Boss weighs up Cooper’s Pompey future

Shaun Cooper. Picture: Joe Pepler

Shaun Cooper. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Pompey will delay a decision on Shaun Cooper’s future until the utility man is close to full fitness.

The 30-year-old has been sidelined by a torn hamstring picked up in last month’s defeat at Bristol Rovers.

Cooper started running again last week, although is not yet ready to return to first-team duty.

In the meantime, his existing Blues contract comes to an end this week following four months of a third Fratton Park spell.

Marcos Painter is the only other member of the squad whose deal finishes this month.

He is also waiting to learn if it will be renewed when it concludes on January 14.

Before then, however, the Cooper situation must be clarified.

Blues boss Richie Barker said: ‘Shaun and Andy Barcham started running last week so they will be stepping it up this week.

‘I need to have a conversation with Shaun (about his contract).

‘At the moment we are trying to get him through his rehab and I think it is a conversation we will have when he’s at least back and training.

‘It will be talked about when he’s a little bit closer.’

Cooper was signed by Barker for Crawley at the start of last season, although lost his place in the side following a spell out injured.

He was loaned to Pompey in January for precious game time and impressed as Guy Whittingham’s team enjoyed an encouraging end to the campaign.

Barker decided against renewing his 12-month deal last summer.

And Cooper eventually arrived back at Fratton in September after trialling at several clubs.

Since then he has made 11 appearances, including a five-game run which saw him feature in Barker’s first two matches before injury.