A Round-up of Argyle News
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Derek Adams gave the latest in what is becoming a now regular series of injury updates as Argyle prepare to face Bradford in the FA Cup second round on Saturday. He spoke of goalkeepers Remi Matthews and Michael Cooper as well as the duo of Threlkeld and Taylor who came back into the side at Yeovil on Tuesday night. He said, first of newbie Will Mannion: "It wasn't easy for him because he only arrived on Monday night and didn't see the players until he arrived here Tuesday afternoon. That was the situation on Tuesday night, so when he gets to train with the players over the next couple of days then he'll get to know their names. He has good presence. He didn't have a lot to do the other night, but when he was called upon he completed it well.
"Remi picked up an injury against Portsmouth and he had a scan on his ankle and the scan came back that he has ligament damage, so he's going to be out for a minimum 2-3 weeks. We're disappointed for him, because he'd come in and done well for us."
"We had three games on Saturday. We had an Under-18 game, we had a Peninsula game and we had a game against Portsmouth. I took the risk to help the football club by putting Michael Cooper on the bench for us and giving them Max Childs. That's why I put Michael on the bench; he wasn't 100% fit and he isn't now. That's why Max Childs was back on the bench on Tuesday night."
"Ryan Taylor's been out since the first game of the season. He scored a good goal the other night and it was good for him to get 70 minutes. I gave a lot of the players who had either been injured or suspended or hadn't played for a number of weeks game time and it was a very competitive match for us. Oscar's come through it fine. He's still lacking match fitness but he'll get that over a couple of weeks. They're obviously tired, but there's no reaction at this stage."
Ahead of the match at Bradford on Saturday, Adams looked back at the last game between the two teams and spoke about how the match would be similar and indeed different this time out: "We went up there the last time and won 1-0. It was a very good game in front of 20,000 fans. I believe that there will be a quarter of that on Saturday so the atmosphere will be different. Bradford are doing very well in the league and picking up wins against the top teams so it's a tough FA Cup tie for us. They have got talented players. It's never easy for a team when another one is so compact and stops them having the space to be creative. In the end they put in a lot of diagonal crosses and we dealt well with them on the day. It could be similar. But when we have time to be creative and be in and around their penalty box then we have to take chances when they come along. We are going up to Bradford to try to get through to the third round and to try to get a big team back to Plymouth Argyle."
Derek Adams has stated his disappointment at Argyle's failure to progress to the next round of the Checkatrade Trophy, particularly annoyed with the way in which his side crashed out. Adams said: "It was the manner that we lost the game: we didn't have to give the free-kick away; we lose a goal from the set-play we have got very good height, but it was good movement from Yeovil; and the last goal was another one where we didn't have to put ourselves in that position. Ryan Edwards got done down the side, a cross into the box and we lose a runner into the box and he put the ball into the back of the net. We didn't have to be in that situation so late on in the game. We are obviously disappointed because we wanted to progress into the next round."
"We just thought we'd do something a bit different to see how we coped. We did alright at it but, in the second half, when Yeovil changed their shape, it caused us problems in the 3-5-2. We did better in the first half than we did in the second half. We just found that their full-backs were getting out and causing us problems. They ran forward and were able to get on the end of things. We rested a good number tonight. Gary Sawyer, David Fox, Toumani Diagouraga, Joel Grant and Jake Jervis, as well. We rested them all. "We knew what was happening,. First, we knew we had to win the game; then we knew that Chelsea were winning so it was important we kept it at 1-1 and maybe try and win on penalties. When it went to 2-1, we wanted to get back and equalise."
Adams also spoke about the silver lining on the cloud of the loss: the return to action of two key members of the Pilgrims' first-team, Oscar Threlkeld and Ryan Taylor. Adams : "One hasn't played since the first game of the season; one hasn't played since the second game of the season. We were hoping Ryan would get 90 minutes tonight but he was just getting a wee bit leggy so we took him off. He does take the ball in well and score goals; he's still got a bit to do to get up to speed. I would hope that, first of all, we can get him in the squad on Saturday. That's my thinking at this moment in time. It depends how he reacts on Thursday and Friday, if he's ready. Oscar's the same. He's still got a bit to go, fitness-wise, the same as Ryan. They were both a bit sluggish at times because they haven't played for a while. It's possible that they could both come into the squad for Saturday."
Taylor himself spoke about scoring a goal on his return to first team action: "It's been a long way off, it's been four months so a long time," said Ryan. "My fitness wasn't quite there tonight but it wasn't going to be after such a long time out. It was nice to get on the score sheet, just a disappointing result in the end. The first half I felt fine, but I think it caught up with me in the end, so the gaffer brought me off after 70 minutes. We are all disappointed with the performance in the second half. Aaron Taylor-Sinclair pulled a great ball back and I've just tried to get it on target. I think their keeper has had a bit of a 'mare but they all count so it was nice to get back on the score sheet. We were very comfortable in the first half, got into the changing room at half time, we played some nice stuff. But the second half we just weren't good enough and we know that. We have just got to get ready for Saturday; it will be a tough game away against Bradford, but we will be."
Before facing Yeovil in the Checkatrade Trophy, Argyle signed England Under-20 goalkeeper Will Mannion on an emergency loan. Mannion is the latest 'keeper to join the Pilgrims after an injury sustained against Portsmouth on Saturday ruled Remi Matthews out of action for the foreseeable future. He will wear the number 35 shirt at Argyle.
Argyle are out of the Checkatrade Trophy having lost 2-1 at Yeovil Town and Chelsea Academy beat Exeter in the other group match. Ryan Taylor put Argyle into the lead on his return to the side but two second half goals won the game for the Glovers and saw them top the group. Argyle: Mannion, Edwards, Songo'o, Bradley, Miller(Wylde), Threlkeld, Sarcevic, Carey, Taylor-Sinclair, Taylor(Ainsworth), Fletcher(Jervis). Subs: Childs, Sokolik, Diagouraga, Grant.
Callum Rose has extended his stay at Dorchester Town until January 27. The first year pro has been with Magpies since October 27. The defender has earned his place in the side over recent weeks after having to initially make cameo appearances off the bench.
