A Round-up of Argyle News
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Ian Holloway today confirmed that Reuben Reid has joined Wycombe Wanderers on a season-long loan. He said: "I think it will be fantastic for his development. I think he needs to go there and show how he's been applying himself here - which has been excellent. He's been creating goals, scoring goals and two divisions down, I'll think he'll be a threat." After having not so successful loans spells at Rochdale, Kidderminster and Torquay last season, Holloway was confident that things will be different this time round. He said: "I think he will have learnt from his experiences last year and he is a lot fitter and lot more ready to step into League Football. With the people I've got here, he's not as high in the pecking order than he probably wants to be, so let's see how he does." Reid lined up for Argyle when they faced Wycombe in the Carling Cup earlier in the season. Holloway added: "Wycombe were impressed with him, he played wide right that night. I don't care where they play him. I'd like him to play but I don't demand that one of my players get a game. He's going there to learn his trade."
Paul Wotton suffered a setback in his return from injury in the first half of the reserve friendly at Cardiff on Wednesday. However, the signs are that his comeback will not be prolonged unduly. Ian Holloway said: "We don't think it's a recurrence of his old injury. Although the knee is quite swollen, it seems quite stable. We've had a scan on it and we're getting it assessed. There might be a slight cartilage tear but we're very confident that the major structure of the knee is still in tact. If you look at Michael Owen, he had numerous tweaks and pulls. Somewhere between five-nine months is a good time to recover from a cruciate knee injury and to play a first-team game again and he's well on schedule for that so lets hope this is only a slight blip. I am totally confident that's all it is."
Argyle have signed French Under-21 international centre-back Larrys Mabiala on loan from Paris St Germain for the remainder of the season. Ian Holloway said: "He's a centre-back or right-back. He's another defensive choice. He's 6ft 4in, a French Under-21 international - if I got an English international, which Scott Sinclair isn't yet, I'd be doing very well. I'm very excited about the chance of working with him. He'll have to bed in. I'll have to show him both positions, but he seems a fantastic lad and I'm delighted to have him."
Argyle take on Leicester City tomorrow with Ian Holloway calling on his players to be fully focussed. It has been a traumatic week for Leicester, with defender Clive Clarke taken seriously ill during a Carling Cup tie and manager Martin Allen leaving the club after only three months in charge. Holloway said: "I don't know how that's going to affect them but what we have got to do is be professional and get on with our job. We can't afford to take our eye off the ball. I don't know Clive Clarke personally but, obviously, it's very alarming what happened to him. Everybody at Plymouth Argyle wishes him all the very best."
Nadjim Abdou has only played one full game for Argyle, but already knows that he wants to extend his stay with the club. He said: "Plymouth are a very good team, and I am happy to be here. I hope to stay for a long time. The players are all very good with me, and I have had no problems fitting in with them. It will be good to stay here, and I want to work to be as good as I can be in the future." Abdou came to Argyle's attention as a central midfielder, but he can also operate as a right-back. "I played in midfield for Sedan, but I played at right-back for a while when another player was injured," he said. "Last year I played every match in midfield. For Martigues, I played mostly at right-back. I prefer midfield, but it's no problem for me to play at right-back. It was a pleasure to play in the top league last season, but it was unlucky for Sedan because we were relegated. It was still a good experience. I played against champions Lyon in my first game last season." Now though, Abdou has set his sights on establishing himself in Argyle's first team, and he enjoyed his full debut on Tuesday. "It was a great experience," he added. "It was my first start, and I enjoyed playing at home in front of the Plymouth fans." Asked about the main differences between playing in France and England, Abdou said: "The game is more physical and quicker in England than in France, where they play more of a Latin style. I enjoy it here, and I am adapting to the system." Abdou is not the only Frenchman in the Argyle squad - and Romain Larrieu, Lilian Nalis and Mat Doumbe have been helping him to settle into Home Park. "They have been good to me," he said. "They have helped me in training and in matches." Playing in England has always been an idea that has attracted Abdou. "When I played in France, I watched matches in England on the TV," he said. "I always liked it. I liked the fans and the famous teams, and it was a dream to play here."
Argyle are set to complete at least one signing, and possibly two, before the transfer window shuts tonight. Argyle have had a £250,000 offer for Wycombe Wanderers striker Jermaine Easter knocked back, but talks are still continuing. Argyle are also in negotiations to bring a foreign centre-back to Home Park on a season-long loan. Reuben Reid, meanwhile, is expected to complete a move from Argyle to Wycombe on a season-long loan. Neither Ian Holloway nor Michael Dunford would comment on Easter, however, Dunford did confirm Reid was set to move. He said: "We have agreed for Reuben to go to Wycombe on a season-long loan, and he has agreed to that as well, but we have the option to recall him in the January transfer window should he wish." Wycombe are also thought to be showing interest in Cherno Samba. Holloway is also hoping to loan out Ryan Dickson and Scott Laird so they can get more first team experience. He said: "I will try to get them clubs as high as possible to get them both some games." Argyle did include a French trialist at left-back in the reserves' defeat at Cardiff City on Wednesday, but Holloway will not be pursuing any further interest in him
Dan Gosling was a 56th minute substitute as England beat Syria 3-1 in the under-17 World Cup. They will now play Germany in the quarter-final
Argyle's reserve's lost 1-0 in a behind closed doors friendly at Cardiff City last night. Paul Wotton was taken off as a precaution in the first half and may have suffered a slight hamstring injury
Ian Holloway was pleased with his team after their win over Doncaster Rovers last night. He said: "It was a good performance and I was expecting it after the things I had said. We worked hard and not one person did not chase and close and that looked like us. They are a very good side. They pass the ball exceptionally well, Sean's teams always have and it is nice to see, but I thought we closed them and won the ball back. If we were a little bit sharper, we could have won by more. We need the second goal a little bit earlier and I would have had a more comfortable night, but I can't grumble. It is great to see Chadwick coming back and Sylvan has got another goal. Some of the football we played was very good. I thought Akos was terrific and Peter was back to what he can do." Nadjim Abdou had an impressive full debut in the holding midfield role. "I thought Jimmy was terrific," said Holloway. "I was pleased with him and for him. He is a really nice lad and when he tackles you, you stay tackled. He gets around and breaks things up. There were two or three things he read when we were in a bit of trouble. Defensively, he sees things that some of our attacking players would not. Hopefully, he will be a good player for us. He has a very fresh attitude. He wants to work and wants to run - that is a Plymouth Argyle player." Ebanks-Blake's form has been a real bonus for Holloway, and he added: "He looks sharp. There was one game over in Austria where he did not look himself. The hard pitches can be tough on his back sometimes. His strength level is starting to show and he is maturing. He looks like he is enjoying his football and I could not fault him tonight." Holloway was equally impressed with the defensive side of Argyle's game and Lee Hodges has pushed himself into the frame for a starting place against Leicester on Saturday. Holloway said: "Krisztian played really well. Marcel was back to his best and what more can you say about Hodgey? He knows every blade of grass out there and he knows exactly where the ball is going to be, and he is hardly ever in the wrong place. Luke was faultless and his concentration was excellent. It all gives me a headache for Saturday. I don't care who I pick for Leicester. I shall look at who we are playing, who is in form, who is doing what I want and try to pick from there. It won't be vindictive. It will be what I think is right. I did not like what I saw last Saturday. I saw bickering and arguing and I don't like that in my team. I have never seen that from a Plymouth team, but I did on Saturday. Sometimes those things set you back on the right track. You have to be part of a unit. We did terrific to get where we did last year, and it will be even harder this year." The final word was reserved for Bojan Djordjic, who made his long awaited return from a series of injury problems. "He always impresses me with his touch and his ability," said Holloway. "He is a fantastically talented player and it was great to hear his welcome from the crowd. He has been out for a long while. I criticized him and threw him out of my squad and the boy has been exceptional ever since, but he has been very unfortunate with injuries."
Ian Holloway has lost out in his bid to sign Chelsea's Sam Hutchinson on loan. "I have heard from Chelsea and they have told me they want to keep Sam in and around their first-team squad," he said. "However, they did say that if they let him go anywhere, we would be top of the list because they liked what happened to Scott Sinclair during his time with us."
Argyle beat Doncaster Rovers 2-0 in the Carling Cup, the goals scored by Sylvan Ebanks-Blake after 15 minutes, and Luke Summerfield (90). Argyle: McCormick, Connolly, Timar, Seip, Hodges, Norris, Buzsaky, Abdou, Halmosi, Ebanks-Blake, Chadwick. Subs Summerfield, Reid, Djordjic (not used Hayles, Sawyer). Attendance 5,133
Ian Holloway looked ahead to tonight's game with Doncaster Rovers and expressed his desire to progress in the League Cup. After making several changes for the Wycombe game, Holloway hinted that Luke McCormick and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake could feature against Rovers but gave nothing away about the rest of the team. "I might make a few changes but that will be because of fitness," he said. "I'll have a look at some different people in some different positions. There will be some I will rest because the Leicester game on Saturday is vital." Sylvan Ebanks-Blake has impressed so far this season and is expected to play a part tonight. "The way he ended last season and the way he's started this season is very encouraging," said Holloway. "I never dropped him. He strained a muscle in Austria and missed some of the pre-season." Holloway might also make changes at the back after Saturdays defeat to Barnsley. "With Marcel Seip, Matty Doumbe, Gary Sawyer and Paul Connolly, we kept five clean sheets in a row last season - that wasn't the same on Saturday and I didn't like it," he said. "They lacked communication and I might change it. We've had some words and I've been very pleased with their response today and I'll be very interested to see their response tomorrow. I could play Jimmy at right back - he played there for the reserves. I've just looked at Luke Summerfield there because when you are in that position you need to be good with the ball at your feet and you need to be able to overlap. I like crosses coming in from both players down the right-hand side. I can play Peter Halmosi left-back, I can play Gary Sawyer left back, or I could play Lee Hodges. I could even move Gary into the middle." Holloway made it clear that he wanted a win tonight but warned against taking Doncaster too lightly. "It's another chance to draw somebody big," he said, "but it's not going to be easy against Heffernan and Hayter. It's going to be a very tough test for us."
Ian Holloway has confirmed that he is interested in signing Chelsea youngster Sam Hutchinson on a short-term basis. Holloway said: "He can play centre-half, centre midfield or right-back, and I thought that was quite a decent little set of things that he could do. "He's got the quality of Scott Sinclair, but in that position." Holloway said that although he would like to have Hutchinson on board by the weekend, he felt it unlikely as the youngster had accompanied Chelsea on their pre-season tour to America and was therefore close to their first team. Holloway also made it clear that he would not sign players for the sake of it, and was prepared to look deep into his playing resources. "We're not just going to bring in bodies who aren't going to move us forward," he said. "I'd rather just try some of my other players like young Martin Watts. I've also got Tom King. He's got a lovely attitude, he's a great kid, and he puts his foot in. Holloway was also quick to deny rumours linking Dan Gosling with a move to the Premier League. A Sunday newspaper reported that that Holloway had 'slapped a £2.5m price-tag on Gosling's head' and that Spurs and Everton were competing for his signature. "Don't be stupid," Holloway said. "Why would I tell anyone what sort of price he's up for? No manager ever puts a price-tag on anyone." Holloway also emphasized the support that he is given by Paul Stapleton. "Every time I've wanted to bring someone new in, I've been supported and I can't see that changing," he said
Ian Holloway struggled to contain his anger following the defeat by Barnsley. "I said a few things and told them how I felt," he said. "I didn't like what I saw. Simple as that. The whole ethos of what we're about was all wrong. We ended up far too deep and we didn't get pressure on the ball like we should do. That was after their first goal really. We actually started quite brightly and we won the ball back off them. We knew what shape they would be playing and we talked it about it. But we didn't actually penetrate or hurt them. It wasn't until late in the second half that we hit any balls in behind them. When we did, Barry Hayles got down the channels, so did Rory, and then I put Sylv on and, obviously, that's his game. It was nice to see him looking fit and sharp, but I didn't like the look of my team out there, I have to say." Argyle have conceded six goals in their first three matches and that is a concern for Holloway. He said: "We keep letting so many goals in. Maybe I haven't got enough choices in my club to bring off someone who might not be playing so well, or start with someone else. Maybe that's what I have got to look at. But the people I did put out there, I expected them to be a lot better than that. I thought their centre-forwards bullied our defenders, and their defenders bullied our centre-forwards until late on, with the introduction of a different formation." Holloway was asked whether, in hindsight, he regretted starting with Marcel Seip at centre-back. He replied: "I didn't think he would ever play like that, but it wasn't necessarily all down to him. He tried his best after being out all week. From what I saw, I thought that was going to be my best back line because Krisztian needs some work positionally. But there are some more fundamental things I need. Someone should boss that line - not argue amongst each other. You have to be a unit and you have to be together, and well done to Barnsley, they exploited that." Holloway was furious at the way Barnsley scored their third goal in the 60th minute. He added: "I thought the third goal was absolutely pathetic, to say the least. I didn't anticipate us capitulating like that. Howard isn't the biggest, let's be fair, and he outjumps one of my centre-halves." Immediately after that, Holloway made a triple substitution, sending on Ebanks-Blake, Nick Chadwick and Nadjim Abdou and went with a 3-4-3 formation. When asked about the substitution, Holloway said: "I shouldn't have had to do that. I have got a decent team when they work hard for each other - when they press and they close. When we drop off people we can't defend, so we have got to sort all those problems out. At the end of the day, I still felt we did enough to get a draw, but you can't defend like that and, unfortunately, we did."
