Sam Cosgrove tells of ‘shock’ James Wilson return and vows to smash 20-goal mark again

Aberdeen's Sam Cosgrove opens the scoring to make it 1-0
Aberdeen's Sam Cosgrove opens the scoring to make it 1-0

Striker Sam Cosgrove admits he was shocked to see former Manchester United star James Wilson in the Pittodrie car park on Wednesday.

Aberdeen’s leading goalscorer last season needed a double-take when he saw the former England U21 international.

Having spent last season on loan at the Dons, Wilson was back at Pittodrie to sign a two-year permanent contract ahead of the UEFA deadline to register players for the Europa League first qualifying round against RoPS Rovaniemi.

Just hours after reuniting with Cosgrove in the Pittodrie car park, Wilson made his second Dons debut off the bench in the 2-0 friendly defeat of Peterhead.

Now the 23-year-old has pledged his future to the club, Cosgrove is confident Wilson can be a prolific scorer for the Dons.

Having been released by Manchester United this summer, Wilson snubbed the potential of big money moves in England and the USA in a bid to get his career back on track.

Sunderland, Preston North End and a number of clubs in the United States were keen on signing the striker.

Cosgrove said: “I saw Willo (James Wilson) rock up to the car park at Pittodrie on the day of the Peterhead game.

“I saw Scotty Wright’s car pull up in the car park and there was Willo sitting next to him.

“It was a bit of a shock, but a good one. The only indication I had that Willo could be coming back was hearing the odd rumour.

“I didn’t think it would happen so quickly. The next thing I saw him pulling up to the stadium.

“We know the qualities that he brings to the team so it was a great surprise to see him.”

After scoring a remarkable 21 goals last season, Cosgrove has vowed to smash that 20-goal mark again – and has challenged one of his fellow Dons strikers to follow suit.

That would be the first time two Aberdeen players have both hit 20 goals or more in season since 1992-93, when Duncan Shearer netted 28 and Mixu Paatelainen grabbed 20.

That famous strike partnership fired the Dons to runners-up spots in the league and both cup finals under manager Willie Miller, losing out to Rangers in all three competitions.

Cosgrove hasn’t felt any pressure from people at the club to repeat his stunning goalscoring tally but the bulldozing forward said all the pressure will come from himself.

He added: “I have not felt any pressure from any external sources yet but I will definitely be putting pressure on myself to at least get to that 20-goal mark.

“Now that I have done that I am going to try to go above and beyond that.”

Asked if returning striker Wilson has the potential to also hit 20 goals, Cosgrove said: “Yes, definitely.

“He struggled a bit with injuries last season and was in and out of the team.

“At times Willo showed that quality.

“Towards the end of last season it really showed the quality we have in attack.

“Willo was on fire at the end of last season.

“Having people like Stevie May come off the bench as he was doing in those games just shows the quality that we have got.

“If we can get two strikers scoring around the 20 mark that could help us have a great season.”

Cosgrove wasted no time in opening his account for the season in netting the first goal in the win at Peterhead.

He said “It is always good to get that first goal of the season but I was a bit disappointed not to get more.

“The chances were there and it could have been five or six. Pre-season is the time when we have to get our sharpness up and get firing. You can tell we are still a bit rusty in some areas but that is what these friendly games are for, to get that sharpness and build on performances.

“We are getting these friendly games in thick and fast and had a good week in Ireland where we worked and prepared well.

“Our aim has been to get ourselves fit and firing for Europe.”