Borja Baston may have spent a thousand days between goals for Swansea City, but teammate Mike van der Hoorn reckons that strike rate is about to get a whole lot more respectable.
Spanish striker Borja took precisely 1,022 days between his first goal for Swansea in October 2016 and his next – the equaliser in Saturday’s 2-1 opening Championship victory over Hull City.
In fairness to the one-time record club signing – who cost £15.5m – he has been scoring goals in the last three years. Just not for Swansea and not very many, if truth be told.
He scored two goals for Malaga the season before last and then five more last season in his second loan spell back in his homeland for Alaves.
While he has away, the Swans have been through four managers, a relegation, and a fire sale of players that somehow has not involved the 26-year-old.
But van der Hoorn, who has spent a career marking central strikers, believes Borja has changed both physically and mentally, and that more goals may now follow this season.
“He’s older now and more experienced and that will help him as a player,” said van der Hoorn.
“As a striker you need chances in the games you play and trust as well. If you get an early goal that’s a big thing.
“He looks a lot stronger than when he came. You can see he can hold off defenders more easily so that’s really good for us.
“And as for the trust, I think he has that now. The first week he was back here was really hard for him because he had to play with the Under-23’s and he didn’t know his future.
“Football is a weird sport – one week you can be out of the squad and the next you’re the main man.”
Whether Borja, 26, remains the main man is yet to be known since Cooper is hedging his bets by hoping to soon bring in another striker as he seeks to replace the departed Oli McBurnie.
The Spaniard knows, too, that Swansea’s American owners view his high Premier League days wages as a drain and if any offers come in, they’ll be driving him to the airport quicker than you can say, “Adios, amigo.”
Apart from the odd tweak, Van der Hoorn believes former England U17 boss Cooper is an update on former manager Graham Potter.
Or perhaps, it’s Cooper who’s the original version and Potter’s just a mini Cooper.
“He has similar ideas to the previous manager, but he has his own style,” added the Dutchman.
“It is not far from what we played last year. The manager wants to have it all clear and he checks everything. He’s a football man.”
Cooper has stated he intends to strengthen his squad within a day or two and it is expected he will add Basel striker Aldo Kalulu on a season-long loan.
Kalulu scored 11 times in 31 league games for Sochaux in France, having netted three goals in 17 Lyon appearances.
But he has found it tougher going in Switzerland with no goals in 17 games.