Copps is close to return

Back in training: Midfielder James Coppinger
Back in training: Midfielder James Coppinger

Rovers star James Coppinger could be in contention for a place in the side to entertain Brighton on Saturday.

Coppinger, who suffered a fractured cheekbone in the 2-1 defeat against Bristol City at Ashton Gate last month, resumed training with the squad on Thursday.

“It was non-contact but I’ve got a full week’s training this week and I hope to be fit for the weekend,” said the club’s longest-serving player,

Rovers will not only be looking to get back to winning ways after picking up just one point in their last three games, they will also be keen to avenge a stoppage-time 2-1 defeat at Brighton on the opening day of the season.

“I think that game set a bit of a trend with us having both Billy Sharp and James Hayter stretchered off and going down to ten men because we had used all three subs and then conceding the winner in the last minute,” he said.

“We’ve had a few games this season when we’ve either conceded a winning goal or an equaliser late on.

“They came up as League One champions and moved into their new stadium and they got off to a good start.

“I think that they were very similar to ourselves when we came up in the football they have been playing and trying to establish themselves as a Championship team.

“They’ve got a good team and a good team ethic and they are going well.”

Saturday’s game is the first of nine matches Rovers will face in March - a sequence of games which will see them travel to take on the top two teams and entertain play-off hopefuls Reading and Birmingham and also do battle against fellow strugglers Nottingham Forest and Millwall.

“It’s going to be a massive month for the club,” said Coppinger.

“We’ve got to be prepared for it but fortunately we’ve got a big enough squad to cope providing we don’t pick up a lot of injuries.

“As I say, it’s a massive month and we need to be picking up some wins.

“Were we to beat Brighton in the first of the games it would help boost our belief and our confidence.

“Nothing boosts your confidence more than winning games and we haven’t done that in back-to-back games so far this season.

“Were we to beat Brighton and then Nottingham Forest on Tuesday, that would be the first time that we had done that and that would be a great way to start what is a crucial period.”

“I felt that I was playing well before I got injured and hopefully I can pick up from where I left off.”