Coppinger disappointed, but still optimistic about Nottingham Forest
STANDING by the dugouts, as he talks, James Coppinger repeatedly looks over his shoulder at the City Ground pitch.
The winger cannot hide his frustration and disappointment, but his frequent glances at the playing surface suggest an air of disbelief in the Nottingham Forest man.
Having made his first start in months for the Reds, Coppinger believes Sean O'Driscoll's side had done enough to deserve a share of the spoils against Hull, following a match that was more a gritty, ground out game of chess, rather than an open, entertaining spectacle.
But, while he finds it hard to hide his dissatisfaction at the result, Coppinger also retains a sense of optimism.
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And, rather than reflect on a week that has seen them suffer defeats against Ipswich and Hull, the on-loan Doncaster man would rather look to the future. On that front, he remains convinced a similar performance level against Burnley next weekend can soon change the mood.
"If we can play to the same level again on Saturday, we believe we will get a good result," he said. "We believed we deserved more from this game. We limited them to very few chances; we did enough to get a result.
"It was not always pretty, but we had a game plan and it worked for us.
"It is always a tight division, but never more than this season. There are a few surprise packages in there, but we can be in there as well.
"We just need to string a few results together. If we can do that, it will go right to the wire. Three or four good results can move you up the table.
"That is what we are looking for, we are looking forward to the coming games."
There are no players in the dressing room who will know O'Driscoll as well as Coppinger, who was a key part of his success at Doncaster.
The winger believes it is a different challenge for O'Driscoll at Forest – but is also convinced he is more than capable of flourishing.
"It is a difficult job for him, in the respect that he has a lot of good players that he needs to keep happy," said Coppinger. "If you are doing well, if you are doing the things he asks of you right, he will stick with you.
"I was with Sean for five years, but this is a totally different job for him. He has had to try to accommodate the players he has got into a particular formation.
"I came here as a wide option for him. I was used on Saturday and hopefully I will be used again in the future.
"He has not changed, his philosophy has not changed. If the team is doing well, you will not see much change from him.
"He will stick with the same 11 players if you are doing well. If you are doing your job, he will stick with you. The season has gone well so far. I still think we are a side that can achieve something."
Coppinger cannot hide his own frustration, however, having found himself a peripheral figure since joining.
"It has been frustrating not playing games. I think for the last ten years I have probably played an average of 40 games every season," he said.
"I knew it was going to be difficult coming here, because of the fight for places. I knew it would be hard to get starts. But I tried to change my mentality, to work on my fitness and keep sharp, so that if I did start I could do as well as I can.
"I thought I probably looked better in the second half, I certainly felt more confident. I just want to show the fans and the other players what I can do.
"From my perspective, the way Forest have been playing does not suit the way I play. We went with a 4-3-3 against Hull and that was better for me.
"Previously, with the formation we had favoured, with Gilly sitting in behind three central midfielders, it has been harder for me to start games.
"I prefer to play on the wing and there are a lot of good midfield players here. I just have to stay focused and, when my chances come, I have to take them.
"That was my first start for two or three months. I just want to play and do well for the team I am playing for. That is Forest until January and that is all I can focus on.
"We will assess things at the end of December, start of January."