A Round-up of Argyle News
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Greens on Screen's Daily Diary is a compilation of Argyle news, with help from these and other Argyle-related sites.
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Also included on the three most recent days, facts from Argyle's history.
After yesterdays draw Paul Sturrock said: "We've scored 10 and conceded nine goals this season. I think that paints its own picture and for me it's a scary one. I wouldn't deny the game wasn't a great one for all the supporters and everyone else, except probably the coaching staff of both sides. It says a lot about our fighting spirit that we came back like we did but individual errors have cost us three goals again and that's not good enough."
Argyle draw 3-3 with Brighton and Hove Albion in front of a crowd of 9,289 at Home Park. The goals coming from Graham Coughlan (19th minute), Ian Stonebridge (81) and David Friio (89). Argyle: Larrieu, Connolly, Wotton, Coughlan, Hodges, Norris, Bent, Friio, Capaldi, Evans, Stonebridge. Subs - Adams, Sturrock, Beresford (not used - Gilbert, McGlinchey). and Ian De Lar's match report is here
Marino Keith, Nathan Lowndes, Dave Worrell and Hasney Aljofree all miss today's game due to injury. Steve Adams is carrying an injury and along with Blair Sturrock, who is also not fully fit, is on the bench
Paul Sturrock will make a late decision on the fitness of Marino Keith and Nathan Lowndes before the game against Brighton, both players having picked up ankle injuries at Chesterfield. Keith did some light training yesterday and would seem to have more chance than Lowndes of being passed fit. "They will be left until tomorrow morning to prove their fitness," said Sturrock. Dave Worrell is also a doubt for the game because of a groin injury and Peter Gilbert missed training yesterday because of a virus. "There's actually more players injured than there are in training, so we just had to cancel training completely today because we couldn't afford any more injuries. It's probably the first time since I've been here that we've had as many injuries as this." Sturrock confessed that the injury problems were so bad that it was possible that players from outside his first-team squad could be drafted in to make up the numbers. Also on standby is Blair Sturrock, after a good report from the latest specialist to try and get to the bottom of his pelvic problem. "Blair's come back from a specialist, who is confident they can do something for him," said Sturrock. "He's on standby for tomorrow. The problem with Blair is he tires very quickly in games, after 45 minutes it's a real struggle to him but he's one we can call on for half an hour, if needed. A lot of fitness tests will be happening tomorrow morning, a lot of boys were tested this morning and we'll see what reactions they have tomorrow, and a lot of boys are looking very, very doubtful."
Paul Sturrock has decided not to make a move for former Real Madrid defender Leo Bermejo after the Spaniard spent the week at Home Park. He believes that Bermejo, 24, who has also played for Real Jaén and represented Spain at several different age-groups, has not recovered from a recent injury, and the Argyle manager was not prepared to compromise himself just because the transfer window closes this weekend. "He's nowhere near full fitness at the moment," said Sturrock. "I've told him to go back to Spain and find himself a Spanish club and, if he still fancies trying England, we will maybe have a look at him when the transfer window opens again."
Paul Sturrock confirmed that a Spanish player is currently on a three day trial with Argyle."He is a midfielder and has played in the top flight in Spain. He is a free agent and, if I like the look of him, we will offer him a short term contract. If we do that, we have to decide before the weekend as the transfer window ends then. If we sign him, he will be here up until the opening of the next window. Then we can see if he has something to offer that we haven't got here already." He would not name the player until a decision has been made as to his future at Home Park. The manager also revealed that from next week there will be constant scouting for players: "We need to keep constant tabs on players out there so that, if we need to dip into the loan market, we know who to go for. These scouting missions will also check on the progress of the long term targets that the club have in mind. We need to keep tabs on the players we have targeted to see if they are keeping to the standards they have shown in the past. It doesn't mean I suddenly have pots of money. If we have injury problems, a little like we have now, we have a budget for loan players. As far as permanent targets are concerned, if one of them becomes available, we could bring them in. It would mean we would be outside of our budget temporarily, until we made movements to accommodate them, but circumstances would mean we would have to act."
