A Round-up of Argyle News
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Also included on the three most recent days, facts from Argyle's history.
Argyle drew 1-1 with Ipswich Town at Home Park, the goal scored by Paul Wotton after 22 minutes. Argyle: McCormick, Connolly, Kouo-Doumbe, Seip, Capaldi, Norris, Wotton, Nalis, Buzsaky, Ebanks-Blake, Chadwick. Subs - Hayles, Samba (not used - Larrieu, Summerfield, Aljofree). Attendance - 12,210.
Paul Connolly wants Argyle to achieve success the Watford way. "None of the boys are talking about promotion," he said. "It's all fairy-tale stuff at the moment. Don't get me wrong, we'll be really happy about it if it does happen, but I think we just want to try and do a Watford and keep ourselves to ourselves. I know the manager has been grumbling about the lack of media coverage but I don't think that's a bad thing. Slowly but surely, we can creep up there and go about our business. I know it's a cliché, but we just want to take every game as it comes." The comparison with the Watford team which finished third in the Championship last season might not be too far-fetched. Both teams looking solid at the back and in central midfield, with flair on the flanks and quality up front. "It looks that way," Connolly said. "We're all working really hard, and we're learning to control games now. We passed the ball really well against Palace, and we looked like the more accomplished team. It really was an enjoyable game to play in. The spirit is great, and the boys were buzzing the ball about in training today. Hopefully it will be the same against Ipswich and we can carry on our good form. Hopefully the pitch will be nice and wet and it will make for a good fast game." Connolly also wants the help of all the Argyle fans this evening. He said: "The fans away from home have been absolutely fantastic. I know the fans at home still turn up, but I think some of them have been a bit too negative at times. They can be too quick to jump on you when a pass goes out of play. It shouldn't be like that. They have to realise where we've come from, and what we are. At the end of the day, they should know that all 11 players out there are trying their utmost for Plymouth Argyle. I think they should get behind us a bit more at home and be a bit more vocal." Connolly watched Ipswich beat Luton 5-0 yesterday, and said: "They looked a good side, and Jim Magilton has got them passing the ball really well. It's up to us to try and combat that and maybe pass it a bit better than them and create chances. It should be a good game." Apart from missing two games in September due to a toe injury, Connolly has started every match this season, which has meant Anthony Barness has been out of the first-team picture, but Barness is still playing a part. "He's always giving me advice about wingers he has played against and other things," Connolly said. "He's been different class and, although he's not been playing, he's always quick to congratulate me when I deserve it. It's great to have him around."
Hasney Aljofree was yesterday still in Manchester, and has been told he can take as much compassionate leave as he needs by Ian Holloway. Asked if he had heard from Aljofree, Holloway said: "I spoke to him on Saturday night. I told him we were all thinking about him, but I didn't need to because everybody else had sent him a text or rung him, anyway. Whenever he's right to come back, then I'll be waiting with open arms for him and so will the rest of the lads, but in the meantime we've got to get on with things."
Ian Holloway hopes that Argyle can tonight reproduce the sort of display that beat Crystal Palace on Saturday. "That's what we need," he said. "There wasn't a lot wrong, not much needs fixing. We've got a big challenge coming up against Ipswich, but we have to keep going. We have to be consistent and do what we have to do. Confidence is something that you have to earn. It takes a while, building it, you have to earn it, but when it's there it normally stays for a while. We're trying to build something here. It's all about the spirit, and I can guarantee one thing. When we have lost, we've still had the same sort of banter about us. That's what matters."
Lee Hodges will not be available for tonight's game with Ipswich Town. He has only played 60 minutes in the Pontins League since returning from injury and Ian Holloway would like him to play against Bideford in the St Luke's Bowl on Wednesday night before he can be considered for the first-team. "He has only played 60 minutes and he probably needs a full reserve game," said Holloway. "There is a game on Wednesday night, which he will probably play in. Hopefully, everything will go well because we have not got many bodies but it is what is in the bodies that matters. It is not about the size of the dog in the fight, it is always the size of the fight in the dog. Plymouth Argyle have got that in abundance."
Barry Hayles will be available tomorrow night against Ipswich after his suspension. But as Ian Holloway has a firm policy of rewarding players that do well for him Hayles may to miss out on a starting place. "If you look at my management, I am never unfair, so he will have to deal with whatever decision I make," said Holloway. "Hopefully, it will be the right one for the team and the team will keep going. If it is not broke, then don't fix it and it was certainly not broke on Saturday. How can I ask people to run around like that for me and then leave them out? It would not make sense. A lot of the world will think I am not all there but I know what I am doing. He will accept it because he is the right type of person and that is all that matters."
Argyle's youth side lost 2-0 at Bournemouth on Saturday. After the game Chris Souness said: "We have got to the stage in our season when it is not acceptable to just compete. We have to go on and win games now and how we never won this one, I will never know. The game changed when young striker Matt Wright decided they were not going to bully us any more. His dogged persistence led to a hatful of chances for himself and his team-mates. All-in-all we could not complain about the manner in which we played the game or the chances we created but the challenge thrown down to the players is that they must go and win games now. If we play like we did today then we will win more than we will lose."
Ian Holloway does not believe Argyle's fantastic start to the season will go to their heads. Following yesterdays win, he said: "There's no point in shouting about things now. We've had a decent start, but it's where you end up, isn't it? Both feet on the ground, keep going - I think that's the beautiful thing about this lot. It's only one game, another game closer to the end of the season. If we were at the end of the season now, I'd be delighted, but there's a long, long way together. That's another consistent performance, and I liked our composure towards the end. We passed and moved it a lot better than we were in training during the week, because we didn't get things right in the week." Holloway added that Palace made life difficult for Argyle to close out the win after they had totally dominated the first half. "It's a tough old life," he said. "They made us fight all the way for it. I'm delighted with the players - and delighted for them. I think their sprit shone through again. There was always a threat, always a danger, but I'm delighted to get out of here with three points. We rode our luck in the second half - they threw everything at us - but I was delighted with some of things we created in the first half. Unfortunately, we didn't get one or two more goals." He had words of praise for his match-winner. "Chadwick hadn't been involved for four weeks and he comes off the sick-bed and does that for us," he said. "I thought he gave everything. Everybody did. I thought he was fantastic. It was a great finish. I wouldn't be happy if I was their gaffer - I thought their bloke should have cleared it - but, typical of our lot, I thought we were like a bad rash all day." Chadwick replaced Barry Hayles and looks set to keep the senior striker out of the picture when Ipswich visit Home Park on Tuesday. "I'm going to have to leave Hayles out," said Holloway. "That would be lovely, wouldn't it, to be able to do that and keep winning without him? He's here in spirit - he's still part of us. That's the best thing about this place, the fantastic spirit. We're not the biggest, but our heart's bigger than most."
