The Blues lost out to Larne last week and face a four-point gap on the Danske Bank Premiership’s top team heading into today hosting Dungannon Swifts at Windsor Park.
A NIFL ruling to postpone, in line with Covid Case Policy, Larne’s game against Portadown and the fixture scheduled for last night between Carrick Rangers and Crusaders - following confirmation of two positive test results by the latter club - presents a chance for Linfield to reduce the deficit.
Cooper remains ineligible for Linfield until the start of the January transfer window but Blues boss David Healy is relishing the return of the playmaker who left the league champions in a summer switch to Oxford United.
“Joel has been with us at training this week and he will slot straight back into our squad with the minimum of fuss,” said Healy on the official Linfield website. “We all know what a good player he is and he will certainly strengthen our squad and add to our attacking options.
“Joel was a hugely popular player who made a huge impact during his previous spell at the club.”
Healy is calling for more from those Linfield players available at present ahead of facing the Swifts.
“Going forward we’ll probably need to be better that what we have been for the first 11,” said Healy on the club website following the Larne loss. “They’ve been behind before, they’ve been down before.
“But they’ve always shown a little bit of grit and character to bounce back.
“I expect the same next week and going forward.”