Buster Phillips is to see a specialist this week and could face a further operation, which could rule him out for several more weeks. He has been suffering from a tightness following his hernia operation and is now awaiting scan results before a decision is made. Blair Sturrock, meanwhile, has seen a specialist this week, travelling with Paul Maxwell to Nottingham, as they try to get to the bottom of his niggling injury
Argyle's away game against Brentford next Saturday is set to go ahead despite the possibility that it could have been called off because of international call-ups. Brentford's Kevin O'Connor and Matt Somner will be on under-21 duty for the Republic of Ireland and Wales respectively the previous day and had Alan Julian joined Tony Capaldi in the Northern Ireland under-21 squad the game would almost certainly have been postponed. It now, however, looks unlikely that Julian will be selected
Paul Sturrock has insisted that there will be no let up in the players' new training schedule in spite of the improvement in results over the past two league matches. Whenever Argyle do not have a midweek game, the double training stints will be operated. "This week it has been very difficult to have extra training, as we played on Monday and had a reserve match, too," he said. "So, I will only be able to operate it when we don't have any first team games in midweek. But next week there will be double sessions every day, apart from the players' day off. The time span is one-and-a-half hours in the morning and three-quarters of an hour in the afternoon. I did it at St Johnstone for a long spell and we were very successful so, hopefully, it will be the same this time,"
Argyle's reserves lose 3-0 at Oxford United. Argyle (starting line-up): McCormick, Connolly, Sawyer, Steward, Villis, Aljofree, O'Sullivan, McGlinchey, Trudgian, Watkins, Beresford. Subs: Entwisle, Coxon, Yetton (not used - Schofield, Parish)
Marino Keith and Nathan Lowndes both picked up knocks in Argyle's draw at Chesterfield and are battling to be fit for Saturday's game with Brighton. "Nathan has taken a wee knock and so has Dan," said Paul Sturrock. "They are both ankle injuries. Dan's is not as bad as we first feared, but it is still swollen. It will probably take a couple of days before it settles down. It is too early to say what the story is about the weekend," Lowndes misses out on the chance to play for the reserves this afternoon. Sturrock sent a young reserve team to Oxford led by director of youth Stuart Gibson, choosing to keep some of his bigger names at home to work with them on the training field ahead of Brighton's visit. Sturrock is keen to work on a few things ahead of Saturday, "We had a pleasing weekend, but I'm still frustrated a wee bit with certain aspects of both Saturday's and Monday's games," he said. Brighton will be a difficult game. They are very much one of the favourites to get promoted. They are going to bring a big crowd and so the game with have a real edge to it, and obviously we want to take pointage from it."
Following his stunning display at Chesterfield, Romain Larrieu said modestly: "I had a few saves to make in the first half, but that's what I'm here for. I was happy to make them but I would have loved to see us win the game, which we could have done. It's a shame because we conceded a bad goal. A lot of them have been like this. I think a few of the goals we have conceded this season, we should have done better with - all of us. I'm not just talking about the defenders or the goalkeeper. I'm talking about everybody. It's up to us to put our minds right about this aspect of our game, because it's going to cost us a lot more points if we don't do it properly." Larrieu admitted the team were disappointed to draw at Chesterfield. "Six points over the Bank Holiday weekend would have put our season back on track," he said. "The season isn't over - it's just the beginning - but six points would have been really good in those two games. We need to keep working, and that's what is good about this group of players. They know you solve problems on the training ground."
Argyle's trip to Brentford on September 6th is now all ticket. There are 616 seating and 2216 terrace tickets available. Prices: Adults/OAP and Student/Juniors - Seats £16/£11/£3, Standing £11/£5/£3. Tickets are on sale now to Green members, from August 27th to Tangerine members, August 28th to White members and on general sale from August 29th. Call the Home Park ticket office on 01752 562562
After the Chesterfield game Paul Sturrock said "It was frustrating for us. We should have taken the initiative earlier and grabbed this game by the jugular because it was there for us to win. We fell behind to a bad goal and got back on level terms through hard work but we never got control of the game. I was very disappointed with the way we lost the goal. I've made it a priority to work on defending and told everybody here I'm looking for more clean sheets this season. We were not positive enough up front and we missed too many half-chances - we must do better."
Argyle draw 1-1 at Chesterfield, David Friio scoring the goal in the 66th minute. Argyle: Larrieu, Worrell, Wotton, Coughlan, Hodges, Bent, Adams, Friio, Capaldi, Stonebridge, Keith. Subs - Norris, Evans, Lowndes (not used) McCormick, Aljofree. Attendance 4089.
Paul Sturrock will leave it late before deciding on his starting line-up for the game at Chesterfield. He may be reluctant to change a winning line-up but felt some of the players looked "heavy legged". Steve Adams, Mickey Evans and Nathan Lowndes could all start and Brian McGlinchey will be hoping for a place on the bench
Following the win over Stockport, Paul Sturrock said; "Our first-half performance was very much because we'd been on the training-ground. Our second-half performance was very much because we'd been on the training-ground, to me, too long. Our legs looked very heavy in the second half, basically because of all the work we'd done. That's what was worrying me more than anything in the second half, that our legs would give out and that's why I was a bit more animated than I normally am. You couldn't complain about the first half, it was a strange game – at 3-0, their goalie made a great save from Friio and they went straight up the park and, with another glaring mistake by our back four, they are back in the game again.We could have paid dear for that, but we stuck to our task. A lot of them came out with creditable performances. I wouldn't discredit anybody. I think there's still things to work on but it was nice to see us back to something more like our old selves." On scoring three goals Sturrock said: "I believe a team should score goals and a team should defend against goals, I think football, for too long, has accredited all the goalscoring to strikers. I think that's a fallacy now. One of my strikers scored, but Hodgy got one and Jason got one, and we shared the load."
