A Round-up of Argyle News
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John Sheridan was joined in the stands by coaches Gary Owers and Sean McCarthy to see a a young Argyle side win 1-0 in a match against Clevedon of the Calor Southern League. The trio's prime objective was to run the rule over trialist Jordan Gele, a 20-year-old French midfielder who was spotted in trial game, arranged by former manager Paul Sturrock. The winning goal came two minutes from time when substitute Josh Hutchinson scored with a low drive from 20 yards.
Argyle's Milk Cup coach Chris Souness praised the young side after the bounced back from opening day defeat to beat County Fermanagh 1-0 yesterday. Souness' beaming face said it all as he spoke after watching his side complete a victory far more comprehensive that the scoreline had suggested. "We got the response, but first and foremost, the performance was pleasing," explained the popular and long standing Pilgrim's coach. "Life is a lot easier in tournament football when you get a win, it makes everything you work on from here on in a little bit easier as people believe more in what you are doing and begin to relax. It's good to get the win and good to get the performance for the lads but in truth, it could have been more as the scoreline doesn't really reflect how well we played. We really learned our lessons from the Strikers game, put a lot of work and effort into last night's training and made sure this morning that we were ready to go with the right attitude and focus and generally that showed in today's game." Up next for the Pilgrims is the Japanese FA, a side that Souness belives will provide a tough test for the Pilgrims. He said: "We have been looking forward to this one because I would imagine that they'll be technically gifted and be able to receive the ball and be comfortable on it. That is all the things we do in our games so it might well be a clash of the same technical abilities and that will be a good chance to see how far we have come."
Argyle have announced that tickets for the first two home games of the new season are now on general sale. Argyle face Fleetwood Town at Home Park on Saturday, August 10 before playing host to Rochdale on Saturday, August 24.
Curtis Nelson believes there is healthy competition for places at Plymouth Argyle for the start of the new Football League season despite the reduced size of the squad at Home Park. John Sheridan is working with a smaller number of players than he did last term but has used his budget to make some experienced signings. Nelson said: "It's healthy competition and I think you have got to have that in every squad. "The people that are playing have got to keep on their toes, and if you are not in the team you have got to be working towards getting in it." Nelson played out of position at left centre-back as Argyle lost 2-1 to Yeovil Town at Home Park on Saturday but still impressed Sheridan. Nelson said: "I would rather be playing on the left-side than not at all. You have got to enjoy every game and play with a smile on your face all the time. I haven't got a clue whether I will be in the team against Southend. It's up to the gaffer who he plays." Curtis is looking forward to starting the season, "It has been a tough pre-season. A new John Harbin has come in and worked us hard. The last two games have been good ones to be playing in. You have got to take the positives from every performance, and there are things to learn as well. We played reasonably well against a Championship team and we will try to take that forward into the game at Southend."
Academy coach Ian Stonebridge was keen to take the positives from the Pilgrims' Milk Cup defeat to Strikers FC South Coast on Monday. Argyle were beaten 2-1 by their Californian opposition but Stonebridge, who played in the Milk Cup for Tottenham Hotspur as a youngster, was not going to get too down. Ian said: "You can look at the result and be disappointed but the other side of it is that this is our first game and we have some young lads who are experiencing tournament football for the first time. We've had a really interesting day where we've all learned plenty - both about playing against a team from different continent and in the different conditions that tournament football brings. Although disappointing at times, there was certainly plenty for us to draw from it and take into our next games. Both of Strikers' goals came from Argyle mistakes but again, Stoney was not about to start pointing the finger. He said: "Young players will make mistakes and that is the nature of youth development. What we're looking to do is to see the response to those mistakes and if we can help the players to understand the things that have happened and improve on them and iron them out. Becoming more consistent is important as the players get older and obviously within this tournament setting it's quite a concentrated series of games so those things are kind of exercised and magnified. We are certainly not going to be dealing out individuals in terms of mistakes they made today and we want to help those lads improve and progress." Argyle had started the match in fine fettle and even took the lead, a silver lining that Stonebridge emphasised. He said: "The quality of our possession and passing and movement in that first period was really good, although without really penetrating and effecting their goal and really threatening them which is something we need to build on in the next few games. That first 15 minutes certainly gives us positives to build on in the next few games beginning with the trip to Port Stewart where we meet County Fermanagh. There are likely to be different players involved as the squad will be used to its full through the week so it will be good to see those players get a chance as several of them got on the pitch as substitutes today and again several of them did well to affect the game in a positive way and it will be good to see their response."
John Sheridan is hoping Plymouth Argyle will have a near fully-fit squad for their League Two season-opener at Southend United this weekend. Striker Matt Lecointeis the only player with a long-term injury. Guy Branston, plus Rommy Boco and Andres Gurrieri, did not take any part in the 2-1 defeat by Yeovil Town at Home Park on Saturday. The trio sat out the final pre-season game because of injuries but none of them are serious. Sheridan said "They are all running and doing everything in training other than ball work. Hopefully, one or two of them will be back before the game at Southend." Striker Marvin Morgan and newly-arrived left-back Andre Blackman were both substituted at half-time against Yeovil as a precaution after taking knocks. John continued, "Marvin has got a little shoulder injury. He will be okay, I think. Andre has got a bit of a dead leg and we will see how he is, but other than that everyone is okay."
A young Argyle side went down 2-1 to Californian side Strikers South Coast in their opening Milk Cup under-15's game. Argyle: Jordan Stidson, Jordan Bentley, Jack Calver (Henry Wilson 40), Oliver Gardner, Daniel Rooney, Dario Pisano (Sam Morgan 52), Alex Fletcher, Jake Mill, Jason Vincent (Jamil Roberts 40), Alex Battle, Sam Ryan (Tyler Tonkin 52).
