Doncaster Rovers: No end in sight for record-breaker James Coppinger

James Coppinger with the FA Cup at the Keepmoat ahead of his record-breaking appearance for Rovers
James Coppinger with the FA Cup at the Keepmoat ahead of his record-breaking appearance for Rovers

He may be about to become Doncaster Rovers’ all time leading appearance maker but James Coppinger sees no end in sight for his playing career just yet.

The next time he turns out in Rovers colours - almost certainly to come in Saturday’s FA Cup clash with Stalybridge Celtic - Coppinger will surpass Colin Douglas’ 22-year record to stand alone on 469 appearances for the club.

While his 35th birthday may only be two months away, Coppinger fully intends on adding plenty more appearances to his record.

“Four hundred and sixty nine appearances, a testimonial year, getting towards 35 - people keep asking me what I’m going to do next,” he said.

“To be honest, I’m not looking to do anything next.

“I’m concentrating on my football, I’m concentrating on the here and now.

“I’m not getting carried away but at the same time, there is no reason to look to do anything else because I’m enjoying what I’m doing.

“As long as I’ve still got that hunger, it’s still massive at my age.”

Enjoyment has played a major role in Coppinger’s longevity at the club and he admits he has never felt the need to look to move on because of that.

Barring a loan spell with Nottingham Forest three years ago, he is in his 12th year with Rovers.

In a time when loyalty often comes into question and contracts in the lower divisions are short, achievements like that of Coppinger are increasingly rare.

Should current second top appearance maker Richie Wellens play in every remaining league game this season, he would still have not made even half the appearances of his long time team mate.

“It will take a long time for someone to step up and beat it,” Coppinger said. “These days there are that many people that come in for one and two year contracts then go somewhere else.

“I’m just fortunate to have been at a great club and been supported throughout my time here.”

As Rovers look to avoid the proverbial FA Cup banana skin on Saturday, plenty of eyes will be fixed on Coppinger as he passes an incredible milestone.

And he admits he feels plenty of pride at his achievement.

“It’s a proud moment for me,” he said. “To play that many games, averaging 40-plus a season, you obviously need a bit of luck along the way, staying injury-free and being selected.

“But I think consistently performing is the key.

“It’s a massive achievement and something I’m very proud of.”