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Interviews

Coppinger reflects on positive transfer window for Rovers

3 February 2023

Interviews

Coppinger reflects on positive transfer window for Rovers

3 February 2023

Head of football operations James Coppinger feels that months of planning and preparation culminated in a positive January transfer window for Rovers.

Since taking on his role last summer, Coppinger has sought to make improvements to the identification and recruitment of transfer targets.

Five additions were made during the window and, thanks to a clear strategy, he is confident that all are in a position to make a positive impact at the club.

“I’m really pleased with what happened in January,” he said.

“There’s been a lot of work gone into a lot of things over the last few months but probably the biggest thing was the style that we want to play and a real emphasis on that. It made January easier for us in terms of how we recruit and the processes and strategies that we use.

“For two or three months leading into January we had people looking at players and how the squad was looking and where we needed to strengthen.

“With the resources that we had, it’s been difficult and challenging, but I feel like we’ve come out of January with a really good squad and some really good acquisitions moving into the last 20 games.”

“From my perspective when I got the role and came into this job that we needed some stability and continuity within departments. I feel like that hasn’t happened over the last 18 months-plus.

“I felt like it was a big job and it’s one that we’ve made some big strides in.

“Coming into January it was a big test for us to see if we could implement those strategies and processes. And we have.

“I’m really proud of what we’re achieving and what we’ve done. It’s now up to the players to perform and to win the fight and look towards to the rest of the season.”

Rovers added Caolan Lavery on an 18-month deal along with loans for Todd Miller, James Brown, Charlie Lakin and Ben Nelson.

Coppinger pointed to the signing of Nelson on loan from Leicester City in particular as a good example of the strength of the identification processes that have been put in place.

He said: “We watched him, we played against him. When we have a clear style and a clear way of playing, it’s easier then to recruit. You watched Ben when he played at Rochdale, you speak to people at Leicester and watch his games for them - he’s clearly going to be a big player in the future.

“When we had the opportunity to bring him in, it works for both parties.

“It’s not just us that are looking at these players. We managed to get some in that were being chased by other clubs. They want to come to Doncaster Rovers because of how we play, how we do things and our identity in terms of the environment we’re trying to create.

“But it’s also the record we’ve got with loan players. We’re one of the best in the country at giving loan players an opportunity. We’re really excited about Ben and the players that have come in.

Going forward, Coppinger sees finalising contract renewals as a top priority. Those players the football staff wish to keep beyond the end of the campaign have been informed and Coppinger hopes to be in a position to be able to offer terms soon.

He said: “For me personally, that was a big emphasis in January. It was just as important as bringing players in - trying to make the players we want to stay at the club feel valued going into the second half of the season.  It’s absolutely paramount.

“We have a meeting with the chairman in the next few weeks. I’ve made it clear with who we feel like we want to offer contracts to and we’ve been in conversation with agents and the players themselves.

“I’m really looking forward to getting that sorted and getting that done so we can move forward, everybody knows where we’re going and we’re all moving in the same direction collectively as players and staff.

“Communication is key to most things to be honest and I feel like having those conversations and making it clear in people’s minds that we want them here, we value them and this is where we’re going and want them to come with us is really important.

“We’ve had those conversations so we need to make sure we get these contracts sorted so that these people can play their best football from now until the end of the season.”


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