With Doncaster Rovers sitting three points off top spot with three games in hand over leaders Hull City in Sky Bet League One, promotion to the Sky Bet Championship could be a real possibility for the South Yorkshire outfit this season.
After suffering penalty shootout Play-Off Semi-Final heartbreak to Charlton Athletic in the 2018/19 season, manager Darren Moore has come in and picked up the pieces following Grant McCann’s departure for the KCOM Stadium, and the former West Bromwich Albion man is building something special in South Yorkshire.
His attacking brand of football has proved beneficial going forward, Rovers’ defensive resilience is something to be admired and Moore’s use of the loan market has given some of English football’s hottest prospects the opportunity to shine at the Keepmoat Stadium.
“I do like to play football in a certain way,” Moore said, speaking to Mark Clemmit on the Official EFL Podcast.
“The way the football club wants to improve and the way they want to play football marries up and we’re perfectly aligned in that respect.
“It is something that myself and the club want to get right and get right over a more consistent basis. We have a very good relationship, it is a lovely community club and it works well.
“I’m just trying to make sure that I do everything I can on the pitch, for the beautiful community in Doncaster.”
Many might consider Moore to have been unlucky to have lost his job at West Bromwich Albion, his first managerial post in football, with the Baggies sitting in fourth spot in the Championship table at the time.
But the 46-year-old is a forward thinker, someone who keeps the past in the past and doesn’t allow such experiences to shape his future. And there’s no doubt that West Brom’s loss was Doncaster’s gain.
“For me, and I think any manager would say in any managerial position in any job, there will always be a level of experience from job to job,” he continued.
“Getting the West Brom job was a great experience for me and I haven’t changed anything from my time there to here at Doncaster. I have the same principals here that I did when I was there, and I’m just trying to get better at all angles in terms of the work we have been doing.
“You learn over time; you develop and experience new things over the course of time. Of course, I would have learned a lot from that part of my career.”
Another leading light at Doncaster Rovers, alongside Moore, is the club legend James Coppinger. Now into his 17th and final season with the club, the midfielder has his sights set on going out with a bang.
With well over 750 career appearances under his belt across 21 seasons in professional football, 40-year-old ‘Copps’ will be hoping he has six more goals in him this season to reach the magic 100 mark for league goals scored, before hanging up his boots.
Portraits of Coppinger through the years are dotted around Doncaster Rovers’ training ground; his 2013 league-title winning goal is pictured on the wallpaper as you enter the Keepmoat Stadium, and a banner of him overlooks the pitch in the South Stand. Promotions, relegations and more than 250 different team-mates in the red and white, Copps’ tale is one of true loyalty and Moore has praised the evergreen midfielder’s tenacity, admitting that he is grateful to have had the opportunity to manage him during his career.
“I am grateful that I have had the opportunity to work with him and manage him; he is such a wonderful man and the footballer he is, he’s superb,” Moore said.
“You hear a lot of opposition managers come in and speak openly that he defies logic in terms of how he can still play at League One level and contribute as much as he does at the age of 40.
“He loves the training side as well. I’ve to hold him back on some occasions and make sure that he is alright to play in a match at the weekend.
“His desire is wonderful, he wants to score six more goals before the end of this season to take him to 100 league goals, so the opportunities for him will come if he keeps himself fit.”