A Round-up of Argyle News
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Also included on the three most recent days, facts from Argyle's history.
Argyle put in one of their best performances at Home Park this season on Saturday, but were still beaten by Bournemouth. Peter Reid was proud of the way his side performed and said: "We played extremely well and I think any neutral observer would say we deserved something out of the game. We created numerous opportunities but you have got to hit the back of the net. All in all, I have got to say I thought we played good football. We were patient and our possession was good." Reid was especially pleased with Argyle's attacking play against Bournemouth. He said: "We didn't open up Charlton as much as I would have liked. I thought we opened Bournemouth up several times, but we didn't add the finishing touches and we put paid the penalty. The players have done really well and it hasn't gone for them. You can't call it bad luck. You have got to say we haven't been clinical enough. I think they had three or four chances and stuck two away. I would hate to count the number of our chances, and their 'keeper has made some good saves, but we didn't hit the target often enough. Just before they scored their first goal, we had a great chance and didn't stick it away. Like anyone in football will tell you, goals change games, so were always chasing it. But we chased it well, and I thought we kept our composure and kept patient. We got the equaliser, but then we were pushing forward for the winner and got caught on the sucker punch. The lads know we had some great chances. You work hard and create openings, and when you don't finish them it off it's really disappointing because all that hard work goes to waste. But we can't moan about it. We have got beaten again because we haven't stuck the ball in the back of the net. If they keep playing like that, I'm sure the goals will come."
Luke Young made his Argyle debut as a late substitute against Bournemouth and became the 29th player to represent the club this season. Peter Reid said: "Rory took a knock, but the boy Young has got good feet. He's a bit slight, but he's a good little footballer. I knew Rory was struggling, so I just wanted to have a look at him. He wasn't on for long but he showed a little bit, which is good, and it's another youngster blooded, which is good for the football club."
Joe Mason has revealed he did not find it difficult to turn down the chance of a move to Swindon Town. Argyle accepted an offer, thought to be £300,000, after rejecting two previous bids but Mason, born and bred in Plymouth, opted to stay at Home Park. Mason said: "To be honest, it wasn't a difficult decision to make. I'm sure Swindon are a really good club, but I have been at Argyle since I was 11 and if I'm going to leave I want to make sure it's the best possible move for me. It has got to be worth moving away from Argyle, and from Plymouth, for. I know the club needs money badly, but I had to think about myself. At the end of the day, it's my career and I didn't feel it was the right move for me." Mason is unlikely to be fit for the trip to Yeovil Town tomorrow but expects to be available when Argyle travel to Brentford at the weekend. He said: "I think tomorrow might come a bit early for me, but I will definitely be alright for Saturday."
Peter Reid does not expect to be doing any business before the transfer-deadline passes. "There's no-one coming in because we can't, and no significant movements for players going out," he said. "I don't want to lose any more players but, if it's right for the club, you have got to do it. But there's no bids at the moment. I want to keep the likes of Joe Mason and Onismor Bhasera but, if they'd been fit, they most probably wouldn't be here. From a selfish point of view, I am delighted they are here; but, as the manager, looking at the finances of the football club, that's a different story. We are in a predicament. We can't get the money to pay for the embargo to come off, but I know the board of directors are working actively on that."
Joe Mason and Onismor Bhasera were in the Grandstand as Argyle lost to Bournemouth, and Peter Reid thinks they will still be with Argyle after the transfer-window closes. "Mase turned down a move to Swindon," said Reid, "and Bhasera failed a couple of medicals, but we hope to have him back within two to three weeks." Reid confirmed that the Argyle had accepted Swindon's offer for Mason but added: "He had a chat with his family and his agent, and decided it was best to stay at Plymouth. If he doesn't want to go, I can't drag him there. You'll have to ask him why, but the manager is quite happy. I've got a player. I do understand the predicament the club is in. Maybe I am being selfish. The club's in a difficult position. It has got to get through that position." Reid admitted that had Mason been available for the Bournemouth game, his instincts on front of goal might have benefited the team. "For a young man, he has a clear head in those situations," said Reid. "It doesn't faze him. He's not bad at those sort of chances. Joe is a footballer who I think has got a great chance. The young lads, when they have come in the team, have done really well. It's a great experience for them. It improves them, without a doubt. So there's always silver linings."
Peter Reid does not care if the transfer-window closes without any new players arriving at Home Park. He said: "I've talked about the embargo all this month and I'm sick of talking about it, we've got the players out there to win football matches. I am not making the embargo an excuse for anyone. If the embargo is lifted, it's lifted; if not, we get on with. I don't want any excuses. I can understand supporters being interested, but, at the moment, I just want to stay on the positives of the lads being here getting results. I've got a list of players. Some have gone to other places, which is natural."
One of the positives in yesterdays defeat to Bournemouth was the performance of Kari Arnason as an attacking force. Arnason played just behind Rory Fallon and Peter Reid said: "I thought he was terrific. He has got a physical presence, and I just thought, if we could get him into those situations, we might be more of a threat. But I have got to say I was surprised by his general play in that position. He timed his runs really well and kept the ball much better than he has been recently."
Argyle lost 2-1 to Bournemouth at Home Park, the goal scored by Rory Fallon after 71 minutes. Argyle: Button, Zubar, Nelson, Seip, Paterson, Clark, Arnason, Fletcher, Bolasie, Fallon, Patterson. Subs - Young (not used – Larrieu, Duguid, N'Gala, Stephens, Peterlin, Timar). Attendance - 8,836.
The deal to take Onismor Bhasera to Blackpool has been called off after talks between the left-back and his prospective new club broke down. However, he will not play for Argyle against Bournemouth at Home Park today because of a minor knee injury. Meanwhile, there continues to be interest in Joe Mason ahead of the transfer window closing on Monday. Reports suggest one club has made a third bid for Mason.
Argyle's Japan-based directors have promised a long-overdue cash injection will arrive at Home Park within days. Yasuaki Kagami and George Synan promised a £2million rescue fund when Argyle went before a High Court judge last month, but the first of four installments has still not arrived. Synan yesterday told Peter Ridsdale that the money was finally on its way, and Ridsdale said: "I have heard from the Far East and there has been an indication that funds should be forthcoming shortly. But my position is very clear and my deadline is getting close. Until I see the funds my hands are tied. I don't think people in Plymouth are genuinely taking on board the severity of the situation. I can't put any more bluntly how serious this situation is. There is a very real danger of this club ceasing to exist."
Argyle have confirmed that their players have not been paid on time for a third consecutive month. Carl Fletcher said: "It's a frustrating time and we had it happen over Christmas. If it's one month it's obviously not great but for it to keep going on month after month it's very worrying. Every day we turn up to training there seems to be another player gone, which is obviously not ideal. It's all up in the air at the moment. But you just need to get on with it and the main thing is that the club survives. Coming through adversity can make you a stronger person." Argyle have confirmed that, while the players have not yet received their wages, office staff at Home Park have been paid this month. "The staff in the office have been paid, which is good," added Fletcher. "Everyone who works here is doing what they can."
Peter Reid will not use the sale of some of his players as an excuse for Argyle's poor recent results. He said: "Everyone knows the financial situation at the club. It's tough at the moment, but you can't make any excuses. You have got to win football matches and I think, even now, we have still got the players to do that." Argyle will now rely heavily on Rory Fallon as the focal point of their attack and Reid added: "We got three great goals against MK Dons, but I'm desperate for somebody to get a tap-in from six yards, or for one of the strikers to get across the near post. Rory can be a big influence for us, but it's also up to Rory Patterson and Yala to come to the party. I have watched the game against Charlton and we were in control of it for much of the time. They didn't cause us any problems, but we didn't cause them enough problems. That's where Rory Fallon can help us. He has got to hold it up, use his strength, pull on defenders and get flick-ons. And we have got to be able to play off him." Reid will not need to remind his players the size of the task they will face against Bournemouth, after they were beaten 3-0 at Dean Court on January 8th. He said: "We did make the players aware of midfield runners, and we conceded after four minutes from a midfield runner. All in all, Bournemouth played well, but I thought we were particularly disappointing on the day, I have got to say that. We have got to play to our strengths against a very good footballing side. You prepare your players for the game and, hopefully, they go out and perform. It's going to be a tough game. They have got some good players and they are up there in the league. But it's important we start winning games."
Four years after Argyle bought Home Park for £2.7million, the city council is being urged to buy it back, and the price now could be as high as £7million. In a motion to Monday's meeting of the full council, Labour councillors call on the Cabinet to offer to buy back the land at 'current market valuation'. Tudor Evans, the Labour group leader, said yesterday: "Vivien Pengelly, the council leader, has criticised my administration for having sold the ground to the club at a time when they were very ambitious and needed ownership to raise capital to develop the ground. The pressing need now is for the club to have capital to survive. If Mrs Pengelly thinks we were wrong to sell she can support my motion to buy it back." He said the council would need an up-to-date valuation to decide how much Home Park was worth. Evans said the council could use the £20million it raised through the sale of Citybus to buy back Home Park. Mrs Pengelly said she understood the latest valuation of Home Park had puts its value at more than £7million. "I feel very sad that Argyle has got itself into this state," she said. "But it really does surprise me that Labour is saying that Plymouth taxpayers should give Argyle £7million. Does Labour want council tax to double? Personally I would love to support the club as I'm an avid fan and attend all the matches. But I don't believe the District Auditor would allow us to spend money buying into a football club." The motion will be debated in Monday's meeting of the full Council.
Peter Reid's battle with the transfer window is nearly over, but he is still waiting for the all-clear to replace his departed players. Bradley Wright-Phillips became the latest player to leave Home Park and Reid said: "I've been in touch with the lad and it's a good move for him, I wished him all the best. He got 13 goals for us this season which was outstanding and now hopefully we can move on. After a slow start, he did well for us. He got goals, he was lively, he's earned himself a move and the club some money, which helps us as well. In an ideal world, you'd want him here scoring goals but the way the situation is at the moment, that wasn't to be. He's out of contract in the summer so we had to cash in." Another striker attracting interest is Joe Mason, who Reid admitted he would be less willing to see leave Home Park. "We've had a couple of enquiries. In an ideal world, Joe Mason certainly isn't a player I'd like to lose because I think he's got great potential and he's showed it recently. He's been terrific while he's got a run in the side playing in that position just in the hole off the front man. He's proved he can handle a football, scoring goals and I thought he was outstanding at Huddersfield, when he went up top by himself, getting in between the centre halves. I thought that was a very mature performance from the young man." Reid has been liaising with Peter Ridsdale regarding the potential of bringing new players in when the transfer embargo is lifted. He added: "With what's going on obviously we're working closely on players going out and I've got a list of players who I'd like to try and go for. I'm having a meeting later to clarify what is needed for this embargo to be lifted, because we have got a few quid in over the last weeks or so. There's still things happening and I know the board members are working actively to get the embargo off, because we are short of numbers and it's an ongoing situation. The most important thing is to get the embargo out of the way and the second most important thing is to win games. I've been happy with the performances - a little disappointed with the goals we've given away - but the players are giving the club and myself everything they've got so we've just got to keep them going.
Onismor Bhasera is in discussions with Blackpool over a loan deal that would see the full-back move to Bloomfield Road until the end of the season, with the option of a permanent deal to follow. Peter Reid said: "He's up there at the moment. From what I've been told that should go through. We get a fee on that as well, which helps what we're trying to do in terms of paying the tax man."
Ryan Leonard has joined Tiverton Town on loan for a month.
Rory Patterson wants to celebrate his international call-up with a goal against Bournemouth at Home Park on Saturday. Argyle lost 3-0 at Bournemouth on January 8th and Patterson believes the players owe the Green Army a good performance. He said: "I think you can safely say we didn't do ourselves justice up at Bournemouth. And I'm overdue a goal, too, so I'd like to put that right soon. I've been playing in a different role recently, more in midfield, but my aim is always to try and score goals for whoever I'm playing for. And, as always, I'll be trying to do that on Saturday against Bournemouth. But the most important thing is to get ourselves a run going and prove to everyone that we're a better team than our results would suggest. Last week, I thought we deserved something from the Charlton game which we ended up losing, not because they were a lot better than us, but due to a mistake. But against Bournemouth earlier this month we weren't good, but the players believe that was just a blip. So, we'll have something to prove on Saturday, and hopefully, a performance for the fans to cheer about." If selected to play against Scotland, Patterson will be winning his fifth cap for his country. "Obviously, I'm very pleased to have been included in the squad again – it does give you a boost as a player," he added. "It's great being involved with the squad and mixing with players who have played at a high standard. So, naturally I'm looking forward to playing, if selected, that is."