John Sheridan was pleased by the team's performance in in the 2-1 defeat against Yeovil yesterday, despite the scoreline. "It was very encouraging," said John, "I was very pleased.", then continued, "I like to win every game, so obviously the result was disappointing, but other than ten or fifteen minutes in the game I was really pleased. I thought we matched them in most department and was very encouraged with what I saw. We started the game very well. The keeper's made one or two saves and we've had opportunities to score goals. If you score a goal when you're on top and then the momentum's in your favour. I was disappointed to concede the way we did, and then you get a bit downbeat, because you think you should be two up. But that's full credit to Yeovil because they were patient and moved the ball really well. I knew it would be a good test for us. I felt we were a bit naοve; we were dropping too deep and inviting them to keep the ball a little bit. I told them at half time to step up ten or fifteen yards and don't be worried about the ball in behind, just stop them from dictating the game. In the second half, I was really pleased with the way we went about our game." Argyle took the game to the Somerset side from the off, and despite a quickfire pair of goals from James Hayter and Paddy Madden, Argyle hit back with a consolation goal from Tyler Harvey after the break. "He's a good finisher," said John, "He's composed and he did well for the goal. It was a good interchange of passing for the goal with Youngy, and Tyler just got across the near post. It was a side foot and a good finish."
Argyle went down 1-2 to Yeovil Townin their final pre-season friendly at home Park this afternoon. Argyle: Cole (McCormick), Berry, Paul Wotton (Blanchard), Nelson (Richards), Blackman (Purrington), Young (Vassell), Hourihane, Blizzard, Alessandra, Reid (Lane), Morgan (Harvey).
Six days after an encouraging 1-1 home draw with Milton Keynes Dons, the visit of Yeovil Town will provide the final test for Argyle before the start of the new season."It's another good test for us," said John Sheridan. "It's still about fitness, but we want to try to get a bit of shape to like we did against MK Dons, when I felt we did really well against a very good footballing side. Yeovil had an excellent season. They are in the Championship now, so they will give us a good test, and we will have to defend and create chances, like we did last week. I felt we could have scored more goals last week. That's what it's all about scoring goals and winning football matches, but, at the same time, I thought we nullified a good footballing side who have caused teams a lot of problems. We looked after them quite well. We're all going the right way, and hopefully, we will have a good season."
Matt Lecointe looks set to miss the whole season due to his knee ligament injury. Matt damaged his knee in a collision with former team-mate, Truro goalkeeper Ollie Chenoweth, during a pre-season match at Truro City, and requires an operation. John Sheridan said: "Matt is probably going to miss the season. It's a crying shame. We're in pre-season at the moment and we're talking about next pre-season. He continued, "I've had a little chat with Matty, and I'll speak to him more when he's had the operation, but we know what his injury is. It's hard for a young lad like him to miss a whole season, but he's got to try to stay as positive as he can and get ready for next season." John is backing the former England Youth International to bounce back from his setback. "He's fit enough and capable enough to come back and be stronger," said John. "It's a long process but lots of good players who've played at a higher level have come through the same injury. we'll give him the best treatment we can."
Argyle's have confirmed the signing of new left-back Andre Blackman, the former Celtic defender has agreed a deal until January. He will play for Argyle for the first time against Yeovil Town at Home Park today. John Sheridan said: "Andre is a player I know quite a lot about and has caught my attention over the years I have been a manager. He's a very good player and I think he will fit into the way we want to play. I have seen him play for Celtic and I really liked what I saw. It's an opportunity for Andre to come in and prove to one or two people he's good enough. I really think he can. He has got to get his feet on the ground. I have had a chat with Andre and it's up to him. He's only here until January. I know what he can do, but I want him to see me and show other people. Hopefully, if he does that we can talk about lengthening the contract and he will be here for a lot longer."
Andre Blackman is set to sign for the Argyle, subject to completion of the relevant paperwork. The 21-year-old left-back is a free agent following his release from Scottish Premier League champions Celtic at the end of last season and will remain at Home Park initially until January 2014. A schoolboy with Arsenal and Tottenham, Andre joined Portmsouth at the age of 16 but began his professional career with Bristol City in the summer of 2009, having recovered from a serious ankle injury. Andre made two League Cup appearances for the Robins but left Ashton Gate in October 2009 by mutual consent. Several trials, most notably with Leicester City followed, before Andre joined then Conference side AFC Wimbledon. It was with the Dons that Andre began to establish himself as a player, playing 15 times. After a short time out of the game, Andre was handed a lifeline at Parkhead in October 2011. On signing for the once European champions, Blackman said: "I felt right at home from the word 'go' at Celtic. I instinctively knew that I was in the right place and that I was surrounded by people who were willing to help get my career back on track." Blackman played three times for the Bhoys and spent the early stages of last season on loan with Inverness Caledonian Thistle, enjoying two outings, before returning to Glasgow.
Argyle have renewed their successful collaboration with The University of St Mark and St John. The League Two club will have access to training facilities such as the gym, grass pitches, sports therapy centre and sports science lab at the Plymouth campus while training for the 2013/14 season. Stan Cinnamond, the university's director of sport, said "As the centre for sporting excellence, we are delighted to renew this partnership. The new foundation degree in Football Coaching and Development cements our strengthened collaboration with the football club and really puts us on the map for providing state of the art facilities and support to students and sports teams in the city." Argyle chief executive Martyn Starnes said, "We are delighted our partnership with the University of St Mark and St John continues to go from strength to strength. To be able to make use of the superb facilities at Marjon is of huge importance to our preparations. The relationship between the city's leading sports club and the university, with its top-class sporting amenities, is vitally important to both parties and for the city."
