A Round-up of Argyle News
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Also included on the three most recent days, facts from Argyle's history.
Argyle's reserve fixture at Cheltenham Town scheduled for December 20th has been postponed and will now be played on March 14th
Nick Chadwick has welcomed the prospect of another striker joining Argyle in January - but he has also urged the fans to retain faith in the club's current players. He said: "The manager wants to bring his own players in. That's football. Everybody knew he was going to do that. He's also working on the players he has here, and that's important. I think we have got decent players here, but because of the way we were playing together or our fitness, or whatever the reason was, it wasn't really working for us." While Argyle have not made huge strides up the table since Pulis took over, Chadwick believes that the team are heading in the right direction. "I think the fans can see that our performances have greatly improved," he said. "We, the players, certainly feel that. Personally, I feel a lot fitter and sharper and I'm enjoying it a lot more, as are all the lads. I think, if you're enjoying your work, results will start to come. That disillusionment which was creeping into the squad has completely gone now. We're all hopeful and confident now, and personally I feel that things are coming together." Although he failed to score in last weekend's loss to Reading, Chadwick was named as man-of-the-match and added: "Things are happening, all of a sudden. I'm a lot more positive. In all aspects of our game, we've improved with the new manager coming in. Maybe we just need that little bit more quality. Hopefully the two new lads will help to give us that, but if we can work with the squad we've got then I think you'll find that the quality we've got is good. If we get to work on the training ground as we have been doing lately, then the quality of our play will improve greatly. I think it already has done. On Saturday we created half a dozen chances against a side on top of the league. I don't think we would have done that seven or eight weeks ago. People have been harping on about us needing new strikers all season, but sometimes we could have had Michael Owen in the side and we still wouldn't have scored any goals. We are creating chances now, and we're getting on the end of things. Yes, we probably need another striker - let's get one in - and we need extra depth, but let's work with the strikers we've got as well. The ultimate goal is for us to start scoring more goals. That's what everybody wants, including the strikers that are here."
Argyle reserves lost 4-5 to Bristol Rovers at Home Park last night, the goals scored by Matt Derbyshire, Scott Taylor (2) and Nuno Mendes: McCormick; Martin, Mendes, Routledge, Brevett, Gudjonsson, Lasley, Summerfield, Djordjic, Derbyshire, Taylor. Subs – Bond, Laird.S, King (not used – Debbage, Reid)
Tony Pulis is hopeful that Akos Buzsaky will be fit for Saturday's trip to Coventry City. "He is a little bit better than he was last week," said Pulis. "I think we are just going to take our time with him. We'll have had a full week where there have been no demands on him, so we can go at his pace and make sure that when he does come back, that he is fully fit. I think we have been asking him to play despite his injury, especially in home games, because we know he is the one player in the club who can produce something out of nothing. But we have a chance now to take our time with him and not rush him back to action. It is too early in the week to say whether he will be fit for Saturday's game at Coventry. It is simply a case of keeping our fingers crossed that we he will be fit enough. But he is an important player to the team, as he is the one player at the club who could get you a goal out of nothing. His work rate has also improved and he has become a team player which has been good for everybody at the club." Argyle's recent loan signings, Jason Jarrett and Elliott Ward are likely to start again this weekend and Pulis believes both players have brought something positive to the club since their arrivals last week, but admits he is still looking at potential January transfer window signings to add to his squad. Pulis said: "I think they are two good acquisitions. They have settled in - they seem as though as they are enjoying themselves and they look part of the group - so we have just to make sure we look after them and treat them right, and I am sure they will give us everything they have got back. Both players need games. They have come here to play games and they need games, so their match fitness and match sharpness will be a little bit down from what it should be, but I thought both contributed very well against Reading. However, I am still on the lookout for more players. We sent Mark O'Connor to Poland on Sunday, and Lindsay Parsons was in France and we are looking at games again this week. We know what we have got at the football club now - we know what players are there - and we now need to keep our noses to the ground and make sure we are there if anything drops. It is good that I have had time to assess the players we have at the club. The players' attitude has been fantastic, but everybody knows we need a couple of new faces to push us on and the squad is no different. But I am sure any manager in this division will be saying the same at the moment."
Tony Pulis has admitted that there is very little chance of Argyle being able to keep Elliott Ward. The defender is on a one-month loan deal, which could be extended with the agreement of West Ham and Argyle but Pulis is not expecting to have the opportunity to turn the temporary deal into a full transfer. "There's no chance of that whatsoever," he said. "I think the best we can hope for is that Elliott enjoys it so much that he stays here on a loan basis." For now though, Pulis is just glad to have Ward on board. He added: "I spoke to Alan Pardew about two months ago, when I got the job here. I just kept on to him and kept on to him, and I was very fortunate last week when Alan said yes at the right time for us. He gave us the player's number, and I managed to get stuck into the player."
Tony Pulis has widened his search in a bid to bring new players to Argyle in January. He was watching possible transfer targets at a game last night and revealed that he has even had representatives at games outside of Britain at the weekend. He said: "We're exploring every avenue to try and get the kind of player that will move Plymouth Argyle forward. I've said before how difficult it is to try and get players to come to Plymouth when there are other closer clubs also interested. But we're still out there looking, taking in games in order to be properly prepared when the transfer window re-opens in January. I'm going to matches up and down the country watching players and so are others on the staff. We even had two of our staff taking in games overseas on Sunday. But I'm not prepared to say where they were or who they were watching. That's because competition for good players is keen and it's important that we keep looking for ways to strengthen our squad. We've brought in two loan signings and they both did very well on Saturday. In fact, I was delighted with all the players and also the Argyle fans for their appreciation of the team's efforts. It just shows that we must have played well - after all they applauded the players off the pitch and they'd just lost 2-0 at home. It's a tough league but we're competing with the best and all the players have to do is work hard and keep believing. Luck and the results will soon go our way."
Nick Chadwick was left to rue the chances that slipped away as Reading defeated Argyle 2-0 on Saturday. He said: "Anyone who looks at that result in the papers might have expected it, but anyone who was at the game, including probably their supporters, knows it was a different story. We not only battled well, but we played some good stuff as well. The first goal was all-important. I'm a little bit disappointed about the fact that I didn't manage to get mine in, and then their lad produced a great finish." Glen Little scored midway through the first half with a superb chip, less than a minute after Chadwick had been denied by the Reading 'keeper. "It was from a long ball forward and Mickey got a great flick on," Chadwick said. "That's something we've been working on, the two of us, me getting close to him for those flicks. I managed to turn their lad, which I was pleased with, and then as it fell I thought, if I could hit it hard enough from there, it would beat the 'keeper. Perhaps I should have looked to place it a bit more. It was unlucky, it was a good save, but I thought I should have done better. I'm always going to be critical of myself. It was unfortunate, because we really were on top. They went straight up the other end and scored a great goal. That didn't finish us off, but it took our breath away for five minutes or so. Their two goals were perhaps the only two on-target shots that they had. I also hit the bar. I think we were unlucky. I know a lot of teams who lose games say that, but I really thought we were. They're top of the league, but I think we matched them. I thought the game was at least 50-50, if not 60-40 in our favour. I thought we took the game to them and it was just unfortunate that they managed to counter-attack and nick two goals." The performance, if not the result, gives Argyle confidence as they prepare for next Saturday's game at Coventry City. "We think we're not a bad side," Chadwick added. "We believe in ourselves. We're not going to boast that we're a good side, because we haven't picked up enough points to say that, but we think we can go to Coventry and get at least a point."
Hasney Aljofree has insisted it is only a matter of time before Argyle start moving up the Championship. He said: "We have played against a team who are top of the league - and with good reason - and we haven't looked out of place. They have scored two goals from two breakaways and their quality has shone through, but we aren't far away. We went to Sheffield Wednesday last week and we battled out a 0-0 draw with them. We need that little bit of luck and we haven't really had it that much. But things will turn for us. Everything we are doing is correct. We are all working for each other. I'm sure things will turn in our favour and we will start to grind out the results we need." Aljofree played at left-back against Reading after a defensive reshuffle caused by an injury to Paul Connolly. Anthony Barness moved to right-back while Elliott Ward made his first start for Argyle in central defence with Mathias Doumbe. Aljofree had not played at left-back since the defeat away to West Ham last February. "Apart from that, I haven't played there for a while, but if the gaffer wants you to do a job, you have got to do it," he said. "Big Elliott has come in from West Ham and the gaffer has put him in where I play. I have gone to left-back and I thought I did okay - nothing exceptional. It's just disappointing we haven't got anything from the game because I thought the lads worked hard again. The new boys have come in and I thought they both did well. A club like this needs competition for places. We are in the wrong half of the league and we need better players to come in and help us out. Hopefully, these boys will do well for us in the next few games. It's good for the manager to have competition for places. Obviously, if you're not playing it's very disappointing but that's football and you have got to get on with it." Argyle made a promising start against Reading before Glen Little's excellent goal. Aljofree said: "Me and Tony had banked up on him and he couldn't come inside but he got half-a-yard, chipped Romain and it landed in the bottom corner. You have got to take your hat off to that. It was out of nothing really. The boy Lita did well down their left-side and got a shot in and the centre-forward followed it up. Apart from that, we didn't have much to bother us. I thought we had a few good chances to score but were unlucky. I think that's why Reading have done so well this season. They are very organised and they came here and did a very efficient job. They weren't all up and at you. It was strange really. It wasn't one of those games where I thought we had been battered and turned over 2-0." One plus-point from the match was the performance of Chadwick and Aljofree added: "I thought Chads did well again. He has really picked up his game. He always works hard but he's just got that bit sharper and I think you have seen that today. He created chances for himself by getting a yard in front of people. On another day, he could have scored two goals. Hopefully, he will score two at Coventry next Saturday."