Remi Matthews has returned to Norwich for treatment having injured his shin in the second half against Portsmouth on Saturday. Due to Michael Cooper's finger injury, 16 year old first year apprentice Max Childs is now the only goalkeeper at the club at senior or apprentice level.
Derek Adams rejects the view that Portsmouth were the better side and deserved to win yesterday's Dockyard Derby, claiming that there was little to pick between the two teams. Adams argued the case: "I thought it was a poor football match. It was a 0-0 game written all over it. We make a mistake and they get a goal. They weren't in our box in the first half. We were the better team in the first half. I thought we passed the ball well at times in the first period, but still we didn't get enough opportunities at goal. Second half, we pushed on. But overall, from a spectacle, it wasn't great. There was nothing in the game. Both sides probably lacked a bit of firepower today. A poor game from the point of view of chances created. We had some good balls in the box. We just weren't able to get the second ball to get that goal to get back in the game. I don't think the creative players on both sides today did enough. There were a number of players that didn't do well enough today in midfield and attack. Both teams didn't have any real efforts on goal. From my point of view, it was the worst Portsmouth v Plymouth game I've been involved in. It was rubbish."
"I didn't think that it changed the concept of the game. We had to put on players to try and get at their back four, but we didn't really have an opportunity that we can say was clear-cut in the second half. I thought we were better in the first half. We created better opportunities in the first half. We went to two up front in the second half. We went a bit more direct and I don't think it helped us. I think it helped Portsmouth. Today, I don't think we deserved to lose the match.We'll just go onto the next game. We've been on a very good run. We've picked up a lot of points and we just move on. I don't think anyone deserved to win today. There's no way that Portsmouth are better than us today; not a hope in this world. It was 0-0 written all over the game. Anybody who says that Portsmouth deserved to win today has no clue about football."
Adams also had bad news to bring about goalkeepers Remi Matthews and Mike Cooper, the former of whom reoccured his injury during the game and the latter of whom sat on the bench in spite of not being fully fit: "There's a big concern. We'll to look at it tonight, and he might have to get an x-ray tomorrow. He's got a lump on his shin, with the follow-through from the player. He's got a bit of bruising there as well. A major concern, because he wasn't able to put much pressure on it just now. Michael Cooper wasn't fit. He's not fit. It's not good. To have as many injuries, and the different injuries to them; it's been really unfortunate for us."
Gary Sawyer shared many of his manager's thoughts after the game- both on the nature of the performance and the sheer improbability of Argyle's current goalkeeping crisis: "I didn't think we opened them up. We had a lot of the play but the game was played out of the middle I don't think they overly had a lot of chances; we didn't overly create a lot of chances. It was a 0-0 game, I think, if you take this mistake out. We work on everything every day. Obviously goalscoring is one of those that we need to keep working on. It's a tough one to take. It's a big game for us in front of a big crowd and we know this one means a lot to our crowd. We have got a good group of boys here that can turn this around so everyone is on the same page and fighting.
"Obviously, your 'keeper is a main point of your team and to keep losing them is unbelievable, really. In all my years of playing, I don't think I've seen it like this at any club I have been at. It's amazing that it just keeps hitting us. In years gone by, we've had Luke in goal for every game of the season. He's taken a bad injury and the other two behind him have taken bad injuries, and now Remi's obviously struggling, as well. We have to get on with it; we have to look at the next game and hope that Remi will come out relatively unscathed."
Argyle have gone down 1-0 to Portsmouth and return to bottom of League One, three points from safety. The goal came 25 minutes into the game following a misjudgement from loanee keeper Remi Matthews. Argyle: Matthews, Sawyer, Songo'o, Bradley, Taylor-Sinclair, Fox, Diagouraga, Sarcevic(Ainsworth), Carey(Lameiras), Jervis, Grant(Ciftci). Subs: Cooper, Miller, Wylde, Fletcher.
After a vital three points following Tuesday night's 2-0 victory over Northampton Town, Derek Adams stated his belief that confidence is flowing back into his Argyle side. He argued: "The players are beginning to show their confidence in themselves, as they know the confidence I have in them. I've said all along we have a good squad and we have competed well with all teams in this division and haven't got the results we have deserved at times. If you look at my team selection I've always had a continuity and that shows the faith I have in the players. If they give me 100% effort I'm happy with them as they have the technical, tactical ability to do well."
A big part of Argyle's recent upturn in form is down to the addition of midfielder Toumani Diagouraga. The midfield man had only positive feelings about his experiences at Home Park thus far: "I'm pleased with the way it's gone and obviously I just want to carry on. I can't just think I've had a good start and let it go away. Before the first game I didn't think I'd be able to do Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday but once you get on the pitch and you get that competitive nature you just want to do your best for the team and try and get over the line. I had a look at the players that were here and I knew quite a lot of them so I was surprised that they were in that situation. But like any League, if you put a good run together you can be in a good position, any bad run and you might find yourself down there. When I came here everyone was very positive so I knew there was a chance of turning the corner. So that's what we're trying to do at the moment. We're not quite there yet, but we're on our way. We get very good support. Compared to a lot of League One teams that get 3000-4000, here you get 8000-9000 and the crowd are really getting behind the team. Especially with the position we're in, it's a credit to them really."
As a former Pompey player (one of many in the Argyle squad), Diagouraga knows exactly what to expect when Argyle travel to Fratton Park, saying: "Sonny Bradley and Jake Jervis were there when I was there on loan from Brentford. I went there for a month and then they wanted to extend to the end of the season. I agreed and I signed, and then I got called back a week after. It's a very good atmosphere. They've got a good fanbase, so sometimes the fans can kind of get them over the line. But we've played against Bradford which was a big crowd so we know how to deal with it. I think any player wants to play in front of big crowds. If you don't want to play in front of big crowds you're in the wrong job really. So we'll be going there trying to frustrate them and more importantly trying to frustrate the players. You don't want to get carried away thinking about the game too much and the game passes you by. We need to go there, do the job at hand and after the game, after you get the result, you can enjoy it. But before the game it's about preparing and being ready for it. I think that's a very good thing for the players to know about the rivalry and I'm sure the fans like beating them. But us playing, we just need to concentrate on the job and go there and try and get the win."
