Morecambe defender is relishing the step up to League One

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Ryan Cooney is enjoying the challenge of helping Morecambe to thrive - rather than survive - in League One this season.

The 21-year-old produced a man-of-the-match display in helping the Shrimps defeat Shrewsbury Town 2-0 on Saturday.

First-half goals from Adam Phillips and Cole Stockton did the damage, giving Stephen Robinson’s players their first win as a third tier club.

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It was witnessed by a crowd of 3,772, most of whom were watching a home game for the first time since February 2020 and went away with a spring in their step.

Ryan Cooney produced a man-of-the-match display at the weekendRyan Cooney produced a man-of-the-match display at the weekend
Ryan Cooney produced a man-of-the-match display at the weekend
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Cooney said: “It’s good, it’s a bigger test than last year but that’s what I like.

“We have got some very good players and some very good technical players.

“We had Toums (Diagouraga), Philly (Adam Phillips) and Shane (McLoughlin), we had Alfie (McCalmont) and Callum Jones on the bench, and we had good attacking players up front.

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“They are all good technical players and the way we play suits the players we have in the team.”

Having been labelled as relegation certainties this season, the Shrimps could be forgiven for thinking of their opening three games as one in the eye for the critics.

They were within seconds of beating title hopefuls Ipswich Town last weekend, defeated Blackburn Rovers in their midweek Carabao Cup tie, and performed impressively to see off Shrewsbury.

However, Cooney cautioned: “I don’t think we’ll get too far ahead of ourselves.

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“It’s only two (league) games, we’ll just keep going. Last year, we didn’t get too far ahead of ourselves and we will do the same again.”

After two loan spells with Morecambe, Cooney made the move permanent over the summer.

The former Burnley youngster turned down a new deal at Turf Moor to sign a two-year contract at the Mazuma Stadium.

An impressive performance on Saturday saw him claim the personal plaudits but, according to Robinson, it’s a reflection of the work Cooney has undertaken.

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Speaking after the weekend’s win, the Morecambe manager said: “Ryan’s come back a different character, the staff tell me here.

“He was always a very good footballer but he’s now bucked his ideas up in terms of how he prepares himself on and off the football pitch - his work he’s doing in the gym, the fitness levels we’re trying to get him to.

“There’s still a way to go, he’s nowhere near the end product, but a very good player and I thought he was terrific today.”

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