Argyle fans who have Joined the Club for the 2013-14 season are being offered a discount on tickets for the Capital One Cup tie with Birmingham on August 6. Green and White adult Members will be offered tickets for £5, while over 65 and student Members get in for just £3.
Plymouth celebrates the hundredth anniversary of the birth of former Argyle director Michael Foot this Tuesday. Council leader Tudor Evans is hosting the centenary celebrations in the Council Chambers, starting at 6.30pm. The evening is part of a campaign to raise £60,000 to create a Foot memorial in Freedom Fields Park in Plymouth. A number of special Michael Foot memorabilia items will be raffled on the night to help raise funds. Michael, who died in 2010, sat on the Board at Home Park in the early part of the century and, having supported the club his entire life, was officially registered as a player in 2003 in celebration of his 90th birthday. The celebrations are open to all and admission is free.
Home Park is hosting a triple treat for the Green Army this weekend. On Saturday, Argyle take on Yeovil Town in their final pre-season friendly. On Sunday, the doors will be open to allow fans exclusive access to the first-team squad training session. On Monday, John Sheridan and John Harbin will be staging a Meet the Members Question & Answer evening. The Yeovil game kicks off at 3pm and tickets are priced at £9 for adults, and £4 for concessions, as long as they are bought before match-day. Match-day prices are £11 and £6. The players return to Home Park the morning after the Yeovil match for a post-game training session that supporters will be able to watch. The Barn Park end will be open from 10am for fans to gain free admission to the session, which will begin at around 10.30am and last for about an hour. As well as the training session, supporters will be able to take part in a range of activities being staged by the club's Football in the Community Trust and the Green Taverners between 10am-2pm. The FIL Family Zone For All will be open, and food and drink will be available to purchase. The third leg of the weekend sees manager John Sheridan host an evening Q&A session for Argyle Members. As well as being able to address questions to John and Performance Manager John Harbin, Members will be able to collect their 2013-14 Membership cards from a special stall set up under the stand. The evening takes place between 7-8pm and the Devonport End will open at 6.30pm.
John Sheridan is pleased with Ryan Lane's performance after coming on as a substitute and nabbing Argyle's only goal in a 1-1 draw. Lane was amongst a clutch of fledgling Pilgrims who took to the field in the second half against the Dons, all of whom have a chance of featuring in the coming season, according to the Sheridan. "He's seen the keeper, 25-30 yards out, and it's a great finish. I've said to all the lads who came on in the second half we were a very young side our squad's not massive, so if we get one or two injuries, they might be figuring a lot more. They've got to be confident. And Ryan will get a lot of confidences scoring a goal like that. The younger players on the fringes have got to believe that's they've got a chance. Playing with the first team won't do them any harm. Whether they're 35 or whatever, I'll still be telling people what they should be doing. But those players have had a career. The younger players have got to be listening, learning and wanting to be playing higher than this division. The advice I give them is for them to play higher, not to play lower. It's to make them better players and to make us a better team."
Argyle's problematic left-back conundrum will be solved sooner, rather than later, according to John Sheridan. "I need a left-back, I need someone who can come in and hopefully make us better. I know I've one or two young players who can play there but whether they're right for throwing in now, I don't know. So I'm looking for one and I'm confident I'll get one, definitely before the first game and, hopefully, before the Yeovil game. I'm asking about two players and waiting for them to come back." Durrell Berry, normally a right-back, filled the role against MK before switching across to his preferred position. "I thought he was excellent all game, at left-back and right-back," said John. "He hasn't done pre-season for the last two years and you can see the difference in him. He looks really fit and he's on top of his game at the moment, and he hasn't missed a day's training. I said to him, before we started pre-season, that I wanted him to get through it and he has done. It will stand him in good stead. You can see the difference in him."
John Sheridan admits choosing between Luke McCormick and Jake Cole will not be an easy decision. Luke began Sunday's 1-1 draw against Milton Keynes Dons, with Jake coming on at half-time. That pattern, or the reverse, will be repeated in the Pilgrims' final pre-season game against Yeovil on Saturday. John said: "I'm looking at both of them and it's going to be hard for me to make a decision for the first game. They are very evenly matched; they both work well together; and they want each other to do well. It's good to have competition - it ups each other's game. Again, next week against Yeovil, they will probably play half a game each and then I'll make a decision for the first game. They know what I'm like. I don't pick any favourites I pick who I think should be playing. Jake did very well in my short time here when I came last year, and Luke's come in to prove himself again he's been here before and was an excellent 'keeper. We've got two good 'keepers. Whoever plays, I have full confidence they can do well for the team."
Argyle drew 1-1 with MK Dons this afternoon with a goal from youngster Ryan Lane. Argyle: McCormick (Cole), Nelson, Wotton (Purrington), Blanchard, Berry, Alessandra (Vassell), Blizzard, Hourihane (Young), Boco (Richards), Reid (Harvey), Morgan (Lane)
Matt Lecointe and Andres Gurrieri are the only absentees from Argyle's squad for today's match against Milton Keynes Dons. Matt injured his knee in a Development XI game at Truro on Wednesday, while Argentinean midfielder Andres has not played in pre-season because of a thigh injury. "He's a bit longer than I thought he would be, but he's doing everything he can." said John Sherdan, "I've had a thigh injury myself and it's just one of those things you have to make sure it's right because kicking is going to be the problem. We're hoping, next week, he'll be joining with us."