Nick Chadwick refused to rule out promotion to the Premiership for Argyle after a fourth away win in seven games this season. "Why not?" he said. "I think the manager's gone on record saying we're not getting the publicity we deserve, but we're still to meet a side that's been better than us. Perhaps Cardiff played really well down at Home Park for the first 45 minutes but, apart from that, I don't know a team that's been any better than us. We don't need to get too carried away with ourselves. We need to look to Ipswich on Tuesday and keep on this run we're on. Whether we've won or drawn or lost, I think we've always given teams a really good game, and it's great to be picking up points. Sometimes you don't pick up the points you deserve but I think, at the minute, we are doing that." Chadwick gave equal credit to the influence of Ian Holloway and the character of his team-mates for the teams continued improvement. He said: "Last season, we had a great solid base behind us and were really hard to break down; Ollie has given us the belief that we're better players than just stopping the other team. It's just taking a lot more positive approach. We always thought we were better players thanthat but now we've got the licence to go on and cause teams trouble, rather than just stopping them causing us trouble. The spirit among the lads is unbelievable and, as a group, we're just getting stronger and stronger. It's a privilege to play with the lads. They are a great set of lads. Perhaps they are not household names yet but I'm sure that more than one or two of us will be, especially if we keep up performances and results like this." Chadwick was playing his first game for a month after suffering a groin strain and was taken off in the second half after running himself ragged. "At the moment, the team is playing that well that, if you get your opportunity, you have got to take it," he said. "Hopefully, that's what I've done today. The injury's cleared up, so it's nice to get straight back in and get a goal straight away. The lads are working hard at the moment, as a team - that's the way we play. My orders were to go out and last as long as I could. There's another game on Tuesday and it's important that we are all out there at 100%. If you have been out for four weeks, I don't think you can be at it 100% for 90 minutes. I knew I was going to blow a gasket towards the end, and that proved to be right. You never want to come off but it wasn't a problem because it's all about the team, it's about the club, and yet again we've come away from home and taken all three points." Chadwick snatched the winning goal after a clever shot from Sylvan Ebankds-Blake had hit the post. He said: "Sylv turned and shot. I think he took everyone by surprise. I think everyone thought he was going to lay it off because we had some decent intricate play in and around the box when we'd been laying it off. But he shot and tried to take the 'keeper by surprise, and was unlucky to see it hit the post. I just reacted, took it past the defender with my first touch, and it was nice to hit it past him at the near post." Last time Argyle played Palace, at Home Park, Chadwick scored after just 12 seconds, and he added: "Every player has a side they seem to do well against and that's two goals against Palace in the last two season - hopefully, when they come down to our place, I can make that three."
Ian Holloway and Nick Chadwick dedicated the victory at Crystal Palace to Hasney Aljofree. Aljofree unexpectedly returned to his Manchester home on Saturday lunchtime on compassionate leave from Holloway, who said: "I can't really talk about it, but Hasney's on compassionate leave and all our love goes with him, to him and his family and close friends that have got a bit of a problem. Those things are much more important than football to me. He's there with my blessing, and, when I see him again, I will be delighted. We had to do what was right for him, and we've done it. We've helped him out and our love is with him - it's as simple as that. Everyone of our heart's is with him, and his close friends and family, right now. Chadwick said: "All the thoughts of the lads are with him. He's a popular lad amongst us, and this win goes out to him, his family and his friends."
Argyle won 1-0 at Crystal Palace, the goal scored by Nick Chadwick after 39 minutes. Argyle: McCormick, Connolly, Kouo-Doumbe, Seip, Capaldi, Norris, Wotton, Nalis, Buzsaky, Ebanks-Blake, Chadwick. Subs - Summerfield, Samba, Sawyer (not used - Larrieu, Djordjic). Attendance - 17,084. The usual excellent coverage can be found on Greens On Screen
Stuart Gibson believes that Argyle's move to step up all their youth sides by one age group this season will pay off in the long term. The decision was taken to try to stretch the apprentices and centre of excellent schoolboys by moving them up an age level. The under-18s are playing in the South Western League this season and therefore the under-16s side are playing the club's under-18 fixtures in the Youth Alliance while the under-15s are playing at under-16 level, and so on. The under-16s, especially, and the under-15s have found it difficult playing against older opposition, aut Gibson is convinced it is the way forward for Argyle, and the young players themselves. He said: "The under-16s got their first win in the Under-18 Youth Alliance last Saturday when they won 2-1 at Swansea, after losing 4-0 to them the week before. It comes down to self belief and determination. It's a bold step we have taken, but we have planned it for the last two-and-a-half years, with regards to the training they do and with regards to the coaching and the physical preparation. We think we are beginning to see the first signs of it bearing fruit. We are not results-orientated when it comes to the match outcome. We are results-orientated by player development. I think, without a shadow of a doubt, the ones that are going to benefit are the younger age groups. The ones who are having it the toughest are the under-16s because, all of a sudden, they have been propelled into a two-year gap. But needs must, and we have got to do something because we are not looking to produce League Two/One players anymore. We are looking to produce Premiership players. I have got to do that, in one of the most remote areas of the country, by training only once a week and without the best facilities." Gibson has been pleased with the response to the new youth development youth policy. He said: "We are not allowed to publish results from the younger age groups, but the feedback you get from the players and the parents has been absolutely fantastic. For example, the under-11s are playing at the under-12 level. They were winning all the time but when you speak to them now they know they have got to be on top of their game every week. All the coaches and myself could easily have sat back and seen our teams top of their leagues and winning all the centre of excellence games. Everybody would have been saying 'wow, fantastic'. But we have taken the bull by the horns, and we are looking to take ourselves forward up to the next level. Somehow, we have got to bridge this gap, and I'm very proud of the players and the coaches, and the support we are getting from the parents is brilliant." Argyle play regular centre of excellence games against Bournemouth, Bristol Rovers, Cheltenham, Exeter, Swansea and Swindon. Gibson said: "We are now into our second and third round of games against them and the results are getting closer. There has been a mixed reaction from the other clubs to what we are doing. Some have been a little bit peeved but others are admiring what we are doing."
Ian Holloway has made it clear that there is no shortage of confidence in the Argyle camp, heading into todays game at Crystal Palace. "Palace are one of the big boys in this division," he said. "They've got Morrison and big Kuqi up front, but I believe in us and what we're trying to do. We've got a great team spirit, an excellent work ethic and a good balance about us, even though I still think there are more improvements to be made."
