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 made their second signing of the January transfer-window, bringing defender Lloyd Jones back to Home Park eight years after he left his home town.The Plymothian Argyle Academy product signed for the Hatters a year ago after seven years at Liverpool, for who he left Home Park as a 15-year-old in 2011. He will wear the number 20 shirt as he joins on loan for the rest of the season.
Derek Adams expressed his delight at having Jones back at Home Park, saying: "We're taking one of our own back into the football club. From my point of view, it's good to have a youngster, and one of our own, come back to the football club. I tried to get him to come back before but, for one reason or another, that didn't work out. He's obviously delighted to come back to a club that he started with and looking to push the other centre-halves for games."
"He wants to prove himself. If you look at most of the signings that I make, they're ones that have something to prove. They have a bit of hunger, and Lloyd certainly has that, and that's why we've taken him here. He's a tough centre-half. He's quick, he reads the game very well, he's good on the ball and is good competition for the other three centre-halves. The first signing I ever made here was Gary Sawyer, he was one of our own from our youth system. It's important that we take youth players through the system."
Leaving Home Park was striker Calum Dyson who has joined Stevenage on a loan deal until the end of the season, with the option to buy. The forward joined Argyle in the summer but only made two appearances in the Checkatrade Trophy.
Derek Adams admitted it was a difficult window for incomings but stood firm in his insistence that Argyle had a squad to be reckoned with, evaluating: "For all clubs it's been a difficult window, there hasn't been a huge amount of movement from teams, but we've taken in Threlkeld and Lloyd Jones, while Peter Grant and Gregg Wylde have moved out. It's been troublesome because of the way the January transfer window has been. There's been a lot of difficulty from all clubs in it and, as you can see, everybody is clamouring for the same players. We've obviously worked through our list, and we have to go for the player that's value for money. Some clubs in the January transfer window will overpay, that happens, and we've seen that. We're trying to get in a good quality player, we're not just going to take in players to make up numbers. We're going for players that the top teams in the division are going for, and it becomes difficult. There's a whole host of teams that are trying to get the same players that we are at this moment in time. Obviously we've missed out on a good number of players over the January transfer window. You'll probably see today that there's a bit of movement from ones that we've missed out on. I'm not worried. We've good a good squad. I sat down the other night with Paul Wotton, and we agreed that we've got a very decent squad here that we feel can finish the season strongly."
Peter Grant has left Home Park after reaching an agreement with the club to terminate his contract with immediate effect. The Scottish centre-back signed for the Pilgrims on a one-year deal after leaving Falkirk in the summer and made nine appearances in all competitions.
Derek Adams blasted Wycombe's timewasting tactics when they were seeing out a 1-0 lead towards the end of the game, saying that it was far from the beautiful game that football was envisioned as being. Adams bemoaned: "There was time-wasting for the majority of the afternoon and a lot of antics going on throughout the game. That stopped the flow of the game; that stopped my players being able to produce the kind of play that they can produce. People will tell me it's about getting three points and winning football matches. I get all that, but it's not the way that the Beautiful Game in England is supposed to be played and it certainly wasn't the Beautiful Game that English football would like to be judged on. This is one of the worst I've seen, the amount of time-wasting that was involved. Terrible, really terrible. People tell me it's an entertainment business. We haven't see the ball in play a lot this afternoon; we have seen a lot of stoppages – that's not why people come to see football. They come here to try to see opportunities on goal, good play and, unfortunately we were stopped doing that today for a variety of reasons. People can turn around and say that's the way you win a football match. That is true but supporters are paying to watch an entertainment. Today is not what I want to see, the way that football should be played. It should be an entertainment business. We had 1,200 supporters here this afternoon and I would say that a majority of them would agree with me."
"Today, there was a lot of time-wasting: you can't have two medical staff taking their time getting off the pitch; you can't have the goalkeeper going down as many times as he did; you can't have him having the ball in his hands for over six seconds a good number of times. It just can't be allowed and the officials have got to stop that. Today, Scott Oldham didn't stop it – he allowed it to happen. The players substituted walked off the pitch and there was no urgency from the officials to get them off the pitch. That's not right. Having injury-time does not matter – you have to stop the incidents happening. Stopping the flow of the game is the biggest problem. You can't have the incidents that went on today spoiling a game of football which is supposed to be an entrainment business. We just couldn't get started because we were stopped so many times, illegally at times with challenges, and the game stopped so many times. It's something that I don't want to see happening in the Beautiful Game that football is, but that's what happened."
"It was a difficult afternoon for us," he said. "We gave Wycombe the only goal of the game with an own goal when a corner kick flicked off one of our players' head into the goal. It allowed them to frustrate us for most of the afternoon. They time-wasted for a majority of it and it became extremely frustrating, not only for us, but for all the supporters. They have gained a victory where they have been able to get an own goal and then stop play. I will not take away anything from my players. My players fought but were frustrated the whole afternoon by time-wasting: if that's the beauty of football, then someone will have to sit me down and tell me that's how football should be played. That's not the way that the Beautiful Game should be played. It's not the first time, it won't be the last time, that happens. It was stop-start. It wasn't a very good spectacle for any football supporter to come and watch. Neither side had many opportunities. Wycombe had better opportunities in the first 15 minutes of the game; we had better opportunities in the last period of the game." We tried. The players gave their all to try to get the draw or the win, but we have come unstuck with an own goal. We didn't help ourselves because we probably didn't pass the ball as well as we could do but we were frustrated for most of the afternoon We didn't play as well as we have done in previous games but there were instances where we weren't allowed, and I think that's a bigger reason than us not being at it."
