A Round-up of Argyle News
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Also included on the three most recent days, facts from Argyle's history.
Argyle have lost 2-1 to Yeovil Town on a night of torrential rain at Huish Park. Two set piece goals within three minutes saw Argyle go behind 2-0. Jakub Sokolik's first goal for the club proved no more than a consolation. Argyle: McCormick, Threlkeld, Sokolik, Bradley, Sawyer, Songo'o, Fox(Sarcevic), Tanner, Carey, Donaldson(Jervis), Blissett(Slew). Subs: Dorel, Bulvitis, Rooney.
The night was not over there however, as Argyle confirmed the signing of 22 year old winger Matty Kennedy who has joined on loan from Cardiff City until the end of the season. He will wear the number 33 shirt. He has represented Scotland at every age group level from Under-15 to Under-21.
Also, Louis Rooney is joining Argyle's Sky Bet League Two rivals Hartlepool United on loan for the remainder of the season. The deal went through just 17 seconds before the transfer window closed. Ironically, Hartlepool were the opponents in his only ever league start for Argyle where he scored twice.
Ben Purrington has signed for Rotherham United on a three and a half year contract for an undisclosed fee. The left-back moves on just over three years after making his debut for the club.
Derek Adams said that everyone has got something out of the deal: "He indicated to me that he would like to go and speak to them if an offer was able to be concluded between the clubs. We bargained a deal with Rotherham and we've got a good deal for both Ben and ourselves. When a player indicates that they would like to leave, then you've got to deal with that. We're in a position to turn down the deal, but sometimes you're left with a player who is disgruntled that he's not able to get the move that he wants.
"We've got Gary Sawyer; we've got Oscar Threlkeld; and we've got Sonny Bradley who can play there, as well but we're still looking to maybe add before the window closes. If it doesn't happen we'll look to the free transfer market after the window closes."
In other news, Argyle have signed striker Ryan Taylor from Oxford United, becoming Derek Adams' fourth signing of the January transfer window. Taylor agreed a deal with Oxford to terminate his contract late last week. He will wear the number 19 shirt for Argyle.
On this signing, Adams said: "He was wanted by other clubs but I've been very persistent, and he's recognised I've been trying to get him in for a wee while now and I've not let go. We've been working on it for a number of weeks. We've been trying to take in a striker, to help us, and he's one that's played in League Two, played in the division above, and he gives us good experience. He's 28 years of age; he takes the ball in and leads the line very well; and it's important that at this stage of the season you have experience in your team. He's experienced; he's won promotion out of this league. Taking experienced players into your team is definitely going to help you; players that have been there and done it before are going to help the squad.
"We've got plenty of options there now and, with 20 games to go, we're going to need that, trying to win as many games as we can at the end of the season. Ryan has played the last five games on the trot for Oxford, so he's ready to go."
Finally, with under 24 hours to go until deadline day, Adams said: "We could sign one more. We are trying to get one in on loan from a Championship club."
Derek Adams is hoping for one more signing to complete a successful January transfer window. He said: "Yes, possibly one more. We said that in the transfer window we were trying to get someone, and we're still trying to do that. A winger is an area we have been looking at. We're working on a couple of options but we are still waiting to hear back from the players or the clubs.
"We've got good competition up front. We've got Jimmy Spencer who's coming back into February; we've got Blissett, Garita, Slew, Jervis and Rooney; we've got good competition in that area."
As for players potentially departing, he said: 'I haven't heard of any clubs, but there's always interest in our players and there always will be. Somebody just has to pick up a phone and put in a bid for a player. Until that happens, there's definitely going to be interest in our players, who have done so well. Of course, you want to try and keep your squad together and we've been trying to add to the squad that we already had here this season. I think we've done well so far."
Antoni Sarcevic, has been keeping an eye on the Pilgrims' promotion push - and now wants to contribute to it himself. He said: "It's nice feeling to be in and amongst the lads. I'm just buzzing to be back with a very good club, and can't wait to get going. They're all lads I've played against, I haven't played with any. They're all cracking lads and I've got on with every single one of them today. They've all been a pleasure to be with. I watched the Liverpool games on telly, and a couple of days later they showed an interest. I had a couple of options but it was one I definitely couldn't turn down. Given the position in the league, promotion is the only thing we want now. The ground, where they are in the league and the fans; It's just something I want to be part of. It's a positive club and I'm happy to be here.
"My last year was in League One, but I don't see this as a step down, with the position in the league and promotion in mind. I'll just do my best to carry on what's been brilliant already here with the lads and the club, and I hope to add to it. I was only 16 when I left City, so it wasn't really in the serious business of football at the time. I was just wanting to play with my mates and get that love for it again. Ever since that it's just been climbing, climbing, climbing and I'm buzzing to be here."
Argyle have confirmed the signing of former Fleetwood and Shrewsbury midfielder Antoni Sarcevic. Sarcevic has gained promotion from this league with Fleetwood in 2013/14 and left the shrews last month before joining Argyle. He will wear the number 7 shirt.
Derek Adams said on the signing: "He's a central midfield player that we've all been looking for. He's got good energy; he likes to get into the box; he's creative; good with set plays and he can be useful with his energy in the middle of the pitch. We're a wee bit short in numbers there with Connor Smith and David Ijaha getting injured, so it gives us good competition there. We've been working on it for a wee while now. He'd left Shrewsbury and there was obviously interest in him, but he wanted to come to Plymouth Argyle because it's one of the biggest clubs in this division. He's seen how well we have done this season and wanted to be part of it.
"He knows what it takes to get out of this division. He's got very good experience for 24-years-old that's important as well. He's got enough physical presence about him, but also guile to score and create goals. Antoni can play number 10, he can also play in midfield.
In more sad news, Adams confirmed that Ryan Brunt has suffered yet another setback from the injury he first obtained in March 2016 at Barnet. Adams said: "Ryan has had a setback and he's not running at this moment in time. He has had to rest for six weeks and now he has got to get back to running again, which will probably happen within the next week or so. We don't feel it's anything to concern ourselves with. It's just the consultant had asked him to give it a rest. It's a long time to be out and we have obviously missed him in and around the squad."
"As a football club, we have looked after him. He's with us until the end of the season and the football club have been very supportive towards him. He has still got that opportunity. He just needs to get himself back running The quicker he does that and gets game-time under his belt, there is still a good possibility that playing for the first team this season will happen."
He had more positive imminent news on Jimmy Spencer, however: "He will be back in February. I'm not sure whether it will be the middle or to the end of the month. He's progressing well. He's running now and he looks in good shape."
Argyle have confirm that David Goodwillie has left the club by mutual agreement. Goodwillie has asked the club to terminate his contract of employment in order that he can focus his time on a potential appeal of the civil judgement made against him. PAFC has agreed to his request.
Argyle's match against Blackpool, postponed due to the Seasiders' involvement in the FA Cup fourth round has been re-arranged for Tuesday March 7th. It has the earlier than usual kick-off time of 7.30pm.
Derek Adams is hoping his Argyle side enjoy a good rest before undertaking the rest of the season in the crucial final 20 games that will make or break promotion. He went on to speak about the likelihood of adding to his squad before the end of the transfer window. Adams said: "They've been on a difficult run of fixtures and performed really well out of them against Liverpool and Stevenage. When they came here, they were able to get themselves going. Today, they've been able to get a very important victory. This league is very competitive. Home or away, you've got to be at it on a weekly basis. We're just delighted to come away from here with three points. We've been in a lot of the time, and the players are going to have a few days off now, because they've worked so hard – as has everyone at the football club. They deserve to get that rest. We've had a hard time travel-wise and had a lot of pressure on us. We've had a lot of work to do. We haven't got a game until a week on Tuesday, so it's good for us. The boys are going to have a few days off now and there's only one better way to do that, and that's to get a victory beforehand.