Hasney Aljofree earned his reward for defying the pain of a broken nose last weekend, and today his target will be a place in the starting line-up at Crystal Palace. He said: "It was a gamble at the end of the day. With Mat suspended, I was put in a situation up at Barnsley. The manager wanted me to play, and he told me that if I didn't someone else might come and in do well, and then you never know what could happen. It was my choice, and it paid off. I never got a bang on the nose, although I came close a couple of times. I'm happy I played, and I was happy that the gaffer kept faith with me last Saturday against Burnley. Mat got sent off and suspended but he never did anything wrong, and neither did I when I lost my place through injury. The gaffer has been true to his word, though, and you can't be any more than that." Aljofree was part of an Argyle team which kept a clean sheet for only the third time last weekend. He said: "As a defence, you want a clean-sheet and hopefully the boys up front will do the business and score goals. That was all I wanted last weekend, because the boys haven't had that many this season. I was delighted we did that, and we deserved to win. We've shown we can play good football away from home this season, and we're not scared of anyone. The manager has changed the way we play, and we're not defensive at all. We take the game to the opposition, which a lot of teams don't really expect in this league. Palace are a big club and they're going to expect to beat us, but maybe we can capitalise on that if they don't show us the respect we deserve." Ian Holloway's tactics have given Argyle's defenders a challenge, and it is one they are rising to. "Under Tony Pulis, we were more defence- minded," Aljofree said. "We had Lilian Nalis and Paul Wotton sat in front of whichever two central defenders were playing. We always had cover, but now the gaffer wants his defence to do the job. He wants us to win our headers and make the tackles, and he doesn't want us to hide during a game. Maybe in the past you could have got away with certain things, but not now. We've got to be on our toes at the back, because we haven't got that assurance any more. Lilian and Wottsy are pushing on and so are the full-backs." With Argyle in seventh place, the policy seems to be working. Aljofree added: "We've said that, if we can beat 60 points this year, we've done better than last season. We're well on course for that, if we can maintain our form, and we'll see where it takes us. We want to finish as high as we can."
David Norris can't wait for the game against Crystal Palace. "We are looking forward to the game because our away form has been really good and we are on a good run, so our confidence is high," he said. "When you play at home you tend to have to work on breaking teams down a lot more but it is different when you are the away side. We like to play a counter attacking style as well, where we are solid at the back. We have not really scraped results either. We have played really well, so we will be really looking forward to this game." After a promising start to the season, Palace have not won in their last four games but Norris is still expecting a very tough game. He said: "It is a nice pitch, a nice stadium and I am sure we will take a few fans up there. They will probably have expected a little from themselves so far and they will be looking to turn it around, and go on a good run. We will have to be on top, top form." Norris has been pleased with his own form this season, although he was a little disappointed with his performance in last week's draw with Burnley. "I don't think Burnley was one of my better games this season but before that I have been really pleased with my form," he said. "The way we are playing seems to be benefiting me and we are getting forward, so I am really enjoying it. I signed a new deal in the summer and I have been here for four years now, so I am really settled and have a good rapport with the fans." Norris also revealed a slightly odd new training regime adopted by Paul Maxwell. Maxi has introduced a punch-bag to the players as a means of releasing any pent-up frustration. Norris said: "We have started doing boxing classes and they are great fun. Our physio Paul Maxwell has put a punch-bag in the weights room and it is good to give it a good bash, and get some frustration out."
Nick Chadwick will look to seize his opportunity if selected to play this weekend, after recovering from a groin injury. "It's still a little niggly, but I've been told to expect that," he said. "I've trained today, and I'm hoping everything will be fine for Saturday." Asked if the injury had taken longer than expected to disappear, the he added: "Yes, and it's been annoying. The scans I've had done haven't shown too much damage, so it's been a bit baffling. They showed that it wasn't a hernia, so that was a relief. I didn't need any surgery. As the weeks have gone by, it's gradually got a little bit better, though, so that's been a positive. We've got to the point where I should be OK, but it was annoying that I've missed three games even though there was a two-week international break after I picked up the injury. That was a bit disappointing, especially after the result at Coventry, but the lads have carried on doing well so, if I'm fit this weekend, it will be nice to be part of it again." Chadwick explained how the injury came about. "I did it in the first ten or 15 minutes of the Coventry game," he said. "I lost a bit of bit of power and couldn't chase a ball down the line. Ollie came out and had a bit of a go, so I felt the need to explain to him then that I'd done something. But it was an important game for me, with Barry and Sylvan unavailable, so I knew I needed to carry on and do as well as I could both for myself and for the team, because we didn't really have that many options that day. I managed to stay on and I managed to do OK. I enjoyed it, but afterwards I really felt it over the next couple of days. Since then it's just been a case of letting it settle down and getting some strength back into it." If he is passed fit tomorrow, the game will provide him with what could be viewed as something of a fresh start this term. "Unfortunately, Barry is out again," he said. "That will be a loss to us, but I think we can go to Palace full of confidence after the way we've been playing away from home this season. Everyone is looking forward to it. I don't think anyone would under-estimate just how important Barry has been to us this season, but Coventry showed that we can go to places and get a result without Barry. We're looking forward to doing just that this Saturday." The last time Argyle took on Palace, Chadwick scored after only 11 seconds. "It did go quite well that day," he said. "I've played at Selhurst Park once before and managed to get a win there, when I was on loan at Millwall, so hopefully Palace can be a lucky side for me to play against. Fitness and selection permitting, I hope I can go there and play well and get another good result." Argyle are seventh in the table after going unbeaten in their last five games. Chadwick said: "I had a feeling we were going to pick up some good results so it has been a little bit frustrating, from a personal point of view, not to be part of that. But you still want the club to do well because it's a lot easier playing for a side who are doing well in the league, than when you are down the bottom and things aren't going your way. Chances seem to be dropping our way, which we weren't getting in the last couple of seasons. With the attacking options we have got and the attacking football we are playing, it's enjoyable to be part of that."
Akos Buzsaky has an added incentive to score his first goal of the season against Crystal Palace tomorrow. Buzsaky wants to get the better of his Hungarian compatriot Gabor Kiraly, who will be in the Eagles' goal. "I would love to score a goal against Gabor tomorrow," he said. "It's always great to play Crystal Palace in London. There will be a big crowd and a good atmosphere - and we are going there to win the game." Argyle are unbeaten in the last five fixtures, but have drawn their last two. Buzsaky said: "We deserved more than a draw in both of those games. We have to continue what we have been doing. I thought the team was a little tired at the end of the second half last Saturday but it was our third game in seven days, so that's normal. We have had a rest this week and I'm sure we can go to Crystal Palace and get a good result there."