Ahead of tomorrow's friendly against MK Dons, John Sheridan is intent on instilling a attacking philosophy into the squad. "We're going to try to attack teams this season. Whoever I play, we are going to be attack-minded; at the same time, we need to be strong and resolute and make it difficult for the opposition." A player who could both benefit from and contribute to that outlook is Rommy Boco who arrived at Argyle on Thursday. "Rommy's going to be behind a little bit, but he's got straight into things. He played a lot of games last season so I think the rest will have done him more good, than anything else. I'm confident he'll score goals he's proved that at Accrington. He plays off the cuff; he's exciting; he'll get players involved." Although John is focused on taking the game to the opposition, his approach is going to be on the pragmatic side of gung-ho. "I know MK Dons will move us around and play football, and cause us lots of problems," he said. "If we make the mistakes that we've made in one or two of the pre-season games we will get punished. We need to get them out of our game. It's about getting ready for the first league game. We've been working on one or two things, defensively and attacking, and hopefully we'll look a little bit more solid. We have got to get in the habit of wanting to go about and win every game, and that's what we'll do."
Warren Feeney has been named player-assistant manager at Salisbury following his release by Argyle. The appointment of the 32-year-old was announced at the Whites' pre-season friendly with Torquay on Saturday.
Argyle have published a reminder of their ticket deal for the pre-season match against MK Dons tomorrow, which kicks off at 3pm. The admission prices for tickets bought by 7pm this evening are £9 for adults and £4 for concessions. They will rise to £11 and £5 respectively on the day of the match. Supporters wanting to watch both MK Dons and the visit of Yeovil Town to Home Park next Saturday can pay £15 for adults or £7 for concessions, this package deal also runs out at 7pm this evening. All seating is un-reserved and only the Lyndhurst and Mayflower stands will be open for both games.
A painting of former Argyle director Michael Foot is to be sold at auction to help pay for a memorial to him in Plymouth city centre. Michael, who died in 2010, sat on the Board at Home Park in the early part of the century and, having supported the club his entire life, was officially registered as a player in 2003 in celebration of his 90th birthday. The unique print by Plymouth painter Robert Lenkiewicz shows Michael proudly wearing his Argyle scarf and is a copy of the original that hangs in Portcullis House in Westminster.
Matt Lecointe is facing a late start to his 2013-14 season after suffering a knee injury. The 18-year-old England Youth international was hurt during the Development XI's 1-1 draw at Truro on Wednesday, after which he limped away with his leg in a brace. "He's being assessed," said John Sheridan, "I don't think it's a nice injury for the kid, which is a crying shame he's worked his socks off and got himself fit. We'll have to wait and see. We're still waiting for the results of a scan. We'll keep our fingers crossed and do the best we can for him."
John Sheridan is one player away from completing his Argyle squad for the 2013-14 season. "There's only a left-back I feel I need to bring in now," said John. "If I can get a left-back, I'll be very pleased with my squad." The vacancy has arisen following Onismor Bhasera's decision not to accept the offer of a new Home Park deal, and the failure of Ryan Dickson and Martin John to sufficiently impress during pre-season trials. That leaves teenage first-year pro Ben Purrington as the only natural left-back available. "I'm still enquiring about one or two players, whether they'll be here for Sunday, I don't know but I'm waiting for the clubs to come back to me. It'll probably be loan which I think is only right someone who has been doing a pre-season at his club. It's important that whoever comes in now is fit." Talking about the left-back trialists over pre-season, he said, "Ryan was a bit short of what I was looking for. He's an experienced player, so I didn't want to be messing him about if he could find something else elsewhere. I think it was important to let him know so I could concentrate on bringing someone else in. Martin trained really well but, again, I just felt he wasn't really what I was looking for. The search goes on for a player who I hope will benefit us and come and play and make us better."
Benin international Romuald Boco has signed for the Argyle on a one-year deal. Rommy, a 28-year-old attacking midfielder joins Lewis Alessandra, Marvin Morgan and Reuben Reid as summer arrivals at Home Park. John Sheridan said "I'm very pleased to get him. He's got a good goalscoring record, knows this division, and with things not happening with Jason Banton, I wanted someone to come in who was similar to the way Jason plays. I think Rommy fits that criteria very well. He can play left, right and down the middle. He's very comfortable; has got good feet; runs at people, and he gets a goal. I have said that, hopefully, we are going to be attack-minded, and with him, Lewi, Marvin, Reuben and other players who are going to be pushing for the starting positions up front, we are going to be strong and hopefully we are going to start scoring goals." Although Boco has joined late into the pre-season, John has no concerns about his fitness, "He played with Sligo in Ireland and, after their season finished, he went to Accrington. I think he played more than 60 games last season, so I don't think there's any problems. He looks a fit lad anyway. Hopefully, he'll come in and settle quickly. We need to get him on board and get him in and around the team as quickly as possible. He's a little bit behind the players but he looks naturally fit."