"We knew we had to win against Northampton really. We couldn't afford to lose and be seven points behind them. So you could see from the first whistle that we really went after them and it was a very good win. Especially after the red card and losing 4-0, you want to get back out there as soon as possible and make it right, and that's what we've done."
Derek Adams revealed his love for Argyle-Pompey games as 'proper football games', citing the atmosphere for games at both Home Park and Fratton Park. He did admit however that the games would likely be quieter affairs after the departure of Paul Cook to Wigan: "This is a proper football match. It's a tremendous stadium and atmosphere to go to. We enjoy playing there because of the great atmosphere the stadium brings and we always take a good following with us. It does generate one of the best football matches I have been involved in since I've come here. They are better than anything else I've had at this football club, except the Liverpool game. The two teams want to go and play football and it's usually a good spectacle. Even going on the bus we get to the pub on the right hand side as we get to the stadium and it's rammed full of Argyle fans. It shows what it means to them, and when you get into the stadium it's very good as well. This is one of the best matches I have been involved in my career.
"It will be a bit quieter. We have already met up at the Wigan game. It will be different with Kenny instead of Paul on the side-lines. He signed a two-year extension to his deal so the board of directors there must be happy with how things have gone since he's been at the football club. This season we have gone to the likes of Bradford with 20,000 and dealt well with that. The players are beginning to show their confidence in themselves; they know the confidence I have in them. I've said all along we have a good squad; we have competed well with all teams in this division and haven't got the results we have deserved."
Adams went on to give a comprehensive injury update on the players currently struggling for Argyle, including goalkeeper Luke McCormick whose return to action is delayed. Adams said:
Of McCormick: "He's still out and it will be well into December before he will return, and that's just to training At this stage, I would have thought it will be the new year before he is playing."
Of te Loeke: "He has got to see the consultant again and we will wait and see what comes out of that. He has seen the consultant but is still getting pain from his back."
Of Michael Cooper: "It depends on how quickly the swelling comes down. It is still swollen but I'm not saying he's definitely out for the weekend. I'm still looking at that possibility."
Of Ryan Taylor: "He's progressing so we will hopefully have him back in the near term. We don't have a date as yet."
Sonny Bradley revealed a tinge of disappointment at the fact that he did not do as he threatened to and net a hat-trick for Argyle on Tuesday night against Northampton: "I was a little bit disappointed that I didn't get the match-ball. I had a couple more headers at the back stick even at 2-0. I was thinking about the match-ball. I was picturing myself walking off with it. It didn't happen but I scored two and we had a clean sheet so I'm not going to complain. I have had chances this season but they haven't quite gone in for me. Once you get that first goal the confidence builds. Every time I go up for a corner or a free-kick I feel like I'm going to score. I feel unstoppable. If I'm one on one at the back stick, I feel there is no-one that can mark me. That's how I feel every time I go up.
"I had a little bit of a go at Graham before that because he was trying to put too much on the free-kicks at times. A couple went out and it was unlike him. I was a bit disappointed and I let him know. So when we did get the free-kick I went over to Foxy and said: 'Don't put too much on it. Just leave it in a nice area and I will do the rest'. That's what we did last season. He put a great ball in and, to be honest, as it was coming in I had a little look at the 'keeper because I thought he was going to take my head off. He decided to stay on his line and I knew I was going to score. Graham put it in a nice area and I was one-on-one at the back stick. I just moved the defender out the way and headed it home."
Finally, Derek Adams paid tribute to Argyle's left-back Aaron Taylor-Sinclair who retained his place for the win over Northampton and has made a solid start to his Argyle career since getting a foothold in the team. Adams said: "He's an accomplished player. He signed for Wigan when they were in the Championship. He has done really well in recent weeks for us. He can use the ball well. He has got a great pass down the channel, which we use quite often, and defensively he has been very sound."
Derek Adams declared himself delighted with Argyle's comprehensive victory over fellow relegation-fighters Northampton Town, particularly full of praise for how we controlled the game as well as being a threat from set plays: "I thought that we started the game very well. I thought we controlled large spells of the first half, and to score the first goal is always vital in this league. We've seen that already this season, where we've gone ahead in games and we haven't the lost the game. It is a very good delivery from David Fox, and Sonny Bradley back to doing what he's best at: scoring goals with his head. Graham put the ball in for the second goal; another good delivery and goal. We are dangerous at set plays. We have got good presence in and around that penalty box, and it was good to see us score two good goals. Set plays are vital in the modern game, because teams are tactically aware and you don't get a lot of opportunities in open play. We've shown that when we have good delivery, we have players in that penalty area that can score goals. We flashed a few across the box and Jake was just unfortunate not to get on the end of one. Jake's done really well up front for us. He's a threat in behind. When you have a striker with that running power in behind, defenders want to defend deep and they do get scared. The three in midfield were very strong and we're delighted with that. It was an important game for us, because Northampton had been on a very good run until Saturday. They were going to put us under pressure and we dealt with it. Yeah, we maybe could've won by another goal, but we're more than happy with 2-0. We did sit a bit deeper but our players are quite comfortable playing in that formation, allowing the other team to have the ball and then picking them off, and we did that late in the second half. We've got a lot of experience in this side. They know how to play the game. When they sit back in they're able to nullify the threat, and the threat was going to be a ball into the strikers or the ball down the side. We saw a number of balls go through our centre halves or we picked it up, and that was because our positional play was very good. There was one opening that they did get. I didn't see them going to trouble us over the 90 minutes. It was a windy night and we dealt well with the conditions. It's a good performance. I thought that it was an accomplished performance tonight, but I thought that in the Charlton game, we were very good that day. All-round, the back four was very solid. Yes, they got through once or twice, but we dealt well with that situation, or they missed the opportunity. I thought in the forward areas as well, we looked lively."
Double scorer Sonny Bradley echoed his manager's words in both respects, saying: "In the first ten minutes, we felt they weren't at the races; we could smell blood and went for it. Even though we scored two, we could have had four or five tonight; myself, I could have had three or four. We felt in control. They had a chance in 85th minute which went across Remi's goal and one where they tried to chip Remi. That's two chances they have had in the whole match. I don't think they were great and they will admit that."