Argyle's four game winning run has come to an abrupt end with a 1-0 loss at Wycombe. The hosts took the lead halfway through the first half and Argyle were never quite able to find their way back into the match. Argyle: Letheren, Smith-Brown, Edwards, Canavan, Sawyer, Songo'o, Fox(Taylor), Lameiras(Jephcott), Sarcevic, Carey, Ladapo. Subs: Macey, Riley, Wootton, Threlkeld, Ainsworth.
Derek Adams revealed his respect for his opposite number Gareth Ainsworth as Argyle prepare to face Wycombe once again at Adams Park. The Argyle manager said: "There's been a lot of good games between Argyle and Wycombe. It's a good venue to go and play at, it's a fantastic surface and we've got players who are high in confidence. He's done a fantastic job there over a number of seasons that we've been against each other. There's a lot of managers that don't get a lot of time to deal with the situations. A lot of managers get high finance to have a quick fix and it doesn't work out for them, or they move on. I think that Gareth has been very loyal to Wycombe Wanderers, and they've been very loyal to him."
"We enjoy going there, the surface is excellent and the atmosphere is very good as well, from both sets of supporters. They have spent in the summer – we tried to get one of their players in the summer and they outbid us for a player. That's the nature of football sometimes. They've done well, and managed to get themselves in a relatively good position at this moment in time, but we're not far behind them, and we're looking to try and catch them and go past them. We've got a five-game unbeaten run, four wins in that – and we've started the new year exceptionally well. We'll be going into the weekend looking to try and get another victory."
Graham Carey may not have scored so many goals this season but Adams was keen to point out his importance to the team as an assister, saying: "When you've got someone like Graham in the team, you're always going to have a chance. It was a very tight affair in the middle of the pitch but the two balls in from Graham Carey were excellent. In any game, when chances become few and far between, it's important that you have good delivery. Graham Carey will score goals. He's had a lot of opportunities but been unlucky, either by good goalkeeping or blocked shots. He hasn't got as many goals but I think he's got ten assists this season, so that is something you need in your team. Other players can score the goals, but Graham is still contributing a huge amount to the team by giving us assists. It would be better for Graham to get a goal, but to have ten assists with 17 games to go, I don't think there'll be many players in the league, if any, who have got more assists than him."
Derek Adams has insisted that Argyle will strive to have some big pre-season games taking place at Home Park this year, something that wasn't possible last season due to work being done around the stadium. Adams explained: "We can't have it that we don't play at the stadium pitch before the start of the season. That happened last year because of the work going on around the stadium, so it's got to be a priority this year that we have two home games. I've said to the board that we need to try and get two teams here for pre-season. One on July 20, one on July 27 – either a Premier League team, a Championship team, or a team from abroad."
"Finances is a big thing, but also teams get to go all over the world for pre-season camps. It's not the easiest thing for any team to get a Premier League team or a Championship team here, but we always try. We were fortunate that Neil Warnock and Tony Pulis, both managers who have been here before, have taken their teams down here in recent years, so we've got to thank them for that."
Derek Adams praised a consistent work ethic and a settled side has been to thank for Argyle's surprising rise to 17th in the league from 24th. He said: "We have put ourselves in a very good position, 17th position. It is a position that allows us to catch teams above us again; it is very tight in the league. I have said that before but I'm not going to get carried away because we have got to continue winning football matches. As soon as you start to get carried away, other teams are there to knock you down, so we will just keep on fighting the way we are. I said many months ago that having consistent team selection does help, every manager will tell you that. We have had a lot of injuries at the start of the season, we still have a few now. We have a stable team at this moment in time, which is enabling us to form relationships all over the pitch. We just need to keep working hard. We have put ourselves in a better position than we were in and we are finding our feet. We have 17 games to go to try and pick up as many wins as we possibly can to put ourselves in a good position at the end of the season."
Adams also spoke of Argyle's gritty quality, grinding out the win on a very poor night of weather:"I spoke about getting more goals from set plays and hopefully the players have read that. It was a really good win for us. We were one of four teams playing tonight. To get the victory and put us into 17th position in the league was vital, and we have sent a lot of Argyle fans home happy. It looked like we were going to go on and win convincingly again. We had to weather a wee bit of a storm towards the end but we got the three points."
"The set-piece delivery from Graham Carey was exceptional tonight, two of them. Graham's delivery can be good sometimes. We have scored from David Fox's delivery already this season. Ryan Edwards and Niall Canavan are two big players at the back to go and get the goals. The fans have gone home on a rainy cold night and they are happy the players have put in a terrific effort for everyone who came here tonight. It's a major win for everyone, especially for the players because they have worked ever so hard to get themselves into the position. They have scored a good number of goals in front of the home crowd and we are seeing a lot of good play. We have shown that we can win games in a great footballing way; we did that at times tonight. We also had to grind it out because of the night it was, it was a terrible night. We showed a bit of steel tonight but I think you need to when you want to move up the league."