"We're still trying to do business. Teams are either playing their players or waiting to get players in before they get players out, so I think it'll be a busy time. We've scouted a good lot of players, and we're just waiting for the say-so to. It could be a loan and a permanent signing. We'll just have to wait and see. We're definitely looking for a wide player, because we've been looking at that for the whole season. We're after a few and we just have to hope we can get them. It's important to just give us a bit more depth. We've got a lot of players out injured at the moment which hasn't helped."
Derek Adams credits the win against Cheltenham in no small part to the decision made at half-time to match's Cheltenham's 3-5-2 system and simultaneously go more direct. Adams said: "We've obviously changed the formation at half time and changed the personnel, because we knew what might happen in the second half. I thought that Cheltenham were going to go very direct in the second half. We had to deal with an aerial bombardment in the second half. We knew that was going to be the case because they were down the slope in the second half. They've got good quality into the box, they've got long throws, and we dealt with it well. I just thought about giving us better protection in the back, to allow us to try and see out the game. It worked well for us. We probably didn't create much in the second half, but we've been able to get a victory.
"Jakub made a lot of good headers and he's tough, as well. He goes in with his head and reads the game well, and he was composed at times. I was delighted for him. Nathan comes on as well and gives us that extra dimension up front. It wasn't easy for him because the balls going up to him weren't the best at times. We didn't really get enough people around about him."
Adams' other primary factor was the gutsiness and strong mentality of his squad, that enabled them to come back from conceding a heartbreaking equaliser to score the winning goal in the dying stages of the match. He added: "When we've got that free-kick, we've got good quality. A great ball into the box from David Fox, and Sonny, as he has done for the majority of the season, does well winning the header. For the second game this season, he's scored two. It was a very good header. He gets up well at the back area and gets good power on it. He's a big player for us
"I didn't think the playing surface was right to be played on. It was very hard under foot and I didn't think we'd able to play on it. The goalmouths, especially the one on the right-hand side of our dugout, were solid. I was very surprised that the game had gone ahead. I didn't think it was safe, because the goalkeepers were in and amongst the penalty area and it can cause them trouble. Somehow, we've been able to get through it.
"Credit to our players: they show great resilience on a weekly basis and they've come away with a good victory. I've said before that this group are very good characters. They're very tight-knit and it's good for them to get that victory again. It wasn't going to be a pretty day; we knew that from the start of the match. But the players have got fantastic character. For us today to come here, on a difficult playing surface, to get the victory: we're delighted about it, especially with it being so late in the game."
Sonny Bradley talked fans through his euphoric winning goal in stoppage time in the game, explaining: "I went over to Graham and Foxy because they stand over the ball - is it going to be a left 'un; is it going to be a right 'un? – and I said to Graham 'If you are not going to hit it, let Foxy just stand it up at the back stick for me because I'll put it in the net.' Foxy was giving me the nod like 'we're on.' From then on, I knew it was coming to me. I stood at the back stick; I waited for the flight of the ball and I timed my header well. I didn't actually see it hit the back of the net – I've got up and everyone was jumping on me, so that's when I kind of figured out I'd scored the winner.
"Obviously scoring a winner in injury-time is brilliant stuff for myself and it's great for the club. Everyone's delighted. Wotty's come out and said it's the biggest result of the season so far – and he's probably right. I don't think Cheltenham had too many chances. The goal we conceded was a little bit of warning sign, though, because that's another set-piece we have conceded from which, on a personal level, I am not happy with; the team are not happy. But, when you score a 91st-minute winner, it kind of overshadows it.
When you look back at both goals, they probably are pretty similar," he said. "I can tell you now, it's the same feeling as well. The feeling of scoring winner in a football match – not many will get to feel that. It's a great feeling. We've shown great character. We were very tired after the Liverpool game. Although it might have looked like we didn't have to do too much work, it really was a lot of strain on our legs. We have recovered well since then and we knew we had more than enough. Jake and Slewy ran themselves into the ground in the first half. The gaffer has seen that and brought on fresh legs to go for the win. The gaffer said before the game 'We've got 90 minutes here and then we've got the chance of a good rest' so we put everything into this game. If we want to get promoted – which we do – we have got to look after our bodies and we have got to perform to our best every week. That's what we've done today and, if we continue to do that, we'll be up there at the end of the season."
Argyle have secured another vital win on the road towards promotion, beating Cheltenham 2-1 with a Sonny Bradley double. He scored the first in a goalline scramble in the first half before the home side levelled it up in the 85th minute. Luckily though, Bradley was on hand again in the 90th minute as he nodded home David Fox's looping cross. Argyle: McCormick, Threlkeld, Songo'o, Bradley, Purrington, Fox, Donaldson, Carey, Jervis(Blissett), Garita(Tanner), Slew(Sokolik). Subs: Dorel, Bulvitis, Sawyer, Rooney.
Derek Adams has revealed lack of gametime as the primary reason why Karleigh Osborne left Argyle for Kilmarnock last week. Adams said: "Karleigh wanted to get games and I was unable to give him that assurance here. He felt he needed to move on to get more game-time, at this stage of his career, and he has had the opportunity to go to Kilmarnock. I wasn't going to stand in his way and he has been able to get a deal up there. I didn't speak to anyone up in Scotland about him, but he's obviously an experienced player in England. I think he has been very unfortunate. Just before the first pre-season game he picked up an injury. He picked up another injury not long after that and competition for places became more difficult with Songo'o, Bulvitis and Bradley. We have obviously taken in Jakub Sokolik as well."
Adams also spoke about the chances of bringing in some more players between now and the end of the transfer window, saying: "We are definitely hopeful of signing a couple of players before the transfer window closes. I'm just waiting on some clubs to get back to me. They are obviously looking at their squads at this moment in time. I'm sure before the window closes we will have another couple in."
And on the prospect of anyone leaving Home Park, he said: I don't want that to happen and I don't think it will happen. We have got a settled squad and I want to add to what we have got here, and increase the competition and the quality in the squad."
Adams also dismissed concerns that the game against Cheltenham is coming too soon for his squad following Wednesday's tiring game with Liverpool, claiming that his squad are resilient enough: "It's about getting the recovery period quickly turned around. Looking at the players against Liverpool, I thought their fitness levels were excellent. Liverpool changed their team about and had fresh legs but we had played on Saturday in a game where we went behind and came back to win 4-2. So I don't see that being problem because of the energy in the group.
"Graham had a problem with his hip flexor. It was feeling a bit tight but as the game went on he was able to get it moving and played the full 90 minutes. We didn't want to make an early change so we felt if we got to half-time we could see how Graham was getting on."
Graham Carey echoed the words of his manager- saying that he intends to both remain at the club and be fit for the Cheltenham game. Carey: "That's the plan, yes. I've always said, after the Wembley final, I wanted to come back and win the league, but I'd take promotion. A club of this size shouldn't be in this league, no disrespect to any team in this league, with the attendances we can get there's no reason why we shouldn't be playing at a higher level.
"I tweaked my hip flexor a bit and as the game went on I ran it off, but then I got a knock again in the second half towards the end and it went again," he said. So it's quite sore. Hopefully it'll settle down in the next day or two and I'll be ready for Saturday."
Ben Purrington spoke about the value of the experience of playing against top class players and drew a line under the Liverpool tie by hoping it could be used as a springboard for bigger things, such as promotion from this league. The left-back said: "They're a lot shorter than you think, in person. For these Premier League players, their average height is a lot shorter than in League Two, but their feet and their movement is unbelievable. They're so quick, so sharp. If you're playing 180 minutes of football and they only get through with a set piece it says a lot about our defensive unit. When we set up, prepared to defend, we were good.