Argyle will continue pre-season preparations with a more concentrated approach following Tuesday's 0-0 draw at Bath City. So far, fitness has been top of John Sheridan's agenda and the emphasis has been on the whole squad getting a run-out. On the final pre-season matches, John said "People will be playing longer. We haven't worked on team-shape and we're going to start being more focused now because the quality of teams we are playing now is a lot better than what we have. We don't get punished for the silly things we do, and that's no disrespect to the three teams we've played. If we're doing them next week against MK Dons and against Yeovil, we'll get found out, so it's important we try to get the players into the system and the shape we are going to play and get it sorted out properly." Bath presented a greater threat to the Argyle than the teams in their previous two matches, "It was a good workout for us, again," said John. "That's what it's all about at this stage. Obviously we'd like to win games and score more goals I think we should be scoring more goals in the three games we've had, but, on the opposite side, you can look at the three clean sheets. It's still early days and no-one's going to tell me we should be ready at this stage of the season. We're still getting rustiness. Everyone thinks they're ready, but they're not: I've said before and I'll keep saying it, once that ball comes out, it's a different game. We know now our tempo's got to pick up. We've had three good tests. Every game's been very warm, so we've got a lot of fitness out of it."
Ryan Dickson will not be joining Argyle following his trial. The left-sided player did not feature in Argyle's 0-0 draw at Bath on Tuesday, after which John Sheridan said, "I'm not going to be doing anything with Ryan. He's not really what I'm looking for. I've explained it to him the best way I can, and I'm working had to try and fill that area."
Speculation about Jason Banton returning for a second loan spell has ended with the news that he has been loaned to MK Dons on a six-month deal.
Argyle drew 0-0 in their pre-season match against Bath City tonight. First half: Cole, Nelson, Wotton, Branston, John, Young, Hourihane, Blizzard, Alessandra, Reid, Morgan. Second half: McCormick, Berry, Nelson, Blanchard, John (Lecointe), Alessandra (Lane), Young, Hourihane (Richards), Vassell, Feeney, Marvin Morgan (Harvey).
Luke McCormick believes that he is still a Championship-calibre goalkeeper and wants to repay the faith shown in him by the chairman, manager and supporters. He said: "I have set myself long and short-term goals that I believe are achievable. The long-term goal is that I'm still here for next season. That's quite a big one for me because I want to be part of this football club for as long as I possibly can. I would also like to play as many games as possible this season." The 29-year-old admitted that he had had doubts about a return to professional football after his time in prison. He said: "Probably, for a period of time, I had resigned myself to thinking that it wouldn't happen, and I completely understood and accepted that. Now I'm hungrier than I've ever been. I feel like I have got a point to prove, which I didn't necessarily have as much last time I was here. I owe this club for giving me the chance and I've got a lot to repay the fans for, and I'm determined to make this a success." After his lengthy absence from professional football, McCormick's playing comeback has not been without difficulties. He said: "I think I've had to adapt my game a little bit. I certainly have to look after my body a little bit more. My body hasn't been used to the vigorous training sessions day in, day out, that's for sure. But, like with anything as you get older, I think you learn to use your head a little bit more."
Lewis Alessanadra will make his Pilgrims' debut at Bath on Tuesday after sitting out Argyle's first two pre-season games with a slight thigh injury. He will be joined by defender Guy Branston, who has caught up with his team-mates after being waylaid by a virus, although midfielder Andres Gurrieri is uncertain and Nick Chadwick is ruled out. "Lewis will be involved on Tuesday," said manager John Sheridan, "Guy Branston will, Andres is maybe 60-40 and Nick's waiting for results of scan on his knee." John will also have another look at former Pilgrim Ryan Dickson, who has been released by Southampton and who played 70 minutes at Tiverton. "He's been injured," said John, "so this was his first game. He got a good shift in. I don't judge anybody on just this game, so I'll have a look at him at Bath and possibly in the Milton Keynes game. And then I'll make a decision."
John Sheridan was pleased with the way his players sweated their way through Saturday's 1-0 win at Tiverton yesterday. Out-of-contract striker Warren Feeney's 51st-minute goal was the difference between the two sides as the preparations for the new season continued. "Conditions were very hard to play in," said John. "It was ridiculously hot. A lot of the lads have got blisters, as well, because the ground is rock hard, full credit to the lads. It was a good work-out for us in the end, and all the players came through okay. It's been a hard pre-season and they all put a shift in." Looking forward to the remaining pre-season fixtures, John continued, "It's about giving the players game-time at the moment, I was always going to do that for these two games, and the Bath game will be the same. Then, against Milton Keynes and Yeovil, I will be looking at how we are going to play as a team. I haven't given the team any instructions yet. I just want to get plenty of work-ethic in the games, to keep the fitness ticking over. It's easy when you're running up hill and around the park but it's totally different when you are in a match situation. Some players look totally different when there's a ball out there and they have got to get used to that. That's why we have these games." John noted parts of Argyle's game which still needs work, "I know it's about fitness and everything - and no disrespect to Tiverton - but when you do the wrong things in these games, you don't get punished. We were lucky today in one or two situations because better teams would have punished us. They are the sort of things I take out of the game we don't want to be doing them against better opposition."
Warren Feeney finally got a chance to show John Sheridan what he can do, and took his opportunity with aplomb. Warren was released by Argyle at the end of last season after a season-ending foot injury in John's first game in charge, but has been given a chance to earn himself a new deal during this pre-season. Feeney scored the only goal in Argyle's 1-0 win at Tiverton five minutes after coming on at half-time. "He's been biting at the bit. He's trying to impress me. He hasn't played for a long time, he came on and worked hard and it's always nice to get a goal" said John. "It's his first game and I don't want to get carried away just because he scored. I thought he did okay when he came on and it was encouraging. He's had a bad injury but he's worked his socks off in pre-season." He added, "I know what he can do. He knows how to play the game. I've got some good strikers in and around the team and I've got good options to play people up there. I'm hoping we're going to be a very attack-minded team this season."