Argyle beat Stockport County 3-1 at Home Park in front of a crowd of 7,594. The goals coming from Marino Keith (21st min), Lee Hodges (23) and Jason Bent (28). Argyle: Larrieu, Worrell, Wotton, Coughlan, Hodges, Norris, Bent, Friio, Capaldi, Stonebridge, Keith. Subs - Adams, Evans, Lowndes (not used - Aljofree, Beresford). The normal coverage can be found on Greens On Screen and Ian De Lar's match report is here
Argyle's under 17's draw 3-3 at home to Exeter City and the under 19's win 2-1 at Torquay United. Youth team results and tables will be updated here
Tony Capaldi has been called up by Northern Ireland for back-to-back under-21 internationals against Ukraine and Armenia next month. Capaldi will miss the away game against Brentford on September 6 and may also miss the home game against Tranmere Rovers if selected to play in Northern Ireland's last Euro 2004 qualifier away to Greece on October 10.
Talking about this Saturdays game against Stockport, Paul Sturrock said: "It might be the last-chance saloon for some of my players. Some of the players who did well in the reserves win over Swindon in the week have put up a case for inclusion, either on the bench or in the team. Steve Adams was outstanding in the game. His thought-process and his general play was excellent. I thought he was head and shoulders above anything on the pitch. Obviously Nathan scored a hat-trick and is starting to knock on the door now. I thought he looked lively when he came off the bench at Rushden, he definitely showed an urgency to his game. If he starts to take in the things we want him to, it will only be good for both him and us. Nathan came here to be one of my first-choice strikers and to be fair, I think he would be the first to admit he hasn't played up to the standards he knows he can achieve. Hopefully, the confidence he gained from the other night will help him do that. Whether he plays tomorrow is something I'm going to have to think about long and hard." Sturrock continued, "Ian Stonebridge probably had more chances than Nath, and his linkage is something that's quite important to the team, Paul Connolly put a case up too, with his foraging forward and Peter Gilbert did well. So there's lots of things to consider."
Paul Wotton has been suffering from a throat infection, but returned to training yesterday and will be fit in time for the weekend's games.
Martin Phillips is set to resume full training in about ten days time and will hopefully be available for selection within a further couple of weeks
Brian McGlinchey insists he will do everything he can to keep the pressure on the likes of Lee Hodges and summer arrivals Tony Capaldi and Peter Gilbert. "When you are playing a reserve game you just have to knuckle down, work hard and prove to the manager that your attitude is right," he said, "And, hopefully, if called upon I'll do a good job in the first team. You have to go out and give it 100 per cent and not look like you are sulking because you are not in the team. It is a squad system at this minute and, hopefully, I will be needed soon. When I get my chance I'll try my best to take it. Of course it is frustrating, but there's such a good bunch of players here now that everyone is fighting for places. I'm not too disappointed. I love it here and I want to stay so I'll just battle to try and get into the team."
The Argyle Against Racism campaign is officially launched - visit the website for full details
An Argyle cricket XI are in action at Cornwood on 22nd August at 2.30. The match at Oak Park is to raise money for Radio Devon's Chestnut Appeal and programmes will be available for which spectators can make a donation towards the Appeal fund. The match will be followed by other fund-raising events and a barbecue. Taking part are: Paul Sturrock, Paul Stapleton, Kevin Summerfield, Geoff Crudgington, John Blackley, Phill Gill, John Britton, Stuart Gibson, Paul Maxwell, Dave Newton, Ollie Stapleton
Paul Sturrock has said he will be talking to Tony Capaldi about his recent spate of bookings. "I will have a word with Capaldi because that's three bookings more than he has probably had in his whole career. He's got to calm down. He's trying to do things that aren't in his make-up. I don't think he really knows how to tackle. He has played reserve football too long where there isn't a tackle in a game. He's just finding his feet and, hopefully, he will appreciate the conversation I will have with him." Sturrock has not taken any action against David Friio after his foul on Rushden midfielder David Bell. "The person in charge is the referee and he said it was a yellow. If I take that kind of scenario out of the players' psyche we would stand off people all day and teams would pass around us. There has to be a competitive edge to a player. I will not take that side of the game out of David Friio or any of my players."
Following last nights reserve victory Paul Sturrock was very pleased with Nathan Lowndes but also praised Steve Adams: "Stevie did everything a team needs. His passing was excellent, he bossed the game and moved people around. I think everybody worked very hard and it was a good game because they had several first team players in their side as well. There was an edge to the game given by me that people could impress and nobody let themselves down. Marcus Martin's first half performance was excellent and Matt Villis is starting to learn his trade."
