Pompey v Doncaster: The Opposition View

James Coppinger
James Coppinger
Harry Redknapp has managed both Pompey and Bournemouth

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It has been a pretty good start for Doncaster – but there is definitely room for improvement.

They are geared up for promotion, there can be no excuse, it is everyone’s objective.

Sitting in third, they have already enjoyed some really good days, such as blowing away Morecambe 5-1 earlier in the month.

When it clicks it can be devastating at this level, but this has been a disappointing week, with defeat at Luton and then a 2-2 draw against Carlisle.

However, there remains a lot of confidence and belief inside the camp that Donny can really do some damage in this division.

That is providing they cut out the sloppy goals – with five arriving in the past two matches – and also manage to put teams to bed.

Darren Ferguson’s side came out of the blocks well against Luton, going into an early lead, yet contrived to lose the match 3-1.

There are a few things which need to be ironed out, and if they can start doing that and performing consistently then they can challenge for promotion. There cannot be many excuses with the squad they have.

Fergie has been determined to put his own stamp on the job having arrived in October and brought in a fair amount of players, although injuries have had an impact.

John Marquis has done really well following a permanent move from Millwall. In fact, he has been a bit of a revelation.

He’s admitted it was important to settle down following seven loan spells away from Millwall – now he has that at Doncaster.

The fans have taken to him very quickly, he works hard, is clever in how he links up play and defends from the front alongside strike partner Andy Williams.

The star man so far has been James Coppinger, who earlier this month became Rovers’ record appearance-holder.

This is his 13th season with the club and he has represented it 503 times.

Coppinger has been put in a more central position and you cannot keep him out of the goals or assists. He has that bit of quality and spot of magic which can produce something out of nothing.

Now aged 35, he’s playing like he in his mid-20s and is a very fit lad.

Curtis Main’s involvement will be interesting. At the back end of last season he refused to return on loan from Oldham and instead helped the Latics survive at Donny’s expense. He will not get a great reception from the visiting fans at Fratton Park.