"Saturday wasn't very good. There is no two ways about it. The red card didn't help us but, defensively, that wasn't the team that has been playing the last four or five weeks. We knew it was important today to get back on it. We looked at some clips to remember how we got results this season and we went back to basics. Foxy sat deeper, which allowed us to play a little bit more as we weren't as defensive. We were switching play and being a bit more attacking."
Argyle have returned to winning ways with an emphatic 2-0 victory over Northampton. A goal in each half from Sonny Bradley (each from well delivered free-kicks) were the difference between the two sides and Argyle had many other chances to put the game to bed. Due to Michael Cooper suffering a dislocated finger, 16 year old goalkeeper Max Childs was on the bench for Argyle and thus became the first player born after the new millennium to feature in an Argyle matchday squad. Argyle: Matthews, Sawyer, Songo'o, Bradley, Taylor-Sinclair, Diagouraga, Sarcevic, Fox, Carey(Ainsworth), Jervis(Fletcher), Grant. Subs: Childs, Miller, Lameiras, Wylde, Ciftci.
Derek Adams revealed his reasoning for the use of Gary Miller as a second half substitute for Aaron Taylor-Sinclair- a substitution that baffled some Argyle fans at the time. He said: "I put Miller on to try to get a wee bit of width on the right-hand side to try to push Oxford back. Taylor-Sinclair was the one that came off. I didn't think Gary Sawyer was giving us any width in the first half where there was good scope to go forward. Subsequently, we lose a goal and then we have got to defend at that."
Adams also spoke about the potential options who could come in and replace Ryan Edwards for the game against Northampton, as well as bemoaning the bad luck his Argyle side have faced when it comes to injuries and red cards. He argued: "He has done really well for us this season but it's up to someone else to take over. We have got the likes of Jakub Sokolik, Yann Songo'o and Jordon Bentley as well that can all come in and play in that area. We have only had one defeat with eleven players on the park, and that was against Fleetwood. We've had five defeats with ten players on the park. We have beaten Charlton; drew with Shrewsbury and Rochdale. We have played a third of the games this season with ten player; six out of 18. Any team in any league will find that difficult. But we have won against the likes of Charlton, Bradford and drawn against Blackburn and Shrewsbury so the top teams in the league." We've had a goalie go off at half-time at Blackburn and have to put on an apprentice in the second half. I don't think there is a more unfortunate manager in English football than me at this stage of the season!"
Of the Northampton game specifically, he added: "They have changed their team about a bit and they have some good experience. Particularly McGugan from Nottingham Forest; he has been there before. It's very tight in the bottom 8 to 10 teams and there is a lot to play for in the coming weeks. We need to get back to having a solid base and getting back to playing with eleven players. The supporters have been very good," he said. "We had 10,800 here on Saturday and they have been very supportive of the players, that is a major plus for us."
Whilst pleased with Argyle's initial response to going down to ten men, Derek Adams was left fuming at Argyle's defensive ineptitude in the second half as they shipped three goals that could fairly be described as soft even with ten men on the field. The manager said: "I thought we responded well. In the first half, we got forward into good areas. We made them look a wee bit nervous for a period of time. Graham Carey hits the post; it comes back off the 'keeper and out for a corner. In the second half, Jake Jervis has a great chance to make it 1-1. Then, we concede and the three goals we concede in the second half are terrible defending. I thought the goals were given away far too easily with the way some of their players were waltzing around our players. We've got to defend a lot better than we did today. It's not like us, but some of the defending for the goals was terrible. I've got to say that. We've had a lot of praise on how well we've defended, but the goals we conceded in the second half were far too easy, from my point of view. Ryan Edwards going and Yann going back into the back four probably didn't help us. But we still had ten players behind the ball at times. We allowed them to get easy possession and chances that shouldn't have happened. We should still be defending better. The back four could've done a lot better. Even the midfielders in the wider areas; we didn't do well enough. Going forward in the first half, Graham and Joel Grant weren't at it. Jake Jervis was probably the shining light up front again. We get what we get from Toums and Fox in the midfield, with good passing and work rate."
"Oxford can move the ball quickly and precisely, and they did that," Derek said of United. "They were able to get forward runners from midfield. They were able to gamble a wee bit more than we could, because they had that extra man. That's what they did. They're all very comfortable on the ball. Us going down to ten men did allow them to have that added advantage, but in the first half, we did compete with them. Even in the second half, at stages, we had opportunities. But defensively today, we weren't as good as we have been."
If he was unhappy with Argyle's defending, Argyle was equally miffed with the decision by the referee to send off Ryan Edwards in the early stages of the match, saying: "It obviously turns on the sending off, very early in the match. I think it was not long after 10 minutes that Edwards gets sent off. I haven't seen the incident again, but I'm told that because Ryan didn't make an attempt to win the ball, that's why he was sent off. I haven't seen it yet. It seemed, to me, harsh at the time, because of how quickly the sending off occurred. I couldn't tell you if Ryan tried to play the ball or if he took the man. From where I was, all I saw was Thomas go beside him. After that, I couldn't tell you what happened. I just saw two bodies on the ground. The referee has stated that if Ryan Edwards had attempted to play the ball, he'd have got a booking, but he thought he did not attempt to play the ball. I did think in the build-up to the goal that it was offside. I have been told by the fourth official that the linesman said it was Gary Sawyer who was playing him onside. I don't know how correct that is."
Adams however did go on to confirm that Argyle are not appealing the red card due to a lack of clear evidence, explaining: "If you slow the footage down you see that Ryan does not touch him with his feet. Thomas's arm goes on top of Ryan Edwards's arm before he falls to the ground. We just haven't got the right angle to give us the footage that is beneficial. We can slow it down from behind but I don't think that's going to be enough."
Gary Sawyer was in full agreement with his manager on both the validity of the sending off and the inadequacy of Argyle's response to it, arguing: "It looked a bit soft, to be honest. It looked like they got a little bit tangled up. Some ref's give them and some refs don't unfortunately it went against us today. I spoke to him after he'd pulled out the red card and just told me he felt it was a sending-off and he stopped a goal. I was expecting him to pull a yellow card out. I didn't think he would send him off. Obviously, in years gone, you do get sent off for that if he is going to give the penalty, he had to send him off but because of how the rule is written now, I would have liked to have seen a yellow card for that. Obviously the referee didn't deem that so he gave a red card. We have just come off the back of one of our best results, away to Bradford. I think that is why it is more frustrating to then come home, not have the travelling, and play on a better pitch, and do that to ourselves, shoot ourselves in the foot. You can't use that as an excuse we're more professional than that," he said. "Four goals is not good enough, with ten men or eleven men. Obviously it's more difficult when you go down to ten men. We got to half-time 1-0 down, we did well to do that, I think. Then it just didn't work for us in the second half. We let in sloppy goals, and that's not like us, of late."