Argyle reserves beat Swindon reserves 3-0 in their first Combination League fixture. Nathan Lowndes scores a hat-trick with goals in the 8th, 59th and 87th minutes. Argyle: McCormick, Conolly, Villis, Aljofree, Gilbert, Beresford, Martin, Adams, McGlinchey, Lowndes, Stonebridge. Subs (not used) - Schofield, Sawyer, Coxon, Watkins, O'Sullivan
Paul Sturrock thinks Steve Adams will make a swift return to form. He said: "Steve Adams was told to do absolutely nothing through the close season, due to his knee operation and the amount of trekking he has done in the two-and-a-half years I have been here. I think he's slowly building up and I have seen an amazing difference in him over the last couple of days in running. It will just take him a bit of time, as it has done with David Norris. He has got better and better as the games have unfolded. He's another one who needs games before he gets back to the standards he achieved last season. If it was all sweetness and light and everybody was at the top of their game my job would be very easy. Adams is a confidence player. If he can't do the things he knows he can achieve it can have an effect on him. For what he has achieved in a short period of time he deserves the backing of the crowd."
Paul Sturrock has hinted that he might return to different styles of play for home and away games. "I feel that we might have to have two styles of play - one for home and one for away - to influence games more, and that means several personnel changes between home and away," he said. Sturrock also intends to play a more active role in training. "Today was probably the first training since Austria that I've really taken. I'm going to be very much more hands on." Not only will Argyle's players face a regime of two training sessions a day three times a week for the rest of the season, they will also have to get used to training on Sunday morning. "That will be another feature when we don't have a midweek game because we can take all the tiredness out of their legs on a Sunday. We must get our work ethic back," Sturrock declared. "I want to put more man-hours of work into the players. If we have got 22 players I want them to be at their best. We must be hard to beat, we must be rugged and determined and show a hunger. I believe that hunger has been one of the key elements missing, and only through work, endeavour and a will to win will we get that back. Hopefully now we'll kick-start our season, starting on Saturday. Last week has been put to the back of my mind. Today is a new day - we have to approach it that way."
Argyle reserves kick off their season on Tuesday with a home game against Swindon and Paul Sturrock has selected a strong team. Sturrock said: "If they want a game, or they want to be in the 16 on Saturday, it's up to them to perform to the standards I know they can achieve in the reserve games. Some people have played below the standards I would expect of them and the other people in those positions have the ideal opportunity to make my decision easier. I don't think I will play as strong a team as I will tomorrow as a regular occurrence. I want my reserve team to have three or four players from my Under-19s playing regularly and the learning process will affect the results.
Argyle's under-17s won their first game of the season 5-3 at Cardiff City on Saturday. The goals coming from Ryan Dickson (2), John Hoyles (2) and Dean Evans. Argyle: Horsell, Harding, Godridge, Gibbons, Laird, Dickson, Summerfield, Nute, Robotham, Hoyles, Evans. Youth team results and tables here
Brian Talbot accused Plymouth Argyle's French midfielder David Friio of making a "disgraceful" tackle on Saturday. "It was a bad tackle," he complained. "I thought Friio went over the top. I thought he could have endangered my player's career. It was a disgraceful tackle, and I vented my feelings - but I didn't swear. I thought it was a red-card offence. I don't want any player sent off, but if someone deliberately goes over the top I think it should be a red card." Paul Sturrock admitted: "David's full of rash moments. Sometimes he just doesn't know how to tackle and it looks worse than it is." Friio has admitted he was fortunate not to be sent off. "I probably could have been sent off, but it was only a yellow card," he said. "It was out of frustration. It's not a good thing to do but that was my reaction - a bad reaction maybe"
Paul Sturrock blamed poor decision-making by his players for the defeat at Rushden. He said: "In the first half, we played exactly how we've played all of last season and got joy off it. There were really good performances from our defenders in the first half. The second half comes along and it's like they've forgotten everything we've been trying to work on, and they start to do things that are crazy. You can't legislate for decision-making. Until they put an honesty back in their game and appreciate what type of player they are, we will probably have to suffer a lot more before it gets better. We've got to get back to the way we played the game last season. We seem to have lost our way and it surprises me. We never make a mistake like Lee Hodges did for the second goal. We're much more disciplined than that. We never make decisions like one of my centre-halves did for the first goal by trying to head it back to the goalie when he could have headed it 55 yards up the pitch. We never do that."