They're by far the biggest games I've ever played in and for a long time to come will remain the biggest I've ever played in. I got a player's shirt and it will be something nice to look back on in years to come. It was the biggest crowd here I've ever played in front of. It was a great atmosphere and the fans were unbelievable throughout the whole game, even when we were 1-0 down. It's a credit to them for getting behind the lads.
Our heads are, now we're out of the cup, completely on promotion. These games were a learning curve and they showed we can mix it with the big boys. Hopefully we can use it to push on."
Pride in his team was the dominant emotion from Derek Adams following Argyle's valiant exit from the FA Cup against Liverpool. Adams said: "We were probably unfortunate not to score in the first period. In the second half, with Jake Jervis hitting the post, it just wasn't our night. I thought we gave them a scare. We kept the ball a lot better at times tonight and created opportunities. I thought that the forward players got into the penalty area; our full backs got forward as well; that was all the in the game plan. The game plan was to get them to Home Park and then see if we could win the tie. I think in the first game, they were very sound defensively. Tonight, we've given away a goal from a set play. In open play, did Liverpool look like they were scoring? I'm not sure. Did our goalkeeper have a lot of saves to make over the 90 minutes? I think their goalkeeper had a lot more to do than ours.
"They're obviously disappointed – you're disappointed when you go out of the cup. But a Premier League side like Liverpool: they were very respectful tonight, playing the players that they did, and we've pushed them all the way. Over the two games, I think the football club are proud of their players. I think over the two games, we're very proud of our performance. The players: they've left nothing on the pitch tonight. They've made this football club very proud again."
Adams had particular praise for the fans of the club who he felt were in great number and voice in both legs. He said "Tonight, we've put Plymouth Argyle on the map again. A lot of press coverage has come from this game. The attendance was fantastic, and I think the support we've had over the two games – to travel to Liverpool and then fill out the capacity crowd tonight – has shown a worldwide audience that this football club can get back to where it belongs, and they believe it belongs in the Championship. They've had a lot of hard times over the years, and we're just trying to rebuild that and get it back to where it's been before. The city has got a population of roughly 300,000, and I think that it's the largest city not to play in the Premier League. Over the years, they want to get there. We're building the blocks to get them back there. I've been at a club in the past in Ross County, taking them from the Second Division right up into the Premier League. We're trying to move them through the leagues here again
"We're in a tough division. We play against teams who play in different styles. Tonight, Liverpool were a passing side and we stopped them creating many opportunities. On the flip-side, we also created opportunities. The fans were fantastic over the two games. To take 9,000 to Liverpool and then tonight, we've had to put extra seating in just to accommodate them. They generated a terrific atmosphere for the football club."
David Fox too was pleased with how Argyle played in two games against Liverpool but had an extra message for the fans- that he intended for the best to yet be to come. He said: "That is something we spoke about after the game in the changing room. Now we have got to really kick on. We have got to make sure that these games are not what we remember this season for. We beat Stevenage which I thought was massive, and if we can beat Cheltenham on Saturday then no one can really label that these have been distractions because we have picked up some good results during these two game. What we have got to do on Saturday, is make sure that it can't be labelled like that. We will go there and we will give it everything. It will be tough I am sure, because we have not got long to recover. The lads have put in a real shift tonight and I am sure that it will be an issue. Once we are there, once we are in the game, and I am sure there will be lots of travelling fans there. It will really push us on and we know now that the Blackpool game has been changed so we have not got a game for a while, so we really have got to put everything in on Saturday and then we will get plenty of rest after that. We are down to the bare bones. We have got Bully and Rooney upfront at the end. You can forget that they rested a few. We can arguably say there were six or seven lads that could have been in our starting 11 that we have not got. We really were up against it. We did really give them a good go. They are a top team, but we gave everything
"He has trained a bit but he has not been able to do any contact stuff, that was a massive plus to have him back. He did really well for the time he was on the pitch, and we need to get people back. Hopefully these games can enable the club to move forward maybe get a couple players in of the back of it. Who knows? What is has done is it has given a real buzz to the city and it is something we can really take forward going into the running. We have got the couple of lads who are cup-tied so they will be back in the reckoning on Saturday. We are going with what we have got. The positives from these two games are massive. Not just for the football side of things but for the whole city really. I have noticed around the place there is a real buzz about these two games. It's little bits and bobs that are waking up a sleeping club like this. We know that if we keep performing then the fans will keep coming in their numbers. Hopefully this is not the highlight of our season. That is something we have emphasised after the game that make sure this is not the high point of our season.
"My legs were going towards the end and then Luke saves that penalty and all of a sudden you get that little boost again. It was a great save and you're thinking 'one more chance, one more chance'. Unfortunately I don't quite think we got that chance towards the end, but that was a real highlight and something that really pushes you on in the last ten minutes. I thought we would get another chance, but it wasn't meant to be. It could have been another Anfield job if it had gone to extra time but unfortunately it wasn't meant to be."
He too was overwhelmed by the fantastic Home Park noise, saying: "It was brilliant, it really was. They were behind us all game to be honest. They all stayed to the end. I don't think anyone left early and that was probably a show of appreciation for the effort the lads put in. We have ran them close in two games now. They are a top team, they make it very difficult for you. We stuck together, we were really compact, we were really tight as a unit. We had each others' backs out there which was really pleasing. There are a lot of things we can take into the game on Saturday and forward from the positives that we can take from these two games. We gave it a go. We really did. I think the fans can be proud of our efforts just like we were of theirs. We did give it a go. We made it a lot more competitive, we caused them a few more problems than the other game. Ultimately we got done of a set piece and that is disappointing. There is a lot more positives to be taken out of the whole two games really. It has been two great games, the fans have been brilliant throughout them, and there is a lot we can take into the run-in now.
"I don't think I have had so many headers to make tonight which is quite good for me. I normally have to head the ball quite a lot in League Two. They gave us a lot of respect with the team we picked and there were times when we did get on the ball. We passed it around well, I still thought we could have done more in the final third, we could have been a bit more of a threat then we were. At the end of the day they are a top team and they make it very difficult for you they have the ball for long periods and it is difficult to transform from defending to attacking when you are defending for so long. They make the game very hard but we really can be proud of our efforts and what it shows is that if we can produce performances then hopefully the fans will keep coming in their numbers like they did tonight."
The final League Two fixtures of the season will kick-off at 5.30pm on Saturday, May 6. The matches will be played simultaneously to ensure that all promotion and relegation issues are resolved fairly and concurrently. Argyle travel to Grimsby on the final day of the season - our first trip to Blundell Park for 13 years. The fixtures have been switched from their initial 3pm slot so that at least one decisive fixture can be broadcast live on Sky Sports.
Argyle have gone out of the FA Cup fighting with a 1-0 loss at home to Liverpool. Lucas Leiva scored the goal's only game from a corner in the 19th minute. Argyle pressed and pressed but could not find an opening in spite of Jake Jervis hitting the post late on. The game was notable for Callum Rose making his first appearance in the Argyle 18. Argyle: McCormick, Threlkeld, Songo'o, Bradley, Purrington, Fox, Donaldson(Tanner), Jervis, Carey, Slew(Bulvitis), Garita(Rooney). Subs: Dorel, Sawyer, Rose, Fletcher
David Goodwillie will not be selected to play for Plymouth Argyle until the club has considered a civil court judgment which ruled he and a former teammate raped a woman. he former Scotland international and his ex-Dundee United teammate David Robertson have been ordered to pay £100,000 damages to the woman despite never facing a criminal trial. Goodwillie was accused of serious sexual assault against a young woman in Armadale, West Lothian, in January 2011 but the charge was dropped in July that year.