Niall Canavan has called upon himself and defensive partner Ryan Edwards to keep scoring more goals from set peices after an effort each found the net against Walsall: "Given the size of us, we should be scoring a few. That takes Eddy to three, I think, and puts me on two. Usually about five is expected for a centre-half who is not bad in the air. Hopefully, they all come at important times. G's put a great ball in to be fair, no-one tracked me and I've just sort of thrown myself towards it trying to get the slightest of touches because the 'keeper had already set himself. I managed to get just enough on it to guide it in. It's all down to the delivery and we've got to put ourselves in the positions and when they come, stick them in."
"It was an enjoyable game. The weather was not the greatest but usually it makes for a good test out there. I thought the boys were good all night and we thoroughly deserved the win. We've got a good mentality about the group at the minute and we've been grinding out the results as we need them, long may that continue."
With regard to finally getting a settled group of defenders in place, Canavan added: "No-one goes out there looking to get injured. In this day and age, everybody is professional enough, no-one is cutting corners or doing anything to cause these injuries – they're just things that happen sometimes and it's just part and parcel of the game. It's good to have a settled back-four. That's what every manager will tell you he wants, I'm sure. If we can keep picking up good results, that'll breed confidence and the understanding will just grow and grow as we go on. We've got a good attacking unit in front of us, if we can do our job, we trust that they'll go and stick one in the back of the net. I think that, at the minute, they trust us that we'll give them that platform to go on and win the game for us."
"We knew it was something that they'd look to do deliver crosses to Cook, and I think he only got on the end of one or two. Aside from his goal, which is disappointing from our point of view, I thought we handled him pretty well. He's in good form, as well, scored a hat-trick at the weekend and would've been full of it. As a team, we were able to close him down, not let balls in the box and sustain that pressure. It puts a different perspective on it climbing out of the relegation zone. You can feel that relief from the fans. It's been important for us to do it – long may we continue this good run and hopefully get well away from the bottom. We know it's a tight league. There's not too much in it from eighth or ninth downwards. Sticking on a good run like this, the longer you can keep it going only keeps you moving one way. That's what we've got to do, one peg at a time, just keep drawing them in and get ourselves up there."
Argyle's winning start to 2019 has been maintained with a 2-1 victory over Walsall. Graham Carey assisted twice for Ryan Edwards and Niall Canavan to head Argyle into a two goal lead. A consolation goal was not enough to get a point for Walsall. Argyle: Letheren, Smith-Brown, Edwards, Canavan, Sawyer, Songo'o, Fox, Lameiras, Sarcevic(Taylor), Carey, Ladapo. Subs: Macey, Riley, Wootton, Threlkeld, Ainsworth, Jephcott.
Man of the moment Ruben Lameiras has said that his focus remains on the team as Argyle push to climb out of the relegation zone with a win against Walsall at Home Park. He said: "It's not just about me, my goals have come from brilliant individual play from other players who have slid me in. It's just about the boys. If they've got a bit of confidence in me, they know that if they supply me, I can come up with the goods. A lot of it is down to them. It's not an individual sport, it's the team that gets us ticking and gives me the ball in areas where I can be dangerous. It was about the performance, really. I was desperate for a win. We knew if we got back-to-back wins today, and then Tuesday against Walsall that could catapult us in the league. That was the main thing going through my head, not about who we were playing against. It was about getting the three points and seeing where that takes us.
"I had to keep my professional head on, just take it as any other game and make sure that I was in a good mental space for the team, which I think I got correct. It's a great feeling try to reward the fans with good performances and good results, first and foremost. I always try to do my best and get the fans on their feet by being a positive and direct player. I think I'm a player that, once I'm confident, I can try and do as much as I can. I'm taking each game as it comes, I'm not getting too carried away. The most important thing is the team. As long as we keep winning, and I can be a positive influence on the team, then I'm happy. I want to keep going and get as many as I can. As long as I can keep helping the team, I'll just keep going, tunnel vision."
Derek Adams is delighted with not only the substance, but also the style, of the Greens' recent football. He enthused: "They've all been brought to the football club to play attractive football to get supporters off their seats. It's an entertainment business and I think that we've got a very entertaining team when they're on their game. He has got the willingness to go and play short balls with different players, he feeds off Freddie Ladapo very well, and he's done it with Graham Carey and Sarcevic this year as well. Not only that, but the likes of David Fox and Songo'o can also find him with a pass, and that's helped his game. He's always been a threat in front of goal, he's an extremely skilful individual and we're delighted that he's been able to score as many goals as he has."
"Antoni Sarcevic has scored from midfield, Graham's only scored three so far this season, so he'll come good at some point. I think, even at set plays, we've got to score a few more goals from them because we've got good height. We have played well a lot of times this season but haven't had the results we've deserved. When the confidence is high, as it is at this moment in time, it's important that we get the wins. We've gone on a four-game unbeaten run, we probably should have more than that. We continue to move ahead."
Adams then looked ahead to Argyle's midweek match against Walsall, saying: "We've won three games on the trot, now. We're delighted about the progress we're making and we've got another game on Tuesday night, when only four teams play, so we know how it important it is to keep that going. There's only four teams playing, that gives us a very good opportunity of going above a number of teams. It's a home game and that's what we're going to try and do. A terrific win away to Gillingham, to go there and win 3-0, it's a difficult venue to go to. Before that, they hadn't won in seven games. From our point of view, we've got to continue the form that we've shown, take the chances when they come along and defend well. Cook's scored a hat-trick during the week, so he's done well for them this year. He's one that we'll have to look at. They've also got a bit of direct play and good set-pieces, but they've obviously got to look at us, and the threat that we have going forward that we've shown in recent weeks. Cook is an important player for them, he's scored 10 goals in the league and that's obviously something to look out for, but I'm sure that they're looking at Sarcevic, Ladapo, Carey and Lameiras in the same way."