Argyle lose 2-1 at Rushden and Diamonds, Tony Capaldi scoring the goal in the 77th minute. Argyle: Larrieu, Worrell, Coughlan, Wotton, Hodges, Norris, Bent, Friio, Capaldi, Keith, Evans. Subs - Stonebridge, Adams, Lowndes (not used - Aljofree, McCormick). Attendance - 4045
Paul Sturrock believes Argyle can enjoy a successful campaign, but only if the players follow his advice. "I said all along, and as usual I was a voice alone, this was going to be a much harder season than anyone expected. People know what we're all about and are trying to work on our weaknesses. It's been sorely evident in the first two games of the season that people are in the know. People appreciate what we're all about and how you can get at us. It's not going to be the stroll in the park that some made out. It's a very hard season we have to go through but if we do it my way I feel we will have a successful season."
Sturrock was furious with the performance against Colchester, especially with the defending and vented his frustration in meetings with the players yesterday. "We work very hard with our defenders and it was very strange for us to come out like that, but there were reasons behind it. The message to my players is: 'It's my way or the highway'. I feel too many are getting told things and not adapting to what I'm looking for. They will pay, first, by being dropped and secondly by not being here very long if they don't change. I don't want to sit here every day talking to the same people about the same things. Some are not getting a game because they will not do as they are told. Others are going to come out of the team because they are not doing as they are told. The ones who want to play in my team will take on board my criticisms, the ones who let it go in one ear and out the other will have a long, hard season in the reserves."
Blair Sturrock will not play again until the medical men have solved the pelvic problem that causes him to tire quickly in matches. Sturrock snr said: "That's Blair's last game until we get to the bottom of his injury. He's away to see a couple of specialists. Hopefully, between these two people, we can get to the bottom of it. I think it's an area which is very difficult to diagnose. It's the core area of his body. There's a lot of muscles in that area, a lot of things going on in there, and we just can't get to the bottom of it."
Martin Phillips is not too far away in his rehabilitation from a groin operation, according to Sturrock. He said: "Buster's getting up to three-quarter pace and he should be getting back to fitness training in a week or so. I don't think we'll be rushing him back into the first team. He'll obviously have to break himself in with a couple of reserve team games to get himself to the pace of the game."
Paul Sturrock has asked Argyle's fans to stay patient "The second season in any division is always the hardest. Teams who didn't know you have got you all worked out - you lose the element of surprise. Patience could be our greatest strength in the next nine months." He also spoke about the defeat at Colchester; "It was very disappointing to go out of the Carling Cup on Tuesday night. I was very disappointed with the way we defended as a team. We let ourselves down big time on Tuesday. We wanted to do well in all competitions this year, we did not want to go out at the first-round stage again. But it's happened now and we've just got to concentrate on the next competition, which is the league, until the next cup comes around. We'll be on the training ground trying to sort certain things out."
Argyle's official website is given a new look
Argyle draw 1-1 in the friendly at Bridgwater, the goal coming from Andy Watkins. Matt Villis was captain for the night against his former side. Blair Sturrock came off mid-way through the second half, his groin problem troubling him again. Argyle: McCormick, O'Sullivan, Sawyer, Villis, Connolly, Beresford, Martin, Coxon, McGlinchey, Sturrock, Watkins. Subs - Guppy
Mickey Evans has targeted success in the FA Cup and the LDV Trophy after the defeat by Colchester and was at a loss to explain why the Pilgrims have such a dismal record in the League Cup. They have not reached the second round of the competition since 1992, a fact he was only too well aware of, "We have got to put it behind us because we need a good cup run in something," he said. "It will have to be the FA Cup or the LDV now. It was very disappointing tonight. I think the lads know they let themselves down. It just wasn't a typical Argyle performance."
Paul Sturrock launched a scathing attack on his side after last nights performance: "That was one of the worst back-four performances since I've been in charge. We were embarrassing from start to finish. This game is food for thought for our players. A lot of people will pay dear for tonight's performance. We need to realise that we are a team that has to work hard to earn success and we just haven't done that against Colchester. This is a wake up call to us because we've been lacklustre so far this season. We didn't really get going until the second half, but it was just too late. We need to stop sauntering along thinking about where we're going to finish in the table and start winning some games." Only Mickey Evans escaped Sturrocks wrath: "I thought Mickey was absolutely magnificent tonight," he said , "but the midfield couldn't go up and help because of the problems we've had."
