Left-back is alright for Pompey loanee

Shaun Cooper during the victory over Coventry. Picture: Sarah Standing (13824-5642)
Shaun Cooper during the victory over Coventry. Picture: Sarah Standing (13824-5642)
Milan Lalkovic in pre-season action against the Hawks

Pompey winger set for return against Walsall

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Shaun Cooper insists left-back is alright for him as he gears up for Preston.

Cooper says he is happy to carry on performing in the position he took up on his return against Coventry last weekend.

The 29-year-old came into the starting XI in the 2-0 win in place of Dan Butler, breaking the chain of Guy Whittingham’s side being unchanged for five games.

Cooper impressed against the Sky Blues despite conceding an early penalty.

The former Blues trainee operated comfortably in the left-back position, even though he is naturally right footed.

Cooper, who is on loan at Fratton Park from Crawley, feels he is better suited to playing on the left side.

And he is perfectly content continuing in the role as Pompey go to Deepdale.

Cooper said; ‘I prefer playing left-back than right-back, to be honest.

‘The whole pitch is inside you, so when you do cut in you are on your good foot.

‘You can then pick out a pass to anyone on the pitch.

‘I feel more comfortable defending on that side as well.

‘You can show people down the line easier, for me.

‘I prefer it, feel comfortable there and enjoy it.

‘It was good getting forward and when I’m on the left it’s easier to play one-twos, like I did for the goal against Coventry.’

Last week’s return against Coventry was Cooper’s first start in five weeks for Pompey.

A hip injury had kept him sidelined – the latest in a succession of niggles for the player this season.

That has made it a tough campaign for Cooper, who is hoping those problems are now behind him.

Caretaker boss Whittingham has been quick to heap praise on the player for the attitude he has shown since arriving at Fratton Park in January.

He has had to be patient as Pompey’s fortunes improved in his time on the sidelines.

But Cooper’s boss feels his attitude has been spot on during that time.

Whittingham said: ‘He’s been no trouble whatsoever.

‘We like the type of players who are no bother and just get on with it, no matter what the circumstances.

‘He has found himself out of the team because he’s been injured and we have been playing well.

‘But he hasn’t knocked on my door and complained.

‘He knows the reasons why and that he would get back into the team sooner rather than later.

‘He came back into the team last week and did well.

‘I think it’s important to have players like Shaun.

‘He has his favourite positions but he’s also willing to put a shift in wherever you ask him.

‘He’s one of those who can play anywhere across the back four and middle four.

‘Those kind of players are invaluable when you have a small squad.’