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WhoScored: Zabaleta-Sterling a key battle

Tactics And Analysis 10 hours ago
Read
 Posted by ESPN Staff
May 17, 2008

Hat-trick hero Coppinger out to finish the job

Hat-trick hero James Coppinger does not believe 'there will be any better feeling in the world' if Doncaster secure Championship football next season by beating Leeds at Wembley.

Coppinger's stunning treble helped an impressive Rovers to a comprehensive 5-1 victory over Southend in their semi-final second leg at the Keepmoat Stadium last night.

A penalty from captain Brian Stock and an own goal from Shrimpers skipper Adam Barrett started the rout before Coppinger followed up two superb virtuoso efforts with a spectacular free-kick.

And the midfielder cannot wait to complete the task against Leeds in the League One play-off final on May 25. 'It doesn't get any better than Leeds in an all-Yorkshire final,' Coppinger said.

'I think maybe we'll fill Wembley and it will be good that Doncaster will be there - a smaller club if you like, a smaller support, but the fans will be singing their hearts out.

'Hopefully we can go and do them proud. I don't think there will be any better feeling in the world at the minute to go there and get Championship football next season.'

Doncaster suffered heartache at the end of the regular season, missing out on automatic promotion after a 2-1 defeat to Cheltenham on the last day of the season.

But Coppinger believes victory underneath the famous Wembley arch would make up for it. 'We've worked so hard to get here from the disappointment at Cheltenham,' he said. 'If we go to Wembley and get beaten I don't think it will make up for it. It will only make up for it if we go there and get the win.'

Doncaster will fancy their chances after emphatically disposing of a Southend side who were looking for an immediate return to England's second tier.

And Coppinger, who had only scored three goals in 39 league games prior to the second leg, admitted he had saved his best display of the season for the encounter.

'I'm delighted with the three goals,' he added. 'It's weird because it's all surreal. 'At half time, we knew the only way Southend were going to get back into the game is if we threw it away. The lads worked hard and when we got the third goal it was more or less game, set and match.

'I would say it's probably my best performance of the season because of the three goals, but I've played in some games this season where I've done different things for the team.

'I'm not one of these players who will go and score two or three goals in a game, I'm not renowned for my goalscoring, but I've played games this season where I've felt I've played as good.'

Doncaster boss Sean O'Driscoll was delighted the midfielder had finally reaped the benefits of some hard work on the training ground.

'James has got some sublime skills and he just needs to add an end product, said O'Driscoll. 'The end product doesn't have to be a goal, it just needs to be an end product, and we've worked on that all season.

'It's come off now and I'm really pleased for him.'

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