Argyle lose 2-1 at Colchester in the Carling Cup, the goal coming from Mickey Evans (24 mins). Argyle: Larrieu, Worrell, Coughlan, Aljofree, Gilbert, Bent, Adams, Norris, Capaldi, Evans, Keith. Subs - Friio, Wotton, Stonebridge (not used - Lowndes, McCormick). Attendance - 2,367. Go to Greens On Screen
for the usual excellent coverage Argyle will be sending a strong side to play Bridgwater Town in a friendly tomorrow. The game takes place at Fairfax Park and kick-off is at 7.30pm. The match is part of the deal that took teenage defenders Piers Govier and Matt Villis to Home Park at the start of last season
Peter Gilbert will make his debut for Argyle in the Carling Cup game at Colchester. There could also be call-ups for Steve Adams, Mickey Evans, Nathan Lowndes and Hasney Aljofree as Paul Sturrock makes 'a minimum of four changes'. Goalkeeper Luke McCormick will be on the bench after being left out on Saturday but David Beresford was not included in the Pilgrims' 17-man squad for the trip. Sturrock reported no injuries from the game against Grimsby
Argyle's youngsters kicked off their Football League Youth Alliance South West Conference season with a 0-0 draw against Exeter City on Saturday morning. Argyle: Schofield, O'Sullivan, Routledge, Sawyer, Nute, Coxon, Martin, Steward, Dixon, Guppy, Yetton. Subs: Chapman, Entwisle, Bulley, Watkins, Parrish. Youth team results and tables here
After yesterday's game Paul Sturrock could not hide his disappointment, "The bonus of the whole day is that we are one point better off than we were last year," he said. "I am a bit disappointed to come out with only one point. I think, at 2-1, we had at least two clear-cut chances we should have hit the target with, and that would have put a different complexion on the result. We lost two sloppy goals, and it's the first game when I'll ever say something about a referee: he was the nearest man to the penalty incident, and he's the only man in the stadium who didn't think it was a penalty. What makes it worse was, the next two handballs, he gives. It scares the living daylights out of you. That could have been a key moment as well. The frustrating thing is we never seem to get a break here. We never seem to get a decision that goes in our favour. We should all feel disappointed. I feel that's two points that's slipped out of our grasp. We took control, scored the goal and I think, if we'd got another goal, we'd have strolled out the rest of the game. We went forward, got in the right areas, people had attempts at goals – on other days they will lie in the back of the net. We lost a sloppy second goal through a set-piece which we never normally lose. A couple of boys made critical errors to a set-piece that they don't normally do. Hopefully, we'll get all these wrinkles out of our system. The boys know who I'm talking about." Sturrock also explained why he left Steve Adams out and also the reasons for Graham Coughlan just getting the nod ahead of Hasney Aljofree; "I feel the other four have been better than Stevie in pre-season training," he said. "I mentioned that to Stevie as well. That was a no-brainer. One of the reasons I went for Graham was that I felt his goal-threat at set-pieces is quite important to us and he's popped up to get us one."
Argyle draw 2-2 with Grimsby Town - the goals coming from Marino Keith (32 mins) and Graham Coughlan (51). Argyle: Larrieu, Worrell, Wotton, Coughlan, Hodges, Norris, Bent, Friio, Capaldi, Keith, Stonebridge. Subs - Adams, Evans, Lowndes (not used - Aljofree, Beresford). Attendance - 9,590. and Ian De-Lar's match report is here
Argyle chairman Paul Stapleton has admitted it could be three years before the redevelopment of Home Park is completed. "I would like to think that by the end of our five-year plan we would perhaps have a new grandstand", he said. "That's what I would hope, but it's not a definite commitment." The Argyle board of directors introduced their five-year-plan in 2001, after taking over control of the club from former owner Dan McCauley. "At the end of it, it would be nice to have a completed stadium and be ensconced in the first division," said Stapleton. "That would be quite some feat for the board of directors to have achieved in that five-year period, but who knows what's going to happen in that time?" The Chairman also spoke of how he thinks Paul Sturrock may look to strengthen his squad as the season goes on. "Tony Capaldi seems very settled already and could be a good member of our team," he said "Peter Gilbert is on a three-month loan which could be extended. He's getting to know the lads and he played very well against West Bromwich Albion last Saturday. Paul Sturrock has always said there's no point replacing like with like. He wants to bring in people who will benefit the squad, rather than just fill it up. I'm sure Paul has got other players that he's watching and he will come to us at the right time and say 'I have got these people, what can we do? I don't think we have seen the last of any trialists either. I wouldn't be surprised if one or two start to appear over the coming weeks, although there is nothing definite there. It doesn't cost the club any money in the first place so what's the harm? If they are any good, then fine."
Speaking at last nights 90th birthday party for club director Michael Foot (which doubled up as a launch party for the new 'Argyle Village' hospitality marquee) chairman Paul Stapleton revealed that plans are at an advanced stage to bring a 'real top class' team to Plymouth to mark the clubs centenary
Paul Sturrock thinks the 2nd Division is wide open this season; "I don't think there'll be one team that runs away with it," he said. "I honestly believe there's 15 teams who think they can be in the top two, and every single one of them thinks they can make the play-offs. I also believe the league has been strengthened this year because of the filtration of players down the league." Sturrock wants to get off to a winning start, "We have got two difficult away games coming up so it would be nice to have three points in the bag before we go to Colchester and Rushden. That would be very, very nice. However, Grimsby have got First Division players, I envisage a very difficult game. It's important that we try to get off to a good start. I hope that the Charlton and West Bromwich games have given a bit of confidence to the players."
