Breakthrough! Lift-off for Dickov as Copps commits to Rovers

James Coppinger
James Coppinger

Paul Dickov this week made a long-awaited breakthrough in his negotiations by persuading James Coppinger to stay at Doncaster Rovers.

And, after being patient in his bid to bolster his squad, Dickov could now strike while the iron’s hot as Rovers step up their preparations for the big kick off.

Coppinger returned to training this week after agreeing terms on a new deal, thought to be a two-year extension.

Rovers’ longest serving player will officially put pen to paper upon the completion of John Ryan and Louis Tomlinson’s takeover on July 18.

The 33-year-old - whose new contract is likely to include a testimonial next year - is understood to have turned down other offers to remain at Doncaster.

And his decision to stay could now prove to be a springboard for Dickov’s summer rebuilding programme.

Richie Wellens, a close comrade of Coppinger’s, could now follow his teammate’s lead and commit himself to Doncaster.

The midfielder has a relegation release clause in his contract but has held talks with Dickov about an improved deal.

While Dickov is also thought to be closing in on several of his targets - and could even swoop before the squad jet off to Portugal for their warm weather training camp on Sunday.

Coppinger returned to training on Tuesday after contract negotiations reached a successful conclusion.

Because of the respect that Coppinger commands in the Doncaster dressing room, and the quality he provides, Dickov will now hope that other players quickly follow suit and commit themselves to Rovers.

Talks with Wellens, Paul Keegan and Ross Turnbull are ongoing.

Trialists Jon Otsemobor and James Bailey were hoping for the opportunity to impress in last night’s opening pre-season friendly at Bradford Park Avenue.

While Dickov is understood to be keen on adding further new faces to the squad - at least on a trial basis - ahead of Saturday’s trip to Lincoln and Sunday’s flight to the Algarve.

He is known to be interested in free agents Ishmael Miller and Peter Clarke, as well as Spurs striker Jonathan Obika, while he is also thought to be keen on strengthening his left back options - despite Hull distancing themselves from a move for James Husband.

Dickov is still bound by the July 18 takeover date.

He can set deals up in principle before then, but no contracts will be signed off until John Ryan and Louis Tomlinson formally complete their takeover.