His incredible goal return in the last 12 months has put Sam Cosgrove firmly on the radar of clubs in England – but Aberdeen assistant manager Tony Docherty is delighted the Dons striker’s hard work is paying off.
Aberdeen took a calculated risk when they brought Cosgrove to Pittodrie from Carlisle in January 2018. But they have been rewarded with 39 Cosgrove goals in 74 appearances – 37 in the last 12 months.
The Dons have given Cosgrove the platform to thrive in Scottish football but Docherty insists it is the player himself who deserves credit.
He said: “I have to give big Sam more credit than anybody. The amount of work he puts out there on the training pitch is there for all to see and he is getting his rewards for that hard work.
“He is full of confidence and we are really seeing a player that can develop.
“He is still a young player and there are bits of his game that he needs to improve but he admits that himself.
“The rate of improvement and the level of improvement couldn’t be more pleasing for me.
“He has to make sure he keeps going the right way.
“It is all testament to his hard work and commitment that he puts into his game every day and we are seeing the end product on a Saturday.”
With 18 goals to his name so far this term, interest in the striker, who turned 23 last week, is growing.
Middlesbrough assistant manager Robbie Keane (English Championship) travelled to Pittodrie to watch the attacker in action in the 2-2 draw with Rangers last week.
Docherty is not surprised.
He added: “I don’t know who Robbie Keane was watching but he was keeping Niall McGinn company.
“Sam is going to come to people’s attention with his statistics.
“A lot of teams down south look at the stats and crunch them.
“Eighteen goals for big Sam really is a fantastic return.
“When you go a bit deeper and the type of goals he scores and the chances to goals ratio he is doing well and so will attract attention.
“He is such a joy to work with. You have to drag him off the training ground and the gym and he is always in that performance analysis lab looking at ways he can improve his game.
“He is a boy that deserves everything he is getting at the moment.”
Cosgrove is committed to the Dons but it will be a surprise if no club tests Aberdeen’s resolve when the transfer window opens next month.
Docherty has watched players come and go after impressing in the red shirt and he remains relaxed about the speculation.
He said: “If players do well at Aberdeen then of course they are going to attract interest because that is the nature of the beast.
“You talk about our midfield against Rangers – we were asking people to do a job even though a few of them were in natural positions.
“People have watched our midfield and it had Kenny McLean, Ryan Christie, Graeme Shinnie, Ryan Jack and James Maddison.
“If they are doing well for us whether they are our own or loan players then it is a win-win situation for us.
“We couldn’t work with a better boy, the type of person Sam is. He is a brilliant boy and the same with Scott McKenna and Lewis Ferguson.
“Now working at Cormack Park you are giving them a better chance.
“It is a great situation and as I said it is a win-win one.
“When they are doing well at Aberdeen they are also attracting attention from other clubs.”