Tony Pulis bemoaned his side's ill luck after yesterdays defeat. He said: "On another day, we could have been 1-0 up. Chadders was through with only the 'keeper to beat, a free shot on goal inside the 18-yard box - with a little bit of good fortune, it would have gone in the back of the net. Chadders has done well getting into the box, getting free. He had an opportunity today, to score a hat-trick. Unfortunately, that hasn't happened but I'm very pleased he's getting into those positions. I thought we competed well and were desperately disappointed to come in 1-0 down, and the second goal knocked the wind out of us, although Chadders headed against the post and, if that had gone in, it could have been a drum-rolling last quarter of an hour." Pulis though, was happy to tip his cap to Reading and hopes that his team can learn from the experience. "They are the best counter-attacking side In the league," he said. "Their two goals have come from situations around the edge of their box. They have got good pace in the team that can cause you problems. We've got to play some good teams down here over the next few matches. What we have got to be ready for is that extra bit of quality, the extra bit of pace that these teams have got, and we have got to make sure that, when we do get chances, we take them." In the absence of Paul Wotton, Pulis made Michael Evans his skipper, and was pleased with his performance, as well as those of new loan signings Elliott Ward and Jason Jarrett. "I thought Mickey Evans caused their central defenders all sorts of problems," said Pulis. "It is his work that enables other people to get chances. Sometimes Mickey gets overlooked. I thought Ward grew as the game went on and I though Jarrett did exceptionally well for his first game. I thought he did some very good things. We've improved. It was a good test for us today. We're disappointed we lost the game. There is such a thin line between success and failure and they are having that run at the moment. Good luck to them. We've given a good account of ourselves today against a very good side."
Argyle lost 2-0 to Reading at Home Park. Argyle: Larrieu, Barness, Kouo-Doumbe, Ward, Aljofree, Norris, Jarrett, Buzsaky, Capaldi, Chadwick, Evans. Subs - Djordjic, Derbyshire (not used - McCormick, Lasley, Brevett). Attendance - 14,020.
Jason Jarrett hopes to kickstart his career at Argyle. He said: "It's been a frustrating time for me at Norwich, since I signed in the summer. Obviously the team haven't been doing very well and I haven't really got a chance there at the moment. Given the opportunity to come to Plymouth - I couldn't really turn it down. Tony Pulis has shown faith in me before and I thought I would show a bit back and come and help him out if I can. I'm very excited to be here. I know Tony Pulis from Stoke - I spent a few weeks there - and I am really excited to come here and play. I had other clubs from this league - I don't want to say who they are - wanting to take me on loan as well. But Tony Pulis was a big part of me coming here and I wasn't going to turn him down. I think Tony Pulis is a lot of people's gaffer - not just mine. I really like the fella as well. I don't think I need to prove how good I am in this league. I've played three or four years in this league for Wigan. With Norwich this season it's been a bit frustrating and I had a long injury last season - I snapped my ankle and was out for most of the year. But everything's fine now. I'm just itching to play football again." Jarrett is set to start in central midfield, in suspended Paul Wotton's absence, against Reading this afternoon. "I hope people can describe me as a box-to-box midfielder," said Jarrett. "I like to get up and down. Hopefully I can do a bit of everything and defend and attack. You've got to have a bit of everything to your game as a midfielder. I've played at Plymouth a couple of times in my career - I know it's a long way! I've played here for Wigan and I think we used to beat you! But Plymouth are a good club - the fanbase is good and I'm really looking forward to games here. I've settled in already. Obviously we didn't get much chance to train yesterday - it was almost impossible to do anything - but I'm here for a month so hopefully I'll settle in quickly. The lads seem a really good bunch. It should be a great game to play in. Reading have been going very well, but we have nothing to fear." Pulis hasn't ruled out making a permanent move for Jarrett in January, if Norwich decide to sell, but Jarrett said: "I wouldn't say this move is a shop window for me. I'm still very much a Norwich player - I've got nearly three years there left on my contract. This is just a good chance to come away and play some football, and hopefully do a job for Plymouth. I'm still a Norwich player in that sense, but for the next month I'm doing my best for Plymouth."
Elliott Ward is itching for first-team action, having featured in only a handful of games for West Ham this season. The defender knows what to expect from the Championship, and from Reading, having helped West Ham gain promotion last season. "It will be a good test and hopefully we can come out on top," he said. "It's certainly a big game for us - they are top of the league and we need to get three points to start climbing up the table." Having been given his first taste of Argyle action at Hillsborough in midweek, Ward is confident his new club can start producing the results. He added: "I felt we did enough to win the game the other night. Going up there is a hard place to go, but we got a point and hopefully we can push on from that."
Tony Pulis is expecting a memorable day as Argyle take on Reading this afternoon. "It will be a fantastic game," he said. "We are really looking forward to it. We have the opportunity of doing the double over them so that is a massive incentive to the dressing-room. I'm sure Steve Coppell will be using that as a battle-cry from his quarters, so it should be a cracking game. The game should capture the imagination of the supporters. We have just come off two great results - we had a fantastic win against QPR and a good battling performance at Sheffield Wednesday. I'm hoping we can get in as many as we possibly can. If we could get up around the 17,000 mark, which we got for Sheffield Wednesday, and with Reading's supporters as well, it will be a cracking atmosphere. I want us to show people we can make this a fortress and to do that we need the supporters' backing and we need them really behind their team. We are complete and utter underdogs but we are playing at home. I love that."
Tony Pulis tried complete the loan signing of a striker before yesterday's deadline, but was unsuccessful. Bulgarian international striker Svetoslav Todorov was one of his targets, but Portsmouth were not prepared to loan him out. Pulis said: "We had irons in the fire for two or three other players to come in but they didn't fall for us."
Tony Pulis has made an appeal to the Green Army to turn out in numbers to out-sing the fans of Reading tomorrow. "We need to make this place a fortress and to do that we need the fans behinds us," he said. "I would like to see 17,000 here like we had against Sheffield Wednesday. It will be a cracking game, we are coming off two great results against QPR and away at Sheffield Wednesday and Reading are top of the League. "
Argyle have injury doubts over Hasney Aljofree (knee) and David Norris (ankle) for tomorrow's game, which could open the way for Elliott Ward to play at centre-back
Argyle have signed midfielder Jason Jarrett on loan from Norwich City. Tony Pulis was as upbeat about the arrival of Jarrett as he was about securing Elliott Ward's services on Tuesday. He said: "I took Jason on loan when I was at Stoke - from Wigan - last year and he was outstanding for us and I hope he can do the same here. He's a box-to-box central midfielder, a good player. Jarrett has had experience in this league for Wigan and played in their promotion team. Paul Jewell has got a lot of time for the kid. He offered him a new contract but Jason decided he wanted to go to new pastures. He went to Norwich and it has not worked out exactly the way he wanted it to there. With Wotton now suspended, I always said we needed cover there." Pulis thinks that perseverance has won over patience in his bid to bring in this week's loan signings. He said: "More than anything it's been persistence. Again Jason will say this has been going on for a while. I've been trying to get this deal done for a while. One or two things have happened. In other situations I have been disappointed that I have not been able to get people in but these two are decent signings. You cannot always get what you want. I think we have proved by being persistent and keeping your nose really, really latched on to that football grapevine, we know what's happening and what's not." Initially Jarrett arrives at Home Park on loan but Pulis added: "The kid wants to come and have a look at the place and see if he enjoys it and everything else. We have just given him the stage and the opportunity to play, which he is desperate to do. He's been a bit like Elliott really in that he's been true to his word. There were other clubs who would have been interested in taking Jason."
Elliott Ward will make his full Argyle debut against Reading on Saturday. Tony Pulis revealed that he will be in the weekend's starting line-up and said: "I've not brought him in for cover. I've got to make a difficult decision on Saturday. I'll look at it in the cold light of day and I'll decide. We could have Dave Kitson against us on Saturday, who is a big, strong lad, and - no disrespect to Has or Matty - they are not the biggest when big players play against us. We have got to be a little bit more solid in that area, especially in the air. Elliott is big, and he's a strong kiddy - he's a boy, but he's got a man's body - and he's desperate to get going. We will need him, don't worry about that." Ward confirmed that he had turned down a late bid from Sheffield United to honour an agreement to Pulis to move to Home Park. "Tony's been after me for a while and I've been sticking it out at West Ham, just to see how it's going," he said, "but there's not been many opportunities. I've had a few clubs interested - Coventry, Derby, Sheffield United rang me up at 10 o'clock this morning - but I kept my word to Tony. I trust him. Hopefully, I can come and do a job. After last year, I was very disappointed that I didn't start the season, but the gaffer brought in new players and, to be fair, they did really well. You have just got to push on and make yourself a better player from that." Ward was impressed with his new team-mates' efforts against Sheffield Wednesday. "It's a hard place to come - I played here in the cup," he said. "Once they get a sniff, the fans get behind them, so I thought the lads did well to get a point." Looking forward to the visit of Reading, Ward said: "If I'm involved, I'll be up for the challenge. They are a great team; they are pushing Sheffield all the way and this year could be their year; but, on Saturday, we have got to stop them." Pulis is no doubt he has got a good player. "When you've got the team at the top of the table desperate to sign you, I think that shows the quality of the kid," he said. "I'm just absolutely delighted he's come to Plymouth Argyle - he will be an excellent signing. He's got a good attitude and people speak very highly of him at West Ham. We've been very fortunate to take an excellent player." Pulis hopes he has not finished strengthening the Argyle squad with Thursday night's 5pm transfer deadline approaching. "I'm desperate to get a few in," he added.
