Luke Knuckling Down

THE finger injury that ruled goalkeeper Luke McCormick out of the second half of Argyle’s 2013-14 season might turn out to be a blessing in disguise for the Pilgrims’ new club captain.

The break and dislocation he suffered against Mansfield on February 1 meant that, by the time everyone else’s season officially ended, he was raring to go.

“There was six months to the start of pre-season from when I did my finger,” said Luke. "So I did have a lot of time, when I had a pin in my finger, sitting around, waiting for it to heal.

“I didn’t really feel I needed the rest time the rest of the lads needed after a long hard season.  So I made sure I got myself in good shape over the summer and chucked myself into pre-season where I was happy with where my fitness level was.”

The damaged digit has stood up to the rigours of pre-season, even though the legacy is something that will live with him for the remainder of his career.

“It’s taken a little bit of getting used to,” he said. “I suppose my finger will never be quite right but I’m more than happy with the way it’s recovered and I don’t find it prevents me from doing anything – certainly not on the pitch, anyway.

“It is something I have had to just take a little bit of care of now and then. I’ve had a few bangs on it, but I think that will be good for it in the long run. I need to know what I’m capable of and it’s withstood everything that’s been thrown at it so far.”

Luke missed Argyle’s last pre-season match at Weston-super-Mare, a decision he described as “purely precautionary”.

“I picked up a knock late in the [previous] Yeovil game and just had a bit of soreness around the knee,” he said. “I think it might be the case, this season, with having a smaller squad than we did last year, the lads are going to have to look after themselves, and may be pulled out of training here and there – just to make sure we’re all fighting fit for the games.”

Cambridge United will provide the first proper test for Luke’s finger and for the Argyle team when they host the Pilgrims in Saturday’s Sky Bet League 2 opener at the R Costings Abbey Stadium.

“Pre-season, for me, has been a good one,” he said, “but, obviously, the work starts on Saturday and that’s what’s important.

“The more pre-seasons you do, the more you realise that it is good for preparation for games but, in terms of performances and things like that, I think it will just click when it comes to the nitty gritty of the football season. Pre-season then becomes a distant memory.”