Rory Fallon looks set to return to the international arena with New Zealand next month. Fallon is expected to be called up to play against China, at Nanning, on March 25th, and also the international against Japan in Tokyo on March 29th. If selected he will miss Argyle's home game with Southampton. Meanwhile, Joe Mason has been placed on stand-by for the Republic of Ireland under-21 squad, who play a friendly away to Cyprus on February 9th.
Peter Reid has admitted Argyle had no option but to sell Bradley Wright-Phillips. He said: "Of course, you don't want to lose your leading goalscorer, but the situation was straightforward. The bottom line is that we wouldn't have been able to get anything for him after January, and Charlton have come in with some money for him. In our financial position, it was a simple decision for the football club. Hopefully, the transfer fee will go towards getting the embargo lifted and we can go and get some loan players in. That's what I'm looking forward to doing. I have got some people lined up." Wright-Phillips scored 13 league goals, despite not being selected by Reid for the first five matches of the season. Reid said: "He was out of favour and struggling with his knee but he got himself together. He did terrific for us, and all credit to him for getting the goals he did, but we have to move on. I wish him all the best in the rest of his career. It's a pity he couldn't have stayed a little longer but there were too many reasons why that couldn't happen." Reid was convinced Wright-Phillips' knee condition would not hinder his future career, and added: "There are many players who have injuries but they carry on playing with careful management of them. I'm sure, given the right training, he will be playing for many years to come."
Argyle are close to paying off their tax debts to HMRC after the sale of Bradley Wright-Phillips, but funding issues continue to be a serious concern for Peter Ridsdale. He said: "It's still a fee that assists us enormously in our quest to bring in sufficient cash to give ourselves a chance of surviving as a football club." Argyle have paid off more than £1 million in tax debts to HMRC over the past couple of months, but, prior to the sale of Wright-Phillips, they still had £265,000 outstanding. Ridsdale said: "We are closer to doing that as a result of Bradley's transfer to Charlton, but we have got a wage bill to meet this week. We paid this month's tax bill, on time, last Friday but at the end of January, when the transfer window closes, we can't bring in any more money by selling players. That means it has got to come from somewhere else. We haven't had any money from Japan so selling players has been the only way of raising funds. I still don't think people in Plymouth realise what a knife-edge this club is on." Further departures before the transfer deadline are possible, with Onismor Bhasera a target for Crystal Palace and one other club, and interest also in Joe Mason. Ridsdale said: "Selling one more player would help us with the tax man, but we have still got to get from February to May."
Simon Walton hopes to get the all clear to resume full training at the start of March. Peter Reid said: "He has started doing some light running with us. He will see the surgeon who carried out the operation at the beginning of March for a final assessment. That gives him six weeks with us and then, hopefully, he will get the all clear to resume full training."
Rory Patterson has been called up to the Northern Ireland squad to face Scotland in Dublin on February 9th.
Bradley Wright-Phillips has completed his move to Charlton Athletic for an undisclosed fee. Reports suggest that Charlton paid a six-figure sum for Wright-Phillips, although less than the £300,000 Reading were prepared to pay earlier this month. Charlton are aware of the medical issues involved, and their bid reflected that, and the fact the end of the transfer window is approaching.
Jim Paterson has insisted that Argyle still have a lot of talent in their squad, but admitted that they have to try to steer clear of injuries, or their resources could be over-stretched. Paterson said: "We're down to the bare bones. We've got a small squad now, but I would say it's a quality one. We just need to try to keep everybody fit to give ourselves options." Argyle's financial plight has not been a distraction for the players, according to Paterson. He said: "We can't affect anything off the pitch. We can only affect things on the pitch. Sometimes, these situations bring the players and everybody at the club closer together. Even if we weren't in this situation, I think clubs would have come calling for the likes of Craig, Reda and Bradley. We're the players who are left and we've just got to get on with it, be positive, and go about winning football games. When things need to be spoken about, we speak about it. But then you go out on the training field, and you're back concentrating on the football again. With the number of games we've had this month and with being away so much, we haven't had much time to think about anything else. My kids have forgotten what I look like!" Argyle's game at Charlton was their seventh this month, and their fifth away from home. "We knew Charlton, with a new manager, would come out in the first half and put us under pressure, but I thought we dealt with it quite well," said Paterson. "We started the second half really well. We were in the game and we felt quite confident as a defensive unit. We didn't have much to do, and we were nice and tidy with anything we had to do. It was just unfortunate the way we conceded the first goal, and it gave them a lift." Charlton secured the win in the 89th minute, and Paterson added: "We were chasing the game, but we lost the ball and they broke and scored the second goal, which killed us. We were disappointed because, at half-time, we thought the least we would come away with was a 0-0 draw." Paterson did not attach any blame to Marcel Seip for the mistake which led to Charltons first goal. He said: "I don't think Marcel put a foot wrong against MK Dons, and I don't think he put a foot wrong on Saturday apart from that one back-pass. He was disappointed, but showed good character because after making the mistake he kept playing well. He won a couple of important headers and reacted in a positive way. I think we all did that."
Onismor Bhasera and Joe Mason are continuing to receive treatment for knee and ankle injuries respectively. Peter Reid said: "Baz has still got a little bit of swelling but has a full range of movement and is doing some strengthening work in the gym. Joe's ankle is still swollen and we are monitoring that." Meanwhile, the Argyle squad were set to return to training this morning after being given a long weekend off by Reid. He said: "The players have had a lot of games and done a lot of travelling, and it has been quite taxing for them, physically and mentally. Overall, I have been very pleased with them. I spoke to our sports scientist Scott Russell and we decided to give them yesterday off. They will do a little bit in training today and then have tomorrow off as usual." Argyle take on Bournemouth at Home Park this Saturday and Reid does not want to push his players too hard in training, on pitches which have been soaked by recent heavy rain. "The proof of the pudding is we have looked strong, in terms of fitness, in games," he said. "It's just about managing the players."
Roy Gardner is no longer a director of Plymouth Argyle, having had his appointment officially terminated. Listings on the Companies House database state that his appointment as director of two PAFC companies was terminated on January 21st.
Bradley Wright-Phillips is set to sign for Charlton Athletic. Wright-Phillips held talks with Addicks' manager Chris Powell today and agreed an 18-month deal. The transfer fee has not been disclosed.
Second-Year apprentice Luke Young was included in Argyle's squad for the first time for the game at Charlton. He did not take part in any of the action, but Peter Reid still thought it would have been a good experience for him. He said: "We are short of bodies, and I think it always helps if you get young players involved." Reid was hampered by not having any attacking players on the bench, and added: "We are a bit short in that, but they are the cards we have got, so you have just got to get on with it." Krisztian Timar was absent from the squad on Saturday, even though they could have selected one more substitute. When asked why Timar was not on the bench, Reid replied: "We left the lad at home. No reason."
Peter Reid thought the 2-0 defeat at Charlton was a harsh result considering Argyle's endeavours. He said: "We defended very well in the first half. They got in behind us once and the 'keeper made a save. Besides that, we were comfortable, and I thought we were the better side at the start of the second half. But it's that old adage, goals change games. We made a mistake and we got punished. Overall, I thought the players were terrific. It was Chris' first match as manager and the crowd were up for it. But we handled the situation very well and possibly deserved better from the game." Argyle had been buoyed a win at MK Dons last Tuesday, but two of the team that had been on duty in that match were ruled out by injuries. Onismor Bhasera and Joe Mason did not travel to south London but Reid would not use their absence as an excuse, even though it reduced the squad to bare bones. He said: "It's the 11 who put out there and you have got to get on with it. These things happen in football. Other managers have these problems. You have just got to get on with it, and to be fair to the players I thought they acquitted themselves really well." Argyle's scoring chances were mainly shots from distance, apart from Rory Fallon's close range header early in the second-half. But Reid pointed out Charlton did not often have a clear sight of goal either. He said: "I can't remember them opening us up on that many occasions, except for our mistake and then when we were chasing the game to try to get an equaliser and we left ourselves bare at the back. From my point of view, I thought the players did really well. We got punished for a mistake and you can't afford that at any level."
Bradley Wright-Phillips has been given the all-clear to carry on playing after visiting a specialist in London about his knee problem. Peter Reid said: "The specialist gave him the okay to carry on playing and training, so that's good news for the boy. He's alright. He's happy with what the specialist said. There's been interest in him, if that happens, it happens; if it doesn't, he'll be training with us this week."
With just over a week to go until the transfer deadline there is still plenty of interest in Argyle's players. After the defeat at Charlton, Peter Reid said: "There are enquiries about one or two players. I don't want to sell all my players, but I think everyone knows the predicament the club is in." Asked whether Joe Mason had been the subject of a transfer bid, Reid said: "Joe is one for the future and one I'd like to keep hold of, but there might be more outgoings and, hopefully, that will secure the club's future."
Peter Reid admitted it was a tough day for his side at Charlton. He said: "We handled the game quite well. We defended in the first half very well. In the second half they were the better side and it was that old adage, goals change games. We made a mistake and we've got punished, but overall I thought the players did terrifically well. It was a difficult day obviously with it being Chris Powell's first game and the crowd were up for it. But we handled the situation very well and possibly deserved better from the game. To be fair to the players they acquitted themselves really well." Reid refused to blame Marcel Seip for the misplaced backpass which led to Charlton's first goal, and added: "Everyone makes mistakes, he didn't do it on purpose."
Argyle lost 2-0 at Charlton Athletic. Argyle: Button, Zubar, Nelson, Seip, Paterson, Clark, Arnason, Fletcher, Bolasie, Fallon, Patterson. (Subs not used – Larrieu, Duguid, N'Gala, Stephens, Young, Peterlin). Attendance - 16,607.
Argyle have had no bids for Rory Fallon since he returned from a loan spell at Ipswich Town on Monday. Peter Ridsdale said: "I have had no expressions of interest in Rory since he came back, although it's early days. I think his presence as a target man made a big difference against MK Dons, so it was good to have him back." Meanwhile, reports suggest that Bradley Wright-Phillips has been told he can continue to play despite a knee condition. Wright-Phillips saw a specialist in London on Thursday and the advice was that he could continue to play, as well as train to an agreed schedule.
Kari Arnason has admitted his spectacular goal in Argyle's 3-1 win at MK Dons on Tuesday was a timely boost to his confidence. He said: "The previous three or four games hadn't been good enough from me. So it was good to get that goal and a decent performance as well. I'm my own worst critic and I don't have to read it in the paper or hear it from the gaffer if I have played a bad game. I know it myself." Argyle were 1-0 up on Tuesday when Arnason smashed a 35-yard shot into the net off the underside of the crossbar. He said: "It was unbelievable. When you get a goal like that, you can't do anything else but smile about it. I didn't realise how far out I was, but I made up mind I was going for it because there was no-one around. I have been doing it in training, but not from that distance! I'm in that sitting midfield role so you don't get the chance to go up to the box very often. But, if I get reasonably close, I'll have a go at it again." Arnason is hoping Argyle can build on the victory at Charlton today. He said: "We have to realise it was because of hard work and graft that we got the result and we have to keep at it. We have to keep doing the same thing and then we will be fine. But, if we lose our heads and think it comes easy, then we will be in trouble again."
Peter Reid was elated at his sides performance in beating MK Dons in midweek, but is keen to stress that his team must play at that standard regularly in order to earn a place towards the top of the league. "Good teams consistently put in performances. We don't. We're inconsistent, simple as that," he said. "I'd prefer to have a lot more clean sheets. I think we are a threat going forward but we concede goals too easily, i.e. the two against Oldham. You get that, and then you go to MK Dons who are sixth in the league who have a very, very good home record and sort of play them off the park. It's that inconsistency that I've gone on about since I came here. The good sides are consistent. At this moment in time we aren't. Ideally, Reid would like to add to his squad to help attain his goals, but the transfer embargo means this is not something he can explore at present. He added: "I'd like to strengthen up in certain areas, which we haven't got the opportunity to do. It doesn't matter what I feel, they are the cold facts. We've just got to get on with it. In an ideal world I'd like to go get a couple of players in on loan, more than a couple, but at this moment in time that's not feasible. Hopefully we'll get to the situation where we are able to do that."