"We always look at that at the start of the season, achieving survival, to try and get there as quick as you possibly can. It leaves you the opportunity to push on in the season and try and finish in as high a position as you possibly can. All teams will be doing that at this moment in time and we're no different. There's a good number of teams that are slightly ahead of us in the league now. It's going to be very tight and we want to try and keep on moving forward and catch those teams."
Derek Adams heaped more praise on his Portugese playmaker Ruben Lameiras, who after the win against Coventry, the Scotsman acknowledged as being in the form of his career: "He has come up with two very good goals, he is probably unfortunate not to have scored a hat-trick today. As I said before the game, he is in the form of his career. He is scoring goals, he is making opportunities for other people. Us purists will give Lameiras the man of the match. He has shown really good form, he has been a talisman at this moment in time. We have got Freddie Ladapo, Graham Carey and Ruben Lameiras, who can all score goals and Antoni Sarcevic had been the one that had scored in previous weeks as well, so it's good we have players all over the park capable of doing that."
"There is a majority of the players who have gained confidence and you get that with results. In the last two games, we have had two fabulous goals scored against us and a penalty kick, so from that point of view it's pleasing in the last three games we have done well defensively and limited the opportunities for the opposition. We had 10,600 here today, that's very good because we are able to generate extra revenue for the football club. Going forward, we want to fill this stadium week in week out."
Lameiras himself said of the game (and Argyle's response to going behind): "We're not getting carried away. We'll come in tomorrow for training – this game is gone now. We need to address Walsall now and have a game plan, make sure we're professional about it and keep our feet on the ground, which is what we've done this month, and take the game as it comes. We want to do our talking on the pitch and the points will come."
"It was a kick in the teeth, the goal, but we knew that there was a lot of football to be played. We felt that as long as we stayed on the front foot and got the crowd behind us we could score goals, which is what we are doing. The main thing we've showed is that we were resilient. As long as we stay in the game, we're still in it. At half-time, we knew we had to make minor adjustments, and we came into the second-half flying. I just try to always be on the move, which is harder to mark," he said. "The left-back was on me the whole game, so I had to move a little bit. When I'm in and around the area, I try to pick my pockets and find space to have a shot. Teams come here with a game plan. They look at us and try to find a way to stop us. I like playing a little bit off the cuff a little bit which is more reactive, so we're hard to stop – which is what me, Carey and Sarcevic do. When you've got Ladapo up top, who is strong as anything, can run and finish as well, we're likely to give any team problems on any given day."
Argyle have made it three wins in a row and a 100% start to 2019 with a 2-1 victory over Coventry City. The visitors took the lead shortly after the start of the second half with a Connor Chaplin free-kick but two strikes from from former Sky Blues man Ruben Lameiras secured a vital win. Argyle: Letheren, Smith-Brown, Edwards, Canavan(Wootton), Sawyer, Songo'o, Fox, Lameiras(Riley), Sarcevic, Carey, Ladapo(Taylor). Subs: Macey, Threlkeld, Ainsworth, Jephcott.
Derek Adams spoke with confidence about the form of his Portugese star Ruben Lameiras ahead of facing his former club Coventry. Adams raved: "I would be delighted if he plays as he did in the first game at Coventry. He can open up opposition defences, he is a dribbler and he does see through passes very well. You always like to play against your old team. Ruben has been in fine form; he has linked up play well and been able to get a few goals to his name, which is vital. This is the best form he has had in his career. He has been given that added responsibility to score goals and create assists. They are sitting round about mid-table. They've had a relatively successful time coming back into League One. It's a game like last week where we are looking to close the gap between ourselves and Coventry. It's extremely tight, there are only eight points to tenth position. The teams in that area can finish anywhere come the end of the season. There are 19 games to go, let's see where we are with six games to go."
Derek Adams has warned that Argyle may need to be patient with regard to incoming signings in the January window, revealing that there is no chance of Norwich goalkeeper Remi Matthews returning to Home Park. He also spoke about the keepers he currently has on the books, explaining: "We have got three goalkeepers and we won't be adding a fourth. I obviously know that Remi is back to Norwich and he's either going to stay at Norwich or probably get sold to another club. I don't have money to buy him. It's not difficult at all. Kyle Letheren is in place at this moment in time and that's how it stands. Michael Cooper is available to go on loan if we find the appropriate club for him. It has to be at the right level for him to develop, and at this moment in time that is the National League or League Two."