After winning his battle to return to fitness Lee Hodges now faces a tough contest to reclaim his place in the first team. "It's been five weeks since I was injured, so it was nice to get a run-out at Weymouth," he said. "I've been training since the end of last week, and I had a word with Maxie and he was happy for me to have a little run-out. I wasn't going to play the whole match, but I ended up playing a little more than what was expected. At half-time I felt great and asked if I could do another ten or 15 minutes, and the coaches were happy to let me do that." Hodges' comeback has happened on schedule. "They said four to six weeks, and I only started kicking a ball last week," he added. "To go from there to playing in a week is good. It's all about getting my confidence back up. The tackling is the one, really. I don't mind a tackle, and I've got to get my confidence back in doing that. I enjoyed how it went, and I didn't feel the injury at all." The timescale of his recovery has pleased Hodges. "It was nowhere near as bad as when I did the same knee years ago, but as I soon as I did it I knew it wasn't right again," he said. "The scan revealed that I did tear it, but when they said it would be four to six weeks I was happy, in a way. It could have been a lot worse, but I was happy with the way it went and I'm really pleased to be fully fit." Since the Southampton game in which Hodges sustained his injury, Argyle have not lost a Championship game. "It's going to be hard to get back in, the ways the boys are going," he admitted. "They've been fantastic. It is going to be hard to get a game, but that's what you want to do. We're flying high up near the top and everyone wants to play. I'm looking forward to getting back in and around all the boys. It's a fantastic time to be at the club, and you can see that when they go out to play. It is good. It's frustrating when you can't play your part, but the games I have watched have all been really enjoyable to watch. The lads were very unfortunate not to beat Burnley last weekend. I thought we played really well, and it was a hard-fought 0-0 draw."
Argyle will visit Bideford in the St Luke's Challenge Bowl quarter-final tie next Wednesday, November 1st
Ian Holloway is convinced Tony Capaldi can be a long-term success at left-back. He said: "With modern full-backs, most of them used to be wingers anyway. I think he has done very well there. I was aware that our last three managers didn't think he was a left-back, but I don't care what anybody else thinks really. I know how I see the game and it's all about what I can get out of individuals. And I'm sure every player doesn't care where they are playing as long as they are in the team. The ones who moan are out of the team and trying to keep them happy is the hardest thing as a manager. When you are playing Championship Manager on your computer, no-one comes in your office and moans at you. It's great that!" Capaldi has put in very solid defensive displays in the past two matches, and Holloway insisted: "I'm more than happy if he keeps doing that. I haven't got a problem with it. I don't really care who plays there as long as we keep doing well. I think Aljofree can play there, and so can Hodgie and Sawyer, but it's all about trying to get the balance right for certain games."
Argyle striker Joe Mason made his second appearance for the Republic of Ireland's under-16s side in their 2-1 defeat by Northern Ireland
Paul Wotton is enjoying one of the best starts to a season in Argyle history. "Things are going great, not just according to plan," he said. "We can still improve in certain areas and we know that - but if you had offered to me in the summer that this is where we would be after 13 games then I would have bitten your hands off. Every game in this division is a tough one but we are just enjoying ourselves, while we are up there. We have got to believe we can make the play-offs because otherwise what is the point. The manager has set us little targets of where he wants us to be after every 10 or 12 games. We are a little bit behind that target but we are doing okay. Only one team has been better than us and that was Cardiff for the first 45 minutes of that game - in the second half we battered them and ended up drawing 3-3. There are certainly teams to be respected in this division but there is nothing for us to fear." Playing for Holloway is another reason Wotton has plenty to smile about at the moment. "His never-say-die spirit has rubbed off on us," Wotton adde. "His personality and enthusiasm makes such an impression on you. He has got his views on the game and we are slowly picking them up and trying to take them into Saturday. Every day in training is a step forward. We are still a little bit off where he wants us to be but I am sure that will come given time." Wotton prefers to keep his feet on the ground rather than talk of possible future glory. "Over the years every Plymouth side I have played in has had a fantastic work ethic and a great attitude," he said. "This team is no different but there is a little bit more quality about us individually now. There are definitely similarities with the teams that won those titles - the way we go about games and try to get the best out of each other for a start. However great those achievements were, this is a whole different level - the Championship is a lot tougher. But we have the belief that we can make the play-offs if we keep ticking along - and if we are in the same position in another 10 or 12 games then that will grow and grow. It is still so early in the season to speak of promotion but we will just give it our best shot and see where that takes us."
Argyle reserves won 2-0 at Weymouth last night, the goals coming from a Challis own goal and Cherno Samba. Argyle: Larrieu, Barness, Kouo-Doumbe, Sawyer, Laird.S, Gosling, Summerfield, Hodges, Dickson, Djordjic, Samba. Subs - Duggan (not used - Sandercombe, Laird.J, Smith, Davis). "The lads worked very hard," Geoff Crudgington said. "After the first half an hour, I thought we were excellent. The first 30 minutes left a little bit to be desired, but as soon as we kept the ball for any length of time we forced three corners and scored from the third one. We worked hard, and in the end I thought we played some decent stuff. It wasn't down to a lack of effort to start with. When you've got this many experienced players in a reserve side, it can be difficult to get the shape of the team right." Crudgington was pleased to see Lee Hodges make his comeback. "Lee looked fine, and he looked fit considering the length of time he's been out," he said
Argyle have opened talks with Marcel Seip about a new long-term contract. Ian Holloway is hoping the defender will commit his future to the club, and he also revealed that the club are in contract talks with Tony Capaldi and Paul Connolly. Holloway said: "I think Marcel has done very, very well, to say the least. I wouldn't say I was surprised. I think his CV spoke louder than anything and the lad himself impressed me because he wanted to be here. So, obviously, I knew if he did do well we would have to give him a better deal, which I haven't got a problem with. I'm very pleased, but I wouldn't say I'm surprised because I think that's a little bit unfair on our scouting network and what I felt I saw. I'm just glad we did it the right way, and I'm glad he agreed to do it that way, because if he had been too high a risk for what I saw I wouldn't have taken him. When you first go into a club you want your signings to do well for you. If you get two out of four wrong, all of a sudden the people on the terraces, who don't know you from Adam, think: 'Well, this bloke doesn't know what he's on about'. And I don't want that to show yet! Hopefully, it will take a while! I like Marcel's style of play. He's very aggressive. And, this big bloke we were looking for, we haven't really needed. We have marked Kyle at Coventry and Howard against Derby, and they don't get much bigger than them. And Norwich threw on the Land of the Giants in Dublin and Thorne." When asked whether he was confident Seip would sign a new contract, Holloway replied: "I'm always very optimistic. But, what have I learned from my wife Kim is, if I'm not in control of a situation what can I do about it? It's Que Sera Sera, that Doris Day song." Of Capaldi and Connolly Holloway said: "Do they want what I want? If they do, then let's try to sort something out with them. The thing is, everybody in football can be replaced. That's the truth. Managers, coaches, players - even chairmen."