Peter Reid preached prior to the win at MK Dons that his defence had to tighten up if the team were to recapture winning form. Save for an own goal by Onismor Bhasera, thy did that, and now travel to Charlton Athletic looking for a repeat performance. Reid is confident that the signs are there that they can cope and said: "I know what's been going wrong, we've been conceding too many. I thought we were desperately unlucky for obvious reasons at Huddersfield. We always look as though we've got a goal in us, which is pleasing. Rory Fallon has come back as a target man. Joe Mason's movement has been terrific. And I thought Bolasie did well the other day, causing them problems. So we have got attacking threats. We've just got to tighten up at the back. We conceded one in midweek, an own goal, but I thought we looked generally solid in that games, we need to do that in all games, starting with the game against Charlton."
Marcel Seip started 2011 on loan to Charlton Athletic, but tomorrow will line-up against his former team. Seip produced what Peter Reid considered to be his best performance of the season in the win at MK Dons on Tuesday and Reid said: "Marcel has gone in there and done a great job. I think him and Nelson have done really well together, so it has been a big bonus for us. But the objective is to keep a clean sheet and, hopefully, we can do that tomorrow. I thought there were a lot of good performances on Tuesday and Marcel's was excellent." Charlton manager Chris Powell was at Milton Keynes to carry out a scouting mission, having been appointed by the Addicks last Friday. Reid said: "Chris knows the game. He played at the top level and has done a bit of coaching. I thought Phil Parkinson was unlucky to go, to tell you the truth. But it's an opportunity for another young manager. I wish him all the best, except against us, obviously." Charlton drew 2-2 against Argyle at Home Park in October, scoring a 90th minute equaliser. Reid said: "Bolasie got a smashing goal to put us 2-1 up near the end, but we conceded late on. We didn't defend a cross into the box and their lad hit the rebound in. Charlton are a good side. They have got experience at the back in Gary Doherty and Christian Dailly and have a bit of pace up front. It should be a decent football match. It's going to be a difficult one for us because I think the crowd will be up for the new manager coming in. We will have to try to quieten them down, and the best way to do that is by getting on the ball and passing it. Usually the pitch at Charlton is a decent surface. I have been pleased with the way we have been passing it recently, and a decent surface is conducive to that. I'm looking forward to going there, but it will be a hard game for us."
Joe Mason and Onismor Bhasera are both rated as very doubtful for the trip to Charlton. Peter Reid said: "Bhasera and Mason will be struggling to start against Charlton. They're having scans today. Mason has an ankle injury and Bhasera has a knee injury. It looks like they both might be struggling for that game." Bhasera was replaced by Jim Paterson at half time on Tuesday and is likely to fill the left back role again. "You want all your players fit to select from, but if injuries occur you've just got to try and get on with them." Reid added. "Jim is experienced enough to go in and do a job for us."
Argyle must sell more players to ensure their financial survival, Peter Ridsdale has warned. He revealed the club had received bids for two players since the win at MK Dons on Tuesday, both of which were initially rejected, but one deal is now close to being completed after an improved offer was made. Reports suggest Crystal Palace are poised to snap up Onismor Bhasera. Ridsdale said: "I have got the unenviable job, in the short term, of trying to raise cash. That has to come from investors, current shareholders, sponsorship or player sales. The one thing that I don't think has got through to Argyle supporters is this club is on the brink of meltdown financially. I make no apology for saying it as bluntly as that. We have put a stopper in the bottle over the last few weeks by being able to sell players. But unless I can raise enough money to get through the season this club could go out of existence. When I tell people that they smile and say, 'Go into administration'. They think I'm exaggerating, but I'm not. I'm not raising money through selling players because I want to. It's because I don't have a choice. Until such time as other funding comes from elsewhere I will continue to sell players because, regrettably, it's the only option on the table. I want to see a team who are competitive in this division for the rest of the season and who fans want to pay to watch. But we have to do the right things, and this club was in a mess beyond anything I have seen. People get sensitive when I say that, but those are the facts. I have to do my best for as long as I'm here to give Argyle fans some hope there is going to be a club going forward." Ridsdale would not name the two players who Argyle had received bids for over the past 48 hours. "Both of them were initially rejected, but one is back on because the amount of money on offer has been increased," he said. "There may well be, therefore, one exit prior to the weekend. But these things either happen or suddenly fall down. You are never quite sure which it will be. One of the bids was rejected out of hand because it was clearly insufficient. But we are pretty close on the other one to doing a deal." Ridsdale also confirmed there had been interest in taking Marcel Seip away from Home Park. "There was a chance of Marcel leaving, but we want a fee and the club in question wanted to take him on a free," he said. "My job at the moment is to raise money, not to give players away."
Bradley Wright-Phillips was seeing a specialist in London last night about the knee injury which scuppered his transfer to Reading last week. The outcome of the visit could determine whether he leaves the club before the transfer window closes. Peter Ridsdale said: "Bradley is seeing a specialist so we can hear what's wrong with him. One of the problems of the transfer to Reading, which fell through, was that Bradley and Reading had information which we weren't party to. He's our player so, for our peace of mind and for Bradley's peace of mind, we want to sit down with a specialist to hear what their view is of his fitness to play now. Obviously, that will also potentially affect any interest we have got for him from other clubs between now and the transfer window closing." Peter Reid added: "We will have to see what the specialist says, but I know his knee is feeling a lot easier."
Rory Fallon has promised 100 per cent commitment as long as he remains at Argyle. He said: "You know what, I'm just taking it day by day. I'm not thinking about anything further than that. I have got to keep working hard for the boys and keep working hard for myself, and we will see what happens. I thought it went really well with Roy Keane at Ipswich, but when new people come in then things change. I had a great two months at Ipswich and there are no bad feelings on my part. Ipswich are in a relegation battle, and I hope they do well and stay up. But, at the moment, it's all about Plymouth." Fallon was thrilled with Argyle's performance in the victory over MK Dons, and hopes there are more like it to come. He said: "To be fair, I always had it in my mind I was going to see it out at Plymouth. Then Ipswich came up and I wanted to see what would happen. Unfortunately, nothing happened. But I always had the feeling in my heart that I would be coming back to Plymouth, whether it would be for a couple of weeks or whatever. What will be will be, but as long as I'm here at Plymouth I will give my 100 per cent. That's the player I am."
Rory Fallon believes Argyle set themselves a benchmark for the rest of the season with the win at MK Dons. He said: "I haven't seen us play football like that for a long time. It was refreshing to see, and it was like I had never been away. The boys are a great bunch. You couldn't fault the effort. Everyone gave 100 per cent and pulled their weight. It was brilliant to see, and I was just really proud of the lads for the way we played football. I came straight from Ipswich to the team hotel, but that was fine. It was like I had never left. It was good to see the boys again, and it was good to get a win. It's nice to get that winning feeling. Hopefully, we can build on that. And, hopefully, we can keep playing football like we did on Tuesday night because we played some brilliant stuff." Kari Arnason scored his first goal of the season with a 30-yard drive off the underside of the crossbar and Fallon said: "Arnie's was the best I have seen in a long time. He also put in a great performance and was definitely my man-of-the-match, but it was a good all-round team effort. No-one was getting carried. Everyone put their shift in. We defended well as a team and attacked well as a team. We got some really great goals." Argyle had a difficult time while Fallon was on loan to Ipswich, so his return was a boost for the players ahead of the game in Milton Keynes. Fallon added: "It shows the boys have got character. We need to keep playing like that and working hard for each other. You get your rewards when you work hard." Peter Reid was thrilled with the contribution of Fallon in the win. He said: "Rory did smashing. He set himself a high standard and has got to keep it going."
Goals from Onismor Bhasera, a screamer from Kari Arnason and a third from Chris Clark gave Argyle an unlikely win over MK Dons last night. "It was a thoroughly good performance," said Peter Reid. "It was a big boost to the players, who have been through a lot. They have shown character and spirit and I am pleased for them. Our 'keeper hasn't had a save to make really. I think, in football terms, that's as good as we have played this season. We knocked it about really well, all credit to the players. And you won't see three better goals than that, I have got to say. The build-up to the third goal and the finish was absolutely outstanding. It has been a difficult time for us, but the lads showed their character again. I think they have been unlucky in recent games, especially at Huddersfield, but this time they got what they deserved."
Argyle's survival depends on the arrival of cash promised by the club's Japanese-based directors, according to Peter Ridsdale, who also stated that he has given Yasuaki Kagami and George Synan an ultimatum: come up with the cash, or he will quit the club on January 31st. Ridsdale said: "I am incredibly frustrated at what is happening. The survival hopes of Plymouth Argyle rest on this money coming in. I've given them an ultimatum that if it doesn't arrive within a certain deadline then I'm out of here. There is no politics here – the only agenda I have is saving the football club." Reports suggest discussions over Home Park itself are ongoing, with the option of selling the stadium and leasing it back on matchdays still being considered. A deal that would have seen the ground sold to Home Park Properties Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Argyle's holding company, for £7.5million never went through and is now off the table. The club is, however, looking to sell the stadium's naming rights for advertising. Ridsdale added: "We would be very keen to hear from the business community with regard to naming rights, or any other form of sponsorship."
Chris Clark scored the final goal in the 3-1 victory at MK Dons last night and saluted a fine all-round performance by the team. "From start to finish, right through the team, it just clicked," he said. "We passed the ball really well. It was a great performance for 90 minutes. Everyone was really comfortable, willing to take the ball on, and I don't think Butts had a save to make. We defended really well, from the front, and it was just an all-round team performance. Baz had a great strike, and Arnie's was just fantastic - he's been doing that recently in training - and it was good to get on the scoresheet myself. It was good play down the left. I think Yala knocked it a bit too far but Jim did great to get on the end of it. Luckily enough it broke for me. I was happy with the strike, but, like I say, it just finished off a good all-round performance. There's a lot of players gone from the dressing-room now and there's a small group left, but the spirit's fantastic and the boys are enjoying playing their football. We have confidence in one another and it's showing."
Charlton Athletic are in the running to sign Bradley Wright-Phillips. It is reported that their bid is lower than the £300,000 which has been offered by Glasgow Rangers.
Peter Reid was grateful that his players could not hear him during the 3-1 win at Milton Keynes last night. Reid, who watched the game from the directors' box, said: "The manager in the stand shouted 'pass it' for all three goals - so thank goodness I was in the stand and they are not listening to me. Bring on the bans, the more the merrier. I'm better up there, I think. They don't listen to me then." Asked for his impressions of the game from his viewpoint, Reid said: "It's pretty noisy up there. The Green Army are brilliant, but the directors up there are quite loud, as well." Reid was able to visit the team in the dressing-room at half-time. He said: "I said to them 'Just keep playing the way you are, it's important that you just keep passing the ball and, if you do that, I think we'll win the game.' When the players go out and give a performance like that, the manager doesn't have to do much, really."
Onismor Bhasera limped away from Milton Keynes due to a knee injury, but was a happy man following his debut goal in the 3-1 win. "I feel great after that goal," he said. "I took the ball from the centre and ran past two or three guys and just struck it. I could feel it when I hit it...I could feel 'This one is definitely going to go in'." Bhasera also scored an own goal and cleared a header off his own line before being replaced by Jim Paterson at half-time. "We have been working very hard," he said. "I think we deserved this. We have been so unlucky in the past couple of weeks - we have been working hard, but couldn't get results. But we showed ourselves. We deserved to win - we played well in all departments: we defended well and attacked well. That is what you get if you play well. We hope to continue this run when we play again this weekend at Charlton. We want to come home with three points. Coming here and playing well shows that the guys have got spirit. We have to take it from here to Charlton."
Steve MacLean has re-joined Oxford United on loan until the end of the season.
Argyle won 3-1 at MK Dons, the goals scored by Onismor Bhasera after 22 minutes, Kari Arnason (29) and Chris Clark (80). Argyle: Button, Zubar, Nelson, Seip, Bhasera, Clark, Arnason, Fletcher, Bolasie, Fallon, Mason. Subs - Paterson, Patterson (not used – Larrieu, Duguid, N'Gala, Stephens, Peterlin). Attendance - 7,189.
Glasgow Rangers have made a £300,000 bid for Bradley Wright-Phillips but the deal will only be pursued if striker Kenny Miller leaves before the end of the transfer window. Rangers' bid for Wright-Phillips is the highest of three currently on the table for him, with Barnsley also known to be keen. Wright-Phillips did not play against Oldham Athletic on Saturday, after he received advice from a consultant that he should rehab his knee for at least a month. Peter Reid said: "I think it's fair to say he had a chat with a consultant who has put a concern in the lad's mind. It's no use picking someone when they aren't mentally up for it. We are all different, and we all handle situations in different ways. Bradley, at the moment is not comfortable about playing. It's unfortunate, but that's the way it is. Players have got to look after their bodies, which I understand. But I have got to do what's best for the football club. Bradley is one of our better players and I certainly want him out on the park, playing and scoring goals for us, because he has done fantastically well this season. The boy has got 13 goals for us, and I don't think you can do that on one leg. I'm not knocking Reading's medical opinion, but I have been through this before and people can manage certain discomforts in their body and play football."