Derek Adams praised Argyle's superlative performance at Southend, saying it was an 'unbelievable' performance. The scotsman gushed with praise, saying: "It was a very, very good performance. Southend got a penalty-kick; they scored a wonderful opportunist goal to make it 3-2, but, over the 90 minutes, we were far better than Southend. We passed the ball, created chances, made opportunities and it was a really, really sweet victory for us. Sarcevic, Fox, Songo'o – unbelievable; Lameiras, Carey, Ladapo, who had been here before – unbelievable; the back four and goalkeeper – unbelievable. Every single one of them playing in today's game were top performances. The performance levels were excellent, and the way we went about our business, keeping the ball, moving it, and getting our goals. We've come in for a lot of criticism from a lot of people; we don't listen to it – we take it on board and we move on. Today was a very, very accomplished performance and they all deserve top marks for it. We should have had a clean sheet today. Southend get a penalty and they score a wonder goal. I probably would have said that the only way they were going to score was from a penalty but, in the end, the young boy scores a stunner. We had given them days off over the weeks gone by, and we ran and ran and ran. We pressed them all over the pitch; we recovered the ball well; we had a section in the second half of the match at 3-0 up and there were 'oles' going on in the far corner because of the way we kept the ball and moved it. Even the home fans were clapping, giving us 'well done' and I think that's what you need to see in the game, when home supporters really appreciate good football. Today, undoubtedly, supporting our team, the way we passed the ball and moved, was pleasing to see from opposition fans."
"The ball hit Ryan Edwards' hand. He doesn't believe it was a penalty; it was a rocket of a shot into him. It was the linesman who gave it. The youngster came on and it was a fantastic opportunist goal from him. What a finish it was and it did make the scoreline flattering towards Southend."
"We are not going to get carried away. There are too many people in this world who want to pull you down as quickly as possible. We'll enjoy the victory. We're going home with three points, which is vital in this league. The gap is closing all over the league; we've enabled that by having a really good performance. The way the league is, there are only a few top teams; everybody else is more than capable of beating each other. I don't see too many teams who have played against us this year being outstanding. It's not like there is a Blackburn or a Wigan last year. I thought they were by far the better teams."
Freddie Ladapo spoke of the sweetness of scoring a goal on his return to Roots Hall in spite of being goalless for the entirety of his spell at Southend. He spoke of finally finding his footballing home: "It feels good to be back. I didn't get to score any goals in the short time I was here at Southend, so it was good to get on the score-sheet. We've had a lot of confidence in the last couple of games and felt a real togetherness. You can see that in the way we attack and the way we all press and defend. We're going more as a team, rather than the first half of the season, when it was a bit mix and match. When you play as a team, things become easier. I felt like I held it up well for the first goal but then there's the pass from G to Sarcevic, who has to do a lot to finish, so that takes three players in one move. I missed a couple of chances and it's been a while since I've finished, so I was a bit rusty. I was getting in behind a lot and when Foxy played a lovely ball down the channel, I was there. Missing the first couple allowed me to be a little more composed and take my chance. It was very pleasing to give us a two-goal cushion. We really started to see Ruben and G come into it and show what they are capable of doing. We're also working hard to get the ball back from the front. This team suits me a lot better than my time at Southend. The manager has taken me in and wants me to do well, keeps playing me and giving me the right amount of confidence. The fans getting behind you and chanting your name gives you a lot of confidence, makes you run that extra bit harder. It didn't work out at Southend but you can't think about the past. The performances are the most important thing for us. Every game is a hard game but we're playing with a lot of confidence."
Adams said of his developing star: "I have been able to get him working to a system of play which enables him to do well. He has done exceptionally well for us this year: he's led the line well; he's run in behind. He probably could have had a hat-trick I am delighted. I took him off after 88 minutes because it gives him the opportunity to get the adulation of our away supporters."
Argyle made it two wins in a row, surviving a late scare at Southend United. Argyle went 3-0 up and looked comfortable due to goals from Sarcevic, Ladapo and Lameiras and the game looked to be comfortably petering out. However, two late Southend goals from a penalty and a 60 yard screamer that caught Kyle Letheren off his line made the scoreline closer. Argyle held out, however, to secure the win. Argyle: Letheren, Smith-Brown, Edwards, Canavan, Sawyer, Songo'o, Fox, Lameiras, Sarcevic, Carey(Jephcott), Ladapo(Taylor). Subs: Macey, Riley, Wootton, Threlkeld, Ainsworth.
In spite of hailing from the North originally, returning loanee Oscar Threlkeld revealed that Plymouth has began to feel like home and he is delighted to be back around the city. He said: "I can't get enough of this place, it feels like home. It's nice surroundings, this is my fourth time here, I know the fans and most of the lads. I wouldn't say it's comfortable but it does feel like second nature. It's always nice to be recognised when you go somewhere and someone knows your name, as long as you're recognised for what you do on the pitch. My mum always says that 'without your fans, you're nobody'. That's been drilled into me. It's great to be back among familiar faces. I went down to the Barbican and it's a beautiful place. I've got friends outside of football here and I love the city. I could buy a house here and live here."
"A lot has happened since I've been away, I've got a lost a few times trying to find the media room. It's nice to see things are coming up with the new stand, which will make the stadium look even nicer. Once it's finished, it's going to be really nice to see. I know it's been talked about for a long time and, now that it's finally being done, we can start another project."
On his close personal relationship with manager Derek Adams, he added: "He gets more out of me and I get more out of him. We have a great relationship, on and off the pitch. On the pitch, it's strictly business but, off the pitch, there is a time and a place where you have to smile. We have a connection, he knows what I can do and I know what training he does, and what his regime is throughout the week leading up to a game. It's the fourth time now and I want to keep doing well for him, for the fans and for the club. It's an honour to come back. I'm taking it day by day. If I get in the squad on Saturday, then happy days, and If I get on the pitch, happy days. I was aching yesterday because we played 11 v 11 for 30 minutes each way, so very much game-related, but I'm ready. I need to wake my body up and, once I get a game out of the way, I'll be fine."