Argyle said in a statement: "We note today's judgment from the Court of Session in Edinburgh regarding David Goodwillie. We await the full report, which we will consider in detail before making any comment. Until such time, David Goodwillie will not be selected to play for Plymouth Argyle."
Derek Adams admitted that the odds were stacked against his Argyle side making history against Liverpool tomorrow night but said: Plymouth Argyle v Liverpool: Derek Adams calls for more strong defending: "But they were stacked heavily against us in the first game and we went to Anfield and came away with a 0-0 draw. Not many teams can say that this season. The players defended exceptionally well for the 90 minutes at Anfield so that was a very good starting point. At times tonight we will take the game to Liverpool but we will have to defend well, with the amount of talent they will have at their disposal. I think they will probably have a bit different from last Sunday's game. They have got a number of players that are coming back from injury and they might want to use them.
"We saw in the first game that we had two chances and we didn't take them. In this game there will probably be more chances for us. We will just play the game as it comes and see how it goes. I think they took great pride in how well they played for the football club in the first game. There were nearly 9,000 supporters at Anfield and there is going to be a packed house here. I'm looking forward to it. It's one to get through to the next round of the cup. Let's get on with it."
Argyle have received the news that fans were looking for, with the confirmation that Craig Tanner and Paul-Arnold Garita will both extend their loans deals until the end of the current season.
Karleigh Osborne however is leaving the club following a very short spell at Argyle that only saw him make two appearances in total for the club. He has joined Kilmarnock of the SPL.
Ben Purrington is prepared to trade another headache in return for a good performance and result against Liverpool in the FA Cup third round replay, as he was in the original game. The youngster said: "All around the changing room we believe we can get a result. You never go into a game thinking you're going to lose. You've got to try and stay positive. The gaffer said sit in. Me and Gary Miller were never going to step forward in that game because we knew they were good players. As soon as you step out of shape you could see, at times during the game, when one or two of us would jump out they were too sharp on the ball. You can't really risk that. We stuck to it well and I don't know what our tactics are going to be in the replay, but we'll speak later in the week. You can tell when you're playing against them. They're so sharp. Physically-wise, the game wasn't too tough because we weren't really running up and down, supporting the wingers, we just sat in. It was more mentally, because if you switch off at that level you know you're going to get punished straight away. You come off the pitch with a little headache, you're like 'oh God, that was hard work.'"
Purrington also revealed that he has had the best possible mentor for high-profile and high-intensity games: his rugby world cup winning uncle, Richard Hill. Purrington said: "It's good to ask someone like that questions as he has been through it in a professional side. It's a different sport but he knows the ins and the outs of what goes on at the top level. I spoke to him before and after the Liverpool game which he went to. We're quite close. I'll always ask him questions, especially about mental toughness. I'll also ask him about the gym side, exercise, diet, all that stuff as he has the top people around him who know what they are talking about.
"I was only seven when the Rugby World Cup final was on but I vividly remember it. I was in the lounge with my family and my mum was jumping up and down. I didn't really understand but kept cheering. I think my family find it weird cheering him on and now me. But I think my uncle enjoys it and comes to a lot of games. I've learned from him. He would join us at Christmas and rather than have roast potatoes he would have them boiled and be very careful with his diet. It made you think that if you are playing elite sport you have to watch what you eat and look after yourself. I played rugby at school but I was always into football. I never took rugby seriously."
Derek Adams admitted a modicum of frustration at how Argyle defended in the game "Very frustrating. It was a soft goal from our point of view. We lost the first header and then we didn't pick up at the next one back in. We knew that we'd have to start quickly today, because Stevenage were going to do that to us, and we didn't do it. We went 1-0 down very early in the game. We were able to get ourselves back in the game at 1-1, then it was 2-2. I always thought they would create chances in the game. It was obviously an entertaining match. I thought some of our play at times was very good, and it was a matter of time before we scored. It was too open at times, from my point of view, but that comes with playing in League 2. You've got to play more defensive at times and you will get chances against teams. Credit to Stevenage: they've got some good players in their team who've done well away from home.
"I think that the way we passed the ball sometimes in the first half was excellent. With the openings we created, we could see that we were going to be successful if we were able to pass the ball a wee bit more, instead of going direct. In the second half, we played a lot of quick, attacking play. We've hit the bar; we've hit a number over the bar and past the post. We probably became a bit lazy at times, but I didn't really feel like we were going to lose the match. I thought the amount of chances we were going to create was going to exceed the ones that they were. Overall, I didn't think that we defended badly today; I just thought that we became lazy.
"I looked at the midfield three and the back four. They had a lot of defending to do last week and they've done that well today. Graham Carey: he has got tremendous energy, he repeats runs, he runs forward and creates chances all the time. The same with Slew and Jervis. They're back and forward; they do a good job for us in that wider area. You see at times how important it is that you're able to run in the modern-day, and they can certainly do that. It is starting to open up a wee bit, the league. Winning and getting that three points is important.
"This is a difficult league, as I keep on saying. Stevenage have done well away from home this season and we've managed to score four goals against them. They haven't scored from open play today, which is good from our point of view. In the end, four goals against a team that is on the up is important. I think we were a team who had always shown in the game that we were going to win.
"It's not been an easy week for us. It's been very difficult for us. We've got people talking about the Liverpool game since we drew there at Anfield. It's not been an easy week for us – we've seen everything that goes on around the football club. To be fair to the players, they've shown a lot of grit and determination to get through the game today. It's a big game for Plymouth Argyle. It's a big game for the city. We can now focus solely on that. It's going to be a terrific evening."
One player unlikely to make the game however is Connor Smith who picked up an ankle injury in the lead-up to Argyle's fourth goal. He's just gone in for the tackle and his ankle has gone back in on itself. He's in the treatment room. We'll just have to assess it; at this moment in time, I'm being told he's not likely for Wednesday, but we'll wait and see. We do look strong. I think that's important. We've had a lot of games already this season. We've got a lot of important games to come, and it's important we have the strength in depth."
Oscar Threlkeld too was pleased with Argyle's display against Stevenage and reserved special praise for some players including Connor Smith and Luke McCormick. Threlkeld said: "It was good to play in. The first half we didn't really get out of the traps. We conceded two very sloppy goals - one included myself. Second half we came out and we started playing football on the deck and we had more chances in the second half. It's different with fans; they can brag about playing Liverpool. The players know it's more important today in the league then it is to play against Liverpool on Wednesday. We have done our job at Anfield and now our focus is onto the replay on Wednesday. We had a task on today and we have certainly done it."The boys were really good. I thought Connor Smith was really good at breaking up play in the middle of the pitch but it is sad to see him having to come off. It was a brave tackle for setting up the fourth goal. We have been working on that in training, the strikers were on their game through training and it just shows on the pitch.
"Luke has been on form for the last few weeks. Without him in the sticks we would have probably gone down or been level. He is an experienced goalkeeper. People might think for the second one it was his fault but I take full credit for it. I should have just hit it up the line instead of trying to play on the deck leading to the free kick."
