JAKE COLE is set for an extended run as Plymouth Argyle’s goalkeeper because of a serious finger injury to Luke McCormick.
No timescale has been put on how long McCormick will be out of action, but club physio Paul Atkinson admitted it would be a lengthy lay-off.
More will be known about McCormick’s treatment and recovery after he has seen a specialist in hand injuries on Wednesday evening.
The 30-year-old has dislocated and fractured the ring finger on his left hand.
McCormick was injured during the second half of the 1-1 draw with Mansfield Town at Home Park on Saturday.
He had his left hand kicked by Mansfield striker Sam Clucas as he tried to grab the ball.
The damage was so severe McCormick could not continue to play and Cole was sent on as a substitute.
Argyle manager John Sheridan was at Home Park on Monday but was unavailable to talk to Herald Sport.
He must be relieved to have someone as experienced as 28-year-old Cole to step in as McCormick’s replacement.
Cole was the runner-up to Onismor Bhasera in The Herald’s poll for the 2012/13 Argyle player-of-the-year.
He will make his 86th appearance for the Pilgrims in their away game against Northampton Town on Saturday.
It is not clear whether Sheridan will make a move to sign another ‘keeper on loan while McCormick is ruled out.
It could depend on the medical verdict on how long McCormick will be out of action.
In the short-term, at least, 16-year-old Andrew Hannah is likely to be on the bench for Argyle against Northampton.
Hannah, one of the club’s academy players, will be 17 next month.
He was an unused substitute for the Pilgrims’ 3-1 win away to Cheltenham Town in August when Cole was absent because of a back problem.
McCormick has started 27 out of Argyle’s 28 fixtures in League Two this term.
The one exception was when Cole played in a 2-0 home defeat by Fleetwood Town on the second Saturday of the campaign.
However, Cole was the ‘keeper for all eight of the Pilgrims’ games in the various cup competitions this season, so he is not short of match practice.
McCormick went to the casualty department at Derriford Hospital with Atkinson after the game against Mansfield to have x-rays taken of his injured finger.
He saw a consultant the following morning, who has recommended the appointment with one of his colleagues on Wednesday.
Atkinson told Herald Sport: “At the moment, it looks like it’s going to be a lengthy process to get it fixed.
“We are not absolutely 100 per cent sure as to how it’s going to be sorted out so, at this stage, I wouldn’t like to say how long Luke is going to be out for.
“We will know more after he has seen the specialist on Wednesday.
“If Luke was an outfield player it would be something we could deal with and he could get on with things.
“But, because he’s a goalkeeper and uses his hands to stop the ball, we can’t just patch it up.
“We have got the rest of his career to think of, so we have got to get it right.”
Atkinson added: “Luke is philosophical about the injury. It’s one of those unfortunate things that happen in football.
“I don’t think there was any malice on the part of the lad (Clucas) when he kicked his hand.
“He came up to Luke afterwards and said he was trying to kick the ball.”