Argyle won 1-0 in their pre-season match against Tiverton Town this afternoon with Warren Feeney scored the only goal of the match. Argyle (first half): McCormick, Berry, Nelson, John, Dickson, Vassell, Blizzrd, Hourihane, Purrington, Reid, Morgan. Argyle (second half): Cole, Blanchard, Wotton, Richards, Vassell, Allen, Young, Lecointe, Dickson (Ryan Lane), Feeney, Harvey.
Argyle have appointed Shaun Taylor as new full-time Professional Development Coach, under the Premier and Football League's Elite Player Performance Plan. Shaun's role will be to support Head of Youth Kevin Hodges in running the Argyle Academy and take responsibility with Kevin for the club's Under 18s. He will also provide one-on-one coaching with Academy players. Kevin said: "I'm just really pleased that Shaun has come on board and he will be assisting me on a day-to-day basis with the Under 18s. I am constantly telling our young players how fortunate they are to have coaches with such a wealth of experience. Some of our coaches are still playing, whilst others have played at the highest level, and they are able to call upon their experiences to help our youngsters become better footballers." Shaun has played top flight football with Swindon Town and Kevin commented on Shaun's previous coaching roles. "Shaun has worked with youth and senior players at Bristol City and Exeter City, and recently he was a first-team coach with Torquay United working alongside Martin Ling. Our Academy staffing structure is now complete as required by the Elite Player Performance Plan and we look forward to the new season with real optimism." Shaun is the older brother of Craig Taylor who played for Argyle in two spells between 1998-2003.
Ahead of tomorrow's pre-season friendly match against Tiverton Town, John Sheridan has called for all players to fight for a place in the first team. He said "I've made it clear to everyone, whoever is in the squad will be given his chance of playing. I want people to believe in themselves and make a push for a place in the first team."
Conor Hourihane is enjoying the pre-season and believes that Argyle has a strong squad to start the season. "It's nice to be back," he said. "It's tough running in this kind of weather, but we're all enjoying it. It's fair to say that, in the three pre-seasons I have been with the club, this is definitely the strongest team we have had so far, and I'm sure we'll get even stronger." He went on to comment on the squad's morale, "There's a good vibe. Everyone's definitely looking forward this year. The lads have the right mentality we definitely want to go up the table. We are all looking forward to it and itching to go. It's important, in any league, to get off to a good start you don't want to be playing catch-up and I think we have got a squad which will get off to a good start."
John Sheridan has confirmed that Tuomas Rannankari's trial has ended early. "We've had the lad's injury assessed and unfortunately, he's going to be out for a few weeks, so that rules him out of our pre-season plans." said Sheridan. "It's really bad luck and a shame for the lad. We all feel for him but he's going to get a flight and we'll reassess the situation once he gets himself fit again."
John Sheridan has ruled out a return to Home Park for Onismor Bhasera. The Zimbabwe international defender or left-sided midfielder is on trial with Yeovil Town, after failing to respond to Argyle's offer of a new contract. "I've been trying to get hold of him, and really I don't know what he's playing at," Sheridan said after his side's pre-season friendly victory over host club Elburton Villa on Tuesday. "I've tried as hard as I can and I don't think he has come out of this very well."
Argyle fielded a team of development players in a friendly match against Torpoint Athletic this evening. The result was a 5-0 win for Argyle.
Argyle kicked off pre-season with a victory at Elburton Villa last night, the win was achieved courtesy of Matt Lecointe's first-half strike and second-half penalties from Marvin Morgan and Reuben Reid. For John Sheridan, it was a chance to get some fitness and confidence into the first-team squad. "I'm pleased to get things kicking," said John. "The lads have worked really hard. They have put a lot of effort in and we are getting them fitter. It was a good work-out. Everyone got a bit of football. That's what they are working towards. It was obviously very hot and the grass was a little too long for my liking, but it was a good test." Commenting on the match itself, he said "We could have scored a lot more goals but the main thing is to keep everyone fit and improving, and hopefully we'll get better and better as the games go by towards the start of the season." John was pleased that the strikers he used made their mark, despite two being scored from penalties. "It doesn't matter how they go in the back of the net we had a lot of opportunities to score a lot more, which would have been more pleasing it's good for the supporters to see one or two new players. The crowd was really good and it's helped Elburton." Injuries to Lewis Alessandra, Andres Gurrieri, Nick Chadwick and Guy Branston, meant John was unable to use his whole first-team squad, but it should not be too long before the absentees are back in action. "Lewi's not serious. He's just a little bit tight. Same with Andres. I think they both could have played, but I'd rather be careful. Brano's still recovering from a calf injury. They've got through most of the pre-season, and missing tonight was just a precaution so they won't aggravate their injury and be out longer."
Less than 48 hours into a trial at Argyle, Finnish international Tuomas Rannankari picked up a thigh injury while playing in yesterday's match against Elburton Villa. The injury came early in the second half. "Unfortunately, Tuomas has just gone to cross a ball and he's felt a pull to his thigh," said John Sheridan after the game. "We'll just have to assess him and see. It's a shame for the kid. He's come over and is trying to show us what he can do. We don't know how serious it is yet." The defender now has an anxious wait to see if his trial can continue.
Argyle won 3-0 tonight against Elburton Villa in what was the first pre-season friendly of the Summer for John Sheridan's first team. Matt Lecointe, Marvin Morgan and Reuben Reid scored the goals. Argyle first half: Cole, Blanchard, Wotton, John, Rannankari, Vassell, Allen, Young, Purringon, Lecointe, Harvey. Argyle second half: McCormick, Berry, Nelson, Richards, John, Vassell, Blizzard, Hourihane, Rannankari, Morgan, Reid.
