James Coppinger out to add Crystal Palace FA Cup scalp to his long list of memories from 15 years at Doncaster Rovers

James Coppinger out to add Crystal Palace FA Cup scalp to his long list of memories from 15 years at Doncaster Rovers

“I’ve got three kids [Finley, Isaac and Phoebe] and they keep me young. I want to show them what I can still achieve.”

A FA Cup giant-killing on Sunday would represent another memorable moment for Coppinger, with Doncaster aiming to preserve their remarkable record at the Keepmoat Stadium – they have not lost at home since Oct 23 and won eight of their past 10 games there. Roy Hodgson, be warned.

“Palace is a huge game for the club, it has been 63 years since we last reached the fifth round of the FA Cup. It’s a massive opportunity and I can’t emphasise enough how important it is that we’re at home,” says Coppinger.

“This competition is one we’ve never done really well in since I came here and we want to change all that. At this stage of my career, we want to try to go a step further and make it to the quarter-finals.”

Doncaster’s Cup run this year has evoked fond memories of their historic exploits in the 2005-06 season under former manager Dave Penney.

That season, they reached the quarter-finals of the League Cup, beating Aston Villa and Manchester City and taking Arsenal to penalties at their old Belle Vue ground.

“We were seconds away from getting to Wembley, it was so frustrating. Against Arsenal, we were 2-1 up until the final minute of extra time, we had the ball in their corner trying to waste time. They got the ball back, went up the field and equalised. There is a similar feel to the run this year, and playing another Premier League club in Palace is a huge incentive for all of us.”

There is only one season at Rovers which Coppinger reflects on negatively – the 2011-12 campaign – when manager Dean Saunders utilised the contacts of agent Willie McKay to bring in a number of foreign players. 

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