Tony Pulis hailed Romain Larrieu after the Frenchman helped earn a point at Hillsborough. Larrieu denied Richie Partridge with a point-blank range towards the end of a game and Pulis said: "It was a top-class save. When he was called upon, he pulled one out of the bag for us. The last 20 minutes seemed about an hour. They threw the big lad on and just pumped balls from every angle into the box. He's 6ft 4in and put himself around a bit, and things were dropping off him. It caused us a little bit of trouble. I think we struggled to cope a bit towards the end, when the big lad came on. We have, a couple of times, struggled to cope with having a big player against us. Overall, I think we deserved it. I think, up until the last 20 minutes, we were the team that was going to create the better chances. I thought we could have done better. I think there were better situations and better opportunities for us to take our time a little bit. We got some good crosses into the box; we got some bits and pieces we could have made better chances from." Argyle's best scoring opportunity came in first-half injury-time, when Anthony Barness drew a good save from Nick Weaver, and Akos Buzsaky fired the rebound just wide. Pulis said: "I thought that was a goal. It just bent away, right at the end. That was a disappointment." Pulis was again pleased with the commitment throughout the team, exemplified by Nick Chadwick playing on with eight stitches in a head wound, and Buzsaky battling against an abdominal strain. He said: "You are asking them to work at a very high tempo, and we still haven't got that balance right that, when we have got the ball, we have got to be a little bit more relaxed. They've worked hard again. They are a good group. I think Chadwick - eight stitches in the side of his head and he didn't want to come off - shows the spirit. I can't speak highly enough of the group, in that respect. Akos is struggling a little bit with his injury and we want to keep him on there because he can do things that nobody else in the team can do, but he looked as though he tired."
Argyle drew 0-0 with Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough. Argyle: Larrieu, Connolly, Kouo-Doumbe, Aljofree, Barness, Norris, Wotton, Buzsaky, Capaldi, Chadwick, Evans. Subs - Lasley, Djordjic, Ward (not used - McCormick, Derbyshire). Attendance - 20,244.
Argyle today beat off a late bid from Sheffield United to sign West Ham defender Elliott Ward on a month's loan. Tony Pulis said: "We have beaten Sheffield United to sign him, which shows how well thought of he is. They somehow found out what we were doing and came in at the last minute. I'm really pleased with the kid. He gave his word and stuck to it, which I think speaks volumes for him. He's only 20 and played in quite a few games for West Ham last year, including the play-off semi-final and final, so he's used to playing under pressure. I think he's got a fantastic future in front of him and so does Alan Pardew."
Argyle are aiming for their second away win of the season at Hillsborough tonight and David Norris hopes the team can use the victory over QPR as a springboard to further success. He said: "Everybody was really happy in the changing room on Saturday. We had had a tough 10 days of training and working on things and we felt it was the result we needed at the end of it. Now, though, we have got to look to push on from this. We have come out of the bottom three and if we can go away and get something at Sheffield Wednesday, hopefully, we will start picking up points on a regular basis." Norris played for Argyle when they won 3-1 at Hillsborough on their last visit in October 2003 and admitted he and his team-mates were looking forward to playing there tonight. He said: "It's a nice big pitch and with the reputation Sheffield Wednesday have got it's always a big game. The last time we were up there it was probably one of the best days of that season." Tonight's game gives Nick Chadwick the chance to build on his recent improved form. Norris said: I think everyone was really pleased he got his goal. I think the hard work he actually does for the team, with him having to drop back a bit, might go unnoticed. Sometimes, when he does get the ball he's that tired from doing his defensive work that it's hard for him. But Nick has been doing really well in training and his confidence seems to be up. Hopefully, he can kick on." Chadwick himself believes the two-week international break came at a good time for Argyle. He said: "I think the organisation of the side was probably there for everybody to see on Saturday. The players certainly know what they are doing. As an attacking force, hopefully we can improve and create chances like we did on Saturday, when we scored three goals." Chadwick broke his goal drought on Saturday, when he got on the end of a free-kick from Akos Buzsaky. He said: "Perhaps there have been times when I have been in that position and the ball hasn't come to me but, then again, there probably have been times when the ball has been in there and I haven't been in that position. It just so happens that this time both of those factors came together and it ended up in a goal. It was a great ball in from Akos and someone has got to get on the end of it. I was glad it was me. It has been well-documented we have done a lot of fitness work and it was definitely needed, both personally and as a team. The lads are very honest and they don't mind hard work. In fact, we have accepted it with smiles on our faces because we all know that's what we need."
Paul Wotton hopes to have another happy memory of Hillsborough after tonight's game with Sheffield Wednesday. Wotton had a trial there as a teenager in 1996 and returned in October 2003 when Argyle beat Wednesday 3-1. Wotton is also hoping they can build Saturdays win against QPR tonight. He said: "I think we thoroughly deserved the three points. We knew it was a massive game for us. We can take the momentum with us up to Hillsborough, which is a game we can look forward to. It's a fantastic place to play football. It's a great stadium and there will be a good atmosphere. I'm sure even though it's on a Tuesday night and a long way away, we will have a good following up there again. If we can get three points tonight it would be a big result for us because they are down there with us. Let's be honest, we are at the wrong end of the league but we are doing everything we can to get out of that." Argyle are 17th but they are only one point above Hull City, who occupy the first of the three relegation spots. Wotton said: "That just shows you how tight the league is. It's crazy. We beat Burnley 1-0 in September and that put them bottom of the table, but they have had a few wins on the trot and, all of a sudden, they are in a play-off position." Wotton received his fifth booking of the season against QPR, but one consolation was the fact that his automatic suspension does not start at once. "I didn't want to miss the Sheffield Wednesday game," Wotton added. "That's nothing to do with Paul Sturrock or Kevin Summerfield. It's a fantastic place to play football. It's a great stadium, and there will be a good atmosphere there. Even though it's a Tuesday night and it's a long way away, I'm sure we'll have a good following there again. I'm disappointed to miss any game, because I feel that things are coming on here now. We understand what the gaffer and the coaching staff want from us now, and we're trying our best to put it into practice. We know we've got to improve in certain areas, but the fundamentals of the team - the work-rate and the effort - are there for everybody to see."
Argyle are giving Akos Buzsaky every chance of being fit to play in tonight's game at Sheffield Wednesday. Tony Pulis said: "Buzsaky is going to be a worry for us. We'll have to wait and see what he's going to be like. Akos will travel, whatever. Even if he's not fit, he'll be getting treatment from Paul Maxwell." If Buzsaky is fit to keep his place then Argyle will almost certainly be unchanged. Pulis sees no need to tinker with Saturday's side unless he has to. "I think everybody did well and it was a good performance," he said. "Unless I bring three superstars in we'll be unchanged!" Several squad members have seen little or no Argyle first-team action in the past month, but they may have to remain patient. "The players in the team have done well in the nine games I've been in charge," Pulis said. "The squad have worked hard." There seems to be little prospect of any squad member being sent out on loan this week, despite the manager receiving several enquiries. "That won't happen until we bring players in," Pulis added. "We're much too thin." Pulis is under no illusions about what lies in wait tonight. "It will be a tough game," he said. "I've been up there and watched them recently. Their crowd are fantastic. They really do get behind them and I think you will see that tonight. It's such a big game so early in the season. It will be tough and people have got to stand up and be counted, especially the players at the back."
Argyle's hard work on the training ground during the international break paid off against QPR, according to Tony Pulis. He said: "Obviously, the result speaks for itself and we are pleased to get the three points. It was a good performance but we must not get carried away. We have got two big games coming up this week and we have got to make sure we are in the right frame of mind to approach them. It was important that we won today. It gives everybody a lift, especially the players. The last fortnight, they have worked extremely hard and I think it's showing now. They look a little bit fitter and a little bit sharper, and we played some good stuff at times. We have been working on trying to get the wide players coming inside and past their midfield players. We wanted to get Akos and Tony Capaldi into little holes where we are on their back four with short passes, rather than long ones. But it takes months of hard work trying to get a shape and a pattern within the team. You are working when you have got the ball, and when you haven't got the ball, and it's very difficult to implement anything straight away. I'm pleased and it's a great three points, but I'm not getting carried away. We have got a long way to go." Buzsaky passed a late fitness test on an abdominal injury but was substituted in the 54th minute after suffering a slight recurrence of the problem. Pulis said: "Akos came off because he was struggling after half-time. I think it was the stopping and the starting again that caught up with him. He's a very important player for this football club and we need him fit." Argyle moved up six positions after the win but Pulis was not too excited about that. He said: "We could go down six places by the end of this week so you have got to keep you feet firmly on the ground and understand this is a long, old slog. You must not get too carried away with good results. You have just got to make sure you are focused on what you want to do and where you want to go. The players have been brilliant. The fortnight we have had together they have been absolutely fantastic. They have really worked hard and come together as a group, and they have showed it today against a decent side. Ian has got some good players there." David Norris was the man-of-the-match and Pulis was thrilled with him. He added: "We are trying to get Norris past the forwards if we can. He has got so much energy, he can get there and get back. But we are pleased with everybody and I think to single anyone out is difficult today. I think they have all played their part."
Tony Pulis has admitted clubs are taking a close interest in Akos Buzsaky and that he had received enquiries about the player. Pulis insisted though, that he wanted Hungarian to stay at Home Park. He said: "We will do our damnedest to keep Akos but the bottom line is that money speaks. I don't think anybody at Everton wanted Rooney to leave, but Manchester United came in with whatever they came in with and then Rooney leaves. We are desperate for Akos to stay. I think he's happy here and the club has looked after him and his family, but I have been in the game too long to say he's definitely not leaving. There has been interest in him. I have had phone calls from clubs about Akos. I have been very fortunate to work with some good players and this kid has got a lot of ability. He could play at a higher level, without question. He's playing in the Hungarian national side already." Buzsaky himself said: "When a player scores a few goals it's normal that people start talking about them. I'm a Plymouth player for another two-and-a-half years and I'm happy here."