Sawyer was consoled however by the thought that Argyle would soon have a chance to put things right with the next match coming on Tuesday against Northampton Town: "Having another game on Tuesday is the perfect way to get over something like that. The boys will be disappointed, and rightly so. It's not a performance to the levels we can do and have done in previous weeks, so we need to get over that. The last six games we have had have been good from ourselves, good performances. It's frustrating for the boys, and everyone has got to have a look at themselves and go again on Tuesday. You can't dwell on these too long because they affect your next one. So, get the disappointment out tonight, think about it, and get up in the morning, ready to go again. There are a lot of things to look at and get right before Tuesday.
"With G's one, he hits the post; it comes back; hits the 'keeper; and goes wide. On other days, they go in the back of the net, but it wasn't meant to be. We had a chance right at the start of the second, and things like that changes games. Unfortunately, we didn't get that, but we didn't defend well enough to keep it at 1-0. Football happens like that, unfortunately, sometimes. It isn't the way we planned it, but we have to roll the dice now and go for Tuesday.
"The home form is something we need to improve on and we need to do it as quick as possible. Your home place is where you'd like to consider the bulk of you points come from; our one is switched at the minute, where the bulk of points are coming from aways, which isn't like a lot of teams. Especially with the travelling we have to do, it doesn't make a lot of sense. We've got a professional group in here players, staff, everyone involved with this football club. The club has definitely been heading in the right direction and we want to continue doing that, so Tuesday is step for us to do that."
Argyle's unbeaten run has crashed to a dramatic end with a 4-0 home defeat to Oxford United. Argyle were always likely to be up against it from the early stages where Ryan Edwards was dismissed for an alleged professional foul (his second red card of the season): Oxford duly converted the penalty and took the lead. Argyle kept things on an even keel for the rest of the first half but the visitors broke away in the second, scoring three goals as well as having plenty more opportunities. Argyle: Matthews, Sawyer, Edwards, Bradley, Taylor-Sinclair, Fox, Songo'o, Diagouraga(Sarcevic), Carey, Jervis, Grant(Lameiras). Subs: Cooper, Ainsworth, Wylde, Fletcher.
Derek Adams reflected on a busy midweek at Home Park, with a home FA Youth Cup victory and an away Central League defeat giving the Argyle gaffer plenty to think about ahead of the Oxford game. He said: "Before I came here, getting reserve games was something that the first team struggled to do but we've been able to find a way and the youngsters have done that the other night it's good to see the trend following its way down the football club. It was 1-0 down, back to 1-1, then it looked like Wimbledon were going to win the game 2-1, but then we scored two late goals to get ourselves the win. It was very late, and a good goal from Klaidi Lolos to finish it off. They've got a fantastic experience of playing Man City at home in the next round. We're not going to ask too much of them because it's a very tough game. We understand that Man City are one of the best Academies in England. I think we've just got to be careful and not get too carried away. We're not in the same league as Man City but the boys have got to be really excited at being able to play against one of the best teams in England.
"The Bournemouth game was a good game from both sides, a lot of good football on show and good technical ability. It was just good to get the fitness for the players that have been substitutes, or been injured for a period of time. So it was a worthwhile exercise. They all got 90 minutes, which was very beneficial, and the tempo of the game, after probably the first 15 minutes, was high intensity.
"Nadir Ciftici had a good 90 minutes yesterday and 70 minutes in the Peninsula League on Friday night, so his fitness levels are coming back and he's overcoming his injury, like a few of them. We'll look to continue his progress with getting him back fully fit.
"Ryan Taylor went over on his ankle so he wasn't able to get any minutes in the game. I wouldn't have thought it was anything serious because he was able to walk during the afternoon."
Argyle are no longer bottom of the table going into the game against Oxford United but Adams insisted he was taking things on a game by game basis and not yet getting too carried away with the league table: "Winning and picking up points is what we're looking at. We're looking to try and do that on Saturday against Oxford. We've put in a lot of strong performances this season and we're getting the points we probably deserve now. We've had a good spell of results recently," he said. "I'm delighted with the progress we're making. We've obviously gone to a team that were third in the league and won, and drawn against the top of the table in Shrewsbury. We've drawn against Blackburn and won against Charlton and they're all around about the top. We feel, coming up from League Two, that we're competing and now we're getting the results our play probably deserves.
"Oxford have changed the manager since the last time we played against them in League Two and progressed as a football club. They've stabilised in the division last year and they've changed their philosophy a wee bit in footballing terms, taking in different players."
He went on to speak about the prospects of Graham Carey returning to the starting eleven now his suspension has been served He's performed very well for us, but the team last week did exactly the same. Graham is a big player for us and he's created a good number of chances this season for other players and scored a few goals. But we obviously won last week against Bradford so time will tell."
Yann Songo'o stated his keenness for Argyle to start turning performances into results at home in front of Argyle's loyal fans, where Songo'o believes Argyle play their best football. The utility man said: "The fans are a big part for us. They want to see us playing well; they've been good after a really bad start and they have been sticking behind us.' We played for them as well. Seven hundred fans coming up north is just amazing. So sometimes when we we're getting tired, we just think about what the fans are doing for us and about them staying behind us for 90 minutes. They deserve a lot of credit for that. We feel really confident right now and obviously, at home, we play better football at home than we do away. Away, we just try and grind the result out; at home we try and play a little bit more football. I don't think we could play Oxford at a better time. They've got a really good squad but I really believe we can get the three points on Saturday.
"The result at Bradford showed off the work we've been doing the past few weeks. It was a really great result to build confidence within the team. I think things are starting to go our way and we want them to continue going our way. We knew we would get chances in the game and we wanted Bradford to come at us and we could use Jake's pace in behind, and Lionel Ainsworth and Joel Grant to get ball behind them to get that chance. When we scored, it was perfect timing, just ten minutes before half time.