"We've got boys here from last season and I'm sure the new players have been in similar situations with previous clubs. We've got enough talent and experience in the squad. There are only a few lads I don't know and I know Joe Riley from Bolton Wanderers. There are some dressing rooms where it can be difficult but, on my first day, the lads were saying it was like I hadn't left, like I'd just been injured."
Derek Adams began to look ahead to a big twenty games in which Argyle have the chance to preserve their League One status. He said: "We have got 20 games to go, we are now into the run-in," said Derek. "We have a lot of good games to come. We have got a game against Southend away from home this week, which we are looking forward to. We have come off a very good victory at home to Oxford and got a good point away to Burton Albion as well, so we are looking to obviously propel ourselves up the league. It's always nice to get away on holiday for a period of time, everyone enjoys that. It does break up the season. Unfortunately, we are out the F.A Cup which gave us that opportunity. The players have enjoyed the time off because we had a busy schedule at the Christmas period, it has allowed them to spend time with their families away from Plymouth. We have come back and worked hard, we had double sessions Monday and Tuesday and are ready to go."
First-year professionals, Ryan Law and Harry Hodges, have joined Gloucester City on a 30-day youth loan. Gloucester play in the National League South
Oscar Threlkeld gave a candid revelation into his mental state during his few months in Belgium and the troubles he encountered in settling in. Threlkeld explained: "I didn't really have a connection with the first manager at Waasland-Beveren, we weren't really on the same page. I played two games out there, thought I did well in both games, although we drew one and lost one. It wasn't like I was out-run or not up to speed. It was just one of those where you get a manager who isn't on the same page as you, and vice versa. I had to look after myself, keep myself physically fit and mentally fit. It is a common theme now to keep yourself mentally fit because you see a lot of players who you think are ok, but they're not. I had a bit of trouble with myself out there because I obviously wanted to play, and I was used to playing. You start looking at the four walls and thinking 'am I doing something wrong'. It felt like I wasn't good enough. I would just go to training and go home; I didn't really get out of the house and was stuck there watching TV. Sometimes, even with the TV on, you're just looking at the four walls. Luckily, I had a guy who really helped me out there. We had a session once a week for just an hour, when we would talk, not just about football, but things at home. It wasn't like I was missing home because I've been here four times. It was just game-time. I suffered before with Bolton Wanderers but I understood I wasn't playing because I was young. I know what I can do as a footballer and that is to give 100%. I knew I didn't have the experience at Bolton Wanderers. When a new manager came in, I started to get back to that mental state where I could prove myself and then, in his first training session, I got injured. The team started winning and I can't complain because a manager can't change a winning team. January came along and now I'm here, and ready to go."
In spite of his successful run of form last season being at right-back as Argyle climbed to 7th from the relegation places, Derek Adams sees a new role for Oscar Threlkeld upon his return to the side, as a central midfielder. Adams argued: "We felt a bit short in midfield, so we decided to take him back as a midfielder, it gives us defensive cover in the middle of the park. He's played in a variety of positions either at right-back, left-back or central midfield. He gives us that added balance to the squad. We have got cover at full back: Joe Riley, Ashley Smith-Brown Tafari Moore are primed to play in there. He has obviously gone across to Belgium and it hasn't worked out for him there. It gives him the opportunity to come back here for 20 games and try and get some game-time. We obviously know him well at the football club, so that makes it easier for us that someone's coming in that we know well."
On rumours that Argyle had been linked with a move for Wolves striker Joe Mason, Adams commented: "We have spoken to Wolves in the past about him, before he went to Portsmouth. Financially, it was difficult at that moment in time, he hasn't played at all for Portsmouth, so we do monitor the situation. He does have other options which he has to look to, at that stage in his career. It's a no from the point of view that, financially, it's not doable. We have a number of offers on the table for players. The ones that we'd like to move on, know that. There are players we'd like to stay at the football club and keep them here. If we want to take in players before players go out, there is flexibility in the budget to do that."
Oscar Threlkeld revealed his delight at being back at Argyle for another spell following his decision to rejoin from Waasland-Beveren on loan. He said of his return to familiar ground: "January came up and I knew I needed to get as much game time as possible. I knew Plymouth were looking for players. 100 per cent, the main reason I wanted to go out on loan was for game-time. I could have stayed there and tried to fight for my place but, knowing that I wouldn't get as many games, I've come here. I know the fans are great, most of the lads are still here from last season and I know the surroundings. I'm going to have to work my way in and prove that I've still got it. After that, it's up to the gaffer to play me, like last season, and once I get going there's no stopping me."
"It's nice to see old faces, most of us kept in touch while I was out there. It is nice to get to know new players as well. It's a bit of a maze, I've been in today and been lost three or four times. I saw on the Argyle website, so I know where we have our meals and stuff. It's nice to see work being done. It is nice to know that I'm wanted. I wouldn't want to go somewhere where I wasn't wanted. With these fans, you get two or three thousand at away games and I can remember 12-13 thousand at home, it's always nice to be blessed by them. It is actually really nice to read about people saying they want me to come back."