David Norris was outstanding for Argyle in the win against QPR but he had words of praise for Akos Buzsaky. "Akos is a great player and his quality from set pieces is always going to be a big bonus," said Norris. "He was a slight injury worry but he has come through. He works hard now for the team and he's really starting to show what he's all about." Argyle took the lead against QPR with a penalty from skipper Paul Wotton after Norris made a run into the area and was fouled by goalkeeper Simon Royce. Norris said: "The gaffer has been on at us to get on the end of the knock-downs from the balls up to Mickey. Me and the other midfield players have been trying to gamble and get on them first. Luckily, I got there first and then I had a touch forward and it just seemed to open up. I think they were trying to play offside but because I was running through onto it, it opened right up. Next thing I knew I was clean through with only the keeper. I saw him coming out and I knew it was going to be a 50-50 but I managed to get there first and he just clattered into me. I think he was a bit worried about getting sent-off so he stayed down a bit longer but it was a definite penalty." Norris has been playing in central midfield since Pulis became manager and he is starting to adapt to the new role. "I was pleased with my performance on Saturday," he said. "I know I have always wanted to play in the middle, but I'm playing in there as a two now and the way the gaffer wants it I have to be more disciplined. We have worked on our defensive shape and last week the gaffer tried to work on us getting forward. I'm starting to adjust to it nicely and picking up the runs when I should go forward."
Paul Wotton set Argyle on their way to victory over QPR with a penalty after only six minutes. He said: "It was my first proper touch of the ball. You have got players trying to put you off, stamping on the spot and all that. You have just got to try to get on with it really and do your job. Fortunately enough it went in." David Norris won the penalty and his non-stop performance earned praise from the captain. Wotton said: "I thought David Norris was phenomenal. He made six or seven of those runs. His energy is absolutely frightening. I really enjoy playing in midfield with him. We are getting there. You can see little understandings are coming all over the pitch now. We have worked tremendously hard on the training ground and the lads' attitude today was great. The gaffer stressed to us not to let the last 10 days go to waste but to take it out onto the pitch. I thought we did that. They are not an easy team to place against and, at times, it got a bit niggly, but we stood up to it. I thought we played really well today. They scored their goal and we instantly just sat in and soaked it all up. You have got to do that, even if you are at home, because their tails were up then and we had to shut them out, and we did that brilliantly." Wotton received his fifth booking of the season and will be banned for Argyle's game against Reading on Saturday. "I can't say what I think otherwise I will end up in trouble," said Wotton. "I have got no comment. Everyone in the ground has seen it. If I speak about it, I will get angry so I need to just let it go. That's five bookings for me and it's part of football unfortunately. In today's modern game it's very difficult to go without getting a suspension. I'm disappointed to miss any game because I feel things are coming on for us now. We lost 3-1 at Ipswich but the goals were from three set-pieces. Other than that, there was nothing in the game whatsoever. We understand now what the manager wants, and we are trying our best to put it into practice. We know we have got to improve in certain areas but the fundamentals - the workrate and the effort - was there for everybody to see today." Tony Pulis said: "The referee gave a throw-in for most probably the worst tackle in the game and Paul went over to him. I don't think he swore at him but he has booked him, so there you are. I'm disappointed because I think Wotton, in the last couple of weeks, has been magnificent in the dressing room, away from the games. He embraces everything we do in training and he's a big part of this football club and the team that we hope will push on." Pulis declined to comment on the performance of Tanner, who has booked 62 players in only 15 matches this season. He said: "I can't predict what the referee is going to do, and what he's not going to do. I think I will let the punters and the Press talk about the referee. I'm best off staying out of that."
Tony Pulis was delighted with Argyle's first win in six games yesterday. He said: "I'm not getting carried away by that win but it was important that we won. It was important that we got a win on the board, moved up the table. We needed the three points and I thought that the players showed just how much they wanted them. It's a big week and that's the perfect way to kick it off. The players have worked really hard in this two-week break and I thought that showed today. They zipped it around a lot better and I think they are looking fitter. We've got Sheffield Wednesday on Tuesday and Reading here next Saturday so it's still going to be a testing week but we could not have wished for a better start. I don't want to single out individual players because the whole thing about this past two weeks has been about the team, the work rate, the shape - and what they have taken on board, I thought that was evident today."
Argyle beat QPR 3-1 at Home Park, the goals coming from a Paul Wotton penalty after 7 minutes, Mathias Kouo-Doumbe (37) and Nick Chadwick (51). Argyle: Larrieu, Connolly, Kouo-Doumbe, Aljofree, Barness, Norris, Wotton, Buzsaky, Capaldi, Chadwick, Evans. Subs - Lasley, Taylor, Derbyshire (not used - McCormick, Djordjic). Attendance - 13,213.
Tony Pulis has admitted his search for new signings has covered all levels of football. He has made inquiries about players at Premiership clubs, as well as some from the lower leagues. Pulis only has until Thursday to complete any loan signings, after which clubs cannot make any more changes to their squads until the transfer window opens in January. Pulis said: "The short term aim is to try to bring a couple of players in. They will be to get us through the Christmas period. Then, fingers crossed, when the window opens, all the ground work we have laid will come to fruition. We have been looking for players all over. We have been looking at clubs in the Premier League and the lower leagues. For example, I went up to Mansfield last Friday night to watch a game. The bottom line is, firstly are they good enough and, secondly, can we afford to bring them into the football club? When you have ticked those two boxes, we have then got to convince the player to come. That's the unusual thing about this football club. There seems to be an issue when you talk to players about Plymouth Argyle. Eventually, we will bring players here, but it's the time factor, whereas maybe at other clubs you could go out straight away and bring those that you want in. You have got to be a little more patient here." The board have told Pulis there is money to spend on transfer fees and wages, but not a vast amount. Pulis admitted: "We have got to look at every option to try to get good players here, but when I took the job the chairman and directors were adamant they wanted to keep the finances on track."
Mickey Evans thinks Argyle need to take a positive approach to their predicament. He said: "We think we've been performing well. We've been difficult to beat, we've only lost two of our last ten games. We just have to turn draws into wins and, if we do that, we shouldn't be too far away." The team looked in good form against Leicester City at the start of the month, and were leading when the match was abandoned. Leicester struggled to handle Argyle's high-tempo football that night. "That's what we've been working on in training," Evans added. "We've been trying to keep the tempo high. Everyone has been working hard and pulling together." Evans is hoping that Home Park will host another memorable match against QPR today. "Every time we've played QPR, the games have been exciting," he said. "We beat them 2-1 down here last season, and we got a good 1-1 draw up there earlier this season. Their away form isn't great, and we're starting to produce some decent performances at home, so it should be a good game for all the fans." Evans is happy to promise that the team will offer maximum effort to try and move up the table. "It was never going to be easy when we got up into this league, because the club isn't made of money,"he said. "But you can guarantee that, whenever the lads run out, they will give 100 per cent. That's all you can ask of any player, and since the new manager has come in that is what has happened every week."
Tony Pulis may have presided over only one win since his arrival at Home Park, but he has witnessed recent signs of improvement. "We have to strike a balance," he said. "The players have to understand that graft is necessary, but they also have to relax when we do get the ball. In our last couple of games, we have done that. In the game against Leicester, we showed that, with a little bit more care and attention when we are in possession, we can create chances. I thought we did it at times at Ipswich, as well."
Argyle will be desperate to pick up three points against QPR tomorrow. Tony Pulis said: "I think QPR have pushed on since they were promoted. They have brought in players of Championship standard. They have got enough depth in their squad to warrant a top 10 finish without question." Pulis has only been at Argyle for two months, but he believes the reason QPR have coped better than his team in the Championship is because they are in the capital city. "I would say being in London, and being a decent club - which QPR are, makes it easier to get players to go there than Argyle," he said. "That's my initial reaction after eight weeks here. If you were a London boy and you had a family and Rangers and Plymouth Argyle came knocking on your door, I would say nine times out of 10, if the deals were similar, they would go to QPR." Argyle drew 1-1 at QPR on October 18th and Pulis added: "We had a lot of balls to deal with around the edge of our box, in the second half especially, but we were desperately disappointed not to win. We did have situations to have got the second goal. It will be a different game tomorrow. I'm sure Ian will have his players revved up and they will be up and at us."
Tony Pulis has admitted he wants to strengthen every area of his squad apart from one - the goalkeepers. He said: "We have got a good young keeper in Luke and Romain has done fantastic for us, so that's an area I'm quite happy with."