Other than the still recovering Martin Phillips, Argyle's only injury worry ahead of Saturdays game is Blair Sturrock, Graham Coughlan looking to have fully recovered from his heel problem.
Argyle have received a pre-season boost thanks to the Skipton Building Society. A cheque for £9304.86 was donated to Paul Stapleton this week from the Pilgrims Account, which takes the total raised for the club to £35,000 in three years. The account offers fans the opportunity to benefit their club with 0.5 per cent of the average annual balances being donated to Argyle. A Junior Greens version is also available
David Friio believes the new season will be the best of his Argyle career. "I have got lots of motivation, even more than the first season I came to Plymouth, because I know we can do something," he said. The midfielder plans to retire in two years' time: "I could have gone elsewhere this summer and maybe earned more money but at a less ambitious club. I want to achieve something. To stay in the same team for all of my career in England is really important for me. Hopefully, people will remember me in the future as someone who played a part in the progression of Argyle through the divisions. I have always said that Argyle are at least a 1st division club and I still think that. We have started well and now we have to keep going. If I can retire with Argyle in the 1st division I will be very happy."
Argyle vice-chairman Peter Jones has paid tribute to Paul Sturrocks achievements over the last two seasons "When Paul arrived two and a half seasons ago, we were in 68th place in the Football League, last season we finished 32nd. That's a magnificent achievement." On the coming season, he said; "You can't keep going at that pace, It would be expecting such a huge amount. We did so well last season to consolidate in the way we did. We would be delighted if we matched or improved on that, because we're not in the business of going backwards. But we've taken pressure off the team by telling them we have time." Peter is heavily involved in planning events to mark Argyles centenary season. "There will be a fans' poll," he said, "which will identify the all-time best goalkeeper, defender, midfielder, attacker - and manager. Then there will a dinner and ball towards the end of the season which will celebrate 100 years of Argyle. We are also hoping that next spring, at the end of this season, we will do something much bigger and much more accessible up on the Hoe. We want it to be a nice big party for everyone involved in Plymouth and the club. There'll be a special centenary video, which we hope to have ready by Christmas." Jones also stated that the club is having a very good, meaningful and creative dialogue with Plymouth City Council about the further redevelopment of Home Park
Mickey Evans has appealed to Argyle fans to show patience in his young team-mates. "The target is to do better than we did last year," he said, "You have got to try to progress every season. The gaffer has added a couple of players to the squad but it's a very young side. I think the fans have got to appreciate that. I'm the oldest at 30 and 30 isn't that old in football terms. I'm probably the most experienced and I can assure everyone it's a very young side, but with a great attitude to wanting to play."
Chairman Paul Stapleton thinks Argyle should be aiming for the play-offs this season. "I think if we don't go into the season at least aiming for the play-offs, we are being a bit negative," he said. "We didn't know what to expect last year, but I think we showed we could hold our own, and we have made a couple of additions to the team. That augurs well for the new season, so we have got to be aiming for the play-offs, but we must not think it's a foregone conclusion." Stapleton has a lot of faith in the talented squad assembled by Paul Sturrock. "I think we have got to aim at least for the play-offs and see what comes," he said. "If we can be in that area, competing all season, it will be good for the club. That will encourage the fans to come along and then we are in a healthy financial position. If we need to go out and get a loan player, or get somebody if there are injuries or suspensions, then at least we can help the manager in that respect. If the gates drop for any reason and we can't go out and get replacements, we will just have to live with what we have got. Having said that, we have got a squad of 22 players and you could put them all in the first team, which is brilliant. I can remember only a few years ago when all we had on the bench was kids. That is not what you expect from a team wanting to go somewhere. Now we can look around and say it's going to be difficult to leave people out each week. There is competition for places but I think there is also a team spirit there. I saw that for myself in Austria. They all fight for each other and work together."
After last nights game manager Paul Sturrock said, "It was a good work-out and our attitude was excellent on a very clammy night. The pitch was good too. We played the game properly and I was very pleased." Graham Coughlan was an unexpected inclusion in the Argyle side. "He asked to play," Sturrock explained. "He's come through it and we'll see what the reaction is tomorrow." Nathan Lowndes scored twice in an encouraging display which may have boosted his chances of a first-team call-up. However, Sturrock added: "I'm not being derogatory, but you have to take into consideration the standard of the opposition. It was relatively easy tonight, but at least Nathan scored twice and that will help his confidence. We can't argue with his performance, but you'll just have to wait and see who gets picked on Saturday."
Argyle win their final friendly 5-0 at Saltash United with goals from Lowndes (2), Coughlan, Beresford and Coxon. Argyle: McCormick, Connolly, Villis, Coughlan, Sawyer, Sturrock, Martin, McGlinchey, Beresford, Evans, Lowndes. Subs - Coxon, (not used - Schofield, Guppy, Steward, O'Sullivan).