Argyle's two most senior players did not shirk from the truth on Saturday. The display at Barnsley was not good enough, and both Lilian Nalis and Barry Hayles knew it. "You can't think that you're going to start a game when you're 3-0 down," Nalis said. "That was not good enough. There were no positives for us. You can try to play football and you can be as nice as you want on the pitch, but if you make mistakes it's going to cost you goals all the time." Nalis felt that there was insufficient hard graft from Argyle on Saturday - and perhaps too much pretty but ineffective play from some players. "We are not World Cup players," he said. "We can't win games by always playing one-touch and two-touch football and by always scoring special goals. If you don't work hard as a team, you are going to lose games, and that's what happened here." Argyle were caught out by an early opposition goal for the third time in three games this season, and Nalis added: "We deserved it. We did things wrong, and we deserved to be two goals down." Argyle had a good spell at the start of the second half, and then let in another sloppy goal before eventually finding a way through the home defence. "All the time we were passing the ball and trying to make chances," Nalis said, "but the first chance they got they scored a goal. It just wasn't good enough. When you concede easy goals, it's down to bad defending, but it's gone now. It was our fault. We need to look at ourselves, we have to stick together, and we need to come back stronger. We need to work hard, and we have two home games this week which we need to win." Like Nalis, Hayles was in no mood to gloss over Argyle's deficiencies on Saturday. "You can't start games like that," he admitted. "One long ball did for us, and it was very disappointing to concede a goal like that. At this level, you can't concede goals like that." Hayles felt that Romain Larrieu was partially culpable for the Tykes' second goal. "He should have done better," Hayles said. "The wind played a part, but he should have got a strong hand on the free-kick and kept it out, to be fair." Hayles was not too pleased with the way Barnsley scored their third goal, either. "It was soft, as well," he added. "One of their smallest lads has popped up with a header in the box. He finished it quite well, but it was disappointing to go three goals down. There was never three goals in it." Hayles also felt that Argyle should have been awarded a penalty early in the second half, when Lewin Nyatanga seemed to trip David Norris. "It was a clear penalty," Hayles insisted, "but the referee had just come on and he probably wasn't reading the game too well. I thought he was a shocking referee, to be fair." Hayles admitted that Ian Holloway had made his feelings about the display known to the team. "He hammered us at half-time and after the game," he said, "and rightly so. We can't play like that and expect to win games. With no disrespect to Barnsley, we should be coming here and winning games like this."
Ian Holloway pulled no punches after his side lost 3-2 at Barnsley yesterday. "It was a bad result and too many things in the performance did not please me," he said. "We didn't look like a Plymouth Argyle team for a large part of the game. We didn't deserve anything today, in my opinion. We played some nice football but you have got to hurt your opposition you have got to win the ball back a little easier than we did. I didn't like what I saw. I thought our emphasis was on passing the ball, on 'look at me when I get it', instead of winning it back. That's never been Plymouth Argyle and, if it gets like that, I won't pick the people who stroll around. Maybe they think they are better than they actually are, which is quite a dangerous way to get. We have to get back and do some work because we aren't that good, are we? I've got some good players, but they have got to go back to work. There's no substitute for hard work, in my book. We have got to get back on training-ground and practice. I thought it looked like a team who had their head on wrong." Holloway refused to attach any blame for the performance on Marcel Seip's absence from training for much of the week with an ankle injury, nor on the international trip of Peter Halmosi and Akos Buzsaky. He said: "It doesn't help when one of your back four hasn't trained all week - you need to practice, you need to get the distances right - and it certainly doesn't help when they don't communicate with each other and don't accept things. If they don't, I won't be picking them - simple as that. That goes for anybody. Sometimes you need a kick up the arse. Was I right to play Marcel, who hadn't trained all week? Was I right to play Akos and Peter? I don't want them coming back thinking it's all about keeping the ball and then backing off. I don't think they had to press and close against Italy. I have to question whether I was right to play them. I think travelling does affect you but, at the end of the day, the international thing is something we are going to have to get used to. You could argue that I could pick different people, but, for me, it didn't look that broke last week; this week, it looks broke, so I might have to fix it. I didn't think that was good enough. People came on and made a statement. Maybe I should started Sylvan Ebanks-Blake - who knows? I'll have a lot to think about for Tuesday."
Argyle lost 3-2 at Barnsley, the goals scored by Barry Hayles after 61 minutes, and Nick Chadwick (67). Argyle: Larrieu, Connolly, Kouo-Doumbe, Seip, Sawyer, Norris, Nalis, Buzsaky, Halmosi, Fallon, Hayles. Subs Ebanks-Blake, Chadwick, Abdou (not used Timar, Hodges). Attendance 9,240
Argyle travel to Oakwell today looking to avenge the four points dropped to Barnsley last season. "They took four points of us last year," said Ian Holloway. "Ten goals were scored in both of those games, so I am expecting an open and flowing match. Hopefully, they won't score three goals from, if you add them up, about 125 yards. I thought I had seen it all at their ground when their centre-half stepped in front of one of my strikers and smacked it in the top corner, and then Devaney did another one, so you would have to say it was good shooting from them. It is going to be a tough game. They lost their first home match heavily to Coventry and I expect they will be smarting from that." Sylvan Ebanks-Blake will be pushing hard for a starting berth after scoring twice in the games against Hull and Ipswich, although Holloway admitted he may leave Sylvan as a sub. He added: "He is doing very well off the bench isn't he? Obviously, you want your strikers scoring. I don't care which one of them scores as long as we score. The idea is to win by at least one goal. Unfortunately, we drew last week and we need a win to emulate our start from last year. The pressure is back on again."
Gary Sawyer is determined to work hard and ensure his own excellent start to the season stays on track. "It has been a fantastic start to the season for me," said Sawyer. "It has been really nice to start all of the three games so far. The aim for me now, though, is to try and stay in the team and make more appearances than I did last season. Like any professional, I want to play every game. I want to play my part in helping the team do as well as they can. It is nice to be part of a Championship defence - I love playing for Argyle - and I want that to continue for as long as possible." Sawyer looks back on his time on loan at Exeter City as a rewarding experience and admits his experiences in the Conference have helped him develop as a player. "My time at Exeter in the Conference was fantastic - I wouldn't have changed a thing," he said. "The Conference League was a real learning ground for me. It was very physical, but it helped you learn to how to deal with that side of the game and it played a big part in my development. It toughened me up having only played youth football before and it helped with the transition of playing in the Championship. The Championship is a tough league to play in because of the quality of the players playing in it now. It is a big jump from the Conference to the Championship, because you have to concentrate for the full 90 minutes. In the Conference you could get away with it if you switched off for a moment. But in the Championship, if you have just one lapse in concentration, you know you can get punished for it. But I am fortunate at Argyle that I am surrounded by some good players who have made it easier for me to adapt to playing at that level." Sawyer has been pleased with Argyle's start to the season. "We have made a great start - two wins and a draw from our first three matches is very pleasing," he said. "The win at Hull on the opening day of the season was a good result for us, especially when you consider that they have spent some money over the summer. Now, we have to try and build on the good start we have made. The Championship is a tough league with some very good players and some big teams who can afford to spend a lot of money. Last season, I think we did well to finish 11th. But if we can build on what we achieved last year in terms of points, we will have done really well. The squad we have got now is more than capable of challenging for a play-off position. We may see one or two loan players come in to add some depth, but even if we don't see any new faces coming in, we have kept the same players from last season and I feel we are strong enough to give a good account of ourselves."
Dan Gosling completed the full 90-minutes as England under-17's beat Brazil 2-1 today, which means England progress to the next stage of the competition as group winners
Argyle have rejected a £1 million bid for David Norris from Southampton. It is George Burley's second attempt to sign Norris this month, having previously offered £700,000 for him. Had Argyle accepted £1m for Norris £500,000 would have had to be passed on to Bolton Wanderers, as part of the transfer that took him to Home Park in 2002. However, Ian Holloway has insisted Norris is not for sale. He also denied newspaper reports that Sheffield United are interested in Norris. Holloway said: "Southampton begins with a 'S' and so does Sheffield United. The confusion is some complete idiot somewhere has got it wrong and now it has spread like wildfire. Sheffield United have not been in contact with us about David Norris at all. They haven't made us an offer we have turned down. Southampton have, and we have rejected it. They offered us a certain figure and then they went up to £1m and we turned it down because if David Norris is worth £1m then I may as well be a carrot in an allotment. Plant me in the ground and call me a carrot if that is real. Norris isn't for sale, unless it's a realistic figure of - I don't know - £5m. Offers of £5m for Kenwyne Jones are being turned down but David Norris has outplayed him for years, so let's get some reality into it. Just because we are Plymouth Argyle and we are on the end of the planet, as it looks, why aren't our players being talked about in the same vein as everybody else's? If people want to get real and start offering the right figure then there might be some business. In the meantime there isn't going to be. I should be buying their best players but with those figures bandied about I'm not going to waste my breath because they are not going to give you value for money. All I would like is if someone is interested in one of my players it gets done correctly. The phone gets picked up, the manager is spoken to, then people above him get involved and an official offer is written and sent. These journalists who scribble on notepads ought to get their information absolutely right. My message to them is 'Do your homework. Southampton is not Sheffield.' And my players are not for sale, unless it's realistic figures, so just do me a favour. That's how I feel. Do they think I would sell David Norris for £1m? Get out of here. I would rather walk up the motorway to see my Mum, and she lives in Bristol. And that would be a silly thing to do when there are cars, trains and planes! I'm not that daft."
Ian Holloway has refused to be drawn on speculation linking him with a move for Wycombe Wanderers striker Jermaine Easter, who admitted earlier this week he would be interested in signing for Argyle. When asked about Easter's comments, Holloway said: "Well, that's very nice to know from the young lad. It wouldn't surprise me if we were linked with all sorts of people. As far as I'm concerned, he's a Wycombe player and I don't talk about anybody else's players because I think it's unprofessional. If I was going to do anything, the club would be contacted and then there would be a written offer put in. Then you are allowed to say something. That is the protocol of it."
Akos Buzsaky and Peter Halmosi were both expected to be back at training today after being on international duty with Hungary this week. Ian Holloway will assess their fitness before deciding whether to pick them for the game at Barnsley tomorrow. He said: "They have gone all that way and only played for a few minutes. It's a lot of travelling and it disrupted what we needed to do yesterday, but there we go. There isn't anything I can do about it. Hopefully, they won't come back injured and we will just have to work for a bit longer today before we go up there. Or do I leave them out? What I have got to look at is that we have got a flight to Barnsley this afternoon and I need to see how they are. When you haven't got your lads training with you all week you don't know what they are like." Buzsaky was the pick of Argyle's players in the draw against Ipswich Town last Saturday, and Holloway added: "I only saw that game on video but I thought Akos and Peter did well. But I don't know what they are like this week. I haven't seen them and we couldn't practice properly." Marcel Seip has not trained this week because of a heel injury so Krisztian Timar has been put on stand-by to play at Oakwell, and Nadjim Abdou has been included in the squad for the first time
Paul Wotton appreciated the support of everyone at Home Park - players, staff and fans - during his lay-off. He said: "I have got to thank the club for being really patient and being great with me. Maxie has been unbelievable and so has Paul Giles. I have got to mention Chadders in there as well because he, Maxie and me had to keep each other going during some dark days. It's great to see Chadders back playing now. I actually surprised myself how good I felt on Monday. I know it was only a reserves' game but I would have been happy to have played with the under 13s on Monday. It was just great to be back out there."
Paul Wotton is still a few weeks away from making his first-team comeback. Ian Holloway said: "He is nowhere near as yet. He will need at least a few more weeks playing in the reserves. It is great to see him back but he is nowhere near. We will sort out a friendly or maybe even play him here against our young fella's on the training ground. It is great news he has come through the first game, which is a great reward for him. It is hard work and a lonely old road. He has still a little bit to go mentally. Is he alright challenging and jumping? It takes some of your believe away. He has coped brilliantly so far and it is all very positive signs for him."
Peter Halmosi and Akos Buzsaky both made brief appearances as second-half substitutes as Hungary beat Italy 3-1 last night
Bojan Djordjic believes he is close to getting back into the first-team reckoning after a summer of frustration. Djordjic made a successful return to action for the reserves at Bristol Rovers on Monday, and aside from stiffness, said the heel bone which had been the cause of his problems came through with no adverse affects. "I felt alright after the match which was the main thing and now I just want to play football for Argyle," he said. "It has been a very frustrating time for me over the summer knowing the guys are playing friendlies and going on tour to Austria. I've worked very hard on my fitness, so it was just such a relief to finally get onto the pitch again. I think this weekend might be just too soon for me, but I'm not far away, that's for sure. Having said that, if there was a chance of me playing a part I'd be happy to say, 'Yes I'm available'. Team selections are, of course, for the gaffer to decide, and I don't want to get ahead of myself. But I honestly feel in a few days I'll be and ready to go." Djordjic admitted watching the first-team has been far from easy for him. "I know I'm not the finished article yet and recognise I can get better," he added. "While it's good the team have been doing so well, it's hard for me not to be playing. But I feel confident in myself and my fitness and believe that all I need is more football and then, who knows?"