Akos Buzsaky is relishing the opportunity to play a full part in Argyle's current success. This summer he underwent major surgery in his homeland - a tenotomy - to try to solve his injury problems once and for all, and the strategy seems to have worked. "The most important thing is to be in the starting XI, and it doesn't really matter in which position you play," he said. "I am starting to enjoy it now. I have started seven games this season now, and I am finding my form. You need to play some games in this league to get your form and fitness. I can't play very well in my first game back after being injured, or whatever. I need to play games and then I will become better and better." Buzsaky played in last Saturday's draw at home to Burnley, which extended the side's unbeaten run to five games. "The team have performed very well in the last month, and we have had some good results," he said. "I think we deserved to win this game, but you can't win every game. Everybody gave their maximum, and I think the supporters can see what we are trying to do these days." The persistent groin injury which spoiled much of this year for Buzsaky is history, and it is not a popular topic of conversation with him. "I don't want to talk about it," he said. "The past doesn't matter. It's gone, I worked hard in pre-season, I'm back and I'm fit and I'm enjoying playing. I feel, every game, I can give a little bit more for the team, and that's the most important thing at the moment." Buzsaky is pleased to be playing for Ian Holloway. "The team is better to watch because Ollie wants us to play attacking football," he added. "The last manager wanted us to defend and, if we could, score one goal to win the game. Now, we didn't score in our last home game, but we scored two in our previous game and in each of our three home games before that we scored three times. I'm sure the fans can enjoy the games more now, and that's why I'm a little bit disappointed with the number of fans. There are clubs with a bigger history in this league, but there has not been one game this season where the opposition has been better than us. I thought the stadium was going to be packed for the Burnley game and I don't understand why it was not. We were in a play-off position, and the team is playing well. Last season when we didn't play very nice football and we were struggling against relegation, we had more fans." Buzsaky is hoping that his return to regular action will lead to another chance to play for the Hungary. "It's crazy in Hungary now," Buzsaky said. "The team have been beaten 4-1 at home by Norway and 1-0 at home by Turkey. Then we lost 2-1 in Malta. I would love to play for my country, but at the moment the situation is very bad there. It is not a good time to be a footballer in Hungary, but even so if they are going to call me then I would be more than happy to be there. Under Matthaus I was in the squad last season, and I played in every game when I was fit. Then I had the injury and the new manager didn't involve me, but if you play in England in the Championship then you are playing at a high standard. Even if he doesn't like me, he cannot ignore me because there are not many players from Hungary playing at this level."
Barry Hayles will be missing from the Argyle team on Saturday, having picked up his fifth booking of the season in the draw with Burnley. Ian Holloway though refused to criticise his striker, and said: "We have won before without him, so that is the way it is. I am just glad he is here. Some of the decisions against him have been an absolute disgrace. He is a very competitive fella and if they were for dissent then I would not be happy, and he would be fined. At the moment, they are from so-called fouls or infringements, where I can see that it always starts with their bloke first. These are the ones the referee does not seem to notice but I would not change him at all. He has to be competitive and that is part of his game."
Ian Holloway has confirmed Reuben Reid will not play for Kidderminster Harriers in the FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round on Saturday as he does not want him to be cup-tied. Holloway is delighted with Reid's form while on loan at the Conference outfit. "I am glad Reuben is there and I am glad he is learning," he said. "He has scored two goals in four games, which is very good going and hopefully it is habit-forming for him. He is playing in front of a real crowd and youngsters need games. If I had a bigger squad, I would probably loan out one or two other young players because they get frustrated when they are not in the first-team. I would like to do it but the squad is not really big enough for me to be able to do that. Unfortunately, the difference between the Championship level and the Pontins League is chalk and cheese."
Nick Chadwick looks set for a place in the Argyle squad for Saturday's trip to Crystal Palace. Ian Holloway said: "He won't be ready for the trip to Weymouth tonight but he should be ready for Saturday and he has played in most of the games anyway. It will only be two weeks that he has not been available. He has played most of the games this season anyway, and he has been working very hard with Maxie. So there is nothing counting him out of the game on Saturday, at all, in my mind, but I do tend to have a positive mind most of the time." The reserves' match against Weymouth will see Lee Hodges make his comeback from a knee injury. Holloway said: "Hodgie will have 45 minutes tonight. I'm glad to see him back. He's a nice bloke."
Michael Dunford discussed the level of attendances at Home Park this season in his programme column on Saturday. Dunford revealed that of the 13,622 gate for the previous home game against Derby County, more than 2,000 people took advantage of various cut-price or free ticket initiatives. He said: "It is still a concern that we had only 11,500 regular customers, but, as the season goes on, we have to convince the Plymouth public that Argyle mean business. People make up their own minds - we cannot force them to come. However, as I have said repeatedly in previous programme notes, sooner or later, the Plymouth public will receive the team they deserve."
Argyle will play Weymouth in the Combination League on Tuesday night. The game was originally scheduled for November 8th but has been brought forward after an agreement was reached between the two clubs
Lilian Nalis was disappointed that Argyle could not secure all three points against Burnley on Saturday. He said: "We got a good draw at Barnsley last Tuesday, and when you get a result like that away from home you have to win at home. We were disappointed with only a point, but there were some good things in the game. We fought well, and you have to do that against a team like Burnley. They normally fight really hard and they are well organised. We had some opportunities to score, but we didn't take them." There were no jeers from the Home Park crowd despite the failure to win. Instead, there was sustained applause at the end of the game. "We are trying to do our best to improve for the manager and for everybody," Nalis said. "We try to do our best. If the supporters are happy, that is good. If they're not, it isn't our problem. We can only do our best." Argyle's most unlucky moment on Saturday came when a Barry Hayles volley brushed Burnley 'keeper Brian Jensen's finger-tips on its way on to the crossbar. It rebounded into play, hit Jensen - but flew away to safety instead of back into the net. "It was very unfortunate," Hayles said. "I think the 'keeper got a nick on it and if he hadn't done that it would probably have gone in. It came back and hit him but it squirmed away." Nalis added: "It was strange. It hit the 'keeper's gloves, hit the bar, hit him again and went away to the side. I didn't understand that." Hayles was a tower of strength throughout the game and Nalis was happy to pay tribute to him. "He was vital for us," he said. "He is trying his best all the time. He always wants the ball and he always wants to play. It is really handy for the team to have such a striker. He is a real fighter." Hayles will miss next Saturday's game at Crystal Palace because of suspension, but Nalis knows that the team will regroup and do their best to compensate for his absence. "The most important thing is that we are a group of players," Nalis said, "and we are going to be together for the whole season. There is no point in being worried about anybody's absence. Barry is a good player and he is really helpful for the team, but whoever comes in will try to do their best and will try their hardest to improve the team as well." Nalis is glad to be entrusted with a more advanced role than he had last season under Tony Pulis. "That's the way we play now," Nalis added. "We have changed our game. Now we try to win the ball higher up the pitch, so that we can make our forward runs quicker. Last year we had to defend behind the ball much more, but now we have more opportunity to get forward. If we can get four or five players in the box, it is always better than only two."