Argyle moved 3 points nearer to promotion with a 4-2 win over Stevenage at Home Park. The high-scoring game was opened by Stevenage scoring from a free-kick in the early stages. Goals from Slew and Jervis saw Argyle re-take the lead but the visitors equalised on the stroke of half-time. Argyle persevered however and a Graham Carey shot deflected off Paul-Arnold Garita saw us re-take the lead. David Goodwillie's first goal for Argyle wrapped the game up in the closing stages. Argyle: McCormick, Threlkeld, Songo'o, Bradley, Purrington, Smith, Fox, Jervis(Tanner), Carey, Slew(Blissett), Garita(Goodwillie). Subs: Dorel, Sokolik, Bulvitis, Sawyer.
Argyle are re-opening Home Park's Mayflower Terrace for Wednesday's FA Cup tie against Liverpool. Following unprecedented demand for tickets to watch the third-round replay with Jurgen Klopp's Premier League giants, the club is to re-introduce temporary seating in the Mayflower for the first time since 2010. The extra seating will raise Home Park's capacity for the eagerly-anticipated clash by more than 1,800. Chairman James Brent said: "This is great news for the Green Army. Argyle's management team and staff have been working extraordinarily long hours to issue around 13,500 tickets – our full allocation – over the last few days. This task has been made more challenging by the wish to make the allocation as fair as possible. At the same time, the management team has been working on a complex plan to add additional seating to ensure that as many members of the Green Army as possible can see the once-in-a-generation match. Our thanks go to Liverpool for waiving their allocation and their rights to any revenue from the new seating, without which we would not have been able to do this. We also thank our sponsors Ginsters and St Austell Brewery. Special thanks to the Safety Advisory Group for their strenuous efforts in helping to make this happen for the city of Plymouth."
Tickets will be £35 – no concessions – and will include a free souvenir match-day programme, normally £5, and a voucher for a pasty and a drink which can be redeemed at a future game.
James Brent is not concerned about losing his majority shareholder status as Argyle part-owner and said that the benefit of the club is foremost in his mind: "When we initially got involved with the club, which has a 130-year history, we said we were coming in for a chapter or a couple of chapters of that history. We said we would absolutely not let our ownership stand in the way of the development of the club. We also said that when we found fellow partners and investors who wanted to come in, and convinced us they could take the club to a different and better place, we would absolutely support that. The relationship with Simon has been absolutely refreshing. It's not just in terms of financial investment but it's the challenge that he brings. All of us improve what we do through having constructive challenge, and that's what Simon and Jane have brought to the table, and I'm very grateful for that. There is no issue about being diluted down to 50.1 per cent. I'm absolutely delighted to have such a good partner on board. Simon is very demanding and very challenging, but that's what drives improvement."
Nathan Blissett spoke about the somewhat chaotic nature of his move to Argyle and spoke more about the type of player that the Green Army could expect to see. He said: "Three weeks before I actually signed, that's when the ball kind of got rolling. It got leaked that Plymouth were interested in me so it was a bit of a circus at times, but I'm glad I'm here. It wasn't a distraction until I knew I was definitely going to be signing. I had to make the decision whether or not I was going to play in the New Year's Day game. It was a big opportunity for myself at a massive club and I would have been foolish to make anything happen to jeopardise that, so I took the decision not to play.
"I like being in winning environments. It's the best place to push yourself. The competition here at Argyle will be immense to get a shirt for the weekends, and that's only going to push you on, and push everyone else on. I'm looking forward to it. When I left Bristol Rovers it was a bit doom and gloom with my mindset really, and what I wanted to do going forward. The manager at Torquay took me aside and said 'Give me a year and I can push you on' and I have done that.
"It has literally been a year since I signed there, and now I'm in League Two with a massive club like Plymouth. There was a quote in an article saying that I wasn't very quick. I would say I'm pretty quick once I get going. I like the ball in behind the defence but I can mix it up at times as well. I'm very physical and I'm always in the box for a cross.
"It is hard playing as a one, but if you have got the guaranteed service of balls coming in the box then it makes it a lot easier for yourself. With the players we have got here, I can see that happening and see myself scoring goals. If the defenders are smart and they split, you have got 20 yards either side of you to make up when they get the ball. At times, if it's cleared from your defence, you are fighting against two players to bring it down and create something for your team. I have played games before where I doubt I have had a shot, playing one up top, but if we win that's all you care about really. By no means am I here to be a bench player. I want to be playing first team football and pushing Plymouth to promotion, hopefully."
Adams was delighted to welcome not only Blissett but also Jakub Sokolik to Argyle's squad for the first game that they are legible against Stevenage this weekend: "I'm delighted that they are available for this game. They become unavailable again for Wednesday but it's good to have them in and around the squad to get to know the football club. t's not been easy for them because we've been in the FA Cup and they've not been part of it but hopefully they'll do well in training and we'll see how they get on in training.
"It's an important match. It's another league game and one that we will try and win. It will give us an extra three points to our total. It was a tough game up there even though we won. They are a side that like to harry and press. I think they played 14 at home and 11 away, something like that, but it's a game that if we play to our full ability then we can win. It's a big game, as big as any other game we have towards the end of the season."
Argyle's League Two game against Doncaster on international weekend in March has been moved for Sky TV coverage,
The match, originally scheduled for Saturday, March 25, will now be switched to Sunday, March 26. The revised kick-off time will be 2.45pm.
Jordan Slew has said that the Green Army are the best fans around following the turnout to buy tickets for Argyle's two FA Cup clashes with Liverpool. Slew said: "It was unbelievable scenes. They've been fantastic towards me and the rest of the team this season. They're probably the best fans in England. It means a lot for the supporters. They come out in their numbers every weekend in the league and especially at Anfield, It was unbelievable. I love the love that the fans show me. The support that they've shown me since I have arrived here gives me that extra kick – I want to work hard for the fans and the club.
"I thought it was going to be one day where everyone was queuing up but it's not, it's every day. That shows how good the fans are here. I knew there would be a few at Anfield but I didn't know that there would be that many. It's incredible."
There has been good news for Argyle right-back Gary Miller after it has been revealed that he has not broken his ankle in the incident that saw him stretchered off against Liverpool at the weekend. Derek Adams revealed: "He hasn't got a broken ankle. He went for a scan and it is ankle ligament damage. We're waiting on the results of how long it will take for him to get back to full fitness. There's a lot of swelling and a lot of bruising because of the impact. Hopefully, you can quickly recover from that. I don't want any more injuries in the squad. You seem to be getting back, and you pick up another one.
"Oscar can play there, and he's done well there in the past. Jakub Sokolik can play there, Bulvitis can play there as well. We've got options."
Adams also gave a progress report on two of Argyle's other long-term injury victims, Ryan Donaldson and Gary Sawyer, saying: "Ryan's training away. He's not allowed to have any contact until the end of this month. He's working away and recovering well. We're just waiting for him to have the ok to come back.
"Gary's played in two games. He played 60 minutes against Torpoint and 75 minutes against Ivybridge. He's progressing; he training with the first team and getting back his fitness levels. He's not far away, he just has to work on his sharpness as he has been out for a long period of time."
When asked if he felt Argyle were trying to be normal in light of the cup fever that has currently engulfed Plymouth, Adams was realistic enough to know such a thing was impossible. He also spoke about how he feels the events of the past week are good for Plymouth and not just Argyle. He said: "It's impossible. There's so much happening around the football club, everybody sees the queues in the car park. We sit and have our lunch and see the amount of people that are here, we hear the phones ringing all the time. It's not going to be easy. We know, as a team, we have done very well in the league. We know that Stevenage are coming here and we have to play this game – Wednesday will look after itself. When we played in the Premier League every game was the same, we had publicity. When we got to the Scottish Cup final we had publicity. You've just got to try and keep it as normal as possible. I know it isn't possible. It's not normal. We've got a whole city with people talking to you about it. You see billboards; the television screen in the city centre said 'Good luck'; there is media coverage in local press, and the nationals as well. It's a big result we've had.