Paul Connolly will keep his options open before deciding on his future. Connolly will be out of contract at the end of this season and could leave Home Park on a free transfer. He said: "I have had little talks with the gaffer but, basically, I have got to keep my options open. I don't think the gaffer has much to do with sorting your contract out. It goes through the chief executive, the chairman and whatever. I'm waiting to hear off them and then we will take it from there. I haven't actually heard from anyone yet. Until I do, I will just get on with it. I don't let anything like that affect me. I'm a footballer, not a contract negotiator. Obviously, the gaffer is aware of it, I'm aware of it. Everyone is aware of it. And it's not just me. There are a few players in the same position. The club haven't spoken to me so, until then, I can't do anything. I'm definitely going to keep my options open and just see what happens."
Versatility is the quality which encouraged Ian Holloway to add Nadjim Abdou to Argyle's squad. "We've signed Jimmy for a year, which I'm delighted with," Holloway said. "He looks like he's got something that we haven't got, and we're going to work with him and try and teach him to do that right-hand side job instead of Connolly, maybe. It might take a few weeks, but it looks like he's got the quality to do that. I think he can play at right-back, with the skills that he's got. He hasn't before, but I think we can teach him." Holloway is hoping that Abdou will prove to be a good-value signing. He added: "He's only 23 and he's a free and he's quite cheap, wages wise. We've pulled off another one, hopefully."
Dan Gosling played the entire game as England won 5-0 over New Zealand in the second game of the under-17 World Cup
Paul Wotton made a successful return to action in Argyle reserve's 1-1 draw at Bristol Rovers last night, in which Ryan Dickson scored. Des Bulpin said: "Wottsy did very well. It was good to have him back in the team and to see him make two or three strong tackles. He was strong and aggressive and didn't look out of place. It was as if he'd never been away. On a personal note, it was pleasing to see him make those tackles because it will give his mind confidence, knowing what his leg can do. We now want to get him another game as soon as possible to keep the momentum going." Bulpin was pleased with a team performance he described as 'outstanding'. He said: "Sometimes, as a coach, you don't always get the result you deserve, but I am delighted with the performance. I thought we were outstanding as a team." The only blot was a penalty conceded by Krisztian Timar. "Krisztian was just a little too overeager to win the ball," said Bulpin. "It was really unfortunate because, apart from that, he had an excellent game." The match also saw the return after injury of Bojan Djordjic, who played the second 45 minutes. New signing Nadjim Abdou played the first 45 minutes at right-back before being moved into central midfield alongside Luke Summerfield when Wotton came off. "Jimmy and Summers dominated the midfield," Bulpin added, "and Ashley Barnes was outstanding in attack. It was a wonderful game. I am very pleased with everyone. The whole team did exceptionally well." Argyle: McCormick, Abdou, Timar, Laird, Watts, Moult, Wotton, Summerfield, Dickson, Reid, Barnes. Subs Djordjic, Smith (not used Saxton, Samba, Kendall)
Ian Holloway has again spoken of his determination to secure the services of Scott Sinclair, should he become available on loan. He said: "Is Scott Sinclair going to play for Chelsea, with Florent Malouda and all of them? I can't see it myself, so am gonna be desperately trying for that again." Sinclair is one of three young players in the Premiership that Holloway has asked about taking on loan but, so far, without any success. The identity of the other two teenagers is being kept under wraps by Holloway, who added: "I'm going to keep ringing up about some young fellas, but it looks like all these people in the Premiership are going to keep hold of them because they are worried about their squads. How they can be worried about having 75 players, I don't know."
Ian Holloway has dismissed speculation linking Sylvan Ebanks-Blake with a possible move to Derby County. One national newspaper claimed the Rams could move for Ebanks-Blake if they failed to sign Kenwyne Jones from Southampton. Holloway called the report 'absolute rubbish' and said: "If he keeps scoring, people will probably ask about him but the answer will be 'He's not for sale.' I don't want to sell my best players." Meanwhile, newspaper reports in Scotland claimed Holloway was interested in signing Kilmarnock midfielder Willie Gibson, but Holloway said: "I don't even know who he is. We have got a scout in Scotland but we aren't trying to sign anybody from up there at this precise moment in time."
Ian Holloway was back at Home Park yesterday and recalled how he ended up in accident and emergency at Derriford Hospital on Saturday afternoon because of excruciating pain caused by a kidney stone. Holloway started to experience some pain in his lower back while he was shaving at home on Saturday morning. He said: "It was like in a wave. It got worse and got worse and then I couldn't stand up. I laid on the bed but I couldn't get comfortable. My wife was on the phone to her sister, talking about their Mum who isn't very well at all, and I mean for real, not like me. I went downstairs to try to iron my fresh, clean white shirt and I couldn't even walk down the stairs properly. So I called to my wife saying 'I'm in a bit of trouble here' and she went 'Shut up and get on with it' - like they normally do. I went back upstairs because I couldn't stand the pain I was in. I laid on the bed and Kim came up. When I looked in the mirror - and it's not the best place to look for me anyway - I was a horrendous colour. It looked just like my Dad years ago, when he had his first heart attack. I was grey. It was awful. I knew it wasn't anything to do with my chest. It was lower down and it felt like someone was tightening a clamp." Despite the pain, Holloway decided to go to Home Park, with his wife driving him there in his car. During the trip, Holloway spoke to club doctor Paul Giles and told him about the discomfort he was in. He said: "I was laid on the back seat trying to get comfortable, feeling every single bump and what have you. I managed to get through to our physio, who then got The Doc to ring me. He was asking me questions so I had to sit up and describe what I was going through. But then I had to lay down again because I was going to throw up in my car if I had carried on. It was absolutely horrific. He told me he would be at the ground when I got there and I did also think there would probably be some first aid people around so I could be sorted out anyway. I thought I might be able to get some relief from it and carry on and do the game. Unfortunately, when I was in my office I ended up on the floor, rolling about and trying to get rid of what was going on. Luckily enough, some paramedics came in and gave me a bit of morphine, which is fantastic stuff. Whoa!" Holloway admitted it had been a surreal experience. He said: "I have arrived at the ground for a game I was really looking forward to. The next thing I know, some bloke sticks his head through the curtains at the hospital and says 'You are 1-0 down'. I hadn't even been told why I was in so much pain. I won't be buying him a Christmas card! That was the last thing I needed to hear. But, to be fair to the fella, he came back later with a little piece of paper and written on it was 'Ebanks-Blake has equalised'. Then he stuck his head in again, just as I was about to leave, and I thought he was going to say it was 2-1, but he didn't. He just said it was 1-1." Holloway was full of praise for the care and attention he received from the staff in A &E at Derriford Hospital. "They were absolutely fantastic," he said. "I was rushed straight in. It was like something out of Casualty. I have never been in such pain before. They asked what it was from one to 10, and I said 'It's a 10'. And when you don't know what it is, it's even more worrying." Holloway had a scan at the hospital and the initial diagnosis of a kidney stone was confirmed. He said: "Basically, I have started some fitness training again and I probably hadn't rehydrated myself as well as I should have done. I ran over from Mount Batten the other morning and then did an hour's weights in the gym. At my age you might think I'm crazy, but I'm not. We were a man short this morning so I joined in training and I felt very, very well." Holloway was in a lot of pain at the hospital, but it did not stop him cracking jokes. He said: "The fella said 'We think we know what it is, we will just take a scan'. He came back and said 'It's a little stone that you can pass' and I went 'Have you seen my passing? I couldn't pass anything'. They sent me home and said 'Take these tablets and it should pass through your system'. It wasn't until about 12 o'clock yesterday afternoon that I actually started to settle down at all. It had felt like I had been stabbed or kicked or punched in my side. Your body is an amazing thing isn't it? When the fella explained it to me, he said 'It's like a foreign body going into your kidneys, and they are really sensitive and all they are trying to do is squeeze and get it out'. Once you hear that, you can deal with it. I was just very thankful to wake up this morning and not have anything hurt." Holloway remembered one of the ambulance crew who took him to A & E was called Kevin. He said: "They came back to see me afterwards, which was great. They were moaning because they thought they might miss some of the game. I went 'How do you think I feel?' When they took me up to the hospital, I said 'Could you get me back by about three o'clock?' It just goes to show you never know what's going to happen in your life." Holloway, whose autobiography will be published on September 17th , had a phone call from Gary Penrice on Sunday. Holloway said: Gary said 'You would do anything to sell a book'. He thought I had planned it. And my wife got on the phone and I thought she was ringing up to get me some help, and she was onto the insurance company! But, all joking apart, I'm delighted to feel a lot better. I didn't realise it's quite as common as it is, but it's a horrendous thing for anybody to go through. Apparently, it's the closest thing for a man to ever feel like they are having a baby. So you women are magnificent. As I said to my wife, 'At least you get a nice little package at the end of it. What am I going to get? Something disappearing down the toilet. It's a funny old life isn't it? Brought down by a kidney stone - and it was only a little one anyway. I wanted it to be a giant one and then I could have brought it in and said 'Have a look at that'. But it's not." At least there was one good thing to come out of the whole experience. Holloway added: "It's funny. There's always a silver lining isn't there? As I was rolling around on my office floor, I realised I need a new carpet and I must paint the skirting board because that is not Premiership quality! I stood up and I had this rubbish all over me. I said to the chairman last night 'I need a new carpet' and he's going to check the budget for me. I can't accept shoddy standards like that. I should have been able to get up and be perfectly clean. So there you go. And apparently we drew the game."
Paul Wotton was thrilled with the way his run-out went last night, and reported no problems with his left knee. He said: "I'm over the moon. It was fantastic to get back out playing again. I thought the lads did really well and it was good to see them still going strong at the end. Personally, I felt really good. My knee was strong and I think I'm in the best shape I have been for a long time. I have got 100 per cent confidence in the knee. I had to challenge for a couple of headers, which was great, and I felt pretty sharp with the ball. I could have played longer, but the trouble with that is you worry then about thigh strains or groin injuries. I'm absolutely chuffed and it was a pleasure to play with the young lads as well. They worked really hard and I thought Ashley Barnes up front was unbelievable for 17-years-old. Initially, the plan was to play for half-an-hour and then see how I felt. I got the 45 minutes under my belt but it was never an issue of coming out for the second half. It was my first game for a few weeks, and I will look to step it up again in the next reserve game. I didn't feel too far off it at all, fitness-wise." Wotton almost celebrated his comeback with a goal, but Rovers' keeper Mike Green pushed a fierce free-kick over the crossbar in the third minute. "A yard either side and it was in," said Wotton, "But it was just great to be out there. It has been a long old slog but I have had really good people around me all the way who have kept me sane."
Argyle have signed French midfielder Nadjim Abdou on a one-year deal. Ian Holloway said: "He looks like he's got something that we haven't, and I can work with him trying to play on that right-hand side. I think he can, with the skills that he's got. He hasn't before, but I think I can easily teach him how. It might take a few weeks but it looks like he's got the right qualities to do that. He'll be a midfield player eventually and he'll be a Makalele type."
Barry Hayles admitted that the unexpected absence of Ian Holloway was a big blow to Argyle on Saturday. "We never really got our warm-up going or our schedule ready until the last minute," Hayles said. "The coaches have told us that he's fine, and he should be back on Monday or Tuesday." Mat Doumbe added: "We were surprised about what happened, but the news is good now, so we are feeling better. Maybe some of us were distracted for a while, but it is not an excuse. We should be ready for it." Doumbe needed medical attention himself, when he lay motionless on the ground for a while in the second-half. "I got a cut on the chin which needed three stitches, and I lost a bit of a tooth," he said. Argyle went 1-0 down on Saturday thanks to Alan Lee's second-minute goal. "It was a free header," Doumbe admitted, "but to be fair it was a great ball in." Hayles added: "Lee's a big lad, and that sort of ball is food and drink to him. Gary stopped for some reason - I think he thought he was getting cover from Marcel - and the lad got in behind him and put a decent ball in." Doumbe had a good view of the incident which led Argyle's penalty equaliser. "I thought it was a clear foul," he said. "He grabbed Peter the first time, and then he grabbed him again. To be fair, it was a penalty." Hayles was not so sure and said: "It was soft, to be honest. We started off sloppily again, which was very frustrating. I said to the boys in the huddle that we had to start better, but yet again we've started on the back foot. We've got to put that right." Sylvan Ebanks-Blake came off the bench to score the spot-kick. "We were probably relieved to get a point," he said. "I didn't there was much between the teams, and a point each was probably fair in the end. We'll be happy with four points out of six. We'll take that." Ebanks-Blake felt it was almost business as usual before the game, despite the absence of Holloway. He added: "We're all professional enough to know what we've got to do, and we knew what Ian would want. That was three points, but the way it went I think he'd be happy with one."
Argyle's under 18's drew 0-0 with Oxford United in their opening Youth Alliance fixture on Saturday. Mike Pejic was pleased with his side's display, and said: "Yes, Oxford adapted better to the conditions early on but I was heartened and pleased with our response overall. It's a very small playing area and the narrowness of the pitch suited Oxford. They pressed us quite well all over the park and it made it hard for us to play our normal one-touch football. But it was a good exercise for our lads who stuck to their task and adapted well. They are learning that playing their passing game on smaller pitches will be difficult and I think it was a good learning curve for us. Overall, I was very pleased with their performance." Argyle: Saxton, King, Brett, Duggan, Hodgkinson, White, Hopkinson, McCaul, Stevens, Davis, Moseley. Subs Edwards, Grant, Mason
Ian Holloway was on his way home last night after missing the draw with Ipswich with kidney stone pain. After the match Tim Breacker said: "The club doctor informed me just before the end of the game that he is fit and good and on his way back home. I am sure he will be back to his usual bubbly self and we wish him well. I hope I get to speak to him soon. The doctor said to me that the pain from kidney stones is the nearest a man can get to giving birth, so I can understand why he was in so much pain."
