“It hurts him badly not to play” – Millwall manager Gary Rowett knows key man will go through pain barrier

Gary Rowett has praised the mentality of Jake Cooper with the Millwall centre-back still hoping he can play on this season despite suffering a second shoulder dislocation.

The Lions centre-back suffered fresh damage to the joint last Wednesday against Birmingham City. Cooper had to come off and missed Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Wycombe.

Cooper is set to see a specialist today. He had hoped to try and complete the campaign before he needed surgery.

“Sometimes there are footballers up and down the country who get a bad rep for various things,” said Millwall manager Rowett. “Coops is one who does everything he can and respects the fact he is a footballer. He wants to play every game. It desperately hurts him when he doesn’t play.

“He was doing pull ups after the first dislocation – which he really shouldn’t have been – to try and prove he was okay. He got through a period of games after that really well and in the last four or five had started getting back to showing the form he did before the injury.

“It is just his mentality [to want to play]. I’m not for one minute saying he will be able to play on or that he is fine to play on. But he wants to help the team out.

“I’ve said before that you can accuse our team of many things – lacking a little bit of subtlety in the final third or lacking a bit in goalscorers. But the group have got great character and you have to admire that as much.”

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