Derek Adams paid tribute to departing winger Gregg Wylde but admitted that his departure was for the best for all parties. He said: "Gregg found it difficult, in his second spell, to establish himself in the team," said Derek. "He's going to go to the Scottish Premiership; he's signed for a team up there. It gives him an opportunity to move on and it gives us an opportunity to take in a player like Oscar. It's always difficult for players who are round about the squad. We have quality throughout that wide area; we have many players who can play there: Joel Grant, Graham Carey, Ruben Lameiras, and I just felt that Luke Jephcott is a younger one coming through, so it gives him an opportunity to stake a claim for that position."
Gregg Wylde has departed Argyle after two spells at the club. The winger rejoined in summer 2017 but has departed by mutual agreement.
Oscar Threlkeld has signed for Argyle for the fourth time, on a loan deal from Belgian top-flight side Waasland-Beveren, until the end of the season. Threlkeld had two loan spells with Argyle in 2015/16 before signing permanently at the start of the next season. He then departed in summer 2018 for the Belgian side, but is back after struggling to break into their side and will wear the number 26 shirt.
Ryan Edwards revealed he was advised to take a break from football due to the effects of the chemotherapy for the testicular cancer he suffered from last season. He said he is now, however, fully raring to go again: "I went to hospital for checks and I was warned by the hospital that the chemotherapy could have an effect eight to ten months down the line. I took no notice, put myself straight in the deep end to get back fit. I wouldn't change that because I wanted to get back as quickly as possible, but I've paid the price. That's no excuse to how I've performed at the start of the season because I think I was ready, it's just looking back now and they said I could have overdone it. I wouldn't change it because I want to play football. It's out of the way now, it's 2019, a New Year to play. I put it down to focussing on the job and I feel better now. The hospital overruled everyone, the club's decision or my decision, and nothing I could do. I had to rest, recharge and feel better now."
Ryan Edwards praised the role of the green army in getting Argyle over the line in the 3-0 victory over Oxford on New Year's Day and said the performance of the players could inspire the fans in turn. He said of their passion: "They were behind us [against Oxford] but also look at Burton and Wimbledon, they turn out in their numbers. We haven't been in the best of form and I've come in for a lot stick myself, so have others. You can't moan at that, you take it on the chin when you're playing for a big club in front of 10,000 every week. It's part of the game, you're a man and take it. You have to show them what you can do because you're playing for their club. It drives you on, especially in an atmosphere like New Year's Day. It comes to us getting them on our side, the likes of Ruben Lameiras, Graham Carey and Freddie Ladapo pressing from the front, and us at the back winning headers and tackles. It gets the crowd behind us and managers from other teams point out the atmosphere at Home Park. We've got to make it an advantage by playing well.
"We know if we do our job, more and more will keep coming. We're lucky enough when we are rock bottom and not performing well, that we keep getting the numbers because of how big the club is and we've got a better chance if we get them on our side. If I was sitting in that stand, seeing the quality of the players we've got and we're bottom of the league, I'd want more. My dad comes to every game and he's my biggest critic. He tells me I've got to be better and I know that."
"Lameiras is like that every day. He's never short on confidence, he knows where he can go with his career and that's a very good attitude to have. He can go anywhere he wants, he does it in training every day. Every time he is in the team, they don't want to go near him because he can embarrass you. He's going to get kicked and I think he's got used to that because of how agile and sharp he is. He gets up and gets on with the game. Carey and Lameiras are the two players you look at to pull a rabbit out of the hat. They can get you points by themselves and I know friends from other teams who have said, 'if you keep Carey and Lameiras quiet, you should be in for a quiet afternoon'. We've got others though, you've seen Joel Grant this season and there is a strength in depth. People can come in and do jobs but, if you can get them two firing, we'll do well. We haven't had enough clean sheets this year, a lot of them down to individual mistakes and, hopefully now, we've done that many that we can't give more away. If we stay solid, we know we can score goals going the other way. Let's hope that continues."
Alex Battle has joined Truro City in the National League South on a loan deal that will last through to the end of the season. Battle is now the third Pilgrim on loan at Truro City, joining Jordan Bentley and Dan Rooney who will also stay there until the end of the season.
Derek Adams believes that Argyle's win against Oxford really set out their stall for 2019 and looked ahead to the games soon to come. He said: "It was a very convincing win from us. We started the game very well and a great goal from Antoni Sarcevic – we took a quick free-kick, some good play and a terrific finish. Then Ruben gets two very good goals – well worked goals from his point of view. We probably could have scored more goals in the first period: a convincing win at home at the start of the new year. The fans have seen a lot of good football. They have seen a bit of showboating and a bit of individual skill. They have seen a bit of flair, pace, guile and three goals. That's what you want to see from a Plymouth Argyle team. They have got a lot of talented individuals in their team, and the talented individuals showed what they can do. The crowd really appreciated that. They got their money's worth, which is really good."
"We are chasing the teams around about 11th and 12th position – we are ten points behind them, which is really close so, from that point of view, the league becomes tighter and tighter. You look at the likes of Wycombe and Accrington, Walsall – we are looking at these teams, but we have to get ourselves out of the bottom zone first of all to look even further. We feel that, if we can get a grip on them, we can go past them, but we have got to get to them before we can do that. We knew that, if we got three points, we could catch a good number of teams and there are few teams in free-fall at this moment in time around about mid-table, if you look at their results. Over the years, we have always enjoyed the run-in. We know that the finishing line is near. We have got to pick up wins. We have done that against Oxford."