"There's a buzz around the city and it's going to be a very good night next Wednesday. A draw at Anfield has helped the football club. It's generated some publicity for Argyle and the whole of Plymouth. I'm delighted about it. The city is awakening again. It's important that press, on the world stage, has looked at Plymouth Argyle: who we are, where we've been, what we've done, how we've been able to draw 0-0 at Anfield. It helps tourism and everything else in this part of Devon.
""The game on Sunday was beamed all over the world. There were so many television outlets. That's beneficial to the club. The supporters, on Sunday, nearly 9,000 of them, made a great impression on Liverpool and for the TV audience, because they sang and supported their team for 90 minutes. Last year we got to the play-off final at Wembley and it was a terrific occasion. This time we've been able to take our team to Anfield, get a draw and take them back to Home Park. We've given them the best of both worlds, because usually you get the draw at home and then go away from home. We've done it the other way around. We've got a very good core following, and I think a lot of people will start to jump on the Plymouth Argyle story, because of how well they've seen us play and defend in the first game.
"You go to Anfield and play against a squad worth over £100m and set up in the best way for your football club. The best way for us to set up was to allow Liverpool to have the majority of the ball and to ask them if they could get the better of us. People are entitled to their opinion, but I am the manager of this football club, and going to Anfield in front of 54,000 people, you've got to realise the tactics and how you are going to get a result at the end of the day."
James Brent said, that in spite of supporter scepticism about the ability of Argyle to deliver the new grandstand, he has faith that his plan would finally be the one that came to fruition. He said of the cynics: "I have clearly got some sympathy to people who say that. But the positive thing is that we have got the funding now in place through Simon and Jane. The planning permission we are seeking is a much smaller planning consent than we have previously had on two occasions for the club. So we don't think it should be contentious from a planning standpoint. There is absolutely no reason why it won't happen. I think the benefits of the development to the city are for everyone to see.
"It would bring conferences and banquets to the city, which are currently going to other local cities and indeed cities further afield. We can't see any reason why it won't get done, and get done well before the 2020 events."
Simon Hallett added: "The main thing is putting the funding the place. The money will come in whenever we are asked. It can come in immediately. I think the other thing I would add is that what we are trying to do here, as we move forward, is to make this a more attractive place for fans to come. Our overall strategic direction is that we want to attract larger crowds who want to come to Home Park because it's a good match-day experience. That means the facilities need to be upgraded. They have obviously been neglected for various reasons, not just over the last five years but you could argue over the last 15 years or so. They are a little bit shabby and the service to fans – pre, post and during the match – could be improved I think. What we are doing here is not the grand design, but it's going to be pretty effective I think in restoring Home Park to being a very attractive place to come to watch a game of football."
Derek Adams was delighted to his plan come completely to fruition in the 0-0 draw against Liverpool. Adams revealed how he set up merely to contain the home side, saying: "They could have had 90%, if they wanted – the game-plan was to not allow them to score and that's what we did. There are only three teams come to Anfield and draw in recent times and Plymouth Argyle are one of them. We worked extremely hard. It was about negating the space and we didn't allow them to have space. We allowed them time, at times, to be on the ball and move it, but they didn't open us up. We doubled up down the side; we were very good, defensively. It would be naive as a manager or as a coach to think you can come to Anfield and go at top-class players. From my point of view, we worked on it and the players did really well.
"We are League Two club; they are a Premier League club; they have got multi-million pound players; they have got players who played at international level – they had enough on the pitch to beat Plymouth today. But sometimes you come up against an opposition that are stubborn, who have a good work-ethic; who have good legs and who can take the ball in at times. The result will tell you that we coped well because we limited them to not many opportunities in the game. They had a lot of possession in the game but did they have many shots on target? The answer to me is 'no – I didn't see many' and that's credit to our players. This was about a team performance. We had 13 players playing today that all deserve a huge amount of credit because this is not an easy place to come."
He also said that the primary purpose was to gain a replay and that Argyle would 'open up' a bit in the replay: "The main purpose of today was to try to win the match but, if we couldn't win it, to take Liverpool back to Home Park. Liverpool are a very good team. Will they change things for the next game? I'm not sure. We will give it a go. We will have to be very good, defensively, as we were today. We'll have to open up a bit to get through to the next round."
Argyle's Emirates FA Cup replay against Liverpool will be televised on BT Sport. The game has already been confirmed for Wednesday, January 18, at 7.45pm; now we know that BT - who covered Argyle's replay game at Newport County in round two, and Sunday's draw at Liverpool - will once again show an Argyle match. Should Argyle progress against Liverpool, they will face Wolverhampton Wanderers in round four. .
Graham Carey revealed his delight at playing at Anfield, the home of his childhood side and paid tribute to the fans who saw Argyle over the line, saying: "It was a great day; it was a great match. It was difficult. Obviously we did a lot of running and put in a lot of effort. Thankfully we held on and it paid its due, because I thought we were terrific. If they were to score late on, I thought it would be very unjust.
"I thought the fans were terrific as well today throughout. It really helped us near the end.Now as a club and a team, we can look forward to the replay. "I think we'll grow from this. Obviously we've had a lot of signings this season, but communication today was the best it's been all season. Mentally and even physically, I thought we held our own. Obviously they're really good players and there are some things you just can't stop, but we dug in as a team and we were terrific. It was unbelievable before the game. When they started singing 'You'll Never Walk Alone', I was getting shivers. It was unbelievable. Growing up, I always dreamed of playing here. To be unbeaten here is even better!"
Argyle are in the hat for the next round of the FA Cup after a historic goalless draw at Argyle saw them upset the odds and take Liverpool to a replay. A heroic rearguard effort from Argyle saw off Liverpool pressure and the game ended 0-0. Argyle are just one of three sides to keep a clean sheet at Anfield since the start of 2016. The day was somewhat soured by what looked like a serious ankle injury to Gary Miller who was stretchered off in the second half. Argyle: McCormick, Miller(Smith), Songo'o, Bradley, Purrington, Threlkeld, Fox, Jervis, Carey, Slew, Garita(Tanner). Subs: Dorel, Bulvitis, Osbourne, Rooney, Goodwillie.
David Fox most recently played at Anfield for Norwich in 2011, earning a draw and he feels confident that the big game experience of himself and his fellow Argyle players will be enough to see them fare well under the pressure. He said: "It was a great day, the best atmosphere I have come across – Liverpool fans are so vocal – and it was a night game under the lights, which made it tastier. We were lucky enough to get a result and it was one of a few games that you look back on and are really fond of. I'll speak to the boys, I expect but they're not daft – they know what to expect. We played West Brom in pre-season – they are Premier League outfit who have got quick, strong players – and we did alright there. There are a few lads that played at Wembley last year in the play-off final; there are a few that have had good careers. I'm sure no-one will be daunted by it. There's no pressure on us, at the end of the day. We've got a huge following backing us, and we're going to enjoy it."
Derek Adams had the last word before Argyle's trip to Anfield, claiming that it was a day for the fans and that they could make an impact on the result. Adams said: "We are obviously looking forward to the game. It's a terrific occasion for the football club – for the supporters and everybody associated with it. My message to the fans would be enjoy the day. I think that getting Liverpool in the FA Cup doesn't come around very often. We took 35,000 to Wembley and we are taking 8,500 to Anfield.
"It's a different day because there is no pressure on us at Anfield. That will hopefully help us, but the fans will have a terrific day. When they start singing and get the players going, it definitely helps. It will be a terrific day. It's a sell-out crowd and the ticket pricing has been very good as well, which has helped. It's going to be a very good day for so many people. It's a terrific venue to go and play at.
