Wales No 2, retained the faith.
He felt that if he were to have Cotterill under his wing on a daily basis that he could get his career back on track and that is exactly what has happened.
Cotterill paid tribute to Saunders after Saturday’s 4-0 rout of Scunthorpe at the Keepmoat Stadium.
“It’s nice to have a manager who believes in me and to be playing week in and week out because it’s probably the first time in my career that I’ve had that,” he said.
“The manager was a striker when he played and he scored a lot of goals and he’s helped me a lot since I’ve been here.”
Along with influential skipper Rob Jones, 24 year-old Cotterill has undoubtedly been Saunders best summer signing.
You can give him no greater praise than to say that Rovers have hardly missed the long-serving and highly-rated James Coppinger, currently on loan at Nottingham Forest.
In addition to helping to set up goals from either crosses into the box or precision delivery from set-pieces, Cotterill is challenging to be the club’s top scorer this season.
Although his goal against Scunthorpe on Saturday, which got Rovers off to a flying start at the beginning of the second half, was just a case of being in the right place at the right time, not so most of his goals.
It will take something special to beat the long-range goal he scored in the 3-0 win at Walsall on the opening day of the league campaign when it comes to the club’s goal of the season award.
But, though clearly the best he’s scored in Rovers’ colours it is not the only goal that will live long in the memory because a typical Cotterill goal comes from an area of the pitch were few players dare to chance their arm.
“I’ve always scored a few decent goals throughout my career and hopefully I can score a few more for Doncaster.
“I do work on it in training; I stay behind and practice,” he told The Star.
Tonight’s game should originally have been played in early September but was called off due to the Latics having three players on international duty. Since the game was rearranged the two teams have been paired in the second round of the FA Cup and will meet again at Boundary Park on Saturday.
“I don’t know too much about Oldham apart from what we’ve been told in the build-up,” said Cotterill. “But I’d imagine that if they were to pick up any sort of result at the Keepmoat that it would boost their confidence going into the FA Cup game.
“Obviously every team want to go as far as they can in the FA Cup and we’ll be looking to go to Boundary Park on Saturday hoping to make it through to the third round, but the league game is the priority tonight.
“The victory over Scunthorpe on Saturday means that we can go second if we win tonight. We’ve now won our last three games We want to put another run together, which we spoke about after losing back-to-back home games against Crewe and Bournemouth earlier this month.
“Good teams generally win their home games even when they are not on top form on the day. It was one of those things. Everyone in this league is capable of beating anyone on their day and we also had a few players out in those two games.
“I know some people might think that losing those two games cancelled out the wins at Tranmere and Notts County but I don’t see it that way because beating teams around us can only give us confidence going forward.
“We don’t think about previous defeats we just go into every game thinking that we are going to win it and we just take each game as it comes. It is just the fact that in some games at home we’ve made basic errors and we’ve not really played well as a team.
“It’s not surprised me where we are I thought we’d be there or thereabouts.”
Teams and ref
ROVERS (possible): G Woods, Quinn, Jones, Spurr, Husband, Cotterill, Keegan, Harper Martin Woods, Hune, Paynter(4-4-2).
OLDHAM (possible): Bouzanis, Wabara, Byrne, Mvoto, Brownm, Croft, Wesolowski, Furman, Grounds, Derbyshire, Baxter (4-4-2).
Gary Sutton (Lincolnshire): He has handed out 43 yellow cards and one red this season. Had charge of Rovers twice last season.