On transfers, Adams added: "Whatever happens in the transfer window happens. We are going to get players we can get in; we are going to lose players that we cannot get in. That's the nature of the business. We have got the possibility of taking in two or three players at this moment in time, depending on costs, depending on whether it is going to be on loan or permanent; if it is a loan, sometimes that is better financially, so we might be able to take in more players. Two players have gone out – Harry Burgoyne and Stuart O'Keefe – which has released money for us to use."
"We're going to take a good few days off, rest, and come back and be ready for the Southend game. I am going to have time off myself, and relax and enjoy that spell. I'll be away from the football club for a good number of days to get myself a rest. The players need it, and I need it, as well."
Derek Adams said that Ruben Lameiras has shown in glimpses that he can be a performer for Argyle and that the confidence coming from this current run in the side can bring more consistency to his game. Adams said: "He has shown in good glimpses that he can be a consistent performer. He scored last week; he has scored two today; and he's going to play against Southend in the next game. That's what you need – you need confidence, and he's getting that. We spoke about it at half-time. I said to Ruben and Graham Carey that the next time they came inside, they should try and reverse their shot low down to the bottom corner because the goalkeeper had started to read them and knew a left-footer was going to come in and going to hit it across. Ruben did it to perfection and it went right along the ground to the goalkeeper's left-hand side. They have got undoubted ability, the two of them, and both of them had a work-ethic when we didn't have the ball. When we did have the ball, they opened up Oxford a number of times.
"The team performed well. There were a number of really good performances in the team – the back four looked solid; the midfield looked in control; and the front three were always going to be a problem for Oxford. We played on the front foot and caused them, in little pockets, some problems. They didn't know what to do; they were all over the place. They certainly knew they were in a game. We knew that we could get at the two centre-halves – Freddie's got pace to run the two of them, and a wee bit of guile coming in off the side was going to cause them problems. We have got a very good squad. We have shown that today, and we have shown it in glimpses this season. It is just about getting confidence going forward. We should have won games this season where we haven't won. That has been the story of our season. We have given away individual errors that have enabled teams to get a start in the game but, today, we were the ones that got on the front foot."
Of the defensive players, Adams added: "Because we got a clean sheet, it is one of the best performances, but we knew that, when we were going to get a settled team and back four, we had the capabilities of doing that. Ryan and Canavan did well against Mackie. Mackie can be a real annoyance to a lot of players because he backs in; he faces them when they go in for headers; he fouls. They dealt well with his threat. That was important. Ash Smith-Brown, playing at right-back, you just can't tell what foot he is. He defended well, and Gary Sawyer; and Kyle Letheren comes in and gets a clean sheet. Smith-Brown has played a lot of games for us this year and he can get forward. When he plays in that right-back area, nobody will go inside him because he's quite comfortable on his left foot, and he's quick when he goes down the right-hand side. We didn't look under a great deal of threat. In the first half, Oxford put a couple of decent balls across that they might have been able to get a goal with but, other than that, were they going to run in behind us? The answer's 'no'; were they going to play in front of us? The answer's 'yes' because they have got some really good technical players."
Adams also revealed that he capitalised on Oxford's training routine on New Year's Eve before the game, saying: "We knew that Oxford had gone swimming and we thought they would be a bit jaded; we thought 'listen, let's try to run the legs off them', and we did that. We knew that energy levels would not be the same as ourselves because swimming takes a lot out of your body and you become dehydrated. It was good that we capitalised on that. We've tried it in the past, when we've gone swimming on a Sunday before Tuesday games and we haven't thought it worked. We don't do that any more. We try to keep the legs and the body away from swimming."
On his successful return to the side, Ryan Edwards added: "We could have been eight points from safety or closed the gap, which we did convincingly, so a good start to the New Year. Each individual player certainly knew the importance of it. All you have to do is look at the table and see the margins. There are a good few teams still above the relegation zone, who are not far from us. It gives us an extra platform to build on to catch other teams, not just Oxford, but Gillingham, Rochdale and teams like us. We've set the standard for the New Year and we have to keep it going. We definitely should have taken something from Wimbledon but other games as well. I wouldn't say we've played awful but we've gone one down to a mistake, we've all made them this year, myself included. We've had poor errors lead to goals and that puts you on the back-foot straightaway. It isn't nice to be chasing a game, especially at home in front of this passionate crowd. The crowd start turning a bit, and rightly so. They've paid their money to watch and when grief gets given, we've got to take it on the chin and come back. We're playing catch up now and have to take as many points as we can. I'm the first to say I've made errors myself and held my hands up. I haven't started the season well individually, and as a team, but I know I'll turn it around and I know how I can perform. Nobody wants to make mistakes, everyone here wants to play well and drive Plymouth up the table."
Argyle started 2019 in winning form with a 3-0 victory over Oxford United at Home Park. Antoni Sarcevic netted the opener and Ruben Lameiras got another two goals either side of half-time to secure a comfortable victory and only the third clean sheet in the league all season. Argyle: Letheren, Smith-Brown, Edwards, Canavan, Sawyer, Songo'o, Fox, Sarcevic, Carey(Wylde), Lameiras(Jephcott), Ladapo(Taylor). Subs: Cooper, Moore, Wootton, Purrington.
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