Argyle took a well deserved point against Ipswich yesterday, after Ian Holloway was rushed to hospital after feeling unwell. Tim Breacker took charge and following the game said: "It was pretty much like the Hull game last week in that we gave ourselves a mountain to climb at the start. They played a slightly different system than we thought they would and that threw us a little in terms of creating chances. I spoke to the players at half-time and told them to keep going. There was a little bit of frustration creeping into our play but I did feel we were gradually getting there. I felt we would be the team to go on and win if we scored. I'm just glad that we did get one in the end, but we ran out of time. I am generally pleased with the lads and that keeps us on a run where we have not been beaten in eight games now, which is important for the group." Fabian Wilnis was sent-off for the second year in succession at Home Park after a two-footed lunge on David Norris. Ipswich boss Jim Magilton had no argument with the dismissal, although he did question a tackle made by Norris in the first-half. Breacker said: "I spoke to Chuck at half-time and he said that he had spoken to the ref, and the ref knew he was miles away from making contact. He was trying to block the ball rather than get the player. Chuck is an all-action player, who will throw his body at things." Magilton was even more disgruntled by the late penalty award when David Wright was punished for pulling on Peter Halmosi. Breacker added: "Once again, if you go back to Hull last week, it was very similar. This time, Peter is on the other end of it. You take your life in your hands if you grab somebody in the box. It went against us last week and went for us this week. That is how it happens." Breacker was full of praise for Sylvan Ebanks-Blake's composure after coming on as a substitute and said: "He took it well and fair play to him after coming on as sub. He is still a young man and still learning, but I am sure he will get there because he has a lot of things going for him. I felt we deserved to get something out of the game. Throughout pre-season, they have been a good group of players and they will stick together. That can be seen when you get something out of the game after going a goal down." When asked whether the players were distracted by Holloway's absence, Breacker said: "I would imagine they were a bit. If you have a situation where you know Ollie is not going to be there, we get a chance to plan and the players know exactly what is happening. We did not know ourselves. It was very close to kick-off and we were very concerned because Ollie was in a lot of pain. We told the players to be professional. I would not make excuses for them but it may have affected us. When you have the manager in an ambulance, all sorts of rumours go around. We just tried to assure the players that he would be fine. I felt there was a bit of that atmosphere in the ground. I think they have sorted him out enough to go home tonight."
Argyle drew 1-1 with Ipswich Town, the goal scored by Sylvan Ebanks-Blake after 85 minutes. Argyle: Larrieu, Connolly, Kouo-Doumbe, Seip, Sawyer, Norris, Nalis, Buzsaky, Halmosi, Fallon, Hayles. Subs Ebanks-Blake (not used McCormick, Timar, Hodges, Chadwick). Attendance 13,260
Ian Holloway was taken ill shortly before todays game and was taken to hospital as a precautionary measure. Tim Breacker and Des Bulpin took charge of the team
Dan Gosling came on as an 84th-minute substitute as England under-17's drew 1-1 with North Korea in their opening World Cup game
Akos Buzsaky will today be trying to help Argyle maintain their winning start to the season, and next Wednesday will be hoping to help Hungary overcome Italy in Budapest. However, Buzsaky is not allowing the glamorous friendly to distract his preparations for Argyle's first home game. He said: "We always have to look only one step forward. The most important thing is tomorrow, when we need three points. When the game against Ipswich is finished, I can think about the Italian game." Buzsaky is aware that a failure to follow last weeks winning start with a home win this afternoon will be a waste. "We know that we didn't do very well at home last season," he said. "We drew a lot of games. One point is no good when a win gives you three points, and we know that. We want to win tomorrow, and we want to give a really good push from the beginning of the season. This squad is strong enough to do that." Argyle looked like a potent force going forward last Saturday, and will have been encouraged by what happened at Hull. "If you can score three goals away from home, that tells you a lot about your attack," he added. "It was a typical English game, with a lot of hard work and a lot of fighting for the ball in midfield. It was hard to keep the ball, but we managed to do that and we scored three great goals. They were all from good attacking play. There is a lot of potential in the team, there a lot of players who can score goals." Buzsaky is relishing playing alongside Lilian Nalis in the centre of midfield. "I think we are starting to really work well together," he said. "We understand each other. If he goes forward, I stay back, and if I go he stays. We have the balance right. I think now it is not easy to pass through our midfield - especially in the middle - and the two wide players are different class as well. I think we have a really strong midfield now - a midfield who can play football and attract people into stadiums and win games. That's what football is all about." Buzsaky and Halmosi will meet up with the rest of Hungary's squad in Budapest on Monday to prepare for Wednesday's match. "It will be a big, big game, playing against Italy," Buzsaky said. "It will be a good test for us. The Hungarian federation want to build a new team. It would be great to get a good result against Italy, but it doesn't really matter if we lose. We are trying to build a team from a new generation for the next three or four years, and I'm glad that I am in the squad and so is Peter. It's really good for us."
Ian Holloway has admitted he has not found it easy to secure any potential loan targets because of the unwillingness of other clubs to release players before the new season begins to take shape. "A lot of people are keeping hold of all their players,"he said. "It would be nice to bring in some loan players but everybody is fully fit at the moment. It would be nice to zap forward and see what happens on the injury front. A lot of managers will find that when you speculate to accumulate and bring in load of new players, it can sometimes unsettle the ones who have done well for you. We have had it here in the past when you got promoted and five or six players were brought in. I think that is for ego. Tottenham, to be honest, have almost gone crazy with buying players. What message are they giving their players? Sometimes the more convoluted your choice, you don't know what your best team is and I think that is awful for a manager." Holloway is pleased with the strength in depth his squad has shown, but he did concede that he may need some extra cover in defensive areas. He said: "I do want competition for places and you saw the other night that I have not got enough competition at left-back, right-back and centre-back. I have got very good competition almost everywhere else. My normal midfield closes better than the other night but that is for me to work on and practice. I did have a square peg in a round hole and that was Reuben playing on the right. His performance going forward was very, very sharp and that is what I needed because he is an attack-minded player. I will be looking at it because I might leave myself short if I loan any of mine out. Currently, I think we are quite solid and strong."
Ian Holloway has called on his players to be 'on top of their game' when they take on Ipswich Town tomorrow. He said: "We will need to be at the top of our game. We need to be absolutely rock solid on our shape and on our discipline, because they are dangerous from set pieces. If we are, I think we can beat them. That's not being arrogant. It's what I feel. They had a very good result last Saturday and a very poor one on Tuesday with the same team." Argyle have made an encouraging start to the season, but Holloway knows it is still early days. He said: "I don't think one win is a flying start. It's just one win. If you can get in a consistent run of form where you pick up three, four or five wins on the spin then you are sending out a statement. That's what we need to do, and every step of the way we have got to be calm and calculated. We have had two bookings so far and this time last season we probably had six. Has that got anything to do with me not jumping around on the line? I think it has. So I have learned a lot this summer as well." Holloway is expected to pick the same side that was on duty against Hull, after making eight changes for the cup tie against Wycombe. He added: "I have got some things to think about. I have got to look at our opponents. I will be selecting from a fairly fresh group of people who have all shown me over the last three or four days that they want to play for Argyle, which is great. I think Ipswich played the same team twice. Whether we will have an advantage over them or not, we will have to wait and see. I just knew it was far too much for 11 of them to actually play twice, and I didn't feel that was right anyway. I have got a squad and I have got to utilise it, and they proved me right I'm very pleased to say. When I watched the Wycombe game again we created far more chances than I thought we did. I counted at least six clearcut chances to their one deflected shot on goal."
Paul Wotton could make his comeback for Argyle reserves in their away game against Bristol Rovers on Monday. Ian Holloway said: "I think he's pulling against the bit, so to speak, at the moment. He will play on Monday if we feel it's right, but he probably deserves that reward now. I don't know if he has actually put somebody up in the air in Wotton style yet, but I'm sure that will happen. It would be nicer if it was somebody else's player. rather than one of ours!" Bojan Djordjic could also be involved against Bristol Rovers after sitting out all of pre-season training with a foot injury. "He's due a game as well," said Holloway. "He has done a lot of work and there has been no reaction to that, so it's not bad is it? Touch wood, it's pretty good news for everybody." With Wotton and Djordjic on the brink of comebacks, Argyle have a clean bill of health at this early stage of the season. Holloway said: "If it stayed like that all year I would be more than happy. Nobody injured, nobody suspended. Lovely."
Paul Connolly has admitted confidence is sky high at Home Park after Argyle's promising start to the season. "It has been a great start, with two wins out of two competitive games," Connolly said. "We had a few young lads out there on Tuesday but I thought we all did well. Ipswich is another winnable game for us, so we will see how it goes. It would be really nice to make it three out of three, four out of four and so on. We have just got to keep it going. All the lads are full of confidence, which is great, and hopefully we can take it into tomorrow and try to beat Ipswich. I think we are starting to look more resolute and we are scoring more goals, so it all bodes well. If we can keep this going we have got every chance of having a really successful season." Connolly was one of the most experienced players in the line-up against Wycombe, which included three 19-year-olds in midfield. He said: "It was weird being one of the older players in the team. I thought I might have had a shout for being captain! It was good. I enjoyed the game. It wasn't played at a stupid pace either. I don't think Wycombe really wanted extra-time, and we certainly didn't. It was nice to be out there and to see someone like Scott Laird do so well. I think he has got an unbelievable future ahead of him, he really has. He has been proving it to me in training over the last couple of years, and he proved it out there in front of everyone on Tuesday. Fair play to him. I also think Reuben and Summers did really well and Dicko came on in the second half. Then you have got Gozzie, who is away with England at the moment. The future looks good for the club with all the young lads coming through." With Gosling in Korea for the FIFA Under-17 World Cup, Argyle are short of cover for Connolly at right-back but he knows that when Gosling returns he cannot afford to let his standards drop. Connolly said: "If you look over the years, I have had competition from two great pros in Dave Worrell and Barney, but I'm still here and they have gone. Competition does help, and if I was ever to get injured or have a loss of form I don't think there would be any problem with Gozzie filling in. Obviously, he has got to get more used to the position, but I think he could be one of the best right-backs around." Argyle drew 1-1 against Ipswich at Home Park last season, despite dominating the game, and Connolly hopes they can pick up three points this time. He said: "I remember there were crosses and shots and all sorts going in. I think it was raining and the pitch was lovely and wet. It was a really good game to play in. Hopefully we can get the pitch nice and wet tomorrow, get the ball zipping about, score some goals and we all go away happy with three wins on the trot."
Argyle's game against West Bromwich Albion has been moved back 24 hours to Wednesday, November 28th. The game was originally scheduled for November 27th but has been changed due to West Brom playing against Wolves the previous Sunday
Argyle have been drawn at home to Doncaster Rovers in the second round of the Carling Cup. The tie will be played on August 28th
Scott Laird today thanked Greens' boss Ian Holloway for having faith in him, and said he would like to spend the rest of his career at Home Park. The 19-year-old successfully slotted into central midfield for his first team debut on Tuesday night, playing a full part over 90 minutes in the victory. The teenager received praise from Holloway after the match, which saw the Pilgrims progress through an own goal and a bullet header from Lee Hodges from a Laird corner. Holloway said: "Lairdy has shown everybody at the club how to take a corner. His deliveries were absolutely outstanding and it was great to see Hodgie score from one of them." Laird said that his aim had been to show the Argyle boss what he could do. "He showed faith in us and told us to go out and enjoy ourselves, which I think I did - I thought it went okay. I'd like to think I made an impression, but you can only do so much. It was good of him to give me a chance. I love playing in midfield - I still had to help the back four, but I had a few scoring chances as well. I'd like to play for Plymouth for the rest of my career, like Paul Wotton. I've played in a few positions so far, but I'd like to think that's a help for someone my age." Laird said he hoped he was involved in Argyle's next Carling Cup match. He added: "I'd love a Premiership team, because it's good to test yourself. All you want to do, though, is to keep progressing in that cup."
Nadjim Abdou is considering a contract offer after a pre-season trial at Home Park. Ian Holloway said: "I offered him six months but he wouldn't take it, so I might have to offer him a year. I quite like what I saw. I quite liked his personality and I think he would do Plymouth Argyle proud on a free. I think he's something we haven't got. He's very defensive-minded and has bundles and bundles of enthusiasm. He plays it really simple and really quickly. In other words, he gives it to other good players and then he concentrates on defensive situations."
