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Doncaster Rover's James Coppinger relishing clash with Burnley

25 March 2014

By Tony Leighton

Doncaster Rovers' new-found form, surprisingly but impressively with a makeshift back four, will be tested to the full when Paul Dickov's still relegation-threatened team visit high-flying Burnley on Tuesday evening.

But right-winger turned full-back James Coppinger, who in his 17-year professional career had never played in defence before manager Dickov switched him earlier this month, insisted: "We will go there with no fear."

Coppinger's confidence comes from Donny's best run of the Sky Bet Championship season - three wins and a draw from their last four matches, with just just one goal conceded, has lifted them eight points clear of the drop zone.

At Turf Moor, however, Doncaster will be up against a sharp-shooting Clarets team lying second in the table and on a three-month, 15-match unbeaten run that has brought them 33 points from a possible 45.

Perhaps even more daunting is the fact that Sean Dyche's side are The Football League's only team that still hold an unbeaten home record. But Coppinger feels Rovers can keep their own recent record progressing.

"It's going to be difficult," said the long-serving player, "because Burnley are doing fantastically well. But we couldn't be going there on a better run and everyone's confident - we'll go there with no fear and hopefully cause an upset."

A Rovers win would be a huge upset, but the experienced Coppinger has cause for optimism after seamlessly slotting into a back four whose make-up was forced on Dickov with several regulars injured and the loan market difficult.

Now in his 10th season with the club, Coppinger said: "I was surprised when the gaffer asked me to move to full back and I was a bit apprehensive at first. It was a bit strange to start with, but I'm enjoying it and we're playing well as a unit.

"I'm 33 now but learning new things every day. We've been working hard on the training ground and the lads have been really good with me, pointing me in the right direction, and we've formed a good relationship between the four of us."

Coppinger is hoping that the relationship can prosper to such a degree that Donny's relegation fears can be erased sooner rather than later. The signs are looking good, but he stressed: "We've got to build on this good run.

"For us to stay in this division would be a massive achievement, and I'll do whatever I can to help us do that. Wherever the gaffer wants me to play I'll give it my best - although hopefully I won't be called on to play in goal."

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