Argyle face a waiting game over the fitness of Akos Buzsaky ahead of tomorrow's game against QPR. Tony Pulis said: "Akos has come back with a little groin strain, but we are hoping he will be fit. I think he will be OK. It's a bit sore, but we won't train him today. He's got his family over for a couple of days so he will be desperate to play, I am sure. The only thing is, if it's sore, do you risk him for one game and he comes off after quarter of an hour and misses three? I will speak to Maxie and then we will decide." Although Argyle avoided defeat at Loftus Road a month ago, Pulis anticipates a different game tomorrow. "Every game is different," he said. "I think we were desperately disappointed at drawing after going in front. We did have a situation in the second half to get a second goal. It will be different here. I am sure Ian will have his players revved up, and they will be up and at us. They have got enough depth in their squad to warrant a top-10 finish, without a question of doubt." There is still time for Argyle to add to their squad, but Pulis admitted: "We haven't brought any players in, which is disappointing. We have been looking to bring a few in but, as I keep saying, it's a little bit more difficult out there than people think. We will keep trying. We have been looking all over, clubs in the Premier League and lower down, I was up at Mansfield last Friday night. We are looking at every area. The bottom line is, are they good enough and can we afford to bring them into the football club? With those two boxes ticked, we then have to convince the player to come." Buzsaky himself is determined to win his fight for fitness and said: "I had a small injury in Hungary. In training on Sunday we did some crossing and shooting and I felt some pain in my abdomen. I had treatment and I tried again on Monday, but I couldn't train so I had an ultrasound. It seems like it's not a very serious injury but it is inflamed. When I'm not resting enough, it can be a problem. They told me I couldn't travel with them to Greece so I came back on Wednesday. I want to play tomorrow so it's fingers crossed." Buzsaky was disappointed to have missed Hungary's game in Greece. He said: "I really wanted to play because it was a great opportunity to play against the European champions in a great atmosphere at the Olympiakos stadium. I was sad because you want to play against good teams like Greece, but life is like this. I can't do anything about it. The next game is QPR and the national team is gone for me for this year. Getting more points and wins in the Championship is the most important thing." Buzsaky is Argyle's leading scorer this season with four goals, with one of them coming in the draw at QPR last month. He said: "It was my first away goal in the Championship. I really enjoyed the game. We played well in the first half. I thought we could win, but we came out in the second half and didn't keep the ball as much and it's difficult to defend for 45 minutes. They scored a penalty but it was a good draw." Buzsaky believes though that Argyle must aim for three points in the rematch at Home Park tomorrow. "At home, we are playing to win," he said. "I would be disappointed with a draw tomorrow." Following QPR Argyle face a trip to Sheffield Wednesday on Tuesday and Reading at Home Park next Saturday. Buzsaky added: "They are difficult games but two of them are at home. Nothing is impossible."
Argyle's championship fixture with Leicester City, abandoned earlier this month, will now be played on Tuesday January 24th
Tony Pulis is well aware that he faces a tough task in trying to steer Argyle away from the relegation zone, but he is not about to start losing too much sleep while worrying over the challenge he has taken on. He said: "I don't panic. I don't worry. When you've been in the game for a long time and you know how it works, you know that at least 90 per-cent of what goes on at this football club, and what will go on, you've been through before. I've got the experience. I hope I know what to do, and what not to do. One of the things I've learned over the years is that, when you initially go into a job, you need to change things and do things the way you want them done. Nine times out of ten, you need to improve the team. If the team was fine, you wouldn't have got the job anyway. We have to recognise the areas we need to improve, and make sure the players we bring in are players who can improve the team and who we can afford." Pulis has made frequent mentions of the difficulty he faces in trying to persuade players to relocate to the Westcountry, but he has also recognised one positive aspect of the club's location. He added: "The spirit and the atmosphere in the dressing-room is first-class. The weakness of the football club is that it's so far away from anywhere else, but that's a bonus in some respects because all the players live in this area. Everybody socialises together, and that is a strength. I also think the players are waiting for us to bring some players in, but they have to be the right ones. That's important." Asked if he had taken any flak from the board of directors about his failure so far to make any signings, Pulis said: "No, not really. I've worked for some difficult people. The experience puts you in a good light."
Tony Capaldi is relishing a return to Championship action with Argyle after facing Portugal on Tuesday night. He said: "It's always an honour to be selected for your country and it's very satisfying to get a result. International football is a lot different from playing against Championship teams. The emphasis is more on passing and you tend not to get so many long balls to chase or fight for, or as many elbows to contend with. Ronaldo was definitely a handful and very quick and fit as well. Fortunately, my fitness levels are really good at the moment, so I think I did alright. But mine and the rest of the Argyle players' thoughts are very much on the next round of league matches.We've not had the best of luck at times, but we've shown great determination and our fitness, as well as our confidence, remains good. Obviously, because we've played QPR recently and quite a lot over the past two years as we were promoted with them, the two teams know each other pretty well. The results haven't been too bad but we need to start replacing the draws we've had with wins, otherwise our confidence might start to dip. It's a challenge, we know that, but we're fit and if we carry on in the manner we have been playing, I see no reason why we can't move away from bottom rungs of the table."
Argyle's Under-18s have been drawn at home to Sunderland in the third round of the FA Youth Cup. The tie is to be played by December 17th
Akos Buzsaky is unlikely to play for Hungary in tonight's friendly against Greece, according to the Hungarian Football Federation. Buzsaky sat out Monday's training sessions because of inflammation of his abdominal and groin muscles. Tony Pulis said: "I'm waiting to hear more about Akos but, hopefully, it's nothing too serious. With respect, it's not like when a player is with England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland and you can easily phone someone up to find out."
Argyle's abandoned Championship game against Leicester City will not be played before Christmas. Usually, the Football League insist on postponed and abandoned games being played at the earliest opportunity but in this particular case, it has been difficult for the two clubs to arrange a suitable date and they have been allowed more time. Michael Dunford said: "It will not be before Christmas, for the simple reason that wherever we go before then it gives Leicester at least three away games on the trot and, on one occasion, four in a row. I don't want to play the week before Christmas because, commercially, it wouldn't be good from our viewpoint."
Tony Capaldi won his fifteenth cap for Northern Ireland in their 1-1 friendly draw with Portugal this evening
Argyle reserves won 2-1 at Bournemouth this afternoon, both goals scored by Martin Watts. Geoff Crudgington said: "We worked hard and we played some good stuff when we had the ball, so it was very pleasing. Martin's goals were excellent, they were two great strikes. Their goalkeeper was man of the match - he must have made six or seven really good saves." Argyle: Debbage, McKeever, Routledge, Kendall, Laird.S, Reski, Summerfield, Martin, Watts, Zebroski, Reid. Sub - Bond
Tony Pulis is not pleased about losing two key players for much of this week because of international friendly fixtures. Akos Buzsaky is away with the Hungarian squad in Greece whilst Tony Capaldi is expected to play for Northern Ireland against Portugal tonight. Pulis said: "I'm disappointed that they're not here, especially for friendly games. You never know what they're up to, on and off the field. It's not ideal, especially when we have three games coming up in a week. You lose them for a week's training and preparation. I don't think QPR have got any players away on international duty, so we're at a disadvantage before we've even started. If they get injured, there's no compensation for us. There's nothing. It's not fair. FIFA and UEFA make a lot of money from international football. There's a lot of money sloshing around somewhere, and I can't believe bigger clubs are not getting some compensation somewhere down the line. If players are away for one or two weeks and their countries are so desperate to have them, then they should be paying their wages. They should cover everything if players get injured, and that might stop some of these silly friendly games."
Argyle are set to offer free air flights in an attempt to persuade players to sign for the club. The move has come about because of the clubs link-up with Air Southwest, their official travel partner. It is hoped the offer of some free flights will tempt players to move to Argyle, despite the geographical location of the club. Tony Pulis said: "We have now got a good relationship with Air Southwest and I think anything that we can do to attract the better players here we will do."
Argyle under-18s have qualified for the quarter-finals of the Football League Youth Alliance Cup, making it five wins out of five in group one of the southern section when they beat Brighton and Hove Albion 1-0 on Saturday. Stuart Gibson said: "The boys were absolutely magnificent. We stopped a good team from playing their football and forced them into playing long and direct, which did not suit them. We tackled well, we hit the post, their keeper made one brilliant save and we scored a good goal. I couldn't have asked for any more. When I shook hands with the referee after the game he said 'didn't your boys play for you?', which was nice to hear. It was a strong team performance but John Routledge had that little bit extra about him. He's older than the rest of the boys and he led by example. He was a colossus." Argyle: Debbage, McKeever, Kendall, Routledge, Laird.S, Smith, Reski, Bond, Watts, Zebroski, Reid. Subs – Drew, Mason (not used – Gosling). Updated youth table and results can be found here
Tony Pulis has suffered further frustration in his attempts to strengthen the Argyle squad. Pulis thought he was set to make his first signing when he was given the go-ahead by the manager of a Premiership club to sign one of his players on loan, but the player concerned turned down the chance of a moving to Home Park. Pulis would not reveal the identity of the player or the club, but said: "We have made loads of inquiries about players but nothing is dropping for us at the moment. We asked about one player at a Premiership club the other day and the manager was quite happy for him to join us on loan. I spoke to the player but he didn't want to come down here. He thought he could get a club closer to home. It's a shame because he's a decent player and he would have added to what we have got already, but that's the way it has been going for us. I can understand the fans are frustrated we haven't got anybody in yet, but so are the players. They would like to see a couple of new faces. I could bring in a load of players - there would be no problem in doing that - but we have got to get players in who are going to improve the squad." Pulis has not ruled out the possibility of playing the three trialists who were at Home Park last week in a match at some stage in the near future. He said: "I think if we got the right game at the right time and everything fitted into place then I would like to try to do that so we could watch them in action." Christopher Katonga, who has now had two short stays with the team, returned to South Africa after the postponement of the game against Portsmouth last week. Pulis gave a guarded reply when asked whether he would pursue his interest in Katonga. "He has done okay but there is a question mark," he said. Pulis travelled to the East Midlands on Friday night for Mansfield Town's 3-0 defeat by Bury and took in another game on Saturday before seeing two live matches on Sky TV yesterday - Blackpool against Scunthorpe United and Barnet at Stockport County. He said: "I went to Sheffield last Wednesday and then Mansfield on Friday and the travelling does take it out of you. So it was good to see a couple of games from the lower leagues on Sky yesterday to keep a check on that, even though we had somebody at one of them anyway."