Boss Ian Holloway felt his much-changed side's 2-1 Carling Cup win over Wycombe justified his decision to rotate his side. He said: "Last season at this time we had a draw and a defeat - now we've had two wins; one in the league and one in the cup. That's what you want from your first two games. I felt justified in making changes because the quicker we get points on the board the better, and we have got Ipswich here on Saturday. I felt I did what was right for the squad. I managed to get on the people I wanted to and they have all had the right amount of minutes. It could have been sweeter, could have been nicer and could have been crisper. But we have beaten a team who got into the semi-finals of this competition last season, and we did so after making eight changes. I thought every one of them put his hand up and said, 'I want to be at this club and I want to work hard for you'. It wasn't quite the most balanced team I have ever picked, but it did me good to see these people. I thought Reuben did very well attacking-wise, but we need to sort him out defensively if he's going to play there. Lairdy has shown everybody at the club how to take a corner. His deliveries were absolutely outstanding and it was great to see Hodgie score from one of them." Defenders Paul Connolly, Gary Sawyer and Marcel Seip were the only ones to start for Argyle last night having completed 90 minutes against Hull. Holloway said: "I have got to be careful with them. They have played both games so they will have to do very little in the next couple of days to make sure they are fine for Saturday.
Holloway has dismissed the latest transfer speculation surrounding midfielder David Norris, who was linked with a £600,000 transfer to Sheffield United by one national newspaper yesterday. He said: "Sheffield United haven't been in for David Norris at all." Ipswich and Southampton have both made bids for the 26-year-old but they have been firmly rebuffed.
Midfielder Dan Gosling scored one of the goals as England beat tournament hosts South Korea 4-0 in a warm-up match for the FIFA Under-17 World Cup. Gosling will miss the Pilgrims' first four Championship fixtures this season because of international duty.
Argyle won 2-1 at home to Wycombe Wanderers in the first round of the Carling Cup, the goals scored by Bullock (o.g.) after 41 minutes and Lee Hodges (45). Argyle: McCormick, Connolly, Seip, Timar, Sawyer, Reid, Summerfield, Laird, Hodges, Ebanks-Blake, Chadwick. Subs - Dickson, Barnes, Fallon (not used - Larrieu, Doumbe). Attendance - 5,474.
Manager Ian Holloway has suggested 'wholesale' changes for tonight's Carling Cup first round tie against Wycombe Wanderers at Home Park. Luke McCormick will take over from Romain Larrieu in goal, while Nick Chadwick and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake are set to lead the attack. Some of Argyle's rising stars will get the chance to shine, with Scott Laird, Reuben Reid and Luke Summerfield all expected to start. It will be a first-team debut for 19-year-old Laird, fulfilling a life long ambition. He said, "When I was a kid everyone used to ask me 'what do you want to do when you are older?'. I told them I wanted to be a professional footballer and they would say 'well, not everyone makes it' but it's all I ever wanted to be. I don't know what I would be if I wasn't a footballer. I have just got to take this chance." Laird has had links with Argyle since he was eight years old and played primarily as a centre-back as he came through the youth ranks. "I played at centre-half all through my youth team days and I signed pro as a defender," said Laird. "But when I went on loan to Tiverton I played in midfield and scored a few goals and really enjoyed it. I can play as a defensive midfielder, or in a more attacking role, but I must admit I do love defending. That's what I'm all about, chucking myself in the way of things and putting my heart into it". Laird was born in Taunton, but played for and captained Scotland at under-16 and under-17 level because his father, Craig, comes from Glasgow.
Despite all the changes, Holloway insists that it's important to make progress in the Carling Cup. Argyle suffered an embarrassing 1-0 home defeat by Walsall in the first round last season and Holloway wants to avoid a repeat of that, but he has faith in the club's young players to carry Argyle into round two. The manager said, "I spent six weeks in pre-season getting everyone prepared for the Championship campaign. I could keep picking the same 11, but what's the point of that? If I was going to do that I should have got those 11 fit and not worried about the rest of them. Some of these lads are getting closer to forcing their way in, and for some of the others it will be good for them to get a chance. It's not belittling the competition. It's just that I have got a strong squad. That's what it's all about. You win things with strength in depth. Tonight is another chance for me to see how good these ones are and whether they are ready for it."
Romain Larrieu won the first ever Argyle World Man of the Match award, polling most votes from supporters, after his excellent performance in the 3-2 opening day victory at Hull City. The keeper just pipped Rory Fallon and David Norris in the voting.
Coach Mike Pejic was pleased with his young players after an Argyle Youth side drew 1-1 with Cardiff City in their final warm-up game in Wales this afternoon. New striker Jarred Stevens gave Argyle the lead after just 2 minutes, but Cardiff drew level with a second half penalty.
Manager Ian Holloway confirmed before the match at Hull that Southampton have made a six-figure offer for David Norris. Another Championship club, Ipswich Town, have also had strong interest in the 26-year-old midfielder, and there have also been a couple of other inquiries about him. So far, Argyle have shown no intention of selling Norris and Holloway is keeping in close contact with him. Norris said: "To be fair, the gaffer has been honest with me. He has told me about the Ipswich and Southampton stuff, and a couple of other clubs that have come in. I appreciate him being honest with me and keeping me in the loop. He has given me his reasons why they have been turned down. I have got a contract here for another two years so unless they come to me and say they have accepted a bid then I will just get on with my game. It's nice to be wanted by other clubs, and big clubs as well such as Southampton, but it's out of my hands."
Romain Larrieu made his 200th appearance for Argyle as manager Ian Holloway opted for him instead of Luke McCormick at Hull. "There was hardly anything in it," Holloway admitted. "It was a toss of a coin. Someone has just said to me that Romain made a great save in the first half, but I think Luke would have made that save as well. It's tough for Luke but we will have to wait and see what happens. I'm lucky to have two very, very good goalies and all I will say is that if we keep letting loads of goals then I might pick a different goalie. That's what it's all about." The manager hinted, however, that he might be prepared to loan out 23-year-old McCormick if he remains on the sidelines.
Ian Holloway is expected to make several changes to the side for Argyle's Carling Cup first round tie against Wycombe Wanderers at Home Park tomorrow (7.45pm).
Ian Holloway was unhappy with the two goals his side conceded in the win at Hull, but not with the teams attitude. "I was delighted with the lads' response," he said. "To come back and come in at half-time ahead? I thought they showed a great deal of maturity. It didn't look like we wobbled at all. We carried on doing the same things. I just felt we could come back into it. The lads showed great character and belief. The build-up to the second goal should never have been. We should have read the run from Dean Marney. Was it a penalty? The ref gave it - of course it was. I'm delighted to get the victory. It was a tough-fought game. It was just great to get back to it. We left off in fine form last year. Ironically it was here - it's a bit déjà vu. I think Hull have improved, and I think we have, as well."
Ian Holloway paid tribute to David Norris and Rory Fallon after the two paved the way for the victory yesterday. "Goalscoring comes from confidence," he said "and I don't think Norris could ever be more confident than he is at the moment. Other people are looking at him and trying to steal him from us. He knows all about it and wants to be here, so let's just get on with it. He's flattered by it but quite upset they've only offered a measly, meagre amount. And, by the way, are they any better than us? It's about time we showed the world that my players are worthy of being recognised. Maybe they could push towards the Premiership." Rory Fallon also enjoyed his visit to Humberside. "That's what we bought the big man for," Holloway said. "He looked more like a number nine today than he's ever looked before - we're working with him - and he deserves his goals. He is a great kid; his attitude is fantastic; and I couldn't ask for any more. Every one of the players really wants to wear the shirt with pride and that's all I can say. When we got in front, some of the football we played - we controlled the ball and kept it - some of the talent, starts to show. As long as we are workmanlike as well, and disciplined and organised, and do the right thing at the right time, I'll be quite pleased. Sometimes you need a great big fella like Rory to flick things. As long as he keeps working at his game, I'm sure Plymouth Argyle will benefit, as long as himself."
Ian Holloway likened match-winner Sylvan Ebanks-Blake and fellow substitute Nick Chadwick to Teddy Sheringham and Ole-Gunnar Solskjaer in their heyday after the pair combined to score the Argyle winner at the KC Stadium. "That came from two more strikers going on away from home," said Holloway. "I didn't want to shut shop. One made and one scored it. Alex Ferguson won the cup he had been trying to win all his life by putting on two centre-forwards off the bench - Sheringham and Solsjkaer - that's what it's all about with a squad - trying to get stronger and stronger. Again, I've managed to utilise the lads we've got here. I put some fresh people on and I think they were absolutely terrific. In this division, you are only as strong as your bench. The two lads who came on were absolutely outstanding. They gave them a right dolling at the back. There has been speculation that certain people might be after Chadwick but I would absolutely mad not to keep good players with us." Holloway also paid tribute to Barry Hayles, who was the player to make way for Ebanks-Blake. "I've got some good players," Holloway added. "In front of goal, Barry didn't really get a chance today, but his day will come - it's a long old season - as long he does his bit for the team. He came off with great aplomb. He didn't have a go at his manager. It's not about an individual - it's about how the team is going to do. We are the sum total of all of us, including the fans who I thought were absolutely superb again."
Argyle won 3-2 at Hull City, the goals scored by David Norris after 15 minutes, Rory Fallon (45) and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake(82). Argyle: Larrieu, Connolly, Kouo-Doumbe, Seip, Sawyer, Norris, Nalis, Buzsaky, Halmosi, Fallon, Hayles. Subs Ebanks-Blake, Chadwick, Hodges (not used McCormick, Timar). Attendance - 16,633
Argyle's playing staff are ready and eager for the brand new season to get going this afternoon, and perhaps none more so than Rory Fallon. "We have a good base, and you do need a good pre-season," said Fallon. "I feel the boys are confident, going into this game. It's going to be a tough game up at Hull, everyone knows that, but there's no pressure on us. We need a good result, but they're at home so there's a lot more pressure on them. We're all looking forward to it. It feels like a boxing match, and now we can't wait to get going." Fallon believes Argyle are ready for the challenge - and he feels that he is in good shape to lead the attack, if called upon. "I feel like I'm getting better," he said. "It helps that I know all the lads now, and I feel like I've got a clean slate. There are no expectations. I knew I had to work hard this year, and I've done it. I'm looking forward to Saturday." Fallon's first goal against Bristol Rovers last weekend was a header put firmly into the corner of the opposition net. "It was very satisfying," he added. "It's always nice to put headers away and it's good to get goals in friendlies, but it's time to start thinking about the proper games now. Friendly goals don't really matter to me." Asked how the Argyle pre-season schedule has differed to those he experienced at his previous clubs, Fallon said: "There have been a lot more weights to lift, and the starts have been earlier and the days have been longer. Everything has been structured just right. I feel I needed to do those weights, and the fitness work has been great. It's been a good pre-season, and I feel fit." Fallon is competing for a place in the front two at Hull with Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, Barry Hayles, Nick Chadwick and Reuben Reid. "There's some very stiff competition for places among the strikers, but that's a good thing," he added. "You need players fighting for places. That way you get better performances. We've got plenty of strikers who are capable of doing a job for the team, and we all know our strengths and weaknesses. It doesn't really matter who's starting and who's on the bench, at the end of the day it's a team game." Fallon is very much part of the Argyle squad now, and feels their team spirit will help everyone cope with the ups and downs of the season. "There will be a few disappointed lads when they don't get in the team this weekend," he said, "but that's the way football works. We're all in this together, and we're looking forward to it."
Ian Holloway has blasted Southampton for making an 'insulting' offer for David Norris. Holloway said: "We have had a written offer for David Norris from Southampton, which was rejected. I don't want to tell people what they offered but let's just say I wasn't very happy with it. It was insulting. I have told Chuck about the offer and he's fine about it. Me and him have got a pact to try to get him in the Premiership and, hopefully, that will be in an Argyle shirt. But if he keeps playing as well as he has been doing then we had better get there as pretty quickly. I'm very proud of how he has done and I still think he's in the right place at the moment. I think this just goes to show everybody thinks they are better than us. That's how it looks to me. For Ipswich to be ringing about my best player is absolutely ludicrous." Earlier this week, Southampton were angered by a £5 million offer for Kenwyne Jones from Derby County. Southampton claimed Derby's bid had 'substantially undervalued' the striker. Holloway thought there were parallels with Southampton's offer for Norris. He said: "If Kenwyne Jones is worth more than £5m, I'm absolutely devastated what they offered for David Norris. It's disgraceful. It's about time people started taking us seriously. If any manager in our division thinks they have got better players than ours then good luck to them. That's how I feel. I'm really proud of what we do and how we do it."
Paul McVeigh, who spent two weeks on trial at Argyle, has signed for Luton Town
Argyle's youth team drew 1-1 at Cardiff City in their final pre-season game yesterday, the goal scored by Jared Stevens
Ian Holloway has confirmed that Southampton have made a bid for David Norris. However, the offer, believed to be around £700,000, was immediately turned down. Holloway said: "We have had a written offer for David Norris from Southampton, which was rejected."