Argyle beat Penzance 3-0 in Saturdays South Western League game, the goals scored by Dan Gosling, Ryan Dickson and Tom King. Argyle: Sandercombe, King, Laird.J, Gosling, White, Laird.S, Smith, Duggan, Davis, Malsom, Dickson. Subs - Grant (not used - Fenwick, Bonney)
Argyle's youth team won 2-1 at Swansea City on Saturday, the goals scored by Ben Joyce and Ben Tozer
Argyle made it five matches unbeaten on Saturday and while Luke McCormick admitted they were disappointed not to take three points, they were pleased with the way they had played. He said: "I think we did everything but put the ball in the net. We defended well and certainly created enough chances to win the game. It's just unfortunate it was one of those days and the ball didn't want to go in for us. We are very happy with our performance. We seem to be doing all the right things. We knew what we were going to get against Burnley. I think they are quite similar to ourselves. They are very organised and hard-working. We will take a lot out of the game. I only had one save to make and that was towards the end of the game. Apart from that, they rarely troubled us." McCormick was alert in the 89th minute when Andy Gray unleashed a fierce shot which was parried away by the 'keeper. "It's always nice to make saves and play your part in the game," said McCormick. "From the angle he was at, I always fancied myself to stop it to be honest. I would have been very disappointed if I had been beaten from there." The closest Argyle came to scoring was in the 80th minute, when Barry Hayles hit the crossbar. McCormick said: "On another day, it wouldn't have hit the bar. It would have gone in. That's what I meant when I said we didn't have our slice of luck in front of goal. It has hit the keeper's head and a lot of the time they end up going in. Luckily for them it ended up coming out." McCormick received lengthy treatment in the second half after taking a blow to the back of his head when catching a corner. He said: "I'm fine. I took a cross and I think their man just caught me on the back of the head. I have got a bit of a sore neck, but I'm okay otherwise." The game was Argyle's third in seven days, during which time they picked up five points and McCormick added: "I think we are a very confident side at the moment. That's five unbeaten now and we are going into every game believing we can win it. Even when we went 1-0 down to Barnsley in the first minute there was a belief that we could get something out of the game. We all felt we were unlucky not to win on Tuesday night as well."
Ian Holloway was pleased with the performance of his team yesterday, in tough conditions. "There was a slightly strange wind and we could not quite work it out. It affected the game a little bit," he said. "It was two well organized sides that battled it out and I felt were very evenly matched. It was not the prettiest of games but we did not expect it to be. I quite liked the look of my team. I thought we had flair in the right places and I just had a feeling that one of the two wide men or the front men were going to come up with something and win it for us." Barry Hayles hit the bar near the end of the game for Argyle before Burnley went straight up the other end and Andy Gray nearly stole the points. Holloway said: "My heart went in my mouth when they went up the other end and had a very good chance after Barry hit the bar and it came back and hit their 'keeper on the back of the head. We need to work a little more in and around box. It will come but I thought my front two needed to come off their markers a little earlier when the full backs have got it deep in their half and then things can happen. I thought we were professional and we looked well organized, there was good spirit about us and we looked a half decent team. I am feeling more and more confident all the time. I think both teams out there should be very pleased with themselves and both teams are going to acquit themselves quite nicely in this division. I would still flag up that they have probably spent a little more than us with their budget and their transfer dealings. They are a very proud club and I am proud of mine. We shared the spoils but if you look back I think we created a tad more chances than they did. I could probably still do with a big man to come off the bench and get a set of eyebrows and forehead on some of them crosses and some of the delivery today, particularly from Akos Buzsaky. Barry Hayles was again a star performer and will be missed at Crystal Palace next weekend, having picked up his fifth booking of the season. Holloway was quick to defend the striker though. "He was a very close to missing out and it is typical of him," said Holloway. "He will miss out the next game because of five bookings but he can't stand certain things happening that he feels are not right. He gets really angry and he is a winner. I knew he would go mad because a bloke stepped on his face and he has got to have his lip sewn up. Can you avoid someone's head when it is on the floor? I think you can. All this argy bargy with him, he seems to come out on the wrong end. I have not seen a ref give him fairness yet because he is strong as an ox. If you ever needed a piano moving, he would carry it on his own. I love him to bits because he never gives up. The minute I saw him all those years ago, I felt he was a winner and I am delighted he is back with me. He is a fantastic player and he is rubbing off on everybody at the club. If you talk to Wotton, he has got another strong bloke in the dressing room. We lost Coughlan and he was a leader. People like Hayles, Wotton and Nalis are worth their weight in gold." Luke McCormick suffered a nasty injury in the second half but Holloway was not too concerned because of the presence of Romain Larrieu on the bench. "I was surprised to see Luke down for so long. I was not that worried with Romain on the bench and to be fair to him, what a wonderful man but Luke is playing so well," said Holloway. "I left Aljofree in and I don't know what people feel about that but if they do well for me, I like to reward them with a place in the team. If someone goes out of the team they know damn well that they might not get back in." Holloway refused to be drawn into a speculative discussion about future transfer targets, and would much rather shore up the contracts of the players already at his disposal. He said: "I would rather just sort what we have got and then I will worry about bringing in others. I think Capaldi is out of contract and Connolly is out of contract. Gary Penrice is working very hard on some quite exciting targets for us. I think I make sense sometimes and if I can keep pushing towards further up than anyone imagined, then maybe we can think about doing things in a different way. I would rather talk to the board first because they are decent people and we are doing this together. Hopefully they have seen what I am all about and they will trust me when I say someone is a good player, and give me the money to buy them." The only disappointment surrounding Argyle's excellent start to the season has been relatively low attendances and Holloway joked about a possible link to his oral hygiene. He said: "There is an unpleasant rumour that I should go the dentist and sort my gums out because my breath is so bad that everybody can smell it from the other side of the pitch but I don't believe that, although the lads keep giving me chewing gums. The simple answer is that I don't know why the attendance is low. I can't thank the people of the area enough. Everywhere I go is just brilliant. It is like we are part of a big family and hopefully we can keep going. A lot of clubs should be like this where the fans are not expectant, they are just optimistic. It has taken a while to get them optimistic because they were so realistic. It is very pleasing to be part of something that feels so good already. I have always tried to make my players enjoy what they do. I did not enjoy not winning at home at the start of the season and I am glad we got the monkey off our back. The players went out there and expressed themselves. They feel confident and seem to know what they are doing and how they are doing it. The encouragement they are giving each other is absolutely wonderful."