"We have got a lot of players who are very good on the ball. It's a tough game. We are playing against a team of multi-million pound players. We have to go and be capable on the ball, because we are going to get the ball at some point in the game. Off the ball we will have to close them down and be able to run because that's what Liverpool do. But we will have to be creative when opportunities come along."
New signing Jakub Sokolik spoke about the type of player who Argyle fans could look forward to seeing play at centre-back for the greens, and credited his time at Sunday's opponents Liverpool with providing him a football education. Sokolik said: "I would describe myself as being good in the air, good passing, aggressive – and definitely not scared of a tackle.
"When I was 15 I signed for Liverpool. I was there for four or five years. It definitely gave me so much to my footballing career. And as a person as well; when you leave home so young, it's hard times. But you get through it, it makes you stronger. It's a shame that I am cup-tied and I cannot go there and play! It gives me time to settle in, get to know the players on the pitch as well as off the pitch.
Nathan Blissett also spoke about his arrival at Home Park, reminiscing about facing Argyle in pre-season: "I felt like I was very strong, reaching the levels I want to be – I might remind some of the boys about that game. It was a good game; a good test against very good opposition. I've kind of crept in the through the back door because all the hype has been on the trip to Anfield, which is great. I'm happy that Plymouth are able to showcase themselves on that front. I'm here now to do a job, and that's what I'm going to do to the best of my abilities.
Derek Adams concurs with his new signing's memory, saying: "He played well on that day. We looked at him last season, and this season we have watched a few games and kept an eye on him. He's done really well at times for them and we see good potential in him. He's got a good physical presence; he's good in the air; and can score goals playing at our level. We have got a lot of talented individuals who create goals, so hopefully that can help him."
Adams anticipated an exciting game against Liverpool on Sunday and said that a win would undoubtedly be his finest moment as a football manager. He said: "Klopp did a good job at Borussia Dortmund and, while he's only new in English football and with Liverpool, he's starting to stamp his authority on the game here. He's occasionally found it difficult because the Premier League is not easy to play in but all the top managers have difficulties. It's a relentless league to play in. We'll chat after the game but they've shown in previous cup competitions that they've changed the team around quite a bit. There are a number of younger players that I presume will play and they do have injuries, like ourselves. I'm sure they will put out a very good team. I've picked my team already and we know how we're going to play. We don't know what Liverpool will do, which makes it a little harder for us. This will be up there in the top five experiences of my managerial career to be stood on the sidelines at Anfield. It's not quite the very top because that was going 40 games unbeaten in Scotland and being a First Division club in the Scottish Cup Final, beating the likes of Celtic and Hibernian. However, if we beat Liverpool on Sunday, then it goes to the top."
David Fox said that whilst Liverpool will undoubtedly play some fringe players in the game against Argyle, this did not make the chance of an upset any earlier. Fox said however that staying in the game as long as possible would be paramount to Argyle's chances of springing a surprise, noting: "Obviously, he's going to play some of the fringe players, some of the younger players. They have got Manchester United coming up soon – I'm sure the manager has got other priorities. Saying that, the younger players and the fringe players will be top quality and they'll be bit like us in terms of playing at Anfield. I am sure they will be looking forward to it just like we are. They will be feeling it just as much as us because they will be wanting to make an impression on their manager. They will be top-class players; they will be players who will think Klopp is a manager who give players a chance and, if they do well, it could lead on to other things.
"The way Liverpool play, they don't give anyone any time; they are full-on pressing you; they work their socks off, they defend from the front. Liverpool are one of the top teams in terms of harassing and ratting, so we have got to make sure we are not caught on the ball in dangerous areas."
"In the early rounds of the cup, everyone is in it to try to get to the third round. It doesn't matter what you are trying to do in the league – you try to get into that third round and get a big team. That's what we've been fortunate to do and, whatever the result, we'll give our best and take a lot of positives into the remaining 20-odd games in the league. Ultimately, that's our aim this season, but this weekend is a really good distraction for us. We are doing alright in the league at the minute, so we will go up there and give it everything we've got.
"There are plenty of cases out there of teams that have gone to big clubs and got results, and we will be looking to add to that. It'll be a case of trying to frustrate; trying to stay in the game as long as you can – that's important. And you need a lot of luck."
Argyle have today released sensational plans to redevelop the granstand in 2018. The plans follow hints from James Brent and Simon Hallett late last year that the 'shell' of the grandstand will be maintained whilst a more than superficial refurbishment is conducted on the exterior of the stand. Today's statement revealed that conferencing and banqueting facilities will also be part of the new stand.
The club released a full statement explaining how the stand had been funded. The statement can be read in full on the club's website but the gist is that the development will, in large part, be financed by a £4.1m loan to the club from director Simon Hallett and his wife Jane. Co-owner Simon will also buy, for cash, 900,000 further shares in the club and Richard Holliday will buy 65,000 new shares. In addition, all existing loans from shareholders Chairman James Brent, Tony Wrathall, and Simon Hallett will be converted into equity – reducing the overall debt levels of the club and so paving the way for Argyle to invest in redeveloping the New Mayflower and Conferencing Centre. All the revenues generated from these facilities will be owned by Argyle.
The ownership structure of the club now will be as follows: • companies owned by Mr and Mrs James Brent –50.1 %; • Mr Simon Hallett – 41.9%; • Mr Tony Wrathall – 2.9%; • Mr Richard Holliday and associated family funds – 5.1% (assuming conversion of the remainder of his convertible loan notes).
An invitation is being issued today for fans to submit their resumes to join a working group to consult with the club on the development of these plans.
James Brent said of the developments: "Today is a further important and exciting milestone for Argyle, as we continue to move from the last chapter of recovery to a new one of significant and sustainable improvement. The re-development and expansion of the Grandstand and new Conference Centre will provide 21st century hospitality for our supporters and material additional revenues – match-day and non match-day – to invest into the club and team. We will increase the attendance capacity for today and preserve the ability to further increase in the future. 'The other members of the Board and I thank Simon and his wife, Jane, for all that they have done for Argyle and for the further major investment they are making."
Simon Hallett himself said: "Jane and I are delighted that we can support Argyle in this way and help provide improved facilities for our supporters, players and staff. The investment by the club will not only make for a better match-day experience, but help provide the long-term revenue base for further investment in the team.
"I think it will help Derek Adams in attracting players to the West Country. And I think our staff have been labouring for a number of years in what I wouldn't say are inadequate, but they could certainly have better facilities. So we are going to build a facility, albeit on a limited budget, that people can be proud of. I think that will do a lot of good for the culture of Argyle, not just for the playing staff and for the fans, but also for the people who work here."
Argyle have made a second signing in the January transfer window, bringing in Nathan Blissett from Torquay United. He has scored 12 goals in 41 appearances for Torquay since signing for the Gulls in January 2016. Blissett will wear the number 13 shirt for Argyle. He has played in the FA Cup this season, so is cup-tied for our visit to Liverpool on Sunday.
Argyle have made their first singing of the January transfer window in the shape of Southend defender Jakub Sokolik. Sokolik coincidentally came through the academy of Sunday's FA Cup opponents Liverpool. He is however ineligible to play in Sunday's cup game. The centre-back went on to enjoy spells with Yeovil and Southend after leaving Anfield.
Luke McCormick responded to accusations that Argyle's trip to Anfield has played on the players minds in the last two games, denying that a lack of focus was responsible for Argyle's dropped points at Barnet. Now that those games are past however, he looked ahead to Sunday's moneyspinning fixture, saying: "Liverpool hasn't even been spoken about. We have been focused on the last two games. We want to regroup, look at what we could have done better today, and keep building. It will be a great occasion, particularly for the supporters – to give them a day out like that. As players, experiences like that don't come around too often. So we will make the most of it, but we shan't think too much about that until the end of the week. We just want to go there and give a good account of ourselves; be hard to beat."