Argyle will try to start the season the way they ended the last campaign, by beating Hull City at the KC Stadium. Ian Holloway was at a Football League managers' meeting in High Wycombe yesterday so Tim Breacker carried out the pre-match media call. He said: "We can't wait to get started. It has been a really good pre-season in terms of the work we have been able to do. Touch wood, there have been no problems as such. The trip to Austria was great and, obviously, last Saturday was a good way to finish off. I can't speak highly enough of the players. It's a shame only 11 of them can start because they have all put the same amount of work in during the training and the games. It would be great if they could all start, but it comes down to 11 playing tomorrow and we will see what happens. I can't speak highly enough of their attitude and application. Everything we have done they have taken on board. But no matter what you do and how you prepare, sometimes football comes down to a bit of luck or something going for you. I suppose that's the beauty of it." Holloway has already picked the starting line-up for tomorrow's game and Breacker admitted there were some disappointed players who had not made the team. He said: "You ask them to be professional and you don't want them to be happy if they aren't part of the starting 11, but you want them to still be part of it. Sometimes that's quite hard to do because, at the end of the day, it's about your own career and how well you do. You want them to be disappointed they aren't playing, but you don't want it to affect the group. You just say to them it's a long season and they are all going to be involved or part of it." Hayles was the only one of Argyle's four senior forwards not to get a goal in pre-season and Breacker added: "We have tried to give all four of the strikers the same amount of work. They have all come back fitter and stronger and look like they are raring to go. You can add Reuben Reid to that as well." Breacker insisted it would not be easy to repeat the victory over Hull from three months ago. "Anything from last season's game goes out of the window," he said. "It's a new slate for both teams, but we feel we have done as much as we can in pre-season and just want to get started, really."
Barry Hayles is full of confidence as Argyle prepare for the season-opener at Hull tomorrow. He said: "I haven't hit the back of the net, but I have never been renowned for scoring many in pre-season anyway. I feel sharp and I feel strong as well so I'm looking forward to tomorrow. It would have been nice to have scored a goal or two, but it's not the be-all and end-all. The business starts at Hull and if I can score and we can win it will be a good day all round. It has been a tough pre-season with the three sessions a day, but it has been good. I have enjoyed it. The last time I did three sessions a day was at Fulham and we ended up being promoted to the Premiership so maybe that's a good omen. Fingers crossed!" Hayles thought Argyle were good value for their win at the KC Stadium in May, and said: "We took the game to them and it was pleasing to take the three points. We missed a penalty that day and had some other good chances as well, so it could have been a higher score really. It would be nice to beat them again but it's a new season and it's going to be tough, make no mistake about that." The round trip of 682 miles to Hull is the furthest Argyle will travel this season, and Hayles added: "It's good to get it out of the way, to be honest. When the fixtures came out in June the boys were pretty pleased." Argyle beat Bristol Rovers 7-3 at Home Park in their final friendly last Saturday. Hayles said: "Rovers are a decent outfit and beat us at their place around the same time last year. So it was pleasing to create as many chances as we did and even more pleasing to have scored so many. We showed there was a gap between the two sides, which was a good thing. It will be a big step-up tomorrow, though. It will be a physical game and they will be in our faces and we have just got to be strong."
Paul McVeigh seems unlikely to sign for Argyle, and French trialist Nadjim Abdou, is also being made to wait for news about his prospects. Tim Breacker said: "They have been around today and have trained with us. We're assessing their situation as we go. They won't be involved on Saturday. It can be harsh at times. You have to make tough decisions. You want to be fair to everybody and honest with them and give them a chance, but at the same time you don't want to stop them going elsewhere and doing other things. That is possibly the situation with Paul McVeigh. I think he's got things lined up, although I don't know where. He needed to know where he stood with us, which was understandable. It's hard, you don't always get as long as you want to judge players."
David Norris has revealed his ambitions to play in the Premiership and is convinced he has the ability to do that, which could lead to a move away from Home Park. Norris has no immediate plans to leave Home Park but the lure of playing in the top flight is a strong one. He said: "I don't see why I couldn't reach that level, but you need a little bit of luck. That's what I'm aiming for anyway, so I will just keep going. With maybe a little bit more investment and improvement it would be nice if it was here, but I will see what happens." Norris is still working on all aspects of his game. "There is always room for improvement, especially until you are playing at the top level," he said. "My finishing, my crossing and my positional play is all still being worked on in the training sessions. You can do that more in depth in pre-season. I'm willing to learn. I'm only 26 and I know there is still plenty of improvement to come." Norris impressed last term, but Lilian Nalis pipped him to most of the player-of-the-year honours. Norris said: "I felt I played just as well last season as I did the year before. Maybe I wasn't as consistent but I scored more goals and had more assists so, for me, it was just as good. Lilian had an exceptional season and fully deserved his awards but I was pleased with my own season overall. Lilian deserves all the credit he gets because he works so hard off the pitch to keep himself fit. He's always in the gym before and after training. He really looks after himself and that's why he's as fit as he is and he can still do a job in our league at 35." Norris was satisfied with his total of seven goals last season, but believes he can do even better than that. "It was a massive improvement on just the two the year before," he said. "But, even so, I probably could have had a few more. Overall, I was pleased to get that sort of figure and, hopefully, I can be there or thereabouts again this season." Asked if 10 goals is a possibility Norris added: "Possibly. I don't really set targets any more because I didn't last season and maybe before I used to. I will just see how it goes and, hopefully, it will happen for me again." Norris played on the right-side of midfield and in a more central role last season but will probably start this term out wide. Norris said: "I'm happy to play either position, to be honest. Sometimes when you play in the centre, if it's a tough game particularly, you can't get into it. You have to stay quite disciplined, but out on the right I'm pretty much given a free role. If I want to go across the pitch, or come deep or push on, I can do that. I played in the centre a few times last season and I thought I did quite well, especially in the FA Cup against Derby. I really enjoyed it in there." Norris believes this season will be Argyle's hardest in the Championship yet. He said: "Personally, I think this will be our most difficult season in the Championship. I know we did well last season, but I think we overachieved really. To improve on that, we will have to overachieve again. We are established in the Championship now so teams will know about us anyway. But with the extra publicity we got from the FA Cup run, and the recognition a few of our players got, I think it will be a difficult season. We drew too many games last season and I think we were only eight points short of the play-offs so we know it's not far away. It's that sort of league where anyone can beat anyone on their day. We will hopefully be looking to make a play-off push. If we can, that would be good. It's what we will be aiming for. We have got a similar squad to last season, but we know each other's game so that could work to our benefit. We could maybe do with two or three new faces to freshen things up, and it would have been nice to get better training facilities just to help us out a little bit. But with this bunch of boys and with this management team, we will be giving it a go anyway. The gaffer has had a year here now and he knows what he wants to do and where he's trying to take us." Holloway has an image in the media of being 'madcap', but Norris insisted there was a serious side to the boss as well. "He's an energetic, non-stop person and really enthusiastic," said Norris. "But I think we see a lot more of a serious side to him once we get down to the business side of it."
Lilian Nalis thinks the Argyle squad have had a 'really hard' pre-season. He said: "I love everything about football so even when you are tired you always find something to enjoy. It has been really hard work this year. I think after Italy, that has been the hardest one I have ever had. It was three sessions a day - sometimes four - when we were at Marjons, and then in Austria it was really hot. It has been hard work but it's going to be good for the future - definitely." Nalis enjoyed Argyle's training camp in Loipersdorf last month, and added: "All the lads are together when you are out there. We are living together and we can talk about things other than football. It's a good time, but it's also hard work. You need to sleep in the afternoons. I think that's why the football club do it. The ones who have got families need to rest, rather than being with the wife or the kids. It's one of those different things that you need to have during a pre-season." Nalis's enthusiasm for playing football is undiminished and he cannot wait for the start of the new season. He said: "I think I'm quite lucky to still be in football, playing at this level at my age. It's a great club and I'm having a great time with everybody. There is some good banter in the group and the dressing room is fantastic. Ollie has got a passion for football and everything makes me really happy. I'm looking forward to another season. We worked really hard as a team last year and all the players did well when they were called upon. That was what made the difference for us. I really believe we are a team that needs to work hard. If we start thinking we are going to enjoy ourselves by doing some tricks we are going to struggle. When you see the money that has been spent in this division it's going to be even harder this season. But if we remember what we were good at last year, and try to make it even better, we have still got a chance to compete and do well. As a team, you always want to improve and to do that you need some better players coming into the group. I think we were all waiting for new players to come in this summer because Hasney and Tony have gone, but maybe Ollie wants to take his time and make sure it's a good decision. That isn't my problem, though. I'm a player." Nalis think the Championship is one of the best leagues in Europe. He said: "When you look at this division, maybe half of the teams have been in the Premier League in the last five to 10 years. That tells you a lot about it. Take Colchester. They have been signing some good players, like Sheringham, even after a really good season. All the clubs are going forward and I think this division is going to get better and better." Nalis does not believe the standard of second tier football in Europe is anywhere close to that in England. He said: "Serie B in Italy and the league two in France are struggling for money so the clubs just sell players all the time. They replace them with young players and try to go forward that way. That's why English football, for me, is the best at every level. The Championship is a really good division and I believe a lot of the teams could play in the Premier League in France and Italy."
Argyle's youth side beat Elburton Villa 3-1 in a friendly last night, the goals scored by Dan Smith, trialist Andre Taiwo and Jake Moult
Akos Buzsaky is aiming for an improvement on his goal tally from last season. He said: "Last season I only scored three goals, which is not good enough for me. I expect more from myself. I hope this year it's going to be different and I can give more to the team." Argyle's tour to Austria last month gave Buzsaky a chance to catch up with his parents. He said: "Budapest was only three hours away so my family were over for a couple of days. It was an opportunity to see them, but not the most important thing. The tour was very well organised. We stayed at a nice hotel and the pitches were nice too. We played against two good teams so it was definitely a very useful trip for us. I feel fit and I'm getting back into form so I couldn't wish for anything better. Last season I had my operation, and I missed the pre-season with the team. I wasn't involved, and it was difficult. This season I am fit, which is very good." Buzsaky has been made to work extremely hard during pre-season, hard work which seems to be paying off. "It has been hard and we have trained a lot," he added, "but it has been exciting too. We have been in the gym, we have had running and we have had ball-work as well. A little bit of everything. We will see in the results its worth. I do not know if we are fitter or not, compared to last season. We look fitter, but we will find out for sure when we start playing games for 90 minutes. If we get good results, then, yes, we can say we are fitter." Buzsaky has enjoyed the chance to demonstrate his form as well as his fitness in recent friendlies. "I have really enjoyed the friendlies," he said. "I had some good games and I scored four goals, which I think is good from the centre of midfield, but they were only friendlies. They are not really important. What is important is fitness, but of course playing games can help, especially when you are playing well and scoring goals. I feel in good shape and I feel really well, and I can't wait to play against Hull." Argyle ended last season with five consecutive victories and Buzsaky started all of them. He said: "To win five times in a row in any championship is very hard and we managed to do that. We want to beat Hull away on Saturday and get some confidence and then we want to push on and have a great season. I think everybody realises that we will have to work hard but with this squad we can be in the play-offs if we really want to." Last season Buzsaky cemented his place in the starting line-up in his preferred position of central midfield, and he added: "I think I have proved that I can play there, so now my position is central midfield." After two-and-a-half years Buzsaky feels settled at Argyle. He said: "We have a good squad here. We have the balance of the old and young players. There isn't really any confrontation. There is frustration sometimes, but that's normal. We are good friends and we are a strong unit, and that's really important."
Marcel Seip has promised the best is still to come from him despite his excellent first season with Argyle. He said: "Last year, instead of a normal holiday I had four or five weeks longer. I was waiting to see where I was going to go. I did some jogging on my own but it's totally different. You don't do it every day and you get a little sloppy. To be honest, I had no fitness at all, but I'm glad I'm now fully fit at this stage. We have trained hard and done a lot of running and a lot of weights and I think you can see everyone is fit. I never like pre-season so I was glad after the last day in Austria that Ollie told us the running was over and we could start doing proper ball work." Seip made 42 appearances for Argyle last season, and scored twice. He said: "I was happy with the way I played, but I could have done better. In the beginning, when I came into the team, it was perfect. I even scored two goals. But later on maybe I had a little dip for a couple of games. I wasn't happy with that. I didn't play badly but I didn't focus that much. But by the end of the season I had my focus back and I finished alright - and the team did as well. We won our last five games of the season and it was unfortunate we didn't start that run a couple of weeks earlier." Seip wanted to play in England because he thought the style of play would suit his aggressive defending, but the competitive nature of the Championship still took him by surprise. He said: "It was almost what I expected. There were more tackles and it was physical. But I didn't expect every striker I played against to be 6ft 3 or 6ft 4. I'm not the tallest, I know that, but everyone is bigger than me. That was a little bit of a shock, but I think I handled it alright." Seip has been impressed by the standard of football and the fact that any team can beat any other. He said: "That's what I like. You know some clubs have more money than us, but I think we can give everyone a proper game. We did that last year and I hope we can do it even better this season." Argyle beat Hull on the final day of last season and Seip hopes they can pick up at least a point on their return to Humberside. He said: "We have to be up for it because Hull away is going to be tough. We have had a good pre-season and done well but we can't afford to lose the first game, no matter what." Seip played the opening 45 minutes of the 7-3 win over Bristol Rovers last weekend, and he said: "It was maybe good for the confidence of the strikers, but as a defender I wasn't happy we let three goals in. Most of the time you get like that when you are four or five-nil up. You get a little sloppy, but we have to get rid of that. It's normal maybe, but it's not good. I don't want to give away as many goals as I did last season. I think I can do better than that. We had too many goals against and I wasn't happy with that. If we get more clean sheets I think we can do better this year." Seip will probably start the season at centre-back with Mat Doumbe, with Krisztian Timar waiting in the wings. "The good thing is we all know each other's style now," said Seip. "If Krisztian is in, I let him do more of the headers and switch sides. With Doumbe, you can keep a higher line because he's very quick." Seip believes Argyle are capable of challenging for a play-off position this season, and said: "I don't like setting targets. I always see it from game to game, and I think we can win every game. But, realistically, we have almost the same team as last season, when we gave everyone a game and we probably deserved more points than we got. I'm aiming for the play-offs, and I think everyone is doing that. But after the first five or 10 games we can see where we are and take it from there."