"We know how solid we are now and we've started to get the solidity we had last season and we are difficult to score against. In the last five games, we have only conceded two or three goals. We are going in the right direction and we are taking games week by week. The atmosphere at the training ground is amazing; we genuinely feel that its going to be hard to beat us. That's the same thing as last season and hopefully we can carry that forward throughout the season."
Argyle will host Man City in the third round of the FA Cup on a date yet to be determined following a dramatic late 3-2 win over AFC Wimbledon in the second round of the competition. Academy manager Kevin Hodges spoke about Greek star Klaidi Lolos who scored Argyle's winning goal: "He was born in Greece but came over to England. He had trials with Reading; I think he went to Liverpool; and he signed for Crystal Palace and spent a few years there. At 16, he picked up a bit of an injury and, at that important time, they felt they weren't in a position to offer him anything so they released him in January this year. Watching him, we felt he had something so we kept some tabs on him and what the outcome for him would be at Birmingham. When we found out that they never offered him anything, we invited him down for a couple of weeks trial and he showed he had some potential. He's got a bit of an edge about him. He's just turned 17 so he's an older one of his year-group, but still young, so has lots of valuable time to work with; he's a good size and there's a lot of potential for him."
Derek Adams was emphatic in his belief that Argyle's performances have been good all season and that only now have results started to reflect that. He went on to decry the penalty that was given to Bradford late on in the game: "The results have changed but, performance-wise, we have been very good all season. As I have said before, no team has outplayed us this season and I keep on saying we will do very well this season. We want to continue progressing and we'll do that. We've got a good group of players. Their work-ethic is outstanding and that will get us ahead of the game because we have got individual players in the team who have got quality. We have competed very well this season and we feel we can move on now. It was a very good performance by us today. We defended very well and came away with what we deserved, which was three points. Overall, it was a top performance from us against a team that probably ran out of ideas. I've seen it on the video it's not a penalty. The boy goes down very easily. He gets inside Taylor-Sinclair and falls to the ground. The linesman does not give it; the referee takes so long to give it, it's unbelievable. Not a penalty. As a referee, you need to be 100% that it is going to be a penalty. He couldn't be 100% because the time he took to make the decision; how far away he was from the incident; he didn't make it in a split second. He got the referee out of jail, because it wasn't a penalty. Remi has been very good for this football club and we are delighted to have him. We hope to have him for longer."
Adams went on to praise Argyle's squad depth following the win, saying: "We have got a very, very good squad and we'll keep showing this season that we can compete with anyone in this league. We have come away from home against one of the very good sides in this league, put on a very good performance, and we collected three points. We probably should have done better on the counter-attack but, overall, to come away from home to a place that holds 20,000 fans and win 1-0...we did what we had to do. We have got a very good squad. We were without seven or eight players today injuries and a suspension but we have got a lot of good players and you have seen that today. The season is a long, long season and we're just getting our suspensions and injuries back. You can see that there's nothing in this league between top and bottom Bradford were in third position in this league and we're at the other end of the table and I haven't seen anything to scare us in this league. We could have done better in and around their area, picked them off, because they were pushing forward. Jake Jervis was giving their centre-backs a torrid time and we looked like we could have got a second".
The man of the moment, Remi Matthews himself, said of the situation: "Luke is doing all he can to get fit of course he is. Once that happens, it's time for me to go down the road and that's just the way it is. When I first came in, I thought it was going to be one or two games; thankfully, for me, it's been longer. From Day One, I have enjoyed it since I have been here. The lads have been a different class. They have made me feel welcome; the fans have made me feel welcome. It's a nice place to be and the atmosphere is excellent. It's not about me it's about the team. Of course, I made the penalty save, but that's what I'm here to do. I've been brought in to make saves and hopefully help the team to win games. At the minute, that is what we have been doing, and all I can ask is for the team to keep doing what they are doing. The team has been excellent even before I got here. The problem has been that we haven't been picking up results and luckily, at the minute, we are; you can see, from the last four or five games, we have been good. We can only keep pushing on. We have just got to keep getting as many points as we can and hopefully get out of relegation as quick as we can. It was a massive win for the lads. Once we got the goal, they were probably going to be on top for the majority of the game but we defended unbelievably and, when you have got that in front of you, you can't ask for any more. I thought Sonny Bradley was a different class and, even from the top, I thought we were excellent.
"My honest opinion was that it looked soft, but the ref's made his decision and you have just got to forget about it and start thinking about making the save which, luckily, I did. I had a guess. I saw McMahon have a little look the other way so I thought I'm maybe going to have a little step that way and go back the way he went. Sometimes it makes no difference you just have to go with your instincts."
Argyle have made it six games unbeaten with a marvellous 1-0 away victory at Bradford who were third at the start of play. Argyle's goal was a sublime breakway effort in which David Fox played a defence splitting pass for Lionel Ainsworth who crossed perfectly for Jake Jervis to tap the ball home. Bradford tested Argyle's defence all second half and eventually were awarded a penalty with 15 minutes to go but it was superbly saved by Remi Matthews and Argyle climbed off the bottom of the table. Argyle: Matthews, Sawyer, Edwards, Bradley, Taylor-Sinclair, Songo'o, Fox(Blissett), Diagouraga, Ainsworth(Sarcevic), Jervis, Grant. Subs: Cooper, Miller, Lameiras, Wylde, Fletcher.
Argyle will host AFC Wimbledon in the second round of the Checkatrade Trophy, if the greens progress by winning their group. If Argyle qualify in second place, they will travel to Milton Keynes Dons in the next stage of the competition. All will be revealed for sure when Argyle meet Yeovil on November 28 at Huish Park in the final group game. A win would secure Argyle's progression as group winners, but all positions are possible.
