‘We’re delighted’ – Doncaster Rovers favourite to return for Hull City clash while duo to be assessed
Doncaster Rovers favourite James Coppinger is available to make his return from injury in this weekend’s top-of-the-table League One clash with Hull City.
The veteran attacker hasn’t played a minute since the turn of the year, having suffered a calf problem in the warm-up ahead of their FA Cup fixture against Blackburn Rovers at the beginning of January.
But manager Darren Moore confirmed that the 40-year-old will be available to play against Hull on Saturday, when Doncaster will fittingly wear a special third kit that Coppinger helped design himself.
“We’re delighted to have James back,” he told The72. “He’s had a full week’s training, he joined towards the back end of last week and he needed to have a full week’s training to get that volume, but we’re delighted to have him back and delighted to have somebody of his ilk and stature back in the squad.”
However, it is still uncertain whether two other key players will be able to return for the Yorkshire derby at the Keepmoat Stadium.
Centre-back Tom Anderson has missed the past two matches in line with concussion protocols, while a knock to the ankle prevented striker Fejiri Okenabirhie from playing any part in Wednesday’s home defeat to Accrington Stanley.
Moore says that both will need to be checked on today before deciding if they can be part of the squad this weekend.
“Those are two which we’ll be focusing on today really in terms of seeing where they are when they report for training,” said the Doncaster boss.
“Both had outings yesterday but (for) both of them – Tom coming back from a concussion protocol and Fej was carrying a little knock – it’ll be assessing those two today and seeing if they’ll be fit and well enough for tomorrow’s game.”
Josh Sims is slowly being reintroduced to the team having made substitute appearances in the past two fixtures, his first games since re-joining the club on loan from Southampton until the end of the season.
Although his hamstring injury is now fully healed, Moore explained how he was determined to tread carefully with both Sims and other players coming back into the team.
“Josh has been getting volume in training and we’ve been getting him on in games, giving him more minutes and getting him up to speed,” he said.
“One thing I say to all the players like Josh, Copps and John Bostock is as the weeks are going by, they’re getting stronger and stronger and stronger, and long may that continue for those players.”
For midfielder Bostock, it has been a case of building up fitness since joining Doncaster as a free agent last month, but Moore has been pleased with his progress having played in the past four matches, starting two including Accrington in midweek.
“The other night he was certainly more active and got about the pitch,” Moore said of the former Toulouse man.
“Looking at the data we’ve had back from the game he had some excellent stats and readings, which shows that his fitness and performances are starting to head in the right direction which is great to see. There are certainly more games on the horizon for John to be part of and will be playing in.”
Fifth-placed Doncaster will look to end a three-match losing run, their worst spell of the season, when they welcome Hull.