Mike Cooper

Cooper's Sheffield Wednesday Preview

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Mike Cooper is likely to reach his 100th league start on Saturday, when Argyle face Sheffield Wednesday at Home Park.

The 22-year-old goalkeeper will not only bring up that century but will do so having played them all consecutively.

Following games in cup ties and two memorable substitute appearances, Cooper was made the number one choice in goal at the start of the 2020/21 season, and was an ever-present for the past two seasons.

Speaking to Argyle TV about reaching this milestone, Mike said: “To rack up that many games in a row is quite important mentally, to know I can stay robust. There have been times where we conceded quite a few goals and I could have been pulled out of the team, but I haven’t.

“You see three figures next to your appearances and feel a little bit more settled in yourself. You know a lot more about yourself as a player and a character when you’ve played that many games from the start. The difference within yourself is pretty drastic.

“You don’t necessary feel like you have made it, or you’ve done it, because you can always be pulled out of the team at any time, but I think you have a lot more reassurance in yourself, and you know what your capabilities are, and where your game is at.”

The game in which he should reach triple figures of starts is set to be a big one. Home Park will be virtually full, and visitors Sheffield Wednesday have had a fine start to the Sky Bet League One season, as indeed have Argyle.

Wednesday have 13 points from their opening seven games, putting them fourth in the table at this early stage. They are one place, and two points, behind Argyle.

The Pilgrims, for their part, come into the game off the back of a 3-2 win at Derby County, in which Argyle came from 2-0 down. The win against The Rams means that in the opening septet of games, Argyle have beaten all three teams that were relegated from the Championship last season.

Cooper knows what to expect from Saturday: a tough encounter against a strong side, played out in front of a raucous Home Park.

He said: “We had a few games last season where it was a sell-out, and you know what the fans are like here – they get it rocking, especially against a team like Sheffield Wednesday, who will bring down their supporters and pack out the away end. We’re really excited for it; it should be a good game.

“The three teams who have been relegated we have managed to beat already, which is impressive. The comeback win on Saturday, away from home, at a big club, shows that we have got that character in the team that when things aren’t quite going our way we can turn the game around and salvage something. Even a point would have satisfied us. It just reaffirms the character there is in the group.

“We played [Wednesday] four times last season, so we are familiar with many of the players there. That’s not taking away from the quality, obviously. We know the level they play at, and the level that we can play at. It should be a good contest. The teams are third and fourth, so it’s going to be a cracker, I think.”

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