Derek Adams looked ahead to Saturday's league tie away at Bradford, hoping to maintain the current momentum: "We look at the League game on Saturday and the FA Cup will wait. The League game doesn't because it's the next game on the calendar. We're in a good run of form and we want to go there and pick up maximum points. They're doing really well and we got one of the toughest ties away from home in the FA Cup. We had a really tough time against Grimsby because they are doing well in League Two so we would rather that we had a team we haven't played for many years down in the divisions. It's another long trip for us but we just have to get on with it, we didn't get very fortunate with the draw in both ties.They played Chesterfield and they got a home tie against ourselves so I'm sure they'll be happy from that aspect but I don't think they'll be happy it's another League One club they're playing against. Bradford are probably thinking the same thing but it's the next round of the cup where we want to progress. We are well supported as a football club, the supporters have shown their appreciation to the team and we just want to keep on picking up points in the League and putting ourselves in a better position but we want to continue progressing through the rounds of the FA Cup and also in the Checkatrade Trophy as well."
Centre-back Ryan Edwards stated his pleasure with Argyle's 5 match unbeaten run but was cautious to note that there is still a large amount of work to be done especially with regard to turning draws into wins: "Obviously, we would have liked the draws to be converted into wins and that is what we are still working on. At the end of the day, we are still points short of where we want to be, and we need to gain them as quick as we can and climb up the table. But we had a good win the cup, away from the league, and it's up to us to try to carry that on and hopefully get a result on Saturday. I feel like we have tightened up a lot defensively. Since Yann Songo'o has been in front of me and Sonny Bradley that has helped a lot. People are noticing it and he seems to be getting a lot of credit, and rightly so. He sometimes takes the pressure off me and Sonny, and the back four. I think that has played a big part in us tightening up and shutting up shop a bit. Hopefully we can keep doing that, we can come up with a few more goals and start getting more points.
Of star man Graham Carey, Edwards added: "You can see every day in training the quality he has got and it's just starting to click for him now. He's capable of scoring from anywhere, from what I have seen of playing with him and against him. He can set them up as well. Going back to playing against him, he has scored some worldie goals against me," added the former Morecambe centre-back. I have never seen him score one from five yards. The penalty at Walsall this season was the only one that wasn't a screamer.I see the Grimsby manager said they should have nailed him. I think that was the only way they could have stopped him because he was on fire."
Sonny Bradley meanwhile reserved praise for loanee goalkeeper Remi Matthews who has come in and adapted well since being called upon under straining circumstances. Bradley said: "Remi has come in and I think he has been outstanding for us. Not only in the games on a Saturday, but he has been brilliant in training. Some players from bigger clubs come in on loan and they don't commit to it 100 per cent. Remi gives it everything every day. He has given us a bit of a boost, to be honest. He's a good guy, a great character in the dressing room and I haven't got enough good things to say about him. If Remi does eventually have to go back, which might be inevitable, then we have got Luke back in and Luke is Luke."
Derek Adams admitted to being not best pleased with drawing fellow League One side Bradford in the FA Cup second round, saying: "I don't think any club wants to have a team from their own league in a cup competition. We play each other twice a season and it's always nice to have somebody outwith. I'm sure Bradford will think the same way. It's another long trip for us but we just have to get on with it. You see some of the teams and they have been able to get preferable draws against opposition below them. We have had a tough first round game against Grimsby, who are going well in League Two, and another tough one against Bradford, who are third in League One."
Argyle's striker Ryan Taylor who has missed almost all of the season with a broken ankle may be close to a return to first team action in the first few weeks. Adams confirmed: "He's joining in with a few bits in training. We are delighted that he's back involved with the ball now."
Argyle have been drawn away to Bradford City in the second round of the FA Cup. The tie will be played on the weekend of December 1-4. Coincidentally, Argyle meet Bradford in League One this Saturday, three weeks before the sides meet once again in the cup.
Sonny Bradley is looking on the positive side of things following Argyle's FA Cup victory over Grimsby and looking ahead to the game to come against Bradford at the weekend. He said: "Coming into the game, for us, this was our biggest game of the season. It was important for us. The manager told us we needed to be in the hat for the next round. Throughout the game, we treated it like any normal game. In the first half, Graham Carey was just Graham Carey. When he turns it on, he's unplayable. He's scored one and maybe could've had two or three. I think Joel Grant could've had one; Jake Jervis could've had three or four. It wasn't to be, so we went into half time. We wanted the second goal, but it was important for us to get the clean sheet; obviously it would win us the game. I think we got to about 75 minutes and we realised we weren't going to score, so we shut up shop. It reminded me of last season; we did that a lot last season. We'd go a goal in front and that would be it. We just shut up shop. It's an important result for us. It carries on our small unbeaten run and it's good for us going into Bradford, because Bradford's going to be a tough one. We've had to work hard to try and find the shape to get results. I think now it's starting to come together. As players, we always believed it would. We've come a long way, even from a couple of weeks ago. We're going in the right direction now and it's just got to continue into next week. We were four unbeaten coming into the game; now we're five unbeaten, building that winning mentality going into the next game. We know that if we defend well, if we stay in shape, we are very, very hard to break down. Bradford are a good team; very good at home as well. But now we're coming off the back of some good results. I think if we go there with the right game plan and the right attitude, I think we'll comfortably get a result."
Bradley also gave an insight into Argyle's togetherness after the post-match players meeting that lasted over an hour after the match against Fleetwood last month, saying: "In that meeting, in a nutshell, what we said is we've got to stick together. We've got to work even harder and, if we do, then the results will come. We've proved that that can happen. When results aren't going our way, you stick together not only as players, but as staff as well. That's exactly what we're doing at the minute. Nobody's turning against each other. I've been in dressing rooms before and players have turned against staff, players turn against players. Before you know it, the downward spiral is so rapid it's frightening. We realise that we can't do that. We're going to stick together. Yann does a lot of work for us; for me and Eddy. I could be here for the next three hours praising Yann for how good he's been so far this season. We've found a way to make it work. Me and Eddy sit a little deeper, trying to talk to Yann and control Yann, screen him and stop it going into the strikers. Then we just build from there. The fans have been right behind us every game. Every home game; every away game; even when we've been beat, they've waited until the end and clapped us off the pitch. I still don't think we're anywhere near our best. I think we can jump up a couple of gears and become an even better team. When we do, we won't be bottom of the league."