Argyle have launched a new match-day package for their centenary season. A V.I.P. match-day marquee has been erected at Home Park, where companies can entertain their clients for a quality lunch in comfort and style before watching the match. The marquee holds up to 200 people, and includes an exclusive members' bar. Membership includes a superb three-course pre-match meal at a table bearing the company name or logo; complimentary programme; centre-grandstand seats; full use of the marquee before, during and after the match; and a club car-park pass. To book your places or for further information, please contact Plymouth Argyle's commercial director John Britton on 562561 or 07901 557868.
After Saturdays game Paul Sturrock said; "I was very pleased with the first hour. Obviously, I was really worried about how sapping those conditions were and decided next Saturday was more important than the result here, so that's why we had so many changes in the last hour. But we got a good hour out of them. We started off really where we had finished off on Wednesday." He also admitted that he was facing selection problems for the first league game next Saturday. "Chuck came in and had a whole host of chances today, David could have scored a couple of goals, Capaldi got another game under his belt, learning about the team. I thought his set-pieces were very good. There's a good 15 boys who have stated a case. I think it's left me with a lot of food for thought. Jason was near enough man of the match on Wednesday. One of the four midfield players, out of five, is going to be disappointed, come Saturday, but that's the way you want it. There's another debate too. Hasney and Wottsy have done nothing wrong and that's got to be a contributing factor, but a decision has got to be made there as well. Wait and see. We play Saltash on Monday, when a half-dozen will play, and we'll see where we go from Tuesday." Sturrock also had words of praise for Peter Gilbert, on his full home debut, "I was very pleased for the boy. I thought it was his best game for us. He showed the things I knew he had in him. I think he lost a little bit of confidence in his match fitness over in Austria, but he definitely didn't wilt today and definitely looked the part. He smells danger – that's the good thing about him – I'd like him to be a bit more offensive, get himself a bit more round the box. I'm also pleased Blair got a wee run-out. I thought he did well when he came on. He showed a bit of life and got us in the right areas, trying to get through, which I feel is something we are going to work on. Every player is going to have to develop that up front – to penetrate."
Gary Megson was very complimentary about Argyle after Saturdays friendly: "It's a great little club, and, if anybody could get this place going, it could be a massive club. The location is a massive plus for them, but it also can be a great problem, getting the players, but you look at the football ground, you look at the team, and you look at the manager, and I think it's on the up. Paul Sturrock's done a good job, Kevin Summerfield, who I know very well, the board, everybody. The first club that I played for was this one and you have a lot of affection for it. I enjoyed my time down here and it gave me a good footballing education. I haven't been down too often since then, but you look at that ground now and, compared to the place I remember, it's coming on really well. The board seems altogether and ambitious, so good luck to them."
Argyle draw 0-0 with West Bromwich Albion watched by a crowd of 5,480 at Home Park. Argyle: Larrieu, Worrell, Wotton, Aljofree, Gilbert, Friio, Norris, Adams, Capaldi, Keith, Stoney. Subs - Evans, Bent, Sturrock, Hodges, McGlinchey, (not used - McCormick, Lowndes, Beresford, Connolly).
Martin Phillips is on the comeback trail after his hernia operation last month. Paul Sturrock said: "Buster has started light jogging so he's on the road to recovery but I don't know how long it's going to take."
A series of special cash-back incentives announced will give Argyle members £40 for every full Green Centenary member they introduce (£20 concessions) before August 9. Other offers - which will not be repeated next season - include £25 for every Mayflower Standing member and £10 for every Tangerine member. Supporters who want to introduce new members need to send the club their name, and the name and contact details of their nominated member, and when they join the club will send off the cash.
Paul Sturrock plans to make "two or three" changes for the visit of West Brom. That could mean chances for Peter Gilbert, David Norris and Mickey Evans. Sturrock said: "Tomorrow is another judgment day because two or three others will get an opportunity to show what they can do. But I'm not going to make wholesale changes. I don't see the point of that any longer." Blair Sturrock will not play as he is still troubled by a pelvic problem, despite the operation he had in the summer. "We're going to take more consultation on Blair," said Sturrock senior. "Though he's improving, it's a very slow process. It's still causing him problems periodically during training and through games, and we just want to get to the bottom of it. So Maxie's looking into that. With the club doctor being away on holiday, it's slowed us down as far as being able to have a discussion about it, but we want to make sure he is feeling nothing because it hinders him." Graham Coughlan is also unlikely to be fit. "If the heel is still a problem for him we just will not play him," said Sturrock. "It's too close to the start of the season to take a chance on him." There are a couple of other niggling injuries within the Argyle squad but nothing too serious. Evans has a tight groin and Marino Keith has a sore calf but both should be available.
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