The Premiership within five years is the ultimate aim for Ian Holloway. He said: "The last thing I want is to be here less than my five years because I believe that in five years; we will be where I want to be. We will probably come back down because that is probably what happens but that money we will get from achieving it will never be taken away from us. We can then build something that will last. We have got to get a structure here that will be in place to produce Premiership football. The facts are about how much money is in the area and I can assure you that it is not affluent. We have got to think about how we can help all the people become part of the Green Army. When you look at the place, you can understand why certain things have been said. The car-park has got pot holes, the referee's room is quite embarrassing and parts of the stadium are quite minging but we have got to improve slowly. We have never been in the top flight and I am trying to make sure we earn it. Some areas almost believe they deserve it and that is not right. You should not have expectations because they lead to disappointment. All we want to do is keep marching on. I believe we are a massive club because I believe I can get on marches like the Pied Piper. My tune is not quite good enough yet and maybe we add the odd new peg but I need to get them right."
Argyle drew 0-0 with Burnley at Home Park. Argyle: McCormick, Connolly, Aljofree, Seip, Capaldi, Norris, Wotton, Nalis, Buzsaky, Ebanks-Blake, Hayles. Subs - Samba (not used - Kouo-Doumbe, Summerfield, Djordjic, Larrieu). Attendance - 12,817.
Sylvan Ebanks-Blake is relishing his role in Argyle's attack, and the season so far. "It's early days and it's hard to have an opinion about the league table," he said, "but we'd rather be up there than down near the bottom. Any team can beat any team in this league, and we don't fear anyone at the moment, no matter how much they've spent or how much money we haven't spent. It should be another good game on Saturday, and let's hope the result goes our way." On Tuesday Sylvan scored a memorable goal at Barnsley and made Argyle's other goal for Barry Hayles. "I thought we performed well," Ebanks-Blake said. "It's not easy to play two games in such quick succession, but we handled it well. It's been a slow start for me, because it took a little while to break into the team and then I was out with a hamstring injury. It's not like I've been playing game after game, it's been a bit stop-start for me, but when I've felt fit I think I've performed well and I've scored. Hopefully I can stay injury free, because I'm so confident that I can score goals. That's one thing that no one can tell me different. I've not played at this level before and it's a new experience for me, but I'm learning with every game. I'm playing against defenders who have been doing it at this level since before I started, which is a great education for me." Ebanks-Blake is also learning plenty of tricks of the trade from Hayles. "He has been doing it for a long time and you never lose it," he said. "He's showing that, even at the age he is now. Barry is producing week in, week out, and it's a great opportunity for me to learn from him and take it on it in my own career. We're linking up well, and hopefully that will continue." Hayles set up the goal at Barnsley with a flick-on which gave Ebanks-Blake the chance to use his pace and strength to brush off a defender, before scoring with a fierce drive. It was the sort of opportunity he thrives on, but which he has not been offered too often this season. "From where I've come from, I've been used to having the ball slotted in behind the defence," he said. "We're a little bit different here, we get it wide and there's a lot of build-up. I've had to learn that, and I am learning that. I'm confident in my ability and in the team's ability. If we can keep playing the way we're playing now, the results will keep coming and we'll carry on pushing up the league."
Ian Holloway faces a difficult decision whether to recall Mathias Kouo-Doumbe for Argyle's game against Burnley tomorrow. He said: "There were one or two things that weren't quite right defensively the other night. It's all about communication. I thought Hasney Aljofree was magnificent. You would have never known he had broken his nose two days earlier. He was terrific. I know what he gives me and I know what Mattie gives me. It's two very different things and I have got to think carefully about what I want." Marcel Seip seems certain to be one of the centre-backs and Holloway said: "I think Seip has been superb. He has earned the right to be in there. It's not just because I brought him in. He does what I want. I will have a good think about it. Picking the team every week is very hard and it's not as easy as some of the fans believe." Burnley are fifth in the Championship table, one position and one point above Argyle, but Holloway added: "I don't get too carried away with league tables to be truthful. It's about where you end up after 46 games, that's all that ever matters. I think Burnley are doing very well. Steve made some very good free transfers in the summer." Holloway was particularly impressed with the signing of Steve Jones from Crewe Alexandra. He said: "Jones is an excellent player. He had a lot of choices but Steve Cotterill paid him the money he wanted and convinced him to go to Burnley. With the tradition they have had over the years, in my mind I think they are a big club - but so are we." Holloway compared the clash against Burnley with a school exam. He said: "I'm teaching my players what I want so they will pass their next exam. That is on Saturday, and it will be a tough examination, I can assure you."
Hasney Aljofree is convinced Sylvan Ebanks-Blake and Barry Hayles can trouble even the best of defences in the Championship. He said: "We know they can score goals. They are both sharp and teams are scared of quick players. It's a credit to Barry he's still doing it at his age, and it's a credit to Sylvan because he has come here from Manchester United and he has got a lot of pressure on him. He's coming into own his now. He's developing around the club and getting more confident in himself - and it's starting to show a bit. Him and Barry bullied Barnsley's two centre-halves, which is no mean feat away from home, because usually your backs are against the wall. If I was looking from afar, I would be scared to play against those two." Aljofree was swift to point out, however, that Ian Holloway was spoiled for choice when it came to strikers with Nick Chadwick and Cherno Samba, while Reuben Reid is on loan at Kidderminster Harriers. Aljofree said: "Ian Holloway has taken away the Tony Pulis style and has got the two strikers working together, instead of one working on his own. Last year, we had Chadders running on his own and doing everyone's work. Sylvan and Barry are both working really hard together and they are good friends, but you can't take anything away from Chadders. He wasn't with us at Barnsley but he played really well against Coventry in our previous away game. At the moment, Sylvan and Barry are doing really well, but we have got Cherno and Nick Chadwick and they are both good strikers as well, so it's all to play for, for them. In the past, we have had Mickey Evans, but we have used him to flick things on. We never used him to score a goal. But with these two it's in their heads to score all the time and, especially away from home, that's quite a frightening thing." Barry Hayles has been troubled by a sore groin since the draw against Barnsley, but Ian Holloway hopes he will be fit to face Burnley. He said: "My physio tells me it isn't as bad as Barry thinks it is, so hopefully he'll be available. As for Chadwick, we have had some scans on him and, hopefully, he's going to be fine."
