Plymouth Argyle goalkeeper Michael Cooper has been back in full training this week, Steven Schumacher has said.
Plymouth Argyle took a big hit during their push promotion last season when star goalkeeper Cooper suffered ACL damage.
He was forced to the sidelines and Callum Burton stepped up from his deputy role to become the starting shot-stopper. He took up the mantle in Cooper’s absence and proved an important figure in the Pilgrims’ rise to the Championship.
Cooper has been on the recovery trail since with summer signing Conor Hazard starting in the early stages of this campaign following his arrival from Celtic.
Now though, in a huge boost for those at Home Park, 23-year-old ‘keeper Cooper has been back on the training pitch.
As quoted by Plymouth Live, Pilgrims boss Schumacher revealed the academy graduate has been back in full training this week as he steps up his recovery. It could be that he has another month or so before he comes into contention but this marks a big step in his recovery.
“Coops has trained with us since Monday. He’s back doing the full contact stuff, so that’s a real bonus.
“Conor Hazard was away for the first few days of this week with international duty, so having Michael and Callum in between the sticks was really good. It’s good to see him back on the pitch. He looks really sharp, he needs a bit of time to get himself up to speed and physically in a good place but I’m just delighted he’s back.
“Me going through this same process, I had to go a full month in full contact training,” Schumacher later added.
“I had to get a couple of reserve games in there, so we will try and do that if we can.
“It’s just to have that confidence in himself that he can explode, he can handle it. He can make his mistakes in training over the next four or five weeks and then once he’s up to speed then he’s another one who is up for selection and makes the squad stronger again.”
A big boost
Having Cooper back in contention in a month or so will come as a huge boost to Schumacher.
During the Pilgrims’ time in League One, he was arguably the best goalkeeper in the division and has long looked like a player destined for a future at the top. Having him back in the squad and back at his best will be an undoubted boost to Plymouth Argyle’s hopes of becoming an established Championship club.
After such a long time out though, Cooper may well find that he has to fight to regain his place again.
Hazard has really impressed in the early stages of his time at Home Park and will be determined to hold onto the starting spot. Time will tell just how the situation pans out though as Argyle remain cautious with Cooper’s return to contention after his involvement in full training this week.