Peter Reid has demanded an improved defensive display when Argyle take on MK Dons tonight. He said: "With the defeats we have had recently, we need to address that, and we have got a chance of doing that at MK Dons. It will be a difficult game because they play good football. They have been using a 4-2-3-1 system recently. We proved at Huddersfield that we can go to places and play well. Now we have got to tighten up at the back. The two goals we conceded on Saturday were, again, disappointing from our point of view. We have got to look to keep clean sheets because I think there is always a chance of us getting a goal. We need to get back to keeping it tight at the back and then, hopefully, nicking a goal here and there." Reid admitted he made a conscious decision to rearrange postponed matches for early in January, because he feared his best players being sold at the end of the month. He said: "I took a gamble by putting in a lot of games in January, thinking I was going to lose players at the end of the month. Well, I lost them early, but you have got to play the games some time. Whatever happens off the pitch, happens. We have got to get on with getting results on the pitch." Argyle have had a youthful look about them lately, with Joe Mason and Curtis Nelson both regulars in the team, and Jack Stephens and Matt Rickard also playing. Reid said: "You would like them to be getting the games in different circumstances, coming into a side full of confidence, but a lot has happened recently. These young players have come in and done really well for us in difficult situations."
Peter Reid has welcomed the return of Rory Fallon from a loan spell at Ipswich Town. Fallon seems certain to start at MK Dons tonight, although Reid stopped short of confirming that, but said: "If I thought Rory was going to do a job for us I would stick him in. Rory comes into the squad. With Bradley Wright-Phillips not being available for selection at the moment, it's another body for us, which is good news." Reid is convinced Fallon will be able to come to terms with his early return from Ipswich, and the collapse of a potential permanent transfer. "Rory has just got to get on with it," said Reid. "He knows the game. He's experienced enough to handle it. The manager who took him to Ipswich obviously lost his job and a new regime has come in and there are different ideas. Rory went to a Championship club and played games for them. It shows you he has got that quality."
Peter Reid will take charge of the game at MK Dons tonight from the stands after being banned from the dug-out by the FA. Reid accepted a charge of improper conduct over comments made about referee Paul Tierney in the match at Huddersfield and has therefore been issued with a one-match ban, and a £1,000 fine.
Bradley Wright-Phillips will remain out of the Argyle squad for the trip to Milton Keynes. Peter Reid said: "The latest news is that obviously he has got a concern about his knee - it's getting that concern out of his mind and get him back playing football. If someone comes in for his before the deadline, then someone comes in for him. The boy has played 18 games for us since September, and got 13 goals. I don't think you can do that if you're on one leg. I'm not knocking the Reading medical opinion, but certainly I've been through this before. People can get through and manage the certain discomforts in their body and play football. We're all different, we all handle situations in different ways. Brad at the moment is not comfortable, so it's unfortunate, but that's the way it is. Players have got to look after their bodies, which I can understand, but I've got to do the best for the football club and Bradley's one of our better players. I certainly want him out on the park, playing and scoring goals for us, because he has done fantastically well for us this season."
Peter Reid has paid tribute to the departed Geoff Crudgington, calling him 'a great servant to the club.' "The club decided to let him go and that's the way it is," said Reid. "It's the reality of the financial situation of the club at the moment. It's always sad when people lose their jobs, but it's one of the outcomes of the way the club is financially. It's a shame for everyone concerned, especially Geoff, who has been a great servant to the club."
Rory Fallon has returned to Home Park from his loan spell at Ipswich Town. Fallon joined Ipswich in November on a loan, with a view to a permanent move, that was due to end on January 22nd. However, Town have since replaced manager Roy Keane with Paul Jewell, and as Fallon does not feature in Jewell's plans the clubs have reached an agreement to terminate the loan early.
Argyle have confirmed that Geoff Crudgington has left Home Park. A club statement said: The club wishes to place on record its sincere thanks to Geoff for his many years of service to Argyle, as a player and in all his roles since, and wishes him and his family all the very best for the future. Peter Ridsdale added: "We are having to take radical action with all our overheads to make sure there is a football club in Plymouth at the end of the season."
Argyle still have three bids on the table for Bradley Wright-Phillips but Peter Ridsdale insisted the striker would not leave in a cut-price transfer. He said: "There are three clubs who have made bids since last Tuesday. One of them meets the value we have set for Bradley. That bid does require a player to leave the club concerned first if they are to go ahead with it. Two of the three bids are new to the table since last Tuesday. Bradley's market value is still there. Whatever problem he has got, it's only a short-term one. And presumably anybody wanting to sign him is intending to do so for a two or three-year period. We aren't going to roll over and let our players go on the cheap because, frankly, it doesn't solve our problems."
Peter Ridsdale has spoken of his frustration that Argyle's two Japanese-based directors have yet to fulfil a commitment to inject cash into the club. The first of four agreed payments is two weeks late, according to Ridsdale, and comes after the collapse of Bradley Wright-Phillips' move to Reading. Ridsdale said: "That was a blow because we could have used the money to pay off HMRC and get the transfer embargo on us lifted. But just as much a blow is people promising you things and then not delivering. We haven't had a penny from Japan and I'm getting more and more frustrated about it. They gave me a commitment when I came in they would put a certain amount of money in over an agreed timeframe. I feel like not only are both of my hands tied behind my back, but both of my legs are tied together as well. To have paid off the money we have and also to come up with the wages for December is, frankly, a miracle." Argyle were facing a winding-up petition over tax debts of £760,000, but that was dismissed last week after they came up with the cash. But, even after that, the club still owed a further £530,000 to HMRC. Ridsdale said: "We paid £267,000 of that on Friday, and would have paid the balance had Bradley Wright-Phillips' transfer gone through."
Peter Reid is waiting, and hoping, the transfer embargo will be lifted sooner rather than later. He said: "I have got a list of players who I would like to go for, but I have just got to get on with what I have got for the moment. It's no use me expending energy thinking about when, why or where. I have just got to work with the players and get us hard to beat and get a few points."
Argyle suffered a third successive defeat when they lost to Oldham Athletic on Saturday and Peter Reid said: "It wasn't a game full of goalmouth incident. I think that would be fair to say. Oldham put their chances in, and we didn't stick ours in. Goals change games. We had a couple of chances in the first half. Bolasie got through and you have got to hit the target. And then Joe Mason had a shot but didn't get any power on it. Apart from that, we huffed and puffed. Oldham came up with a goal early in the second half and, in all honesty, we didn't look as though we had enough quality to get one back. So it was a difficult day for the players, but they kept on working. The first goal was a bad one from our point of view. David tried to hit an early kick and we didn't clear the ball down the right-side. Then it's a cut back and we haven't picked up the runner, who put it in well." Oldham doubled their lead in the 73rd minute when striker Oumare Tounkara fired home after a goalmouth scramble. Reid added: "We should have cleared the ball, but we didn't. We have been caught on a couple of them recently. And, as hard as we worked, we didn't really penetrate them. We have got to try to get back to being difficult to beat, and keeping a couple of clean sheets." Prior to the three defeats Argyle had been unbeaten in five matches. Reid said: "A lot has happened since then, without making excuses. It's a different team out there now. But this team has got to get enough points to see us through. There is no use in moaning about what has gone on before. We have got to get out there and become hard to beat again. That's a priority because we have got a couple of difficult away games coming up, where we need to keep a clean sheet or two." Reid insisted he would not allow Argyle's cash crisis to become an excuse for poor performances on the pitch. He said: "It has been hard, but you have still got to be hard to beat. I thought the players had a go, and had we stuck our chances in we would have won the game. Maybe there wasn't enough quality in certain areas, but in terms of endeavour and desire, I think they gave everything they have got. That's all you can ask." Bradley Wright-Phillips was at Home Park on Saturday but did not play after Reid admitted before the match that he was not in the right frame of mind. "Somebody else has got to come to the party," Reid said. "Joe Mason is a young player who I think will get goals, but we have got to get them from elsewhere. There is no magic wand out there. You have got to work hard. And when we get one-on-ones we have got to hit the target – that's very important." Reid sent on Matt Rickard as a late substitute to make his Argyle debut and at one point was also tempted to use Kari Arnason as a makeshift striker. He said: "I had a thought of putting Arnason up there and launching it, and getting a second ball off him. But I was trying to get pace down the sides and people to run at their two big centre-backs."
The Argyle youth team lost 3-1 to Hereford United at Millbay Park on Saturday, the goal scored by Luke Young. Argyle: Varazinskis, Hart, Bradley, Richards, Clifford, Vassell, Young, Berry, Baker, Ramday, Sims. Subs - Coombes, Copp (not used - Ord, Sawyer).
Peter Reid looked at the bigger picture after Argyle were beaten by Oldham Athletic at Home Park. He said: "There's no use moaning about what's gone on before, we've got to go out there and be hard to beat, and that's a priority because we've got a couple of really difficult away games coming up where we need to get a clean sheet or a couple of clean sheets. It's difficult. A lot has happened, without making excuses, and it's just a different team out there at the moment, but this team has got to get enough points to see us through. I think there's a goal in us, but we've certainly got to be a lot stronger defensively. We've got a couple of goals the other day but we conceded three. We haven't got Bradley but we've just got to get on with it. We've got to get goals from elsewhere. There's no magic wand but we've got to work hard, create a goal, have enough craft and when we get one-on-ones, hit the target. That's very important." Reid is hopeful he will be given the opportunity to add to his depleted squad soon, but remains uncertain of when the transfer embargo will be lifted. He said: "We've got to pay money to get it lifted but I've not been told when it will be lifted. Everyone knows the situation - we've lost some players but the most important thing is the football club staying in this league, I think that's as vital as the existence. I can't affect when the embargo's finished. I've got a list of players who I'd like to go for but I've just got to work with the players I've got at the moment, and get us hard to beat and get some points. No use thinking about anything else. There's one or two on the list gone already, but I'm hoping I'll get some time and some leeway to get some players in. We need a bit of pace and a bit of strength about us."
After Matt Rickard made his Argyle debut on the right-hand side of a three-man attack yesterday, he said: "It's a great feeling. Normally, I play up front, through the middle. I got a couple of touches. I just wanted to play it safe, really." Despite the defeat, Rickard thought his team-mates showed up well. "It was a good performance and good work-rate," he added, "but it was just in the final third that things didn't go for us."
Argyle are set to sign Manchester City winger Donal McDermott on loan if the transfer embargo is lifted, according to a national newspaper report.
Argyle lost 2-0 to Oldham Athletic at Home Park. Argyle: Button, Duguid, Nelson, Seip, Bhasera, Arnason, Clark, Fletcher, Patterson, Bolasie, Mason. Subs - Rickard (not used – Larrieu, N'Gala, Paterson, Timar, Stephens, Peterlin). Attendance - 8,106.
Argyle included 17-year-old second-year apprentice Matt Rickard in the squad for the game against Oldham Athletic today, as cover due to Peter Reid's lack of striking options.
Ian Holloway is considering a second move for Bradley Wright-Phillips, at the end of the season when the striker is out of contract. He said: "I might go back in for Bradley and I have spoken to Karl Oyston about it. He is out of contract at the end of the season. If we can pick him up for nothing in the summer, then knowing my chairman he might dive on Bradley then." Holloway said Wright-Phillips had spoken to him about his decision to go to Reading, and added: "It looked like something with Reading was going to happen. The boy very respectfully told me why and I appreciated his decision."
Stephane Zubar will be suspended for the game against Oldham after being sent-off against Huddersfield Town but Peter Reid believes Zubar's enforced absence could actually turn out to benefit him. He said: "I think he has been excellent for us, but I have noticed in the last couple of games he has tired. To be fair to him, I think it's a natural reaction from the months when he was training here. You get through on adrenalin for the first few games and then general match fitness kicks in. I would like him to be available tomorrow, but maybe it was time for the lad to have a rest. In the last couple of games he hasn't looked as sharp as when he first started, and I think it's quite understandable. I still think he was unfortunate to be sent-off. The first one was a yellow card but the second one wasn't. He got a warning for clashing with the goalkeeper before the second yellow card. But I have looked at it on the DVD and he didn't touch the 'keeper. That was another good decision by the referee."
