Lee Cook was at the Sheffield United FA Cup 3rd round replay, a couple of weeks ago, and I stopped to chat to him whilst I enjoyed a well-earned cup of tea in the Platinum Bar at half-time! He told me that he was getting a little frustrated with the (snowy) weather which had wreaked havoc with his playing come-back plans as two Reserve team fixtures had had to be cancelled. He did, however, confess that he thought Rangers were arranging a special game for this week – weather-permitting – and he was really excited about the prospect of playing for us once again.
And so it has turned out for, on Tuesday 19th January 2010, Lee Cook donned his beloved Hoops to turn out, along with fellow-crock Rowan Vine, in a specially arranged friendly with Luton Town (played behind closed doors at Harlington).
Cook did so well in the game (I`m referring to his injury – not how he played!); that he stayed on for a whole 65 minutes before being substituted (the intention having been for him to play only the first half, as I understood it from Cook from our chat). Cookie had admitted to me that, should he come through the rearranged Reserve match, the next step would be – he hoped – to find himself on the bench for an up-coming Rs` First Team fixture when he would expect to come onto the field of play for about 15 or 20 minutes and then, after that, well – one step at a time!
Well, it would seem that, having come through the game at Harlington a few days ago so successfully, manager Mick Harford is so impressed with our little winger, he has told him that “he has an outside chance “ of making it onto our bench against Nottingham Forest next Tuesday evening (26th Jan.)
i>’It was magical to be out there again,” Cook enthused to QPR Player. ‘I`ve been training so hard – double sessions and everything; trying to get my body used to playing again. But I played 65 minutes and today I can`t move, I`m stiff as a board!
‘Obviously my muscles will get used to the work again. Hopefully tomorrow I`ll be fully recovered!’ Cook continued. ‘There`s a game next week (a Reserve game on Wednesday). It would be good to get 90 minutes in,” he added.
Talking about the game itself, Cook observed that it was rather scrappy in the first half so he tried to stay on for some of the 2nd half (even though he wasn`t meant to) in the hope that he would see more of the ball! ‘I said to the Physio that I felt great. I`d had a couple of tackles – a 50/50 tackle and another tackle – and I didn`t even think about it. In that sense I was confident that I could go on for longer,” Cook explained.
Cook admitted that he didn`t want to come off after the first 20 minutes of the 2nd half, either, but he did actually listen to the Physio`s advice at that point!
Cookie then talked about the injuries to his knees which have so hampered his career in the last couple of years. He feels that his knees are better now than they`ve ever been: ‘On my left knee, since the original operation, all my rehab`s been pain free, which I haven`t had since the original operation. So, in that sense it`s been great.
‘It`s just getting used to twisting, turning and all that kind of stuff again which is what I`ve been doing this last month in training. There`s been a lot of football, a lot of games, short and sharp games, which has helped me bundles,” Cook explained about his latest preparations for his return to First Team action.
And that return could be as soon as next Tuesday evening. A huge fillip for Cook is Harford`s belief hat Cookie could return sooner rather than later to the First Team, if he continues to do well in training.
‘It`s a huge boost, course it is. I`ve felt that, when I`ve been training, I`ve felt really confident. Although some people might think you are not quite ready, I feel that, if I were to play for 20 minutes here and there, then that`s going to be a benefit to me as well as the team.
‘So hopefully I can keep working hard in training. Maybe get that game in next week first. I think that playing 90 minutes in a full Reserve fixture, it`ll be unbelievable for me to get through that. I`m hoping that in the next couple of weeks I should be in and about the squad – that`s the plan, anyway,” Cook finished.
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