DONCASTER ROVERS: Copps stays on for now

Recovered: Paul Keegan's return will boost manager Dave Saunders' options.           PICTURE: steve uttley
Recovered: Paul Keegan's return will boost manager Dave Saunders' options. PICTURE: steve uttley

DONCASTER Rovers’ star James Coppinger will come into contention for a place in the team’s starting line-up in tomorrow’s home clash with Crawley Town.

Injury-hit local rivals Barnsley, as exclusively revealed in The Star on Thursday, had wanted to take the club’s longest serving player on an initial two-month period.

But the 31 year-old, who has previously been linked with Ipswich and Hull City, rejected the Tykes’ approach and declined to speak to the club.

“If I’m being honest I didn’t expect him to be interested in going on a two-month loan deal with only ten days of the (transfer) window to go,” said Rovers’ boss Dean Saunders.

Coppinger’s decision to remain at the Keepmpoat Stadium, at least for the time being, will have pleased many Rovers’ fans judging by the reception the crowd gave him when he came on as a late substitute in Tuesday’s 2-1 win over Bury.

But Saunders, who again confirmed that Hull hadn’t followed up their initial approach, admits all the uncertainty over his future at the club is proving frustrating.

“The situation with Copps is not ideal because things are going so well,” said the Welshman.

“We’ve had three wins on the trot and you want things to start settling down really. We’ve got a new team but I’ve probably only had five training sessions with the group to actually work on structure and the fine details. “

Although the return to fitness of midfielder Paul Keegan, who has missed the last two games with a hip problem, will help boost his numbers, Saunders is again struggling to fill his bench.

“I know that I need to bring in two or three more players to strengthen the squad and I’ve got players lined up (thought to include trailist striker Karl Hawley, who has continued to train with the squad, and Sheffield Wednesday keeper Nicky Weaver) he said.

“But it’s the same story: I can’t bring in any new players until someone leaves - be it Copps or anybody else.”

Rovers will be looking to build on their best start to a league campaign since the 2003-04 season in their fist ever meeting with the promoted Sussex club, who lost 3-0 at Swindon in midweek after making a winning start last weekend.

New boss Richie Barker brought highly-rated centre-back Claude Davis (back) off during the Swindon game but he is expected to be fit to face Rovers.

Despite the scoreline, Crawley are reported to have played well and Barker could well decide to name an unchanged starting line-up if Davis proves his fitness today.

In a first for the Women’s Super League, the Belles game against Arsenal Ladies (6pm) will act as a double header.