Bradley Wright-Phillips will not play for Argyle against Oldham Athletic tomorrow. Peter Reid revealed he was not in the right frame of mind after his transfer to Reading fell through earlier this week and admitted there was a 'conflict of opinions' over the way forward for Wright-Phillips. He said: "I have had a chat with Brad and, mentally, he's not right for tomorrow so he won't be involved. He has spoken to a consultant who has advised him that he should do some rehab work for at least a month. As a football club, we have been managing him through this and we have done it well. He has got 13 goals in 17 games. But the most important thing is how the lad feels. This weekend is definitely a no-go and then we will have a chat with him on Monday. It's a delicate situation because he has been told a certain thing by a consultant and we have been managing his injury in another way, so there is a conflict of opinions on it. It's something we will all look at after the weekend. Where we are now, we have just got to get on with it and move on. The most important thing is getting Brad right, physically and mentally. He has been doing a lot of travelling, he's tired and it's a huge disappointment for him." Peter Ridsdale would have put the fee received for Wright-Phillips towards paying off the club's outstanding tax debts to HM Revenue and Customs and that would have led to the transfer embargo on the club being lifted. eid could have then made a couple of loan signings before the game against Oldham but the collapse of the move put paid to that. Reid added: "It's a blow, but it's just the way it is. We have got to get on with it." Ridsdale now hopes the embargo will be lifted next week, when other sources of money are available.
Peter Reid is to talk to new Ipswich Town manager Paul Jewell about Rory Fallon, who was taken to Portman Road by former boss Roy Keane. Reid will want to find out whether Jewell is interested in signing Fallon on a permanent basis, and said: "I have tried to get a call in to Paul Jewell, and to Ipswich as well, about the Rory Fallon situation. I don't want to comment on it until I have spoken to Paul."
Peter Reid fears a backlash from Oldham Athletic when they visit Home Park tomorrow. Oldham lost 6-0 at home to Southampton on Tuesday, and Reid said: "Oldham are a good side and what concerns me is the backlash from them after the game against Southampton because they are better than that. We have had the match report, and I think everything went for Southampton on the night. And, to be perfectly honest, Southampton are a very strong side at this level. Knowing Paul Dickov the way I do, tomorrow's game is going to be a really difficult one for us." Argyle lost 4-2 at Oldham in October, and had Bondz N'Gala and Kari Arnason sent off. Reid said: "I don't think I could have had any arguments about the sendings off in that game. The players did extremely well and we just ran out of steam at the end." The visit of Oldham will be Argyle's fifth game in 15 days but Reid is restricted in how he can change the side to give some players a rest because of his depleted squad. He said: "I think it has been raining for 48 hours and the training pitch is really heavy. So we got the lads doing some work in the pool yesterday. It's important with the amount of games they have had recently to manage the training and the rest. Yesterday was about getting all the aches and pains out. If we manage it right, I don't see any problem tomorrow. It's hard, but we have got to get on with it." Argyle will take on Oldham after playing three successive away games in eight days. Reid said: "I thought we were poor at Bournemouth but, overall, the performances were good. It does concern me that we have been conceding goals, though. I think they have definitely been defendable. If you get done by good goals then, sometimes, you hold your hand up. But I think some of the goals we have conceded have been poor, and it doesn't matter how many players you have got on the pitch. We have got to get our defending right, and get back to being solid. We have been solid at home so, hopefully, we can do that against Oldham."
Oxford United have agreed a deal with Argyle to keep Steve MacLean on loan until the end of the season and MacLean must now decide whether to stay with the club. Oxford will pay an increased proportion of MacLean's wages under the new loan agreement should he remain at the Kassam Stadium. Oxford chairman Kelvin Thomas said: "We have agreed a deal with Plymouth to keep Steve until the end of the season. It's now up to the lad. We have been talking to him and his agent about this, and also potentially about a permanent move. We got an exceptional deal from Plymouth in the first place, and while we have now increased the amount we are contributing towards his wages, the reality is it's still a very good deal. I think it's fairly well known Steve is on decent money, which could create a problem when talking about a permanent move, but we have had some positive conversations and will now have to wait and see what happens."
Argyle have successfully appealed against the red card shown to Curtis Nelson in the defeat at Huddersfield. Peter Reid said: "I think common sense has prevailed. In the heat of the moment, maybe, the referee decided to send the boy off, which we didn't agree with. Thankfully, we've got him for Saturday and it's great for the kid - he has been terrific for us. And it's a little boost for us all."
Peter Reid will have no hesitation in picking Bradley Wright-Phillips to play for Argyle, following the collapse of his move to Reading. Reid said: "He has had a knee problem this season and we have managed it. I played most of my career with a bad knee after an operation when I was 21, and it was just a matter of managing it. I'm disappointed for the boy that the move has been called off. But I will sit down and have a chat with him and, as far as I'm concerned, it's business as usual. If he says he's fit to play, he will play. If he says he's not, we will rest him. That's what we have been doing for the last four months and I have got no problems with it." Reid found out late on Tuesday night, after Argyle's defeat at Huddersfield, that Wright-Phillips would not be moving to Reading after all. He said: "Reading have got to go through their medical people. I'm fine with that. I don't think I passed a medical when I played, and very few footballers are ever 100 per cent fit. I know me and Andy Gray didn't pass medicals when we went to Everton. So I'm quite comfortable with the situation with Brad, but I'm disappointed for the boy more than anything. He's not a crock. He has just got a problem we need to manage. Let's put it this way. I wouldn't be surprised if he played for us against Oldham."
Argyle have appealed against the dismissal of defender Curtis Nelson in the defeat at Huddersfield Town on Tuesday. If it is unsuccessful, the centre-back will be suspended for the game against Oldham Athletic on Saturday. Peter Reid was furious about the dismissal of Nelson, and was sent from the away dug-out by the referee soon afterwards. Asked about the dismissal after the match, Reid replied: "You had best ask the referee. He makes those decisions." Reports suggest Reid felt particularly aggrieved about the red card because the Huddersfield player had still had a shot on goal, and therefore, he did not believe it had denied an obvious goal-scoring opportunity. Reid was ordered from the dug-out for comments he made about the referee and it is not clear yet whether he will face a misconduct charge from the FA. Reid said: "I was speaking to one of my players. I don't think I was saying he was the best referee I have seen. We had a chat at half-time, especially with the players who had been booked. I told them not to give the referee an excuse to send them off. Zubar did. I thought it was a bit harsh, but there you go."
Argyle today fended off the latest bid to have the club wound up at the High Court. Today's petition by HMRC to have the club wound up was formally dismissed by Mr Registrar Daister in a brief hearing in London this morning. The registrar dismissed the petition on the request of HMRC's counsel, Catherine Addy who said that the debt at the centre of today's proceedings and the costs had been 'paid in full.' Today's hearing was in respect of a petition issued on 20th December and was separate from the earlier one which has been adjourned until 9th February.
Bradley Wright-Phillips move from Argyle to Reading has been called off. Reading director of Football Nick Hammond said: "We are disappointed, as Bradley is a fantastic young man, but there are currently some medical issues that prevent us from completing the deal at this time."
Peter Reid has been to Blackburn Rovers on a scouting trip. He watched Rovers' reserves play Morecambe in the Lancashire Senior Cup at Ewood Park on Monday afternoon.
Argyle lost 3-2 at Huddersfield Town, the goals scored by Joe Mason after 1 and 15 minutes. Argyle: Button, Zubar, Nelson, Seip, Bhasera, Stephens, Fletcher, Arnason, Clark, Patterson, Mason. Subs - Bolasie, Duguid (not used – Larrieu, Paterson, Timar, N'Gala, Peterlin). Attendance – 11,462.
Argyle play their third away game in eight days at Huddersfield tonight and Adam Sadler admitted he and Peter Reid wanted a 'positive reaction' from the players following the defeat at Bournemouth. Sadler said: "We want to try to right a wrong from Saturday. We have had a number of games in quick session where the results and the performances have been very positive. Saturday was a setback, but tonight gives everybody a chance, players, staff and fans included, to rally round and look to get a positive reaction. When you have a number of games in quick succession there is always going to be a dip, physically, at some point. Our job was to try to manage the games programme as best we possibly could, in terms of what we did in training and how we used subs, and such like. But we were up against what I think would be one of the best sides in League One. They had lots of energy and a great team ethic." Huddersfield are expected to finish in a play-off position, and will provide a stern test tonight. Sadler said: "It's going to be a test for us. Huddersfield are a good side, but we got a terrific result against them at Home Park, one that was very positive and gave everybody a great feeling at the time. We have just got to try our very best to match that level of performance." For Sadler, tonight will be a chance to meet up with some former Newcastle United coaching colleagues, including Huddersfield manager Lee Clark and first team coach Paul Stephenson. "Lee Clark is a good friend of mine," he said. "I worked with him at Newcastle, along with Terry McDermott. I know Paul Stephenson very well and Steve Watson has gone in there recently as the development coach, so there is a little Geordie contingent at Huddersfield. I'm looking forward to seeing the lads. Lee will be driving the team constantly, right the way through until the end of the season, to get them up. That's his objective and he will be judged on whether he does that or not, of course. But, from my point of view, I think he's a great guy. I'm convinced Lee will be a terrific manager and he has shown signs of that already." Sadler arrived at Argyle in the summer to coach the under-18s squad but is now assisting Reid after the departures of John Carver and Paul Mariner. Sadler added: "I fell in love with the game as a young child, and that passion and enthusiasm is still with me. Peter is a very infectious guy. He's a football person with great experience, so to be around him every day is always an education. We are trying to do the job to the best of our ability, with the resources we have got. That's the motivation, really."
Argyle must put the disappointment of losing the services of Bradley Wright-Phillips behind them, according to Adam Sadler. Wright-Phillips was due to complete the formalities of his £300,000 transfer to Reading this morning, and Sadler said: "It's not just as a top scorer he will be missed, but as an individual and as a character in the dressing room. He's a very popular lad and showed great enthusiasm every day on the training pitch. He will be a big miss, no doubt, but that's football. We have got a lot of experienced players in the squad and they will have seen it all before. We have to move on and get on with the job in hand." There had also been interest in Wright-Phillips from Blackpool and Barnsley, with both clubs making initial offers of between £20,000 and £30,000, which were instantly dismissed. Barnsley upped their bid to £100,000, before Reading made their move. Peter Reid now has only Yannick Bolasie, Joe Mason and Rory Patterson to choose from up front but Sadler believes they can be effective. He said: "As a coach, your job is to always try to improve and help players to give their best performance. Sometimes you need to be firm and get to the point, and other times you are very positive and highlight the good things. In Rory, Yala and Mason we have three different types of players. That's a key issue, where we can use them in different positions for different tasks depending on what our objectives are for the game. Although they aren't the most experienced, they all do bring something different to it, so we have a few options there." Patterson started the game against Bournemouth as Argyle's lone striker, with Bolasie wide on the left, but soon after the Cherries took the lead, they swapped positions. Sadler said: "Bournemouth were without doubt, and nobody could suggest otherwise, the more dominant side throughout the game. However, having Bolasie up front always give you an out ball. I was very positive towards Yala after the game. There were signs there of a good performance, and we have got to keep that going with him." Marcel Seip has been added to the squad tonight after completing a loan spell at Charlton Athletic.
Adam Sadler thinks that, despite everything, Argyle's season is not as bad as it appears. He said: "Everybody in the football world who knows Alan Irvine, and I worked with him at Newcastle a few years ago, would say he's done a great job at Sheffield Wednesday. To think, we are only three points off of that...sometimes you have to have a little reality-check, and step back at what's happening at the club - from board level down - and recognise maybe what a good job Peter Reid has done here and, more importantly, the players. They are getting out there every day, doing the work, and trying their very best to put in a performance on game-day." Argyle's financial problems have done nothing to diminish the enthusiasm of Sadler, or of Peter Reid. "It's something we love," he said. "We're in love with the game. I fell in love with the game as a young child. That passion and enthusiasm is still with me. Peter is a very infectious guy, he is a football person with great experience. So, to be around him every day is a great education. We are working as best we can with the resources we've got to try to do the job to the best of our ability. That's the motivator."
Sean Kinsella has extended his current loan with Stafford Rangers until end of April and Ryan Leonard is having a trial at Rushden & Diamonds.
