Luke McCormick v Jake Cole: Who will be Plymouth Argyle’s keeper?
THE BATTLE is raging to be Plymouth Argyle's first choice goalkeeper this season.
Luke McCormick was between the posts for the League Two season-opener away to Southend United last Saturday.
His assured performance was the only positive to come out of the 1-0 defeat at Roots Hall.
However, manager John Sheridan had told Jake Cole he would play in the League Cup first round tie at Birmingham City on Tuesday and he kept to his word.
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Cole responded with an impressive display which included a penalty save in the second half.
Argyle were trailing 1-0 when Birmingham captain and winger Chris Burke was tripped by left-back Andre Blackman.
Striker Lee Novak took the resulting spot kick but Cole made an excellent low save.
Soon afterwards, he made an even better stop to keep out a fierce close range attempt from Blues' midfielder Tom Adeyemi.
Argyle took encouragement from Cole's heroics and with two goals from midfielder Lewis Alessandra they took the tie into extra-time before eventually losing 3-2.
Sheridan must now decide between McCormick and Cole for the League Two fixture against Fleetwood Town at Home Park on Saturday.
The Pilgrims boss admitted that would not be an easy choice.
Sheridan said: "Luke was my best player at Southend so he and Jake have given me a hard decision.
"The problem I have got is that I have got two very good keepers and I can only play one of them.
"It's going to be hard on one of them but that's part of my job. They have both performed very well.
"Jake played really well (against Birmingham). Hopefully, whatever decision I make will be the best for the team."
The cracking League Cup tie at St Andrews saw Neal Trotman make his debut for Argyle.
Trotman had signed a short-term contract with the Pilgrims on Monday and went straight into the side because Paul Wotton was side-lined by broken ribs.
The 26-year-old slotted into a centre-back position alongside Curtis Nelson and Sheridan was pleased with his performance.
Sheridan said: "I thought he did really well. He's an old-fashioned centre-half. He's not Bobby Moore, but he will head it and he will kick it.
"You can see the importance of his aerial presence. I thought he did well for his first game."
Trotman's fitness levels were put to the test by playing for 120 minutes-plus against Championship opposition.
Now Sheridan is focused on preparing Trotman and the rest of the Argyle squad for the visit of Fleetwood this weekend.
He said: "There were a few of them who were aching after the game, but they worked very hard.
"Birmingham are a good team. They pass the ball and it's moving all the time.
"They make you work very hard and we put a shift in, and I expected us to be tired and get leggy towards the end.
"We will rest the players and do what we have got to do to get them prepared for Saturday."