Cooper ready to take new Blues chance

Shaun Cooper. Picture: Joe Pepler
Shaun Cooper. Picture: Joe Pepler

Shaun Cooper is ready to grasp his new Pompey chance after playing a lengthy waiting game for his Fratton Park return.

The versatile 29-year-old, who scored twice in 14 games for the Blues last term, has come back for a third spell at his first professional club after clinching a deal until January having endured an uncertain summer.

While there was interest from other clubs, Cooper turned down opportunities in the hope that he could force his way back into Guy Whittingham’s plans.

Although at one stage he felt he might have missed his chance after his misunderstanding with the Blues boss, the former Bournemouth and Crawley man is now determined to prove his commitment to the club once again, starting with a fierce battle to win a place in the starting line-up.

And having played a key role in Bournemouth’s promotion from League Two in 2010, he will be a useful addition.

Cooper said: ‘A couple of clubs were interested but we couldn’t agree things. One club I did agree and I had driven up there to sign but it got taken away at the last minute so it didn’t happen.

‘But Portsmouth is the one I really wanted to happen all along. I had to wait for it and it looked like it might not happen but thankfully it did.

‘It’s been on and off for ages. I couldn’t tell you how many times it looked like something was back on and then it wasn’t. It’s like that sometimes.

‘Guy knows he could have had me earlier if he wanted me but he decided not to do that.

‘But there are no hard feelings about that – I think he has signed really well over the summer. It’s a good squad.

‘He knew I was available and I’m glad he came and got me again.

‘Of course, I would like to stay beyond January.

‘But first I need to force my way into the team. The lads here are not going to just let me play in their position.

‘It will be a tough challenge for me personally but it’s one I’m looking forward to taking on.’

It seemed that Whittingham had turned his sights elsewhere earlier in the summer after being unconvinced that Cooper wanted to return following discussions.

But while the Isle of Wight-born utility man wanted to wait to assess his options, the Blues boss was keen to get his squad in place as quickly as possible.

Now having been training with former club Bournemouth’s development squad while waiting for a contract offer, Cooper was expected to be included in the Pompey squad for today’s trip to Cheltenham.

He said: ‘I was never panicking but the wait was frustrating.

‘I always thought something would happen and I was confident I wouldn’t be left without a club. But I’m obviously glad it’s Pompey.

‘I can’t wait to get started.’