Argyle could have their transfer embargo lifted later this week. Peter Ridsdale is working towards that aim following the recent departures of Craig Noone, Reda Johnson and George Donnelly, and with the proposed sale of Bradley Wright-Phillips to Reading. A cash injection from director Yasuaki Kagami has also been promised. Reports suggest that Peter Reid already has a couple of loan signings lined up, one of which could be Chelsea midfielder Conor Clifford, who had a two-month spell with the club before Christmas. Ridsdale said: "If the commitment I have got from overseas is accurate, and I get money in addition to the transfers, I'm hoping to do that this week. If that doesn't come to fruition, I think it will be a week later because I have got money coming in then from other sources." Ridsdale defended the sale of Wright-Phillips, insisting Argyle had no alternative. He said: "The fact is, it's a cash offer, it's the highest one we have had and it meets the valuation we have for a player who is out of contract in the summer. What everybody has got to understand is without doing these deals there isn't a football club. We are not doing this out of choice. We are doing this is out of necessity. I'm absolutely satisfied that, in the climate which Plymouth Argyle currently finds itself, this is a very good deal. Only when we have paid our creditors can we then start rebuilding the club. We have made tremendous progress on doing that this week. All we are doing at the moment is trying to raise cash. Now, that cash can come from investment, it can come from existing shareholders, and it can come from player sales. The degree to which that cash comes from elsewhere will negate the need to sell players. I'm also aware of the fact that if the players who we are getting offers for are out of contract in the summer, what's the point of losing the value? My objective if I can, and I stress, if I can, is to assist the club to bring new players in before the end of the transfer window. If we could do that and actually be stronger at the end of it financially, and at least as strong on the pitch, it's a job well done." Reid, without naming names, admitted he had made approaches about possible loan signings. "I'm actively doing that," he said. "Hopefully, sooner rather than later, we can get the embargo lifted."
Argyle's game at Leyton Orient, originally scheduled for December 18th, has been rearranged for Tuesday March 1st at 7.45pm.
Peter Reid admitted he had sensed before kick-off at Bournemouth that the players' morale had taken a hit, due to the absence of Bradley Wright-Phillips. He said: "The boy was great. He wanted to play. But Reading put a stipulation down and we went along with it. It was difficult because he has been in good form for us. I had to give a Winston Churchill sort of speech, so I'm glad I wasn't around in the War with the way that went! It was along the lines of 'we have lost Brad but we are in this together'. But I have been in this game a long time, and I just had a feeing before we went out it would be difficult for us. We have got to get it out of our system now and get on with a difficult game at Huddersfield tomorrow."
Peter Reid refused to use the absence of Bradley Wright-Phillips as an excuse for the lacklustre performance at Bournemouth on Saturday. He said: "The club's financial position has been well documented, and needs must. We have just got to get on with it. That doesn't mask our performance. Give credit to Bournemouth, who played very well, but I thought it was too easy. I lost count of how many times they hit the woodwork so, in the end, we were beaten by a side who had more desire and were stronger and quicker on the day. Whatever happens with people coming and going, we have just to get on with it. We have got to be more difficult to beat in football matches. It's not easy at the moment, but we have just got to get on with it. There is no magic wand. It's all about hard work. We have got to get together as a group, the players, myself and the staff, and try to win football matches." Reid admitted Argyle were 'down to the bare bones' after the sale of Craig Noone and Reda Johnson and in the absence of Wright-Phillips. "Without making any excuses for the lads who played out there, there were a few tired legs out there, which you could understand," he said. Reid will have to rely on the same squad for the difficult trip to Huddersfield. He said: "We didn't play well, but these players have showed tremendous character recently. We have had a bad day, and credit to Bournemouth, but we have got to keep on going and get the best out of them. That's the situation. It's no use moaning or crying about it." Reid was disappointed at the way Argyle allowed veteran striker Steve Fletcher to dictate play for Bournemouth. He said: "There were basic things that went wrong. For example, we didn't pick up runners. Fletcher has been around forever, and I knew they were going to have runners off him. And if you can't win the second ball, go with the runners, and we didn't do it well enough. The pitch was a bit bobbly, but you have got to pass it better than we did. There's no excuse for that. It's a basic in football. We have got to get better at that."
Bradley Wright-Phillips is set to become the latest player to leave Home Park. Speaking after the defeat at Bournemouth, Peter Reid said: "It's been well documented what the club's position is, so needs must. Whatever happens, people come and go, we've just got to get on with it. At this point in time, everyone's for sale. We've agreed terms and I'm led to believe the lad's agreed terms, so I think it's just in terms of a medical to pass and we go on from there. We've had to get value for money now because we can't talk to players about new deals. I spoke to him last night and we were realistic. I said 'The club needs the money, you've got to go. You've got 13 goals; it's about you'. I just said 'Go there and get goals' and I wish him all the best because he has done well for the club over the last five or six months." Reid insisted he did not begrudge Wright-Phillips the move, particularly with his contract set to expire at the end of the season. He said: "He's got goals, he's held the ball up, and he's been a valuable member of the current squad and I wish him all the best in his future career once the medical's passed. It's a terrific move. Let's be honest, would you hold on if you were at Argyle at the moment? I'm almost certain we'd have lost him in the summer for nothing, so that's the brutal reality of it. I just feel sorry for the fans, they were tremendous today. I don't want to sell my best players, but that's the way it is right now." It remains a trying period for everyone connected with Argyle, but Reid is confident things will be looking up sooner, rather than later. He said: "What I've got to do is try and stay positive and, in terms of when we get the embargo lifted, going out and getting some players. It's a Catch 22 situation because you can't offer our players new contracts because of the embargo so you've got to get the sale value and hopefully, when we've paid enough money, I can go out and get some players on loan. They're going to be young players who want to go out there and get experience and play football - that's what we hang on to. It's a difficult situation for everybody, but we've got to win games and keep the football club going."
Peter Reid admitted the absence of Bradley Wright-Phillips set the tone for his team's below par performance at Bournemouth. He said: "I had a chat with the boy last night and he was great, he wanted to play. But obviously Reading put a stipulation down and we went along with it. It was difficult because he's been on good form for us and we're down to the bare bones. We've had to sell a player and we've just got to get on with it. That doesn't mask our performance. Credit to Bournemouth who played very well, but I thought it was too easy. It was 3-0, but they've hit the woodwork...I've lost count how many times. In the end, we've been beaten by a side who had more desire and were stronger and quicker on the day. We've got to be more difficult to beat. We didn't pick up runners. If you can't pick up the second ball then go with the runners and we didn't do that well enough. The pitch was a bit bobbly but we didn't pass it well so there's no excuse for that. We've got to get better." Reid's hands are now severely tied, with a depleted and inexperienced squad. He said: "Without making any excuses for them, there were a few tired legs out there which you could understand. When it went to 3-0, I had to rest a couple of them. There's a 19-year-old and a 17-year-old at centre-back. We didn't play well today but these players have shown tremendous character and we've got to keep on going and get the best out of them. There's no magic wand; it's all about hard work and we've just got to get together as a group, the players, the staff, myself, and try and win football matches. These things happen. It happened at Bournemouth a few seasons ago and they've fought back, so that's what we need to do."
Argyle's youth team beat Bristol Rovers 2-1 at Millbay Park yesterday, the goals scored by Connor Clifford and Luke Young. Argyle: Varazinskis, Hart, Sawyer, Richards, Clifford, Harper-Penman, Young, Copp, Baker, Rickard, Sims, Baker. Subs - Vassell, Coombes (not used - Berry, Bradley, Ord).
Argyle lost 3-0 at Bournemouth. Argyle: Button, Zubar, Nelson, N'Gala, Bhasera, Patterson, Arnason, Clark, Fletcher, Bolasie, Mason. Subs - Paterson, Duguid (not used – Larrieu, Timar, Stephens, Peterlin). Attendance - 7,689.
Bradley Wright-Phillips was omitted from the Argyle squad at Bournemouth today, with reports suggesting he is holding talks about a move to Reading. Argyle are said to have agreed a transfer fee of around £300,000 after an initial offer of less than £100,000 was rejected.
George Donnelly yesterday completed his move to Fleetwood Town, for a reported fee of £50,000.
Conor Clifford remains firmly in Peter Reid's thoughts. "If there was one player who I'd like back at the club, it would be him," said Reid. "He's enthusiastic; he leads from the front; and was a breath of fresh air when he was here. He would be a player I would like to bring back, without a doubt."
Argyle will not sell Bradley Wright-Phillips, or any of their other players, for cut-price transfer fees, Peter Ridsdale has pledged. It is believed that Ian Holloway's Blackpool made an initial bid of between £20,000 and £30,000 for Wright-Phillips, which was instantly dismissed by Argyle. Ridsdale said: "In terms of the rest of the season, clearly there is going to be a major challenge to properly identify how much cash we need to get through, and to identify sources from which that income can come. That will include potential further sales of players. I say 'potential' because you can only respond to bids you get. But what the Reda Johnson and Craig Noone deals have done for us is to allow us the breathing space to only take serious offers, rather than people trying to get our players on the cheap because they think we're in a fire-sale. We are not in a fire-sale. We have done a good job in the first few days, and because of the work that has been done we will only entertain offers for any of our players if it has a materially positive impact on closing the cash hole."
Argyle will try to overcome the team with the best home record in League One at Bournemouth tomorrow. Bournemouth's preparations for the visit of Argyle have been overshadowed however, by speculation about the future of their manager Eddie Howe, who is being strongly linked with the vacancy at Crystal Palace. Peter Reid has a lot of respect for the work that Howe has done since taking over at Dean Court two years ago. "The manager has done a fantastic job and, particularly at Dean Court, they are a difficult side to play against," he said. They get it down and play good football. Like I said before Bristol Rovers, we have got a run of away games which are going to be really difficult. This one will prove to be a hard one and we will have to play well to get something out of it." Argyle are unbeaten in their last five games and Reid added: "We are on a bit of a run now, and I think the players did show a lot of character on Tuesday. It was particularly disappointing to concede the goals in the manner we did, because I don't think they had to work for them. I thought we were poor defensively, but the way the players responded was excellent. However, if Bournemouth got into that position I don't think it would be too easy to get back into it. So when that whistle blows tomorrow we need to be up for it from the start. All credit to the players for coming back to win at Bristol Rovers, but that's history. We have had the pats on our backs and we get on to the next game now. It's crucial that we try to get another three points, even though it will be very difficult." Another pleasing aspect of the victory over Bristol Rovers for Reid was the support of the fans. He said: "Even at half-time the fans were brilliant. You can forget about that at the end of the game, after a great comeback, but it's when times are hard that you are looking for what I call true fans, and they certainly showed their colours at half-time. It was absolutely amazing, and I was just glad we could put on a performance in the second half which sent them home happy. They deserved that because they were terrific."
Bradley Wright-Phillips has revealed he is over the worst after a troublesome knee injury. He said: "It was a problem for me. After a game or training, the knee would hurt sometimes but it has got a lot better. I had an injection maybe a month ago and it feels a lot better now. I can join in training a bit more." Argyle are unbeaten in their last five games, despite the financial troubles at Home Park. Wright-Phillips said: "I think the situation that is happening at the club has brought us together. All the boys are pulling their own weight and it's good to play for Plymouth." Argyle's trip to Bristol Rovers was the first of three successive away games, and they now face seven away games before February 5th. Wright-Phillips insisted there was a positive mood among the players though. "We are three points off the play-offs, so that's an incentive for us," he said. "Everybody wants to be up there. Playing the away games isn't a problem. I just hate the bus." Argyle beat Bristol Rovers despite conceding two goals inside the first 11 minutes. Wright-Phillips said: "We weren't the best in the first half, but we were brilliant in the second. We were 2-0 down and had the target of getting one goal. We got it and came back." Wright-Phillips scored in the 58th minute to make it 2-1, but, initially, he feared the goal would not count. He said: "I just remember Bondz and Zubar got flick-ons, and I tried to read it and get a shot on target. It felt like a slight handball, but I watched it on TV and it didn't look that bad. I think if they had scored and made it 3-0 we would have been struggling. But because we got the goal they started to panic a bit and we took confidence from that." Joe Mason equalised in the 69th minute and Zubar headed home the winning goal in the 80th minute. Wright-Phillips said: "He's a beast. He's a handful in the air, and that's two in three for him now." Rovers applied some late pressure, and David Button made a superb late save. "Butts has done well for us since he came here and he's a good 'keeper," added Wright-Phillips. "Rovers were bound to put some pressure on us. We were playing at their ground and had just come back, but I think we dealt with it well." Wright-Phillips is League One's top scorer with 13 goals. He said: "I had a long injury last season so it's just good to be playing. And I can't complain about the goals I have scored. I don't really try to go out onto the pitch thinking about goals. I just try to work hard."
