Plymouth Argyle boss Ryan Lowe has hailed the potential impact of new signings Luke McCormick and Ryan Hardie after both players re-joined the Pilgrims this week, writes Gareth Davies.
Veteran goalkeeper McCormick, who had been plying his trade with last season’s League Two winners Swindon Town, rejected the chance to stay in Wiltshire and links up with Argyle for a third spell.
Just shy of his 37th birthday, the experienced gloveman, who is regarded as a cult figure by the Green Army, won’t be coming back to play a bit-part role either according to Lowe.
Answering questions specifically fielded by The Indy, at a socially distanced Home Park press call on Thursday, Lowe also felt that McCormick’s presence will help Mike Cooper become a star not only in League One, but the whole of England.
“When I spoke to Luke about bringing him back, he was chomping at the bit to come,” Lowe enthused. “He had a deal on the table from Swindon but it was a no brainer for him to come back. He brings a wealth of experience and he is obviously a legend at this football club.
“He hasn’t just come back to sit on the bench, he’s come back to fight for that number one jersey albeit we want Coops to take that and then for Luke to help and guide and support him. We feel Michael Cooper will be one of the best goalkeepers in the league and the country because he has got the attributes to do that.
“I want good lads and good people at the football club so it was a no brainer to bring him (McCormick) back.”
Meanwhile, Hardie once again links up with the Devon outfit and joins on a season-long-loan. The Scottish striker, who began his career at Glasgow Rangers, spent the second half of 2019-20 with Argyle before the season was cut short due to Covid-19.
Before he first moved south, Lowe predicted that Hardie would improve under his tenure and after he bullishly claimed to have been proved correct, the likeable Liverpudlian says that this prediction could have scuppered a second deal for the 23-year-old.
“I spoke to Neil Critchley throughout the summer and I spoke to Ben Mansford who is (Blackpool’s) CEO,” Lowe added.
“The two of them are good guys and they wanted to make sure it was the right deal for them and we respected that.
“Last year was different as Ryan dropped down a league to get himself playing and one thing I did say to Ben Mansford last season, which I thought would kill the deal off, was that I would make him a better player. I’ll coach him to be a better player and then you can sell him and get your money back if he’s not wanted.
“So I thought it would come back and burn me when I said I wanted him back again because we did make him a better player. He did score goals because he came into a team that played football.
“When we asked for him back, Blackpool said ‘yes, but it will cost you’. We had to make sure we did the right thing for them so they didn’t lose money and we had to pay for what we’re getting and what we’re getting is a top goal scorer in Ryan Hardie.”
Lowe also confirmed that Calum McFadzean will leave the club after he decided to move back closer to his native North West.
The 26-year-old, who followed Lowe from Bury to Argyle 12 months ago, made 30 appearances and scored five goals as the Pilgrims sealed promotion back to League One at the first attempt.
McFadzean forged a useful partnership with George Cooper down Argyle’s left-hand side last term although the former, who was on loan from Peterborough, will be staying at London Road for the foreseeable future.
It is understood that whilst Argyle were keen on a permanent move, the two parties were poles apart in terms of valuation. Lowe didn’t however, rule out a move for Cooper further down the line if the opportunity arose.