ROVERS returnee James Coppinger has been welcomed back into the fray with open arms.
Coppinger took supporters on a trip down memory lane with a composed and creative display in Saturday’s comfortable win over Leyton Orient, a day after celebrating his 32nd birthday.
It was his first start for Doncaster since returning from a frustrating loan spell at Championship big boys Nottingham Forest, replacing the injured Iain Hume alongside big Chris Brown up front.
And the Rovers stalwart’s performance delighted the club’s new little and large management team of Brian Flynn and Rob Jones.
“Everybody knows how good a footballer James is,” said skipper Jones.
“You don’t go to Nottingham Forest if you’re not a good footballer.
“For whatever reason it didn’t work out for James the way he wanted it to at Forest, but he’s come back and he’s given everyone a massive boost.
“His ability on the ball is fantastic.
“He played up front on Saturday, which is not his normal position, but I thought he was brilliant for the whole duration he was on the pitch.
“Players like that are vital for the run-in and I think he knows that.
“If we can use him to the best of his ability then it’s all good news for us.”
Flynn revealed after the 2-0 victory over Orient that he had originally picked an unchanged side from Stevenage, meaning Coppinger was poised to start on the bench.
But a calf injury to Hume sustained in training meant the former Exeter and Newcastle winger got his chance in a more central role before being forced off with cramp.
“I’m very pleased with James,” said Flynn.
“He’s got undoubted qualities. He’s bright and clever with the ball.
“And he’s better in the air than I thought he would be.
“He made some good aerial challenges and in our division you have to be able to do that.
“I was delighted with him, he’s come back and played an important part for us.”
Hume is expected to be fit in time for the trip to Bury on Saturday, February 2.
Rovers are without a game this weekend because their scheduled opponents MK Dons are on FA Cup duty, away to Queens Park Rangers in the fourth round.
Doncaster’s trip to Stadium MK has been rescheduled for Tuesday, March 5 (7.45pm).