Paul Wotton has seen a lot of players come and go during his time at Home Park but thinks Peter Halmosi could be one of the best. Wotton said: ""Out in Austria was the first time I had trained with him and he has got a lot of good qualities. He plays shape very well, he has got a lovely left foot and he's a very fit lad. It took him a bit of time to settle in, which is understandable with him coming from Hungary, but once he did he showed what he could do. He got four goals at the end of the season and I think that's what rubber-stamped the move for him. Fingers crossed, he can keep it going and I don't see any reason why he shouldn't. He looks a very accomplished player." Wotton believes the camaraderie in the squad could be a huge benefit over the coming months. He said: "If you are a close bunch of lads off the pitch then, inevitably, you take that onto the pitch with you. There is very rarely a cross word between any of us, and if there is it's over with quickly. There is a good banter between the lads and everybody is familiar with one another. It's great. If any new lads do come in then they will be welcomed into the group. Everybody gets on really well." Wotton has been impressed by the fitness levels of his team-mates as they prepare for the new campaign. He said: "I think there are four or five lads who have come back this year and seem to have worked really hard through the summer. The fitness levels of the team are pretty high anyway. I would say it has been a hard pre-season, but I wouldn't say it has been a slog. In Austria we were doing training sessions in 32 degrees and the lads were still going strong at the end of it. I think the mixture has been very good between hard work and rest. The boys are flying at the minute and, hopefully, they will only get stronger." Argyle have improved their league position in each of their three seasons but Wotton has warned it will not be easy to continue that progression. He said: "Finishing where we did in the league last season, and with the number of points we had, was a great achievement. Then, on top of that, you had reaching the FA Cup quarter-finals. If you strive to better yourself each season then I suppose you are looking at the play-offs, but I think what we need to realise is the league is getting harder and harder. The amount of money that has been spent is incredible. It's important the lads don't think it's going to be easy to recreate what we did last year because it's not. It's going to be even harder, so we are going to have to raise the bar again. We will have to be fitter and stronger than we were and we are going to have to play better than we did last season, which we are more than capable of. The gaffer has made that perfectly clear and we aren't the sort of lads who will rest on our laurels anyway. It's an exciting time. August 11 is almost here and we will just take every game as it comes, do our best and see where that takes us."
Rory Fallon is looking to add to his Argyle goals total and help the team enjoy a successful season. "I don't really try and set myself too many limits when it comes to scoring goals," he said. "But I do want to try and get a few goals and bring people into play and do all the usual stuff which comes with my position. I really want to get the team up as high as I can in the league and help the lads and management out. I don't like to say that we are going to get into the play-offs - you can't really think about the end of the season and where you will end up. We have just got to worry about each week, each game at a time. All I am thinking about now is Hull on Saturday. If I am starting, on the bench or not selected, either way I have to be prepared for the game." Fallon admitted the pre-season schedule had been tough, but he feels both he and his team-mates have reaped the benefits. "I thought the boys played really well against Bristol Rovers last weekend and we scored some great goals," he said. "We still have a lot to work on, but as long as we keep working hard for each other, I think that is all we can possibly ask for. Pre-season has gone really well for both me and the team. The management have put on some great stuff for us and they have worked us really hard. It has been long days - 7.30 in the morning until 5.30pm - but it has been worth it, especially with the way I am feeling at the moment - I am feeling really strong and fit. You can also see that all the other boys are fit and strong at the moment as well." Fallon acknowledges he faces a real challenge to simply get into the team. "There is definitely some stiff competition for places among the strikers, but that is a good thing," he added. "You need competition all over the field, not just the strikers. You need players fighting for places - that can only bring with it people playing better and improved performances." As for his time in Plymouth, Fallon said: "I am loving it here. The lads are great and everything else is spot on. I am just looking forward to the start of the season now."
Ian Holloway cannot wait for the season to start. He said: "You're always glad to see the back of pre-season. Touch wood, we've almost got a fully fit squad. It's all about minutes on the pitch, and getting the right amount of fitness work done. We've got some very talented players here, but we need to get the structure right and we need to get them fitter. We had a fantastic season last year, but we need to try and move on, that's all that matters. I've asked them a few questions. How fit are we? How well do we know our jobs? We've brought in an extra amount of fitness work, and I think now, at the end of pre-season, it shows. The lads look fit, they feel fit and they certainly are fit. What pre-season is all about is taking a confident base into a new season. We know how important that is, and the players have worked hard for that confidence." Improving the state of fitness and the quality of his first-team squad is only part of Holloway's planning at Home Park. The players have a gymnasium at Home Park this season, and their practice pitches at Harper's Park are in good shape, which has not always been the case. "We've moved forward on and off the field," Holloway said: "Our training pitches are much better than they were last year, and some of our performances in friendlies have been very encouraging. We're in a very tough league, and we're going to be trying to do our best in it." The long-term goal for Holloway is steering Argyle to promotion. The short-term goal is making sure they will be starting a fifth consecutive Championship campaign a year from now. "We have got to get 50 points as quickly as we can, it's as simple as that, and anybody that tells you different is a liar," Holloway said. "If we can get that, we can set ourselves new targets." The task of achieving that initial target starts on Saturday, and Holloway added: "Anything can happen. We're like gladiators. You go into that ring, on to that pitch, and you don't know what's going to happen. You've got to be ready. Let's hope we are ready. We could not have done any more as a staff, but we really won't know until next weekend. Everyone else will be ready, everyone else will think they've got a right good chance, but next weekend the talking time will be over."
Ian Holloway has refuted suggestions the club should have spent more money in the transfer market this summer. He said: "I'm disappointed that everybody seems to think we should have added a load of players. The pressure all summer has been, 'Who are we signing, who are we signing?' Well, when you get to the level we have got to, it's unbelievably difficult to find players better than the ones we have actually got. We are constantly on the lookout and I will add players when I think they are going to move us forward. In the meantime, my job is to get these players better, with the coaching staff I have got, and that's what I intend to do. The constant barrage of 'Who's coming?' shouldn't be part of it now. People should trust what I'm trying to do and they should see some improvement in the lads we have already got." Holloway pointed to striker Rory Fallon as a case in point. "Someone said to me the other day, 'Rory Fallon has quietened a few people down now'," said Holloway. "What, just because he scored two goals on Saturday. How ridiculous is that? Quieten them down from what? He's 25-years-old and I have brought him here to work with and make him a number nine, not a number 10. I don't judge who I have just brought in the door. I think it's absolute madness. It isn't about what you spend and it isn't about who you have got. It's how you make them play. We are at a very tough standard and we are going to try to do our best in it. If, along the way, I can add one or two then I will, but it shouldn't be the be-all and end-all." Holloway has used Argyle's friendlies to assess all of his squad, often playing completely different sides in each half. Some of the youngsters are set to be loaned out once the season starts to gain more first team experience. Holloway added: "I have been trying to assess whether they have progressed enough and I can use them this season. If not, I will loan them out and then I will try to add. I'm only just getting to the point where I'm 200 per cent sure about who's going to be in my squad. I will try to loan some of the other ones out because any footballer needs games at a certain standard to play in."
Dan Gosling flew to South Korea yesterday as England prepare for the Under-17 World Cup, which starts on Saturday week. Among the men to wish him well before he left was John James, the scout who was responsible for bringing him to Home Park. James said. "It's an honour for Dan and for Argyle. The boy has done very well, and I don't think there are many players in the England squad who are playing first-team football for their clubs. He can only get better, with the people he's playing with. Breaking into the first team at 16 was very, very good, and he's carried on from there. We're expecting big things of him. He's a very nice lad, a quiet lad, and he wants to learn and do well with his football. Hopefully he'll go on to higher things." Asked to recall his first sight of Gosling in action, James said: "He was playing for Brixham United, and he was one of several boys I'd gone to watch. I watch a lot of games in that age group on my travels round. He was there, and I had a talk to the manager and told him I liked Dan. From there, Dan went to Ivybridge at the age of 11 and we signed him, and from then on he's gone all the way through. Now he's playing for his country with players from the top clubs. It's a great experience for him, and I'm sure he'll go on to improve all the time." Gosling will be proud if he can help England progress in the tournament - but he will also miss being away from Home Park. "It's going to be a fantastic experience," he said, "and I'm confident that I can do well having got to know the other squad players during the European Championship. However, part of me wants to stay behind for the start of the new season with Argyle. I went to Austria with the club for part of pre-season training the other week, and I feel I should be there at Hull on Saturday. I will miss the first four or five games of the season, which is a bit of a disappointment to be honest, but it's just one of those things. You can't really say 'no' to England. I could come back and be way down the pecking order. That's on my mind, but I will just have to deal with it." Last July, as a raw first-year apprentice, Gosling travelled with Argyle's first-team squad to their pre-season training camp in Austria, and thinks the tour had been an important factor behind his rapid rise. He said: "Last year I was so nervous. I didn't talk to anyone really. I just kept myself to myself. This year I was more confident. All the boys make you feel part of the group. It was a lot better than last time, although that was a great experience for me." Gosling shared the right-back duties during pre-season, although Paul Connolly remains the first choice. Gosling said: "I think the manager wanted a bit of pressure on him. He sees me as someone who can play there and has a bit of versatility about them. I'm enjoying that position and I like playing there, so why not give it a go?" Gosling is convinced he could not have a better tutor than Ian Holloway, and said: "He has got energy levels I have never seen before. It's not him putting it on either. It's just him. You know where you stand with him and I love playing for him. It's brilliant. He never has a go at you. He's so encouraging all the time and that makes it easier." Despite breaking into the first team at the age of 16, Gosling knows he still has a lot of hard work ahead of him. He said: "I want to improve everywhere really. I think I just need to keep going as I am. I'm noticing it now that I'm thinking a bit quicker now when I get the ball. Knowing what to do when I get the ball is a lot easier than getting tackled all the time!" Argyle finished 11th last season and Gosling believes they can improve on that this time around. He said: "I think we are good enough to challenge for the play-offs, even though it's a tough division. All of the clubs have been spending a lot of money this year but I think our squad is as good as most of them, if not better."
Argyle won 10-0 at St Blazey in last nights friendly, the goals coming from Ashley Barnes (4), Reuben Reid, Ryan Dickson, Scott Laird, Shane Duggan, Cherno Samba, and an own goal. Argyle: Misiewicz, King, Kendall, Silcott, Watts, Smith, Moult, Laird, Dickson, Reid, Barnes. Subs Duggan, Samba, Robinson, Taiwo
Akos Buzsaky has joined Peter Halmosi in being called up for Hungary's friendly against Italy later this month
Argyle's hopes of signing Scott Sinclair on a long-term loan this season have been ended. Ian Holloway said: "We are totally out of the picture now because we have been told he won't be going anywhere, because Mourinho thought he was one of their best players in the time he saw him out in America. So I think he's well and truly part of their squad. Good luck to him. I'm delighted for him. I have always rated him and when he came down here he was a breath of fresh air. This is why I don't really like borrowing anyone else's players. I would rather make them mine if I can. But if there are good young players available, and I can help them and I can use them and we can benefit from that then great."
Ian Holloway has played down talk of Nick Chadwick moving to Crewe Alexandra. Holloway insisted he had not been contacted by Dario Gradi, and said: "Dario Gradi spoke to Tim Breacker and asked him if I had any players I might want to loan out. Tim said 'I don't know, you will have to speak to Ollie'. I have waited for Dario to call me and he hasn't, so for Chadwick's name to be put into it is a tad premature. I would imagine it's all speculation. I have worked hard to get a decent squad together and the last thing I'm going to do is throw them away or whatever." Chadwick was a half-time substitute in Argyle's win against Bristol Rovers on Saturday. Rory Fallon scored twice in the game and could be set to lead the attack against Hull City in the season-opener. Holloway said: "The lads who were lucky enough to play in the first half on Saturday look like they might be favourites to play this weekend. It was almost the team I finished last season with. It will be hard for me to leave Rory Fallon out after the way he played on Saturday, but that's what you want. You want people who when they get their chance they step in and take it."
Ian Holloway has told Cherno Samba there is no future for him at Home Park. Holloway is upset Samba has not been on trial at any other clubs during pre-season, and said: "I don't really know why he's in here. He's telling me his agent has said he didn't play enough football last season to even get a trial somewhere. I would strongly suggest he gets a different agent - not being funny. He is totally and utterly wasting his time here."
Peter Halmosi has been called up to the Hungarian national team for the international friendly against Italy on August 22nd. Ian Holloway was delighted for Halmosi, although he admitted fitness is always a concern when players are away on international duty. He said: "I wish a few more would be called-up and then we could have a game cancelled. Hopefully, he won't miss anything for us because he is a quality player - you can see that from a mile away. I am just glad to have signed him. He has always been highly thought of by them. He is playing at the top of his game at the moment and it is like he has not had a break. I think we will see his quality come to the fore even more this season and I am delighted that we made him our record signing. I call it progress and I am delighted he has been selected again. Onwards and upwards."