Tony Pulis has revealed his reluctance to put too much faith in loan transfers as a way of boosting his squad. He said: "It's difficult to get good players out on loan. You really have to wheel and deal, and with loan players they're not your players. They've just gone out on loan for a little bit of practice, without being too disrespectful. If you get the wrong ones in, you can end up with a bunch of players who are not really concerned whether you win, lose or draw. The attitude of the players you bring in has to be right. When we do bring players in, we have to have make sure we sign players who we think are right for the football club - players who are going to show an improvement. There have been one or two comments about the fact that we haven't brought players in. But it's not about bringing a sackful of players in, it's about bringing the right players in. That's the difference. Anybody can bring anybody in. Without being too disrespectful, maybe that has happened here once or twice. Players have come in, yes, but if they're no use to your team then it kills the whole objective of signing new players." Last week Pulis watched Sheffield Wednesday lose at home to Cardiff City. Despite debts which exceed £30 million, Cardiff have been able to recruit talented players this term, climbing to fifth place in the Championship after a battle against relegation last season. "That is a bone of contention as well," Pulis added, "when you have a club which is so much in debt and can still go out and bring in players like Darren Purse for £750,000 and Jason Koumas. They're on massive money at Cardiff. It's not a level playing field, not at all."
The cancellation of the practice match with Portsmouth yesterday will have been a particular disappointment for the three trialists who have been training with Argyle this week. Christopher Katongo and Gael Suares were both making return visits to Plymouth, while an un-named Frenchman has also been at Home Park. Katongo will head back to South Africa this weekend. "He'll train today," Tony Pulis said, "but he was really just brought over to play in this game. It's a disappointment in that respect. I'm not sure if he'll come back. The two clubs will communicate, but we'll see how he does in training today and in our practice game. Gael was here as well. He came over for the game as well, but now we'll watch him train today and take it from there." While Katongo cannot leave his club Jomo Cosmos until the transfer window opens in January, Suares could sign for Argyle this year. As for the third trialist, Pulis added: "We have got another French lad, who is out of contract as well, over. He's been very highly recommended, so we'll have to see what he looks like." Pulis watched last night's match between Mansfield Town and Bury. "I'm going to drive up straight after training," he said. "There will be six games covered this weekend between us."
Tony Pulis confirmed yesterday that Argyle were not out-bid in their unsuccessful pursuit of Billy Paynter and Sam Collins. Both have now moved from Port Vale to Hull City on loan, with an agreement to complete full transfers in January. Hull will pay an initial fee of £150,000, which is set to rise to £225,000, for Paynter, while Collins will cost £65,000. "The transfer fees that Hull have agreed were matched by Argyle," Pulis said. "It was down to the players, and where they live. We never got down to talking terms."
Argyle have been forced to cancel a behind-closed-doors friendly against Portsmouth. Tony Pulis had hoped to play the full-scale practice game on Friday afternoon but heavy and consistent rain has left the HomePark surface sodden. "With the weather, we have got to be very careful of the pitch," said Pulis. "I spoke to Colin Wheatcroft about the weather and he was very concerned, if we did get a deluge which, apparently we are going to get again. I've been at the club six weeks and I think it's rained nearly every day. We're disappointed, but we will go up to the training-ground and have a game amongst ourselves." Three trialists were due to face Portsmouth - Zambian international forward Christopher Katongo, French defender Gael Suares, and another unnamed Frenchman who has been 'very highly recommended' - and instead took part in the practice match. "We're trying to open up every door that we can," said Pulis
Lindsay Parsons is ready to travel far and wide to try to track down players for Argyle. He said: "Certainly for the near future, I will be watching as many games as possible. I don't mind the travelling. If it means going to see a player at Newcastle, Carlisle or wherever then it has to be done. Tony knows I will give him my honest opinion. Sometimes I might say 'he's not my type, but he will suit you'. Or it could be vice versa. That's the way we have always worked." After Christmas last season, Stoke's Icelandic owners decided they wanted the club to exploit the transfer market outside this country so Parsons travelled far and wide. He said: "I must have been to 11 or 12 different countries. I went to the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Holland, Belgium and Spain. One night I was in Kingston, Jamaica, to watch a centre-back in an international versus the United States and the lad didn't play." Pulis was sacked by Stoke in the summer, with the club's owners claiming he had failed to implement their foreign transfer policy. Parsons added: "I thought they treated him very shabbily at Stoke. I'm not talking about all of the board, though, because I have got time for some of them. Considering what went on behind the scenes, I thought Tony did a very good job there. If they had backed him properly, and I don't mean by spending millions, I think the very least we would have done last season was get into the play-offs." By coincidence, Parsons saw Argyle's first match this season, at Reading. He said: "I was doing a bit of work for Watford, who were playing Plymouth the following Tuesday. They did really well that day and I was delighted they won, especially because of the tremendous backing they had from the supporters. I have watched quite a few games at the Madejski Stadium since it opened, and it was the fullest I have ever seen the away section of the ground." With the exception of Sheffield United, Parsons has seen all of the other Championship sides in action this season and although Argyle are 23rd at the moment, he believes there is no reason why they cannot start to climb up the table. He said: "There is nothing between the teams, for me. If you have got somebody who can put the ball in the net and you can keep it tight at the back then anything can happen. I have been to Plymouth two or three times in the last few weeks and the atmosphere there is so much better than what I saw at my last club. I really think things could go well at Plymouth. I just hope Tony can get in the players he needs to strengthen the team."
Tony Pulis reckons he has come up with the perfect way to forge team-spirit among his players - have them 'punch hell out each other.' Pulis pitched his squad into a boxing ring this week after a tough training session at the local Royal Marine barracks and admitted they had enjoyed the combat. "They punched hell out of each other, came out with bloody noses, and cuddled each other afterwards," said Pulis. "They really got into it. It was good fun." The catchweight contests lasted just 30 seconds and were carried out under the watchful eye of Plymouth's British middleweight champion Scott Dann. They came at the end of a gruelling Boxercise session led by Dann, a frequent visitor to HomePark, at Stonehouse Barracks in Durnford Street. Pulis said: "We chucked all the names in the hat and drew the lads out - who would fight who - and they went in the ring with headguards and big, heavy gloves. There were one or two mismatches, but the littl'uns really got stuck in. It was good for spirit. The best thing about it was that we had 22 up there, and everyone got a round of applause from the 20 watching, two lads cuddling each other having smacked hell out of each other for 30 seconds." In the absence of a match on Saturday, because of the international weekend, Pulis has given two days off to all the players, and said: "They have worked hard this week - two days, two very long days. They'll have a nice weekend off. It will be nice for them to stay with their families. You can't keep slogging them - rest is important as well."
Tony Pulis is far from impressed that Argyle have no game this Saturday because of the third international break of the season. He said: "We are rushing six or eight games a month in and then having two weeks off because England are playing a friendly against Argentina. I find it a bit depressing because there are more supporters watching games in the Football League than the Premiership. The Championship is a fantastic competition and it's followed by millions of people. For us to be asked to do what we are doing this season, I think is ridiculous. Let's hope we win the World Cup next year because there have been a lot of sacrifices made in this country to service the England national team."
Tony Pulis has admitted he is powerless to stop speculation linking players with moves to Argyle. The latest rumours involve Bristol City striker Marcus Stewart and Pulis said: "I think everybody is going to be linked with players. It's not going to be just us. The closer it gets to the windows, most managers will be asked by journalists at Press conferences about this sort of thing. The pressure builds and everybody is out there looking to improve their squad. I think that puts everybody on alert. Everybody wants a story first. It's just the nature of the game now, unfortunately. Pulis has made countless inquiries and approaches for various players, without any success. He said: "One minute you think you have got something sorted out but the next thing it's miles away. We will keep trying, but it has been difficult and different managing here, because of the location and everything else that goes with it. It doesn't help, put it that way, but we have got to work hard to try to make sure we get in the best we possibly can." Meanwhile, there is doubt about the future of Bjarni Gudjonsson. It is believed a club in League One and another one in Scotland have made inquiries about the midfielder
Tony Pulis has admitted to being frustrated in his so far fruitless search for players. "We are what we are at the moment," said Pulis. The team is working hard. I don't think anybody can complain about the effort and commitment the players are putting in, and I don't think anybody can say we aren't organised and not doing what we are trying to do, as a group. We just need a little bit more quality at both ends of the pitch - I think that is plain for everyone to see - and our job is to try to bring that quality in. That's the little bit of difference that will tip the balance in our favour when we do get it in. One minute, you think you've got things sorted out; the next, it's miles away. We'll keep trying. It's been difficult and different, managing here, because of the location and everything that goes with it. It's frustrating for everybody but we have got to be careful that, when we do bring the players in we do get the best we can possibly get." Pulis declined to comment on newspaper reports linking him with Linfield forward Peter Thompson, saying 'we're tracking anyone and everyone at the moment', and former Derby and Coventry defender Mo Konjic
Romain Larrieu was furious about the penalty decision in Argyle's defeat at Ipswich on Saturday. He said: "I'm really upset. I have heard a lot of times it was foreign players that brought cheating into the game. But a lot of English players nowadays think they are protected because of that. There is a lot of them diving. I can see it every week. I think the ref needs to be aware of that. I think I made it look like a penalty but it wasn't one. That's what people need to know. The situation is very hard for keepers now. He pushed the ball too far for him to score. If he wanted to score I would have won the ball but he didn't try to score. He just tried to win the ball and kick it out, directly out of play, almost into the stands and the referee gives a penalty for that. Obviously, if you play in goal you can't go for the ball anymore when it's a 50-50. I went for it. Maybe I was a bit naive to go for it, but I really thought I had a big chance to win the ball." Larrieu thought Argyle could have gone on to draw the game, at least, had Ipswich not been given the penalty. He said: "If we had kept it at 2-1 for five more minutes, I think we would have been in a great shape. They didn't show us anything in the first half. Both of their goals came from corners. We know we need to defend set pieces because it's so important in any division you play in, this one more so than most, and we didn't do it properly."
Tony Pulis is happy if the Green Army is worried about the club's relegation-zone position, just as long as the players are not. "I don't think there's anything wrong in supporters being concerned," he said. "This is their football club. There's no surprise - this was going to be a tough year, and if it goes right through to the end, the people that have got to keep their nerves are the players and the people within the football club. I've no problem with supporters being nervous or worrying about the situation."