Four clubs are showing an interest in signing Bradley Wright-Phillips according to newspaper reports, and two of them, including Blackpool, have made unsuccessful bids. Peter Reid said: "Blackpool didn't meet our valuation and, hopefully, he keeps on getting goals for us. Another club have made a bid for him, and a couple of others have showed interest as well." Wright-Phillips insisted he was unsure what the future held for him. He said: "I don't really know what's going on. People are telling me there have been bids and I have seen things in the paper but nobody has phoned me. I play for Plymouth and that's it. But, obviously, the club is in a situation where they need money and two players have gone already." Three other strikers could be set to leave Home Park in the near future. The club have accepted an offer for George Donnelly, believed to be £50,000, from ambitious Conference side Fleetwood Town, but Stevenage have also made a bid for Donnelly and he was in talks with them yesterday. Reid said: "I have spoken to his agent and I think he still wants to be involved in league football. Stevenage are there. But if he doesn't agree anything, he comes back here and joins in." Rory Fallon has been on loan to Ipswich Town since November and they have until January 15th to decide whether they want to sign him on a permanent basis. Steve MacLean is nearing the end of the second month of his loan spell at Oxford United, and Reid said: "There is a possibility of him staying there until the end of the season, which is when his contract is up."
Marcel Seip has returned to Argyle at the end of his loan spell to Charlton Athletic. He did not make a first team appearance, being an unused substitute five times. Although back at Home Park, the terms of his loan mean he will not be able to play at Bournemouth on Saturday. After that, says Peter Reid, he comes back into contention. "Whoever's at the football club is involved," he said. "The way the flu bug has been going around the club, I'm not daft enough daft to rule anybody out. When you are thin on the ground, every senior professional is involved." Argyle first-year professionals Sean Kinsella and Ryan Leonard are nearing the end of loan spells at Stafford Rangers and Weston-super-Mare respectively and Peter Reid has told them, and striker Liam Head, they do not figure in his first team plans so their futures would seem to be away from Home Park.
Peter Ridsdale has been impressed by the recent support for the club from the Green Army. "I would like to pay tribute to the supporters," he said, "because it is very easy in challenging times, for people to stay away, watch from a distance, and leave us to sort out the mess that we find ourselves in. The fact is that the crowds recently have been significantly higher than the low against Dagenham & Redbridge, which, certainly, we are all very grateful for. On Tuesday night at Bristol Rovers, even when we went 2-0 down, it was absolutely clear that the support that the team was getting was beyond anything we could expect for a club that's in trouble and a team that was losing 2-0. I am sure it helped the spirit that the lads showed in turning the game round and winning 3-2. It's a tribute to all of the supporters, the way in which they have got behind the club and we are desperately keen to see that continue through the rest of the season as we seek to solve the problems."
The immediate threat of Argyle going out of business has receded after the club paid off a tax debt to HM Revenue and Customs. The players and staff are also finally receiving their wages for December, nearly two weeks later than scheduled. Peter Ridsdale has warned that these steps have only begun to solve the crisis at Home Park though. Argyle have been facing a winding-up petition from HMRC over unpaid tax of £760,000. But now, after the transfers of Craig Noone and Reda Johnson, have settled the debt. But Ridsdale has pointed out that Argyle have accrued further unpaid tax since being served with the winding-up petition, and that will have to be resolved soon or more legal action will follow. Ridsdale said: "The current situation is that we have got a debt to HMRC which falls into essentially two main parts. The first part is what is called the petition debt. That is the debt which was put before the court, for which we got a stay of 63 days. As a result of selling Craig Noone and Reda Johnson, and some of the other actions we have taken, we have been able to satisfy the petition debt. That's probably a couple of weeks ahead of schedule, from our perspective. While, on the face of it, that's very good news, what we shouldn't do is forget we still have an outstanding amount of money owing to HMRC. It's not yet subject to a petition, but it will be if we don't quickly find a way of paying that off. All our energies are focused on raising enough money to do that. Our objective is to do that before the January transfer window closes. My personal objective is to get to a position by the end of January where we have paid HMRC in full, brought our staff and player wages up to date, and to be satisfied that we have got an agreement with our pressing creditors on a payment plan to make sure we negate any other legal action against the club. That would give the club breathing space to get its long-term financing sorted out. If we were marking ourselves, we would say we have started well but there is still a lot of hard work to be done. Therefore, nobody can rest on their laurels that we have done anything other than scratch the surface in solving the problem." Argyle have had trouble paying their players and staff for much of this season, but Ridsdale hopes that is behind them. He said: "The non-playing staff were paid for November, but late, and weren't paid for December. I'm delighted to say the bank payment was triggered on Wednesday, and I think it's probably going to be today when the money is actually clear. The players received part payment for November through a mixture of Professional Footballers' Association loans, directly to them, and payment from the club. There is still a balancing number for November to be paid to the players, but they were paid, in full, for December this week, alongside the staff. It would be our intention to bring any arrears of salary payments up to date before the end of January."
Bondz N'Gala returned from illness to play a vital part in Argyle's win at Bristol Rovers on Tuesday. N'Gala started the match on the bench, having been laid low by 'flu. Carl Fletcher moved from midfield to centre-back due to the departure of Reda Johnson, but that move did not work out, as Rovers took a 2-0 lead, with one of their goals coming after a mistake by Fletcher. Peter Reid said: "It didn't work really with Fletch at the back, but N'Gala had been suffering from 'flu. He had only trained for one day so it was a difficult situation. But when you are 2-0 down at half-time you have got to change it and all credit to the players. Rovers came out of the blocks and were really sharp, and put us under pressure. They deservedly went 2-0 up and we were on the back foot, but I did feel towards the end of the first half we were just getting a foothold. Their 'keeper made a great save off Jim Paterson. We had a chat at half-time about the game not being over. I thought if we could get a goal we had a good chance. It's alright talking about it, but the players went out there and did the business. They deserve all the credit. They were the ones who rolled their sleeves up and worked hard. Besides that, I thought they played some decent football and passed it well, so that's even more pleasing. It was a really good game of football and we came out winners."
Bradley Wright-Phillips has been linked with Blackpool, and newspaper reports suggest the club have made a bid, which has been turned down. Peter Reid confirmed other clubs had made offers for a couple of Argyle's players, but declined to identify them. He said: "All I can say is that offers have been made, but they were deemed to be unacceptable."
Argyle's recent form has put some smiles on faces at Home Park and Peter Reid is no exception, but he is not getting carried away. He said: "The table is so tight. If you have a couple of defeats you are down there and people are panicking. And if you have a couple of victories you are the best in the world. I take everything with a pinch of salt. I'm just enjoying the players going out there and showing tremendous spirit, and good football. We have got a couple of really difficult away games coming up, and if you take your foot off the gas you aren't going to win football matches. It was a great result for us on Tuesday, but we need to keep it going." Before the game against Rovers, Reda Johnson completed his transfer to Sheffield Wednesday but Reid did not want to dwell too long on his departure, so soon after that of Craig Noone. He said: "It's always difficult when you are selling players. But that's a fact of life for us at the minute so there is no use moaning about it. You have just got to get on with it. Hopefully, we can pay the debts and get the transfer embargo lifted, and maybe get some loan players in."
Kari Arnason will not be suspended for the game at Bournemouth despite being booked for the fifth time this season in the victory over Bristol Rovers. The cut-off point for players with five yellow cards to be banned for one match was on December 31st, so Arnason will only be 'warned as to his future conduct' by the FA.
Rory Fallon has been ruled out as a potential target for Sheffield Wednesday. Wednesday manager Alan Irvine said: "We have not made an approach to Plymouth about Fallon. I'm well aware of Fallon. I have known about him since he was a youth-team player at Barnsley when I was at Newcastle. He is a good player but we have not made an inquiry."
Peter Reid is delighted Stephane Zubar stuck with Argyle, after he scored the winner at Bristol Rovers last night. "Stephane had a real difficult time when he was trying to get international clearance," said Reid. "That shows character, because he could have just walked away. The boy was training and not playing games for about two and a half months. I'm just delighted for him, because he has shown remarkable patience. I think it shows what a good lad he is." Zubar's two goals in three games have been a bonus to his defensive displays. Reid added: "All of my managerial career, I've been trying to get a goalscoring full-back, and they don't come along."
Kari Arnason paid tribute to Peter Reid after the comeback win at Bristol Rovers last night. He said: "The first three minutes of the game were alright, but apart from that the first-half was absolutely minging. We couldn't string three passes together, we got stressed out. They didn't create anything apart from those two chances, but we weren't good enough. Last season, we would have done what Bristol did, that was our story. The manager made some good calls and pointed out things that helped us a lot. And then Yala came on, and obviously made a huge difference in the second-half."
Peter Reid has insisted that no-one will be leaving Argyle on the cheap. Craig Noone and Reda Johnson have been sold and Bradley Wright-Phillips has also been linked with a move away, with the Blackpool Gazette claiming Ian Holloway, now manager of the Seasiders, is keen. "We have had interest from clubs about one or two players," said Reid. "Our valuation of players will have to be matched by anyone wanting to follow up that interest. Now that we have sold a couple of players, we are not under such immediate pressure to sell more. Every player has his price, of course, but any price we agree to has to be totally in the best interests of this football club."
Bradley Wright-Phillips has revealed that his hand in the win over Bristol Rovers might not have been entirely legal. His 58th-minute goal reduced the deficit before Joe Mason's leveller and Stephane Zubar's headed winner nine minutes from time, yet his close control before scoring was possibly not wholly within the laws of the game. After the game he said: "I think it came off my hand a little bit, but that's life." Wright-Phillips was as delighted for his fellow scorers as he was for himself. "I'm buzzing for Joe," he said. "He's come in recently and played well but hasn't got a goal, he's gone close; he's hit the post, so I'm really happy for him. He took it well, as well, nice and relaxed. Super Zubar's catching me up! He's done well. He's a physical threat and we needed something like that. We've put great balls into the box and not had anything on the end of it, and he's providing that at the moment." Wright-Phillips also paid tribute to his team-mates, who came back from conceding two early goals. "Bristol were class in the first half," he said. "They basically battered us. We looked better in the last 15 minutes and we just brought that into the second half. If they had scored the third, I think we would have been done and dusted, but the boys showed some heart out there. We've done that on more than one occasion. It paid off. We could easily lie down and get battered, but that would be embarrassing for us. We're pulling together as a team and we're getting good results."
Kari Arnason apologised to Argyle supporters for an incident after the recent draw with Yeovil. Speaking after the win at Bristol Rovers, he said: "The fans tonight were absolutely brilliant. I can't praise them enough. I'd just like to take the opportunity to apologise to the supporters for what I did last week. I was frustrated and I hope they understand that."
Argyle won 3-2 at Bristol Rovers, the goals scored by Bradley Wright-Phillips after 58 minutes, Joe Mason (69) and Stephane Zubar (81). Argyle: Button, Zubar, Nelson, Arnason, Paterson, Patterson, Clark, Fletcher, Bhasera, Wright-Phillips, Mason. Subs - N'Gala, Bolasie, Duguid (not used – Larrieu, Timar, Peterlin). Attendance - 5,943.
Reda Johnson today completed a transfer to Sheffield Wednesday for an undisclosed fee
Jim Paterson has hailed the way the Argyle squad have rallied around each other during the club's financial crisis. He said: "When we go out on the park none of the problems off the pitch are in our heads. It's the same when you go training, I suppose. We have just been getting on with it. Sometimes things like this happen at a club and you find it brings a group of boys closer together. I wouldn't say it's backs to the wall yet, but it's that sort of mentality where you all dig in for each other, because everybody is in the same boat as you are. I think morale has been good. We will see what happens this month. But our priority is going away to Bristol Rovers tonight and getting a result." Argyle's situation led to the sale of Craig Noone last Friday and more players are expected to leave in the coming days. Paterson said: "The transfer window is open now and we lost Nooney, which was a big blow. But, the form Nooney has been in this season,I suppose it wasn't a surprise. Fair play to Craig, he has moved on so he can kick on his career and look to achieve big things. He did well when he was here, and he was a nice lad as well, so good luck to him. If players are getting moves it normally means they are playing well. And if they are playing well, then the team is doing well. Craig had been playing well and had been scoring goals, and we reaped the benefit of that on the pitch. In the end, somebody else came in for him, and that's the nature of football." The trip to Bristol Rovers tonight will be the first of three successive away games for Argyle over the next eight days, and after that, they will have another four fixtures on the road by the first weekend of February. "It's going to be a busy time," added Paterson. "We haven't played a lot lately, and now we are going into a period where there are a lot of games and a lot of travelling. We have just got to be professional about it. When we aren't playing or travelling, we have got to look after ourselves. I think that's the most important thing. We are at a stage of the season where if you put a run together you can climb the table very quickly."