Argyle's youth team beat the Latvian international youth team 6-1 at Home Park on Saturday, to complete an 8-2 aggregate victory in the Duchy College Tournament. The goals were scored by Damian McCrory (3), Toby Davis, Joe Mason and Brian McCaul. Argyle: Saxton, King, Brett, Duggan, Hodgkinson, White, Hopkinson, McCaul, Stevens, Davis, McCrory. Subs Chenoweth, Trott, Edwards, Grant, Mason, Moseley
Argyle complete their pre-season friendlies with a trip to St Blazey tonight and Ian Holloway plans to field a young side, including Reuben Reid, Luke Summerfield, Ryan Dickson, Ashley Barnes and Scott Laird
Ian Holloway could not disguise his pleasure after yesterday's win over Bristol Rovers. He said: "There were some very good things out there today and some of those goals could have been Goal of the Season contenders. It is nice to see confidence. I thought we were solid in the first-half but disappointed with the goal we let in at the end. I would not have liked to be their goalie but full credit to them because they came back and scored three goals. For me, it was a very nice fixture and nice to see some Rovers' fans. We needed a home game and it was great for the fans to come out. Hopefully, they enjoyed it because we have got some very talented boys here. We have just got to mould them into a unit. I asked them a few questions before the game. How fit are we? Do we know our jobs? Let's go to work. I am very proud of the standard we are in and I want to get better. I don't want to stand still; I want to get better and I think the lads do as well. We are like gladiators. You go onto that pitch and you don't know what is going to happen. Let's hope they are ready but you really don't know until next week. Everybody else will be ready and will think they have got a right good chance. The talking time is over and It is nice to have a bit of confidence going into the season." Rory Fallon scored two goals and Holloway was thrilled to see him start to show what he is capable of. "Rory is a goalscorer and he has got a record of being a goalscorer," said Holloway. "I like everything about the fella. He might not be the most eye-pleasing centre-forward we have ever had but he is going to be effective by the time we have finished with him. If you look at Peter Crouch, he is certainly an ugly style of player but he is very effective. We have got to get Rory playing like an old fashioned number nine. The header for his first goal was what we have been crying out for. We have just got to get him on the move in the box." Trialists Nabjim Abdou and Paul McVeigh both competed well, although it was McVeigh who really shone by scoring twice, including a stunning volley from 25-yards out. Holloway was pleased with their contributions and will make a decision on their futures some time next week. He said: "I have only just seen them because I have been away, which is not an ideal scenario for those two lads. They are decent lads and I will be giving them a decision soon. They have both added to the group of lads, so we will have to wait and see." Pre-season is now almost over and Holloway added: "You are always glad to see the back of a pre-season to be honest and, hopefully, we have got a fully fit squad with Wottsy also coming back. It is all about getting the right of minutes on the pitch and fitness into them and I am delighted with how fit they look. We will have a practice match on Tuesday and they will all get a full 90 minutes in. It has all gone to plan apart from the Torquay match, although I said at the time I was not that bothered because of the extra work the lads had put in. They feel fit, look fit and they certainly are. We have had a very good pre-season."
Argyle beat Bristol Rovers 7-3 in this afternoon's friendly at Home Park. The goals were scored by Peter Halmosi, Rory Fallon (2), David Norris, Akos Buzsaky and Paul McVeigh (2). Argyle: Larrieu, Connolly, Kouo-Doumbe, Seip, Sawyer, Norris, Nalis, Buzsaky, Halmosi, Hayles, Fallon. Subs McCormick, Gosling, Hodges, McVeigh, Abdou, Ebanks-Blake, Timar, Chadwick, Dickson, Laird, Summerfield. Attendance - 4,180
Argyle yesterday issued the following statement on behalf of Damon Lenszner: "It is with great sadness that today I resigned, with immediate effect, from the Board of Directors of the football club. Unfortunately, business and family pressures are such that I cannot serve the club. I have been honoured and privileged to have contributed to the Board for the past two and half years. On the day I joined the Board, all I wished for was that the day I left the club it would be in a better position than the day I joined. I believe this is the case. My wife Helen and I will continue to support Ollie and the team from the stands and continue to support the present Board and its objectives. We have come a long way in the past few years and I genuinely believe that we are on course to reach the Premiership in the not too distant future. I will forever be a proud part of the Green Army." In response to the statement, Paul Stapleton said: "I would like to thank Damon for his contribution to the Board and for his passion and enthusiasm for the team on and off the pitch. I wish him and his family every success and happiness for the future and I am sure we will see them all at Home Park."
Tim Breacker believes Argyle will get a good workout when they play Bristol Rovers at Home Park tomorrow. He said: "We are looking to take another step forward. So far this pre-season we have been really pleased. I think you will see from where we were in the first game against Weston-Super-Mare that we are a lot sharper. There is better movement, touch and passing. You can see it coming together, despite the surface at Truro not being as great as the one at Weston. Bristol Rovers will be a difficult test. They are on the up from last season so we are looking forward to it." Argyle tried to get Premiership opposition to come to Plymouth for their only pre-season friendly at Home Park, but they were unsuccessful. Even so, Breacker is convinced Argyle will get a lot out of their game with Rovers. He said: "It's a difficult one because, obviously, you can't play people in your division. But sometimes when you play teams from above, the sort of game they are going to give you - tactically and technically - is very different to the ones we will face throughout the season. With Bristol Rovers being a relatively local side to us, they will bring a few fans down so that adds to the atmosphere and gets the realism there. I'm sure it will be a good test." Breacker complimented the players on the amount of hard work they had put in since pre-season training started. He said: "Six weeks is a long time, but it goes very quickly when you are trying to cover all aspects of the game. There are never enough hours in the day for everything you would like to do, but the boys' attitude has been great. It would just be nice for it to all come together, but you never know until the first game of the season."
Sylvan Ebanks-Blake is set to return from a thigh strain in the friendly against Bristol Rovers tomorrow. Tim Breacker said: "Sylvan's getting there. He did some work yesterday morning and could have possibly been involved at Truro. But, especially at this stage of pre-season, the last thing you want to do is take any risks with anybody. We are hoping he will be ready to be involved on Saturday." Argyle are hoping that should Ebanks-Blake stay clear of injuries, he can improve on his goal total this term. Breacker said: "Despite his age, last season was his first one in full-time professional football. It was almost as if he had just broken into the first team and you are always going to get little injuries and losses of form. We are hoping that he will be available all this season and we will continue to see an improvement from him." Luke McCormick suffered a slight groin strain in the game against Paulton, but is expected to be available tomorrow. Breacker added: "Luke has got a slight strain but it is nothing really, and we are hoping he will be in contention for Saturday. He had a slight knee problem on the pre-season tour of Austria but I think this is his thigh." Bojan Djordjic is making progress as he recovers from a foot injury. He wore an aircast boot for 10 days to keep his foot immobilised, and has now started running at three-quarter pace, but Breacker admitted it has been a lengthy process. "He has started running and he is quite pleased," he said. "He had to have a period of inactivity because it was swelling up. He had to keep it immobilized and that has done the trick. He is gradually increasing his running now." Paul Wotton is still out and Breacker refused to put any pressure on him by naming a date for his return to action. "We don't want to put him under any sort of pressure," said Breacker. "He has done very, very well and he is ahead of schedule. You all know his character and he will be chomping at the bit to be involved, but we don't want to get that wrong. We will assess that as we go along. The problem with setting a date is that it can be a massive disappointment if you don't make that date. He has been excellent and his time will come." Trialists Paul McVeigh and Nadjim Abdou will also be part of the squad tomorrow
Argyle's youth team beat the Latvian international youth team 2-1 yesterday, the goals scored by Shane White and Jared Stevens. Argyle: Saxton, King, Brett, Duggan, Hodgkinson, White, Hopkinson, McCall, Stevens, Davis, McCrory. Subs Edwards, Grant, Mason, Mosely
Tim Breacker firmly believes in a policy of gradual progression, rather than making wholesale changes and thinks Argyle's transfer policy is far more sensible than many other clubs. He said: "You are always looking to improve things, no matter what stage you are at in the season. We finished particularly well last season and that made it easier to add the two lads in the summer, but we will still be trying to improve the squad as much as we can. When you see some of the additions in our division and the prices being paid, I would not want to be paying the money some clubs are paying for the type of players they are getting. Prices have gone sky high but I am not so sure the quality has. We would not just take somebody because we need a body. That is the wrong way to do it and we have tried not to panic in the past. If you look at the last few seasons in the Championship, a lot of the clubs that have come down had added pressure and made wholesale changes. We feel that we are quite settled and, by gradually adding to it, you keep the strengths you have and just add to them. Wholesale changes do not always mean success, even if you are spending lots of money."
Argyle won 4-0 in last night's friendly against Truro City, the goals scored by Peter Halmosi, Reuben Reid (2) and Akos Buzsaky. Argyle: Larrieu, Abdou, Timar, Kouo-Doumbe, Hodges, Gosling, Nalis, McVeigh, Halmosi, Hayles, Fallon. Subs Connolly, Seip, Laird, Sawyer, Norris, Buzsaky, Summerfield, Dickson, Reid, Chadwick. Ian Holloway was away on a scouting mission, so Tim Breacker was in charge of the team. "It was very enjoyable," he said. "Hopefully everybody who turned out tonight enjoyed it - we certainly did. It was a good work-out for us. We feel we're getting there, getting a little bit sharper. In the second half, as it opened up a little bit, we looked very sharp, some of our movement was good - things we'd talked about, things we'd worked on in training. You could see it coming together. Again, their attitude has been great, as it has been all pre-season, and ever since I've been at the club. I was really pleased with them." Paul McVeigh and Nadjim Abdu were trialled for the second night in succession, and Breacker said: "I thought they did okay. They've fitted in alright and done as much as they could under the circumstances. It's never easy. It was hard for them in terms of our shape and what we do, compared to the second half when you could see that everyone knew each other. We'll sit down with them. I'll speak to Ollie and to their agents and we'll go from there." Breacker welcomed Reid's goals and said: "I think he's getting there, confidence-wise. Every striker is reliant on scoring and he's scored a couple. He's learning. If he keeps going the way he is going now, he will do okay and have a career. If he keeps the right attitude and willingness to learn, then he'll be in and around it. He's done well. They all have. I don't want to pick out one individual, to be honest. Dickson's another one who's worked really well during the summer and you could see that from the first day we were back in pre-season. His athleticism's there for all to see. He's had a difficult couple of years in terms of injury and hopefully he'll have a bit more of a run now. You see it coming together and it was nice to see because he, more than anybody else, maybe deserves a little bit of luck." The game also featured a penalty save from Romain Larrieu after Mathias Kouo-Doumbe had brought down Stewart Yetton with the game goalless. Breacker added: "It squirmed a little bit but he got hold of it after a while. Again, good for him. We're really pleased with all of them and he's another who's come back looking really confident and back to his old self, which is good for him and obviously good for us."
Argyle won 4-0 in last night's friendly against Paulton Rovers, the goals scored by Ryan Dickson, Nick Chadwick (2) and trialist Paul McVeigh. Argyle: McCormick, Connolly, Seip, Trialist, Sawyer, Norris, Summerfield, Nalis, Dickson, Barnes, Reid. Subs Saxton, Kouo-Doumbe, Timar, Laird, Hodges, McVeigh, Abdou, Buzsaky, Halmosi, Chadwick, Fallon. Des Bulpin was happy with the impact Paul McVeigh made in the game. He said: "I know Paul very well from when I was a coach at Tottenham and he's a very good technical player. He's a small lad, but he scored with a brave header. He's a decent boy, and he's got a good track record." Argyle also looked at two other trialists, a Finnish centre-half who they refused to name and French midfielder Nadjim Abdou, who is a free agent after leaving French club Sedan this summer. "I liked the French lad in training this morning, and he's taken that forward," Bulpin added. "He looked aggressive, he won balls and he kept it simple. He looks a good player." Bulpin was also pleased with the standard of last night's opposition. He said: "I thought they were very good. They started out aggressively and they played well. We had a hard job and it took us a long time to get control of the game, but eventually we lifted our game and ran out easy winners." Bulpin also praised Ashley Barnes and Reuben Reid. "Reuben seems to have matured a little bit in the summer," Bulpin said. "Ian has had a few chats with him, and he's come back switched on. We've been very pleased with him, and Ashley looked eager as well."
Argyle's youth team will play two games against the Latvian international youth team this week. The games are part of the Duchy College Youth Tournament, which was originally to be a four-team tournament. However, both Everton and Middlesbrough have had to withdraw due to, respectively, senior call-ups and illness. Gordon Bennett said: "Everton had some senior match commitments in Scotland and have had to draw upon their academy players to fulfil those fixtures. Consequently, they have withdrawn from our tournament. We made frantic efforts over the weekend and on Monday to try to see if anybody was available to fill the vacancy but we were unsuccessful. Then, yesterday morning, we received a phone call from Middlesbrough advising us that they have been hit by a virus sweeping through their academy. As a consequence, they have only got six fit players, so they have also withdrawn. However, the Latvian under-18 team are delighted to have the opportunity to play Argyle twice instead of once in a two-team tournament. We are most grateful that Belajevs Vladimirs, the Latvian youth coach, and Karklins Aliks, his assistant, have still brought their talented players to the Tournament. Whilst it's disappointing to lose the two Premiership clubs too late to line up replacements, the bonus for our apprentices is that they get to play against international class opposition twice without travelling more than 30 miles."
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