Cool Hands

FOOTBALL is a team-game, of course, and no-one is more self-effacing than Luke McCormick.

However, most Argyle fans reckon that, if it had not been for the Pilgrims’ goalkeeper, then the team would be going into Saturday’s game at Tranmere for places lower in Sky Bet League 2 and having exited the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.

Luke’s saves in Argyle’s last two matches have been eye-catching, to say the least, helping to preserve a 1-0 league win at home to Shrewsbury last weekend and preventing League 1 Swindon from delivering a knockout blow on Tuesday.

One of the midweek saves saw him follow up a magnificent reflex block of Ben Gladwin’s header by tipping the ball away from ex-Pilgrim Jack Stephens. If there has ever been a better save at Home Park, it is difficult to bring it to mind.

“I can’t really remember much about it, to be honest,” said Luke. “I just remember the ball coming through the crowd and trying to get as much on it as I could, and sprawling for the second, for the recovery save. I’m just glad to see it stay out of the back of the net.

“It’s just nice to contribute, I suppose. Preferably you wouldn’t have anything to do and everything will be done for you by the lads in front, but the occasions where you are called into action, it is nice to contribute. For the last few games, I’ve been able to do that, and I’m happy with the way it’s gone. 

“A lot of it is instinct although you work on your techniques in training. You born to be a goalkeeper; you either are or you aren’t. It’s a specialist position; you’ve got to work hard at it; and I’ve enjoyed playing, training, and every game when it comes up.”

With Jake Cole, with who Luke shared custodian duties last season, having departed, James Bittner has becoming his new training partner.

“We work well together,” said Luke. “He’s been there every session, training, and he’s more than ready to come in if there’s a problem, if there’s a dip in form, or anything really. I consider James to be the sort of contender as I did Jake.”

That training has seen plenty of hard work put in.

“We’ve kept five clean sheets, so the proof’s in the pudding,” said Luke. “We’ve got a settled back four, and we’re working hard on the training field to make sure that we get these shut-outs to help up climb the table.”