Cooper targets match sharpness

Shaun Cooper on the ball against Notts County
Shaun Cooper on the ball against Notts County

Shaun Cooper admits he is still searching for match sharpness as he throws himself into his Pompey return.

The former Blues trainee returned to the club on loan from Crawley last week – more than a decade after making his debut under Graham Rix.

But the Isle of Wight-born midfielder believes he needs games after missing much of the season through a groin injury and having to overcome a serious hip injury two years ago.

Cooper said: ‘That was only my third game in four-and-a-half months so I’m still a bit rusty. Fitness-wise and injury-wise, there is no pain anywhere and that’s all good.

‘So it’s just about getting up to match sharpness again on the ball.

‘It’s still not there yet but I am working hard to get there. I was out for three-and-a-half months in total.’

The 29-year-old spent seven years at Bournemouth after leaving Fratton Park, before moving to Crawley last summer.

But he admits the lure of his old club was too much to turn down when he heard of Guy Whittingham’s interest.

‘I was training well when I was back fit again but I couldn’t get in the Crawley team,’ said Cooper.

‘But as soon as I got the call from Portsmouth, it was an easy decision to make.

‘I was well aware of the situation coming down here and I was well aware we might lose a few.

‘But I care about this club and I want to give it a right good go while I’m here.

‘It was a scrappy game last night but I thought we improved from the Hartlepool game. I thought we were unlucky and we didn’t deserve to lose 2-0.’