Derek Adams felt that Argyle had enough of the ball to cause Barnet problems in their 1-0 loss at the weekend yet they were let down by poor decision making on the pitch. Adams analysed the game, saying: "They've scored from a set play where we haven't man marked properly and they've been able to get the first goal. He wasn't picked up well enough on the occasion. He got away and was able to get his head onto it and into the back of the net. We had to go at them. We had to play with a lot of forward momentum. We were able to get into more advanced areas. It looked good. We were going to leave it open at the back and that was the case. We had a lot of the ball in the second half. We crossed the ball more times than we probably should've, because they've got big, tall defenders who dealt with the crosses. At the end, Gary has a great chance at the back post, and we probably should draw the game. We haven't been clinical enough when the ball has come into that six-yard box. Many times today, we've chosen the wrong option.
"We had a lot of good play – we probably had the majority of play in the game. We didn't deserve to lose the match, but that's just the way it is. They've had chances, we've had opportunities as well, and they've gone in and won the game 1-0. I could stand here and say a lot of things, but we've lost the game."
Adams remained stoic however as he looked at the result in the context of a good run of form coming to an end, and he looked ahead with excitement to the big FA Cup tie at Anfield on Sunday: "We've done really well; we were on a six-game unbeaten run, and today it's come to an end because Barnet have been able to get that one goal. We've been on a very good run. We've taken 48 points; it's as good as we'd hoped. We've won fifteen games; it's only ourselves and Doncaster who've been able to do that in the league. You want to be in and around that area with five games to go. You want to keep yourself in and about, and that's what we're trying to do. It's been difficult, obviously yesterday and playing today, but it's the same for everybody else in the league. Now we've got the FA Cup to look forward to. It's a great day for the football club, and a terrific achievement from the players to get the football club this far, and to get a game at Anfield where all the supporters want to go. We've played week in, week out with a lot of pressure on us. This week we have no pressure, going to Anfield. Nobody expects us to do anything there so there's no pressure on us. We just look forward to the game."
Luke McCormick praised Argyle's performance in the loss to Barnet and said that it was the home side who got the rub of the green in a game where both teams had the chances to score goals: "All in all, I thought we were unlucky today not to have an equaliser. Gary has said it was great opportunity. It was very disappointing to concede from a set-piece very early on. It's an uphill job after that. We just didn't get going quick enough. Going 1-0 down from a set-piece, as well. Then it's a difficult task and, unfortunately, we just couldn't find the net. It seems to have been one of those days for us. We got into the right areas; we put great balls into the box. But, credit to Barnet, they got a head or a foot on to something and defended well. It wasn't for the lack of trying; we certainly created enough chances. There are positives, in that sense.
"It's fine margins all over the place. I think the goal today came off the back of Vilhete's neck and flew in. The ball came into the front area and the lad's just dipped. He won't score many of those goals, that's for sure. The ball's looped in and it's gone right inside the top corner. Sometimes you need that bit of luck. We haven't had that luck today; we might have had it in other games. We have just got to keep doing the things that we know are the right things, playing to our strengths, and, in the long run, we'll fare better. The luck was with Barnet today and I think they lived a bit of a charmed life. We've been unlucky – there will be other games when we will be lucky; it'll even itself out."
Argyle have lost their first game of 2017, 1-0 at Barnet. The goal was conceded in the first quarter-hour of the game and Argyle despite various changes could not find their way back into it. Argyle fall off top spot following Doncaster's win. Argyle: McCormick, Threlkeld, Songo'o, Bradley, Purrington(Miller), Fox, Carey, Jervis(Smith), Tanner, Slew, Garita(Goodwillie). Subs: Dorel, Osborne, Bulvitis, Rooney.
Derek Adams was delighted with another win and another clean sheet for Argyle as they ended 2016 on a high, and gave a considered assessment of the performance of Oscar Threlkeld in centre-midfield first half and second half at right-back. He said: "I'm delighted. The run we are on is very good. It is a tough league as I keep on saying. To pick up a win at any time in this league is important. It was a hard fought win. To come away winning 2-0 and keeping a clean sheet at New Years Eve is very important, and we have been able to do that today. It is a good night for us.
"Oscar Threlkeld didn't do well enough in the first half. He was poor. But in the second half he put in a better performance at right back. He has done really well at left back. I am delighted that he has been able to play in a variety of positions. He has been a very good signing for us. He can play in a variety of positions. Right back, left back and central midfield. Today he has played in two positions. I thought it wasn't up there with the good performances of his recent games.
"It was a good break down the side. He did well to follow it up because he was quite as distance from the action. He ran in and he slotted it into the bottom corner. Oscar has done really well for us in recent times. Today when we needed our midfield players to get on the ball and move it we moved him out of that position. Carey went in there in the second half an orchestrated a lot of the play we needed."
Adams praised Argyle's general performance and especially the way the tempo was picked up after half-time. He went to look ahead to the New Year bank holiday trip to Barnet in 2017's opening game: "Any game that you play in this league is difficult. We have seen that throughout the season. To win 15 games from 23 is a very good record and we continue to do well. I think in the first half we were very dominant, we didn't move the ball quick enough. At times I thought we were better in the first half than we were in the second half. I did not think we could have done a lot more in the game to open up the opposition. We didn't pass the ball well enough at times today. From our point of view we just did not complete enough passes. We had a lot of space at times and probably chose the wrong option. We went a wee bit long which is not like us, but if we had shortened it down and moved it from side to side we would have created more chances.
"They were quite happy to get in 0-0 at half time. That was their game plan. If we had passed the ball quicker then we would have had more opportunities. We were just a wee bit laboured in our passing today. We didn't knock it about as quickly as we possibly can. We probably didn't play the seven and ten yard passes we were looking for and sometimes we give the ball away too often.
"We have got very little time to prepare. We will come back in tomorrow. We will leave at 12 o'clock and travel to Barnet. We will have to be ready for the game on Monday. It is a 3 o'clock kick off. The turnaround is very difficult but we will have to get there."
Argyle's goalscoring heroes in the game were off-pitch friends Oscar Threlkeld and Craig Tanner. The duo respectively spoke about their takes on their goals and the game in general. Threlkeld: "We didn't get going in the first half. We needed to raise it five or ten per cent. It was our throw-in on the right-hand side. I think I took it quick to Tanner's feet and I don't remember from then. I just saw it and passed it into the bottom corner. It was a beautiful feeling. I've doubled my tally from last season, so I'm happy. It boosted the fans which we needed to do, and it was a crucial time to score a goal. Second half, changing personnel and changing the shape of the game, they just couldn't cope with us. I think that benefitted us in the second half. Towards the end, we had to change into a back five, just to get another half in, with Bully. We didn't look under pressure at all; we did our passing and raised it five or ten per cent, and I think we cruised it, to be honest.
Tanner added: "I think Jake Jervis owed me one from Yeovil anyway! It's just nice for him to return the favour and I managed to put it in the corner. It's my fifth of the season. I'm one off my tally with half the amount of games so far. If I can keep adding to it, as well as the assists, we'll just see where it takes the team and take me personally. I think it's something nice to give back to the fans. I thought they were a credit in the second half; they really rallied around us. I think they made the difference. I think we're going to have a wild night in Nandos tonight! In bed by eleven, train tomorrow, travel tomorrow, and just see what Barnet has in store for us."
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