Derek Adams was keen to refute any notion that Argyle are a one man team in his post-match interview, praising the midfielders and central striker just as much as on form Graham Carey. Adams said: "He could have had another couple of goals. He was coming in off that right-hand side and they didn't double up on him. He was allowed to get in easily to the 18-yard box and cause trouble. We were unfortunate we didn't extend the lead before half-time. It was a very good performance from us today. We started the game exceptionally well and we caused Grimsby a lot of trouble most of the afternoon. The chances we created, we could have finished it off before half-time with some of our passing and movement and creating from both sides Graham was obviously more prominent on the right-hand side but Joel was on the left, as well. We controlled the game very well; stopped the threat of the ball into their strikers. All afternoon, we were by far the better outfit. It looked like that for the 90 minutes. The midfield three have good experience between the three of them; they are all different types of players; they all play in and around that central zone where games can be dominated, and we have shown we can deal with the best teams in this league. They allow us to go and play at times, and Carey and Grant have a licence to do that with Jervis up front. We have seen that we can be a threat. He can run down the sides; he can cause trouble to defenders; he plays that position from the point of view that he runs beyond his markers and that stretches the game, allowing our wider players to come to the ball and cause trouble for the opposition. He is not a player who comes to the ball, takes a touch and takes the ball in, he's more the one. He is more one that runs in behind. He does a job for the team and that is what we need. When any ball is played in behind the full-back and it's a race between him and the centre-half, the centre-half has got a real problem. Then what happens is the centre-halves go deeper and deeper and that allows us to have extra space in the middle of the park to play. It is always important that you go on unbeaten runs and we're on that now. It was a tricky fixture for us today because Grimsby have gone a lot of games unbeaten recently in their division and there would have been a few people expecting them to come here and win. But we have shown the quality we have got."
Adams also confirmed that the aim of the game is another plum third round tie as Argyle anticipate the second round draw which is the last before the big boys enter the fray: "We would like to have a favourable draw in the next round so that we can get a crack at the third round again. We saw, last year, how well it was to go to Anfield, and we would like to try to do the same again so, hopefully, the draw is kind to us. We would take a home draw. There are a lot of good teams in the second round. We saw them come out of the hat in the first-round draw a couple of weeks ago and you say 'We don't want them...we don't want them...' we didn't want Grimsby, to be fair, but we got them. It gets to that stage where it only takes a knock-down from one of their players and a ricochet, and it could be a goal but I felt we did well with that threat. We had bodies in and around the 18-yard box. We had to deal with a number of long balls, especially in the second half, when big Jamille came on he tried to put himself and get on the end of things. We dealt well with that. You are always a wee bit apprehensive when Jamille comes on. We probably should have finished them off to give us a 2-0 or 3-0 lead and not allowing them the confidence to try to get back into the game. We have had troubles at the start of the season through injury and suspension. We have had a lot of good performances and we haven't had the results that our play has deserved, but, today, we deserved to score a lot more goals than we did."
Argyle have progressed into the second round of the FA Cup following a 1-0 win at home to Grimsby. Graham Carey continued his excellent recent form by firing Argyle into the lead in the 9th minute and the greens saw out the game without any further goals. Goalscorer Carey is unfortunately suspended for Saturday's trip to Bradford following the accumulation of his fifth yellow card of the season during the game. Argyle: Matthews, Sawyer, Edwards, Bradley, Taylor-Sinclair, Songo'o, Diagouraga, Fox, Carey, Jervis, Grant(Ainsworth). Subs: Cooper, Miller, Lameiras, Wylde, Blissett, Fletcher.
Derek Adams is hoping that Argyle can build on their Anfield experience last season to give them the motivation needed to get the job done against Grimsby in the first round. He said: "Obviously going to Anfield last year and taking Liverpool to a draw and taking them back to Argyle for the replay, was a very good experience. I think it's always important that you have moments like that throughout your career. As a manager, it was nice to take a team to a Premier League ground and pit your wits against better opposition. That's what Liverpool were, and we were able to nullify them. We went to Anfield and drew the game in front of a live TV audience all over the world. It was a full house at Anfield, and then for the replay here it was a full house again. So financially, it was a huge boost to the football club, like the play-off final the season before. It always helps a football club run. They're much the same as last year. They've made a few additions to their squad but they're playing the same style. They were difficult opponents last year and this year we'll have to be better than we were last year. They're set up in a way that's hard to beat but we've got players in the team who can score goals. They're mid table in League Two, pushing to get into that play-off position, so we'll just try and progress and get into round two."
Derek Adams has given his latest lengthy update on Argyle's long injured list ahead of Saturday's FA Cup match against Grimsby. He spoke of a number of players, saying: ""Kyle Letheren is out for four months. He's had an operation on his thigh muscle. He had the tendon sewn back on last week, and from that date it was up to four months before he could return. Robbert Te Loeke has still got a problem with his disc in his back. He's got a bulging disc and he needs to go back to the consultant to see if he might require an operation. Luke McCormick is recovering from his ankle injury slowly. He's tried to return a couple of times with the 'keeper coach. He's felt his ankle has been too sore."
"Ryan Taylor's moving along. He's done some light training. He's behind schedule; he should have been back before now but he is with us doing light training at this moment in time. He started on Monday, so we're just easing him back into training at this moment in time.
"Jamie Ness came back into training at the end of last week for a couple of days, and he's been training again this week, so he should be back up to speed very soon. Oscar's still with the physiotherapist. He had a hairline fracture that hadn't healed properly after nine weeks. It was supposed to heal after four-to-five weeks but there was an issue around that."
After last season's FA Cup run which saw Argyle progress to round three to face Liverpool, David Fox has got cup fever again and is hoping Argyle can once more go on a run. He said: "That was a really enjoyable day and occasion. We took lots of fans, and to get a result as well those two games last year were really good. That's what we are in here for trying to get these big clubs in the next round, every team in the club is going to try and do the same. They are doing alright in their league. They are winning games and they are tough to beat. Last season we struggled against them; I'm sure they will have different players and a different way of playing. We are expecting a tough test and we are at home and that's the positive we can take. We have got to try and put the good form we are in at the minute and put it into a win. The results have helped and confidence has picked up, you can see that in training everyday and the lads are a bit bubblier as there's a bit of confidence coming back into the place now. You get that from getting results and you get that from not getting beat and that's what is happening at the minute."
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