Akos Buzsaky was disconsolate following Saturdays loss at Ipswich. He said: "After we got back to 2-1 it was an open game but then they scored again. I'm very sad because we worked hard and we didn't get the result." Ipswich's third goal came from a controversial penalty and Buzsaky said: "We had chances to clear the ball but we couldn't. The guy went one-on-one with Romain and, to be honest, I don't know if it was a penalty or not. The referee gave it so we couldn't do anything about it." Buzsaky does not believe the current table is a true reflection of the ability in the Argyle squad. He said: "We shouldn't be there. We have better players than that. But every game we concede goals from our mistakes and when you want to win games you need to play without mistakes." Buzsaky admitted it had taken him a little while to get to grips with what Tony Pulis wanted from him. He said: "He is a different gaffer to Bobby and he wants his players to play different than before. I try to give my best and play like he wants me to. Sometimes you can, sometimes you can't. I felt I had a very good first half today and I scored in the second half. I have played the last five or six games and now I'm getting my form back. I feel I can give something to the team."
Tony Pulis was disappointed yesterday as he saw his team lose for only the second time since he became manager in September. He said: "Between both boxes, we've given as good as we got today. I don't think there was a lot between the teams. It was just that they got the breaks and we didn't defend properly. The disappointing thing is that we've given two goals - the first two goals - off corner-kicks and we'll have to have a look at that. I don't want to go too much into it. We discussed certain things in the dressing-room at half-time about people doing their jobs. You just ask them to do their jobs. We have, as a team, got to defend those dead-ball situations at this level. It's the first time since I've come that we have conceded goals from set-plays and that's a disappointment. You can control games between both boxes, but games are won and lost in each final third, and that's our problem." Pulis did not agree with the referees decision to award a penalty. He did not believe that Forster was onside when he received the ball, nor that Larrieu had brought his opponent down. "I said at half-time that, if we could have scored a goal, we would have put pressure on them and that's what we did," he said. "As soon as we got the goal, I felt that we would have a good chance of getting something out of the game. Today we got very much back in the game and then the decision that changes it goes Ipswich's way. Whether it is the right decision or not, we will have to wait and see: I don't think, from my position, being totally biased, that it was. I'd have to see it again. Let's just say that, when the decision was given, I was disappointed. If it's a penalty, I'll hold my hands up and apologise to the officials. You have got to take it on the chin and get on with it. It's no good crying over spilt milk. I think that there were a couple of incidents during the game that you could say things went their way. Then, you expect that when you come to big grounds where there's 23,000 people there - you expect the home crowd to maybe influence one or two decisions. Sometimes you get decisions, sometimes you don't. Ipswich got them today and it knocked the stuffing out us. Things have not been going for us in the last couple of weeks and you do need a bit of good fortune. We were playing very well against Leicester on Tuesday night when the heavens opened up and we got the game called off when we were winning and very comfortable. I was disappointed. I don't think it was a 3-1 today. I don't think there was that gap there. People will look at the result and think that Ipswich were that much better." Pulis now faces the task of building for Argyle's next game against QPR in two weeks time. He said: "This is not going to be an easy job - I was well aware of that when I took over - and we are going to have to bring one or two players in to help us. Like I keep saying, the squad of players are looking for those people to come in as well. It's only our second defeat in ten games and the players have worked really hard. I can't fault them."
Tony Pulis compared Akos Buzsaky's increasing maturity with Joe Cole's resurgence at Chelsea. He said: "He has got fantastic talent and I think you have seen today that he's starting to work extremely hard for the team. We're trying our damnedest to get him to understand what we want from him in respect of his work-ethic. He'll certainly get more respect from everybody within the dressing-room for the way he is working off the ball. His work-rate has improved immensely since I joined the club. Maybe he has not been asked to do that before. In the English game, you need everybody to work. I look at the way Cole works for Chelsea - I don't think anybody has got him to work hard before, but now Mourinho has and he's in the team every week."
Argyle lost 3-1 at Ipswich Town, Akos Buzsaky scoring the goal after 51 minutes. Argyle: Larrieu, Connolly, Kouo-Doumbe, Aljofree, Barness, Buzsaky, Norris, Wotton, Capaldi, Evans, Chadwick. Subs - (not used - McCormick, Derbyshire, Djordjic, Taylor, Lasley). Attendance - 23,083.
While other Championship teams are planning European breaks during the international break, Argyle will be working away at Harper's Park - willingly too. Tony Pulis said: "We're in a position where we've got to be fitter than most teams and the only way of doing that is by working hard. The good thing is that the players are embracing it. I'm not working with a group of players who do not appreciate what we are trying to do. The lads are recognising what we are trying to do, they have taken it on board and they believe that will help us in the months ahead, which is good. We will work hard on our fitness over the next two weeks. The programme is laid out and the players know they are training. They will get next weekend off but for the 10 days they will work hard again. There will be lots and lots of fitness work." Argyle's visit to Ipswich holds few fears for Pulis, who has no fresh injury concerns. "We will go there and be very positive again," he said. "Our best performance since I've come here was at Sheffield United, going forward, when we created loads of chances - and that's the only game we lost. As they say, it's a funny old game. I hope the players are looking forward to the game. I certainly am. This is why we're in this league. On Tuesday, we played Leicester City who were in the Premiership a few years ago, in Europe, going to Wembley; now we play Ipswich, who have won the Championship and the FA Cup. That's why we are in this league and working our socks off to try and bring players in to help the squad we've got which will enable us to stay in this league and compete against the top 40 clubs in the country. The league's wide open. I spoke to a StokeCity fan last week and he was all doom and gloom, they won this week and they are three points off a play-off position - and they have lost six out of seven games. I know it's an old cliché but every game is difficult and every game is for three points, we have just got to make sure we are focused on those individual games. It is important we bring a little bit more quality in so that we can turn those draws into wins."
Nick Chadwick is keen to hit the target at Ipswich Town this afternoon - to make up for the goal he scored on Tuesday night which has been removed from the record books. "It's in my record books," he said. "I know I scored! It was disappointing for the team, most of all, because we needed the three points. We were confident we had them in the bag. We were playing well, and we thought we could extend our lead, even though it was really difficult because of the conditions. We were playing the better football." Chadwick admitted that he has been low on confidence. "Any footballer is probably a ten, 20 or 30 per-cent better player when he's confident," he said. "For me, it was probably the first time that I've been in a position when things haven't gone right for me. I've found that difficult to deal with. Perhaps I haven't always been as positive as I should have been. Going back to when I was a kid, I've always scored goals and I've always done really well. All of a sudden, for a few games, things didn't go right. I knew I hadn't done myself justice. I wasn't playing as well as I can, but every player has a dip in form sometimes. It's how you deal with that, and how hard you work to get through that and come out the other side, that matters. I hope I'll be better for it. I've worked even harder since things haven't been going right. I'll keep doing that, and I hope I can build on the first half that never was on Tuesday. Hopefully we can go on to get more points, and hopefully I can put in performances that I can be prouder off and I can feel I've really made a contribution to the side. I've still been trying to get into positions to score a goal. If I miss, I miss. That's not the real worry. What did worry me was that I wasn't getting chances. I know we may not get that many while we're near the bottom of the league, but on Tuesday one went in. Hopefully that will turn the tide." Gaining a result at Ipswich is the first priority. "We have looked solid away from home lately, and we have to keep that going," Chadwick added. "It will be a tough game at Ipswich. Let's not go there and start thinking about winning from the first kick. Let's go there and keep solid and build on that, hopefully nick a goal, and see what happens."
Tony Pulis wants Nick Chadwick to take out his frustration on Ipswich Town tomorrow. He said: "We can't change what happened the other night, but the important thing is that he takes some confidence out of it. For the 45 minutes he did really well. He's a willing workhorse and someone who can really put people under pressure and score goals, but he has got to get sharper and fitter. That's what we have been talking to him about. We are looking for improvements all over the place. It's not just about Nick. Akos actually made challenges on Tuesday night. There was one in front of me that put Tiatto on his backside. The point I'm making is, that's what we need. We need people to understand their roles within the team. It's not just Nick Chadwick. It's six or seven others who are starting to recognise that it's important the effort and commitment, as a group, is provided before anything else." Ipswich are currently 14th in the table, four points clear of Argyle. Pulis said: "I think it will be a tough game and it will be interesting to see what players they have got back fit because Forster hasn't played with Parkin for a couple of games. That is a decent combination up front." Pulis also has a high regard for Darren Currie, and added: "The lad Currie was on the bench on Wednesday night but I'm sure he will start against us. They have got some good players, but the big thing we are trying to put into the team is that it's what we do every week that counts, not what other sides do. Currie played against Stoke City when we lost 1-0 there around Christmas time last season. He did well that day. He's dangerous off set plays and has got good ability, so he's one of a few players we are going to have to be wary of. But every team we play against in this league are going to have players with outstanding ability. Like I say, it's just getting us to recognise what we are strong at and, hopefully, if everybody works together as a team we will pull through games."