Martyn Starnes has spoken about his appointment as Chief Executive after his move from Yeovil town and has his sights set on getting Argyle back to the Championship. "Plymouth has a great catchment area, a big supporter-base," said Martyn. "I think it has got a wonderful future and I have been given the opportunity to be part of it. I am absolutely delighted to be here, it's a fantastic club. I am aware, being a massive football fan generally, that Plymouth has had difficult times in recent years, going into administration. Recovering from that, I recognise, is difficult and James and the Board of Plymouth have presented me a rather unique opportunity to help to revitalise the club and move it back into the division it should be playing in, the Championship, and to do it with financial viability, which I am used to doing at Yeovil." Argyle Director David Felwick expressed the club's pleasure that Martyn had agreed to take the position. He said "We were keen to attract an experienced and motivated chief executive to put another brick in the wall, as it were, to satisfy our ambition to get Plymouth Argyle promotion to the higher leagues."
On his return to Argyle, this time as First Team Coach, Sean McCarthy believes that Argyle can be a 'force to be reckoned with'. "We have got some fantastic experience on the coaching side. We can bounce ideas off each other and, hopefully, make the football and coaching side of it enjoyable for the players, but very hard. To be fair, I have got to say the players have worked their socks off since the start of pre-season. They have come back in good nick and looked after themselves through the summer. He added, "With one or two more additions that John (Sheridan) is trying to get in over the next few weeks, hopefully we will be quite a force to be reckoned with."
Argyle's youngsters gained a credible 3-3 draw in their first pre-season friendly against a strong Royal Marines side at CTC Lympstone. Kevin Hodges' side found themselves 3-1 down before scoring twice in the last 15 minutes to earn their result.
It has been confirmed by the football league that Argyle will compete in round one of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy this season and will not receive a bye. The Pilgrims will play the first round in the Southern Section West and will face one of the following sides either home or away: Bristol City, Bristol Rovers, Cheltenham Town, Exeter City, Portsmouth, Torquay United or Wycombe Wanderers.
Former Argyle left-back Onismor Bhasera now looks highly unlikely to return to the club after his agent Ralph N'komo revealed he is set to start a trial with Turkish side Elazigspor. N'komo, who also stated that there was interest from a Championship club for the Zimbabwean defender, was quoted as saying: "The club will start its pre-season training on 10 July in the Netherlands and they will pick up Bhasera in England. The club is looking for a left-back and want to have a look at him since they don't know how he plays. It's unlike in England where he is well known. He was the best player for Plymouth Argyle in the past season, but we are looking at what is best for the player.We can't rule out his return to Plymouth Argyle, but it will depend on what offers are on the table because he is a very good player and a number of clubs are interested in him."
Sky TV have chosen to televise Argyle's home match against Portsmouth on October the 12th in what will be the first time the two sides meet in a league match in over twenty-two years. The match is Argyle's first league game to be televised since August 2010 and will kick-off at the earlier kick-off time of 12.15.
John Sheridan has spoken about a possible return to Argyle for winger Jason Banton. While Sheridan is keen to bring Banton back on loan for the forthcoming season, he is trying to take some heat out of the speculation. "I appreciate Crystal Palace letting us have Jason on loan last season because he proved very valuable for us," said Sheridan. "Everyone knows I'm interested in Jason and I don't want to keep talking about it. I don't think it's right. Palace will do what's best for Jason and they know our interest. I'm just leaving it at that. I have just got to concentrate on who I have got here at the moment." Sheridan has already signed Lewis Alessandra, Reuben Reid (on loan) and Marvin Morgan this summer to strengthen his attacking options. He added: "I would like to bring in another attack-minded player. Jason is a player who I have spoken of before but there are other players who we have looked at. If it doesn't materialise with Jason, I have got to look elsewhere. Everyone else is talking about Jason but I'm just trying to be quiet. What will be, will be. You have got to respect that he's not our player."
John Sheridan has confirmed that he has not had any inquiries from other clubs about transfer-listed Argyle striker Nick Chadwick. Chadwick did not take part in the pre-season training session yesterday morning because of an injury. "I haven't had any interest (in Chadwick) from any clubs," said Sheridan. "He has got a little knock at the moment but he has been training since we have come back (for pre-season). Nick is an experienced player and you have got to give him a bit of respect. I have just been truthful with him that my thoughts are elsewhere and I think other players are going to be in before him. While Nick is at this age, he can still go and play football and do a good job for someone else. I have left that with him and he knows the situation. He's not going to figure in my plans and, hopefully, something will come out of it."
Former Yeovil Town Chief Executive Martyn Starnes has today been appointed to the same role with Argyle, filling a vacancy that has been absent since the departure of interim CEO Martin Baker last December. Fifty-eight year old Starnes who held the same role with Swindon before his Yeovil days will also join the Argyle board of directors. Starnes will take up his new post with Argyle on Monday July 8th. James Brent spoke in enthusiastic terms about the appointment:"My fellow Directors and I are delighted to welcome Martyn to Plymouth Argyle. Martyn brings years of experience in running football clubs and has demonstrated that, even for a club which has a much smaller fanbase than Argyle, financial prudence can be combined with league success. We are confident that Martyn will leverage the additional revenues anticipated from the new grandstand to support John Sheridan in moving Argyle back up the Football League. It is a measure of Martyn's confidence in Argyle that he has decided to join us from a newly promoted Championship club. I look forward to the new season with enthusiasm and excitement."