After playing Bristol Rovers tonight, Argyle will travel to Bournemouth on Saturday, before making the long trip to Huddersfield Town next Tuesday. It is a daunting prospect, but Peter Reid is determined to make the best of it. He said: "It's just the way it has come out, with the weather conditions the way they were and the postponements. These three away games are going to test us, without a doubt, because we are playing some good sides. After Bristol Rovers, we have got Bournemouth and Huddersfield, who are up near the top of the table. It will be tough, but that's the way it has come out and we have just got to handle it." Reid admitted losing the services of Conor Clifford and Craig Noone had been far from ideal. He said: "They were two influential players, but it's a chance for other people to come in and do a job for the club. Like I have said all the time, the club is the most important thing. We have just got to get through this difficult period for the club and then, hopefully, we can get a bit of stability and improve and grow from there." Bondz N'Gala is added to Argyle's squad tonight after he was ruled out of the draw with Yeovil Town because of illness, but Jack Stephens could miss the trip after being sent home from training yesterday afternoon with flu symptoms. Although Argyle could not beat Yeovil, there were still some positives for Reid to take out of the match, and he added: "We have had the Pro-Zone stats from the Yeovil game and they were the best figures in terms of completed passes we have had as a club since 2007, so that pleases me. We have just got to keep getting it down and passing it, but improve on the final ball. That's what we will be impressing on the players." Bristol Rovers have not won any of their last eight league games, picking up only four points in the process, but Reid said: "They have had a change of manager and had a disappointing result against MK Dons, but I fully expect a big improvement from them. I'm always wary about playing teams after they have had a bad result. We have got to try to keep our passing going, but with that extra bit of quality in the final third. That's what we are going to look to do."
Reda Johnson looks set to be the next player to leave Argyle. He is poised to sign for Sheffield Wednesday for an undisclosed transfer fee and travelled to Yorkshire for talks about personal terms yesterday. Wednesday have also tabled a bid for Rory Fallon. Another striker, George Donnelly, is also set to be sold by the club in the coming days. Donnelly has spent all of this season on loan to Stockport County, who would like to take him to Edgeley Park on a permanent transfer, but they face competition from Morecambe and Conference club Fleetwood Town. Peter Reid admitted he was facing a 'difficult situation' over the sale of players. He said: "It's a balancing act. I'm going to lose players, but I don't want to leave myself too short. It's a difficult situation. There is interest in a few players, but I don't want to sell everybody." Argyle officials are optimistic the tax bills will be paid to HMRC and the transfer embargo lifted by later this month. Reid added: "Hopefully, that will give me some leeway in the loan market. That's the plan."
Peter Reid will not be seeking an immediate replacement for departed head coach Paul Mariner, who left the club last week and is believed to be heading back to Major League Soccer. "Coaches can't go out there and win games for you," he said. "The priorities for me are, obviously, getting this club through this difficult time from a financial point of view, but then getting players in." Reid has first-team coach Geoff Crudgington, and youth coaches Adam Sadler and Kevin Hodges, to help him, although Hodges will not be on the bench at his former club Bristol Rovers on Tuesday. "We are a bit short on the coaching front, but we'll all pull together," he said. "We've just got to get on with it. It's all hands to the pump." Reid also paid tribute to Mariner. "I've know Paul since I was a young lad," he said. "He's a big pal of mine. We will stay in contact. We part under good circumstances. It's not a fall-out, it's not a sacking, Paul decided that his future lies somewhere else. I respect that decision and wish him all the best."
Peter Ridsdale could be set take over as Argyle's new chairman, provided the club survive the immediate threat to their future. Ridsdale was confirmed as a full-time football consultant last Thursday and reports suggest he was close to being named as the chairman. But he was advised not to take up the post because of the club's financial position and the possibility they could fold. Ridsdale said: "I'm mindful of the legalities of taking on titles and executive responsibilities. Therefore, until everybody is clear there is a way forward, I will remain as a consultant to the board. If the fog lifts and the way forward becomes clear that might change. But, as things stand, the board of directors will have the responsibility to say 'yes' or 'no' to what I suggest to them. Our immediate focus is to make sure we pay HMRC and any other pressing creditors by February 9. If we can do that, then we will review whether there is an ongoing role for me, whether the board want me to stay and, if so, in what capacity." Ridsdale is not receiving a salary for his role as Argyle's football consultant. One of the reasons he was prepared to do that was his friendship with Paul Stapleton. Ridsdale said: "I'm doing this for no remuneration whatsoever because, frankly, the club isn't in any position to pay me anything. I have been a long-time friend of Paul and, to some degree, Tony Wrathall. I'm a football person and I feel strongly, in the short term, I do have the time to assist. I will do that to the best of my ability but this football club needs a lot of things to go its way if it's to come out the other end and be successful going forward." Argyle have brought in David Jones, a former finance director at Southampton, to oversee the finances at Home Park and Stapleton thought the involvement of Ridsdale was another boost to the club's chances of survival. He said: "The board have realised we need some significant help. We have got David Jones in on a short-term contract initially, which is going to help the financial side in the offices on a day-to-day basis. And Peter has agreed to be here full-time, which is what this football club needs. It needs someone in the offices, working with the staff and working with the manager, and he has vast experience in football. Peter knows he has the support of the board. The Football League are embracing Peter coming to Plymouth Argyle, which is good. You need friends at the Football League at important times like this."
David Button came to the rescue for Argyle with a superb penalty save during the draw with Yeovil Town. Peter Reid said: "It was a great save by David. I thought we might have had a free-kick in the build-up, for a foul on Rory Patterson on the far side. But the referee has made a decision which I'm still not convinced about. It was a great save and a clean-sheet for us. We know how much 'keepers like clean-sheets, so I'm pleased for David." It was Argyle's first 0-0 draw of the season, and Reid added: "I thought there was some good football played, to be honest, but I don't think either side worked the 'keepers enough. Whether that's a credit to the defences, or because of a lack of quality, that's debatable. Even though there were good passing movements by both sides in the game, there wasn't a real cutting edge. From our point of view, which I look at, there wasn't enough quality. Anything that bounced in the box from our dead-ball situations, we didn't get on the end of." Onismor Bhasera was pushed forward from left-back to a wide-left attacking role, allowing Jim Paterson to return to the starting line-up at left-back. Reid said: "There were a couple of options I could have gone with. But I just decided on that one, and it worked out OK. I thought Bas did all right in there, considering he had to come off with 'flu in midweek. Jim was a steady-Eddie as usual. He's a good professional." With Paul Mariner gone, there was a familiar face in the home dug-out on Saturday. Kevin Hodges, who now coaches the club's youth squad, was alongside Reid.
Paul Wotton returned to Home Park yesterday, playing his first game for Yeovil after joining the club on loan last week. After the game Wotton spoke of his concern for his hometown club. He said: "I'm praying like any other Plymouth Argyle fan, because that's what I am, that it can get sorted. There's something about this football club, it just sucks you in. I'm born in the city, all my family and my wife's family are from the city and I've got a massive, massive affection for the football club. I'd love to have been coming back in better times for Plymouth but unfortunately it's not meant to be. You can't be with the club and do what I've done for the club without being emotional about it, so when I see the present situation it does fill me with sadness and it fills me with a certain amount of anger as well, because something somewhere has gone massively wrong. That's not for me to say because I don't know. I had a similar situation at Southampton but fortunately that got sorted out very, very quickly. I can't sit here and say the club won't die, but it's a very serious situation." Wotton admitted marking his Yeovil debut with a trip home was a surreal experience, thanking the fans for their positive ovation before kick-off. He said: "To be honest I'd be disappointed if I didn't get a good reception. I never wanted to leave the club, I got told to leave. I think they appreciate what I did here, it was nice. It was a little bit strange to be honest. If I said it was like any other game I'd be lying but it was great. I love the football club and it was brilliant to play out there again - under different circumstances, but I thoroughly enjoyed it." When asked which of the Argyle players stood out through his eyes, Wotton added: "I thought Mase did really well, I think he looks a really good player, good movement. I certainly didn't need to be chasing him about the last 20 minutes that's for sure. I couldn't even get close enough to whack him! The young lad at the back, Curtis Nelson, is only 17 and he's playing league football, he's obviously got a chance. He didn't look out of place that's for sure."
Joe Mason can step into the void created by Craig Noone's departure, according to Peter Reid. Mason was one of the bright spots of the draw against Yeovil yesterday and came close to helping break the deadlock when he teed up Rory Patterson in the first half. "If Rory had a better first touch and stuck that one in, I think we'd all be eulogising about what a great pass it was from Joe Mason," said Reid. "It was a brilliant bit of football. Unfortunately, Rory's first touch wasn't up to what he's hoped and I'd hoped for. So Craig goes, but Joe comes to the party. It was just unfortunate we couldn't get the victory. Since I've been here, I've always thought that Joe was a really good footballer. He hasn't really had a run in the side. He's a bit of a quiet lad, a bit of an introvert. Hopefully, this little run will bring this confidence out of him, because some of the things he does are really good. He's a got a good brain. The way he handles the ball, the way he goes past people with deft touches... he does that well and it looks simple - I think that's the hallmark of a good player. We've just got to try to work him through because, physically, he's not the best. We're working on that because he certainly showed on a few occasions today that he is a talent. He did make things happen for us."
Argyle drew 0-0 with Yeovil Town at Home Park. Argyle: Button, Zubar, Nelson, Johnson, Bhasera, Patterson, Arnason, Fletcher, Paterson, Wright-Phillips, Mason. Subs - Bolasie (not used – Larrieu, Clark, Duguid, Stephens, Timar, Peterlin). Attendance - 9,720.
Peter Reid and his players will turn their back on Argyle's financial problems this weekend. Reid believes that the game against Yeovil Town will let the squad put the concerns of an uncertain future to one side and focus all their energies on what they do best. He said: "The beauty of the club being in this position, if you can say that, is that football matches are there to enjoy. I know there's pressure and you have to get a result, but getting out there on a Saturday is the enjoyable part. When the referee blows the whistle at 3 o'clock, we're out there and it's about us trying to win games. It's about the game, and we have to focus on that. It's what the players love doing and it's what I love doing."
After a week of turmoil at Argyle, Peter Reid has to focus on trying to win a football game this afternoon. On the eve of the game against Yeovil Town, he said: "You always want it right from top to bottom at football clubs, but there are some things you can't affect and it's no use expending energy on them. I'm sure the board of directors and Peter Ridsdale will sort out the ongoing financial problems. That's all I want, that's all the players and staff, and that's what the supporters want. Whatever way they go about doing it, I'm fully supportive of. My job is to get lads focused and try to give the supporters something to cheer about. Certain cards are dealt to you, and you have got to get on with it. I'm sure, if this club had the money to invest in players, it would do. The most important thing is for Argyle to carry on as a football club. It's crucial. It has such great history, great tradition and great fans. We have to keep it going." Yeovil are bottom of League One, six points from safety, but Reid will not be taking anything for granted. He said: "It's up to us to go out there and put a performance on to earn the right to win the game. If you look at it, we are the favourites but, I tell you what, it doesn't always work that way." Apart from Craig Noone, Reid hopes to be able to call upon the players who played in the draw with Notts County on Tuesday. "Curtis Nelson came off in that game with a bit of cramp, and Onismor Bhasera had a bit of flu, but we are expecting them to be OK," he said. Yannick Bolasie could replace Noone, while Jim Paterson is also pressing for a start after coming on as a substitute against County and making two great blocks late in the game. "He's a great pro who has been terrific whilst I've been here," Reid added. "We talk about silky football, but the side of football that often wins you games is putting your body on the line, and Jim is great at that. I'm delighted he's fit and that I've got a good experienced player in my squad."
Argyle are set to keep goalkeeper Oliver Chenoweth at Home Park. However, Lee Molyneux and Jordan Trott will not be having their existing deals extended when they expire this week.
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