Argyle are likely to face competition if they renew their interest in Zambian international Christoper Katongo. The striker, who plays for South African club Jomo Cosmos, came to Home Park last month and appeared as a trialist in the reserve-team fixture at Yeovil Town. Tony Pulis said yesterday that there were no plans to bring any recent trialists back to Home Park 'at the moment', but Katongo is expected to return to England in search of a club at the end of next month
Nick Chadwick believes the referee robbed him of his first goal since the opening day of the season after abandoning Tuesday night's game. "I think he was wrong to call the game off. In my opinion, the pitch was not in a dangerous condition," he said. "If the pitch was waterlogged, why was the ball still able to roll? I think we've been robbed of three points and I've been robbed of a goal. I think most footballers will have played in weather and conditions like Tuesday's before. But I had a feeling he was going to abandon the game when I saw him summon Paul to his room at half-time. When Wottsie came back he was in a state of disbelief. It's galling, all right, and I don't mean just because my goal won't count - although it will count for me, that's for sure. Apart from the referee, everybody else involved was happy to carry on. I'm sure we would have scored more goals, as we were playing really well - they weren't hurting us at all." Chadwick had not scored since the opening game of the season and admitted he was under pressure. His elation at ending his goal drought was soon to turn to frustration. "It's one of those things, of course, that happens in football, but it just seems to sum up our luck at the moment," said Chadwick. We're unbeaten in our last five games and that's good, except that four of those have been drawn games, when really we've needed to win. Against Millwall we hit the post and also in other games it seems the ball just won't go in for us. So we knew going in against Leicester the importance of three home points. I know that things haven't gone as well as I would have liked them to since joining Argyle. But there are a range of reasons for this and maybe I've made things more difficult than they should have been. I've always been someone who has scored goals regularly so I've found it hard to adjust to a spell like I've been having. Perhaps, I've let it get to me although, I've tried hard not to let it get me down and keep myself positive. I've got belief in both myself and the team and I'm certain things will start to go for us again soon."
Argyle have confirmed they missed out on bringing Dexter Blackstock back to Home Park. Tony Pulis was hopeful that Blackstock would rejoin the club on loan before the striker chose to join Derby. Pulis said: "If he'd come to Plymouth and scored three goals in two games, we might be sitting here with a few more points on the board. We were disappointed. We thought we had a good chance for Dexter, but, unfortunately, that's not worked out. It was all done and dusted with Derby and his agent. Money is an issue at this level, and that will never change." Pulis, however, remains resolute in his aim of adding players to the squad, and will keep his cards as close to his chest as he can. "We've got to find ways of making sure we don't miss out on these players," he said. "We want to bring good players in and have got to be a little bit more street-wise and a little bit cuter, and make sure that they come to us. We have got to make sure that when we deal, nobody knows about, that the deal is done before anybody else realises. Sometimes, there might be too many people knowing what's going on - we have just got to make sure we keep it as close to ourselves as possible."
Lindsay Parsons has joined Argyle as assistant manager. Parsons' relationship with Tony Pulis began more than 30 years ago and they have worked together at Gillingham, Bristol City, Portsmouth and Stoke. "I've know him since I was 16," said Pulis. "He has been my right-hand man and, no disrespect to Kempy or Mark O'Connor, he is the one person in football I have stayed true to and he has stayed true to m. Like two lovebirds! He's of the same ilk. He knows exactly what's needed. He has got no airs and graces and he knows that hard work will, in the end, bring fruition. He will be out watching players, and that will be his main objective over the next few months. He will be spending most of his time elsewhere, trying to find us a few little diamonds."
Akos Buzsaky has been called up by Hungary for their friendly against Greece in Athens on November 16th. Tony Capaldi has been recalled to the Northern Ireland squad for the game against Portugal on November 15th
Argyle stadium manager Colin Wheatcroft insisted referee Andy Woolmer made the right decision to abandon last night's game. Wheatcroft said: "It's very disappointing because we worked extremely hard after Sunday's game to get it down. We had a lot of rain here last night, which obviously didn't help. We verti-drained today, which means we punched holes in it, 10 inches deep, and that's all we can do. To be fair, at the start of the game the pitch was taking it. No problem at all. But then we had a fair old burst halfway through the first half. After that I could see the water coming up. I could see right away there was no way he was going to get through the game. He made the right decision I'm afraid. It's just a shame we were one-up. I can understand the fans' frustration. They have come along and paid their money. I'm very disappointed as well." Wheatcroft revealed that Woolmer had spoken to him before the kick-off about the state of the pitch. He said: "To be fair the referee was as good as gold. He came and saw me and I told him 'if this eases, I think we will get through it.' So he gave it a good chance. The players were enjoying it - I think everybody was enjoying it - but from a health and safety viewpoint there was no way he could have carried on with that game. At half-time, we were forking the drains and they just couldn't take it. The rain was coming down faster than the water was going away. I don't think anybody would have played in that." The abandonment at half-time meant the pitch was not too badly cut up and Wheatcroft added: "We have got a chance now to get it back because it was doing a lot of damage out there. We have got to think about the rest of the season - not that the referee and the players think about that. But, in my position, we need to protect this pitch."
Argyle have announced that fans who attended last nights abandoned game against Leicester City will be admitted to the re-match free. No date has yet been set for the re-arranged game but when it is, Green members will simply have to present their season-ticket book, and membership card, at their usual turnstile. White members and others who pre-purchased a ticket will be able to redeem the ticket-stub for a new ticket as soon as the date is known, though they will have to do this before match-day. There will be no refunds, and normal ticket prices will apply to fans who attend the re-match but who were not at the original game. LeicesterCity will be supplied with tickets so that their fans can also watch the rematch without having to pay again
Following the referee's decision to abandon last nights game at half-time, Tony Pulis said: "I'm disappointed. You go back to when you played and we played in these conditions a lot during winters. I think I played here when conditions were ten times worse than they were tonight. Referees have difficult decisions to make. He made the decision, having spoken to the two captains. Even if he had given it 20 minutes in the second half, that might ease the pain. There was one booking. On Sunday, when we played Millwall, there were three bookings before half-time. It wasn't atrocious conditions where people were getting caught and things were going on that don't go on in ordinary games. The ball never stopped once from a pass. It rolled and slowed down, but that's up to the players. The players are paid a lot of money today, to play football in different conditions. I didn't see any tackle that would put any player in any danger at all. I didn't see any slip into anyone or fall over. Nearly 11,000 people turned up tonight and a lot of them will remember games that were played in conditions ten times worse than this - and really enjoyed the games. There was entertainment out there - it wasn't farcical at all. We're not having any luck at the moment. Things aren't going for us at the moment. It shows what we are going through. You have got to take it on the chin. I am not here to criticize the referee in any way, shape or form. I'm just saying what my points are: was it really that dangerous that it could really hurt a player? You have got to be careful about that; and, secondly, was the ball stopping dead on any occasion? I'm desperately disappointed because I thought we had a majority of the game and we were leading."
Argyle's match with Leicester City at Home Park this evening was abandoned at the start of the second half due to a waterlogged pitch. Nick Chadwick had scored after 28 minutes to give Argyle a 1-0 half-time lead. Argyle: Larrieu, Connolly, Kouo-Doumbe, Aljofree, Barness, Norris, Wotton, Buzsaky, Capaldi, Evans, Chadwick. Subs not used - McCormick, Derbyshire, Djordjic, Taylor, Lasley. Attendance - 10,909. The usual (ish) excellent coverage can be found on Greens On Screen
Tony Pulis sent the Argyle squad for a swimming session yesterday afternoon. They then had a short workout this morning as they completed their abbreviated preparations for their second match in three days. Pulis said: "It's not ideal that you get a game so close. You need that little bit of rest and preparation. Unfortunately, we have got three games in six days." Argyle face Leicester tonight before travelling to Ipswich on Saturday and then have a two-week break. Pulis is not impressed by the fixture congestion International breaks cause. He said: "It's crazy. Let's hope Eriksson wins the World Cup for England!" Pulis admitted he had not even asked Leicester whether they would be prepared to play the match tomorrow. "If I was Leicester City I wouldn't be moving it," he said. "They will be absolutely delighted. They will have had 24 hours extra rest. It will be no problems for them. It suits them down to the ground. We've got a smaller squad than most clubs and that doesn't help either. Our players had a rest and recovery session in the pool yesterday and they will do a little bit this morning and then play the game. The fact that we have got a smaller squad than most teams in the league doesn't help as well." Craig Levein has radically overhauled the Leicester squad and Pulis is not totally familiar with them. "They are a big, strong side," he said. "Levein has had the opportunity to bring his own players in. He's working with his own players now and that's what managers want. He has brought a whole group in and there are some players I have not even seen that are in the team. Marc de Vries played against us at Stoke and he's a handful. He's a big, strong lad and they have got Dion Dublin as a back up. I think, physically, it will be a very tough game tonight." One bonus for Pulis is that his team have no major new injury worries. "There are one or two knocks and little strains," he said, "but I don't think there is anything that will stop players from playing." Pulis does have the option of freshening his side by bringing in some of the men who have seen little first- team action lately, but he is no big fan of squad rotation for the sake of it. He said: "I will pick what is my best team to win each game. That is the way I have always worked. I think I have a responsibility to pick my best team. It's OK to rotate your squad if you're at a top club and you have players of a similar ability and you're looking to rest one or two, but I always want to pick my best team."
Argyle's reserve fixture against Swindon Town, scheduled for next week, has been postponed and will now be played on April 11th next year
Tony Pulis has admitted Argyle must improve on their goalscoring record or run the risk of relegation. He said: "The story is told in the facts and that's something we have got to try to improve. You just hope that if the chances do drop then we take them. That's all you can do. I have been in this situation before and goals do change games. I think if we had scored early on against Millwall I honestly believe we would have won the game comfortably. That would have brought them out a bit more and I think Williams and Robinson at the back would have been exposed. To be fair to the football club, they have spent money on forwards. It's not as though there are no forwards here. They have actually gone out and invested in forwards and we are just hoping that given the opportunity they will start scoring. We need to score goals and I don't care how we do it, or if it's 1-0s, 2-0s, whatever. I think everybody has got to understand and appreciate that, the way we are, there are going to be some tight games played. We have got to accept that because we are not free-flowing and we haven't got an outstanding goalscorer." Pulis insisted the blame for the lack of goals should not be solely apportioned to Argyle's strikers. He said: "We haven't scored off set plays - free kicks and corners - so everybody has got to take responsibility. It's not just the forwards."
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