In football related news, Argyle manager John Sheridan has confirmed that he will no longer chase up the contract offered to Zimbabwean left-back Onismor Bhasera after his previous contract expired at the end of last month. This leaves Bhasera now likely to leave the club after more than three years of service. Sheridan said: "I've got to be looking at bringing someone else in now. We've made him a very good offer, we like him, the fans like him and he's done well for us. But the problem is getting hold of him and finding his whereabouts."
Two potential replacements for Bhasera are Martin John and Ryan Dickson who are both currently on trial at Home Park. 24 year old John who has previously played for Cardiff and 26 year old Argyle youth product Dickson are both playing for a contract. Sheridan today confirmed: "Hopefully one of them will impress enough and fill that position. Martin John has come in on the first day of pre-season and he's worked very hard - obviously we'll keep him around until the games and have a good look at him. Obviously we all know what his [Ryan Dickson] potential is. He's been at big clubs and he's been here before, he's a Plymouth lad. Again I'll have a good look at him before we make a decision in the next week or so."
Argyle today signed former Shrewsbury Town striker Marvin Morgan, on a two-year contract. John Sheridan believes he will be a big player for the club, and not just because he is 6ft 4in. He said: "He'll be a big player for us and I am very pleased to get him. There were other clubs after him, and he's looked at Plymouth and his other options, and chosen Plymouth, which I'm very pleased about. He's not just a big, tall striker, he's a good player. First and foremost, he's done very well in this division when he's played for Shrewsbury and Aldershot. He's scored goals. He gives us something different. He plays lots of games, so you get value for money, and I think he's a really good addition to what we've already got. He's got a bit of experience. His does score a goal, but he also makes his presence felt, he's big, he's quick and, like I say, he's a bit different to what we've got in Reuben, Lewi, and we'll possibly add another attack-minded player." Morgan came late to the Football League after working his way up the ladder, signing for Aldershot in 2008, where he first worked with Gary Owers. Sheridan added: "Gary's worked with him, which is a benefit to us, and I've managed teams when he's been in the opposition so I know a lot about him myself. He's a good lad, an intelligent lad, who wants to do well and improve even though he's 30 years old. He played lots of games and I hope he keeps on doing that." Sheridan is not guaranteed a start when Argyle kick-off their season at Southend on August 3rd however. "It's about a squad," said Sheridan. "Players who I am signing have got to work hard to get into the side. I want them to come in and be hungry. For the last three or four years, the club has been down at the wrong end of the table. I don't want that to happen again and I'll make sure it doesn't. We're bringing in players who have played at a higher level, who have valuable experience, and have been in successful teams. "If I can get them all together and working hard, hopefully we're going the right way."
Marvin Morgan joined Argyle because of the club's ambition under John Sheridan. He said: "As a striker, you want to be playing, you want to be scoring goals, and you want to be going to an ambitious club, and you can't be getting a more ambitious club than this in League 2. This is the biggest club I have played for in my career. It is about trying to get it out of League 2 and into League 1 and going on from there. It's going to be a tough task, but my ambition is to do what I did at Shrewsbury, when I took a step back to move forwards. It was the right step to go to Shrewsbury when I did, and I think it's the right thing again. I did have offers from League 1 clubs, even a last-ditch effort from team last night, but I'm a man of my word and, once I got down here, my mind was made up. At the moment, it's hard for any player getting a team, and I was grateful to have a few teams interested in me." The prospect of working under Sheridan appealed to Morgan, who also knows Gary Owers from their time together at Aldershot. "I haven't come here thinking I'm a big shot, far from it," he said. "The gaffer is very honest and that's the type of manager I need to be playing under, I've played under managers who are not honest with you and you think you are doing well when you're not. If I'm not doing it, he's going to kick me up the backside, and I think that's the kind of approach I need. He's always done well with strikers, every striker who has played under him has scored goals." Morgan believes he has plenty of miles left on the clock after coming into the professional game in his mid-20s. "I got into football quite late and have only had five years as a full-time footballer," he said. "So I like to say that I'm 25 in footballing years, and I think I've got a lot left in the tank. My agent thinks I could play until I'm 40 because I got into football so late, as long as I look after my body. I'm 30, but I'm still a big kid. I've still got loads of enthusiasm for football."
Romain Larrieu has revealed he would consider a return to playing, despite having hung up his gloves more than 12 months ago. Larrieu played in a charity game in France at the start of June and that whetted his appetite for a return to action. He is still coming to terms with not being involved in football, especially with pre-season having just started, and said: "It's strange. I don't really know how I feel about it. I'm looking at different things I could do, in football and outside. I have got myself fit again and maybe if there is a club that wants to have a look at me, why not? I still have enough will to play. I'm getting myself fit and then, at least, I will be fit. I have no expectations. I won't be upset if nothing happens. I have been training quite a lot, especially back in France. I played in a charity game near my hometown of La Rochelle and I really enjoyed it." The opposition in that game included Mathias Doumbe, who was released by MK Dons at the end of last season. Larrieu added: "He played against me and tried to score a couple of times but never got near it! I really enjoyed playing in that game, more than I thought I would. That's what has put this idea in my mind." Although he has been on a training programme, Larrieu has not done any goalkeeping work, apart from that one game. His preference would be to play in the Football League again, and he said: "That's where I have been and I have enjoyed it so much. I would look there first, but I just want a project, somewhere where they want to do it right. You do miss the buzz you get from playing at three o'clock on a Saturday afternoon or a Tuesday evening. It's very hard to replace whatever you do." Larrieu would be interested in a career in coaching in the future, but not at this moment because he has a young family and wants to spend time with them. He said: "Coaching is not an option for me right now. It's going to mean I'm going to have to be somewhere, away from my family or take them with me, and then you never know what's going to happen next."
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