Ian Holloway is contemplating a relegation campaign for his team. Sooner or later, Holloway hopes to lead Argyle to the Premiership. However, if that dream comes true, he does not expect Argyle to be among the favourites to stay in the top flight at the first attempt. "My job is to build a strong enough team so that we can sustain a challenge at the top of this division and get to the promised land," he said. "But I'm looking at the promised land in a different way. I want to get to the Premiership and come straight back down, because that's what normally happens. I'm being totally realistic. Once we get there and we get that money, I reckon we'll have a chance at this club. Our fans won't expect us to beat Manchester United and all of them, but they'll share in the joy and the opportunity to see all those clubs down here. Hopefully, with the money we'd get from being in the Premiership, we'll be able to build the club and finish the ground and build everything on top of that. That's what it's all about. I'm chasing the dream, and I'm going to make that dream a reality. That's all I've ever done in my life. I know where I want to go and I know what I want to get, and I've been very fortunate. I told my careers instructor at school years and years ago that I was going to be a professional footballer and a professional manager, and he told me I was mad. Well, I don't think so." Holloway is adamant that there is nothing mad about believing in Argyle's ability to reach the summit of English football eventually. "All the roads for Plymouth are going to lead towards the Premier League, because that's our goal," he said. "That's where we're heading. If we don't believe that, we may as well just keep going round and round a roundabout. I know what it takes, but we might have to do it a slightly different way around. You can't buy character, you can't buy belief, you can't buy confidence, you've got to build it all. I'm ready to build, and I want to keep building. But the cement's still wet, let's be fair." Holloway's work has only just started, and he urged fans not to place too heavy a burden of expectation on his players. "Some people get carried away," he added. "The word 'expectation' has been thrown at me. That's a stupid word, for me. For me, expectations are what's wrong with the game. It's what is massively wrong with certain clubs. Their expectations are dumped on their players, and their players have got enough to worry about anyway. They're being examined every day, almost. If you're a supporter, it's your job to support, and if your team is not doing the business then you should get behind them and help the team. No fan should ever have expectations, because all that does is breed disappointment. You should be optimistic. Very optimistic. I felt very optimistic as soon as I was given the job. Even when we didn't get the right results, I kept saying that performances will lead to results - and they always do. That breeds confidence, and a confident team is a strong team. It takes a long time to build confidence, it takes two seconds to lose it. Hopefully, as a manager I can give confidence to people because I truly believe in what I'm saying and what I'm doing." Tomorrow Argyle entertain Burnley who are in fifth place, a point ahead of Argyle. If the two teams are in the same position in May, they will find themselves in the promotion play-offs. That is a tempting target, but Holloway had further words of advice to deliver. He said: "Let them be optimistic about getting into the play-offs, but we don't expect to be anywhere. I expect my players to be professional and play well, and work hard and try hard. I don't get too carried away with league tables now. We'll see where we are at the end of it all. It's about where you are after 46 games. That's all that ever matters."
Tim Breacker's arrival at Argyle has been further delayed but Ian Holloway remains confident that he will be on board soon as Paul Stapleton is continuing discussions with QPR. "Tim Breacker will hopefully be here soon," said Holloway. "The chairman is talking to Mr Palladini. Hopefully, my chairman will sort that out. If it takes ten months to get him here, I don't care. He should never have been placed on gardening leave. He should have taken over the team if they were not happy with me."
Barry Hayles is the main injury concern ahead of Saturday's match with Burnley. Hayles missed the win at Coventry at the end of September with a sore groin and appears to have aggravated that injury again. However Ian Holloway remains optimistic that Hayles could recover in time for the weekend. Nick Chadwick has also been struggling with injury and Holloway is hoping for some good news in the morning. "Barry Hayles has got a sore groin again but my physio tells me it is not as bad as Barry thinks it is, so hopefully after he has been in the swimming pool it will be ok," said Holloway. "We have had some great scans on Chadwick. Hopefully, I will get some good news tomorrow." Lee Hodges though, will almost certainly miss out. Holloway said: "Hodges is improving but he has not even had a reserve game yet."
Hasney Aljofree has revealed he was determined to play in Argyle's draw at Barnsley on Tuesday, despite his broken nose. He said: "I can't believe I got through the game without getting the nose done. I couldn't even touch it, it was that sore. The gaffer said it was down to me whether I played. It was one of those things where if I hadn't played, someone else might have got the chance and taken it. I went out of the team because of injury against Southampton and didn't get my place back. The boys have been doing well so, broken nose or not, I had to take this chance and, hopefully, I have done." Ian Holloway will now have to decide whether to continue with Aljofree and Seip as the centre-back pairing against Burnley on Saturday, or select Doumbe after his one-match ban. Meanwhile, Aljofree felt Argyle were unfortunate not to beat Barnsley. He said: "It was a great game to play in. It was a really attacking one and both sides just went for it. I was gutted we didn't come out of it with a win in the end. I don't know how many times we hit the post, but Luke did make a couple of good saves." Barnsley took the lead after only 61 seconds with an incredible 40-yard shot from centre-back Antony Kay. Aljofree said: "I'm not sure he's even right-footed. It was just one of those things. Sometimes they go in row Z, but we regrouped straight away. The gaffer told us before we went out that if a Sunderland happened we knew we could come back from it, and we did. We played some really good stuff in the first half, scored two goals and could have had more. It was just a shame we didn't win." Barnsley clinched a point after a 51st minute equaliser from striker Marc Richards and Aljofree added: "It was sloppy really. It came from a free-kick and it was a bit of slack marking. Another time we would have cleared that."
Argyle's youth team won 5-1 at Dawlish Town in the St Luke's Challenge Bowl last night. The goals were scored by Toby Davis (2), Sam Malsom, Shane Duggan and Ben Joyce. Argyle: Sandercombe, King, Kendall, Laird.J, Watts, Duggan, Gosling, Hopkinson, McCrory, Davis, Malsom. Subs - Joyce, Petnehazi, Smith (not used - Saxton)
Despite dropping points for the first time in four games, Ian Holloway was very impressed by his side at Barnsley last night. He said: "When their centre-half smacked one in the net from 45 yards, or whatever it was, when my team hadn't even touched the ball, I thought 'oh dear' but I still believed in us. I kept saying we had to keep doing the same things, and I'm very proud of them, I must say. Sylvan's goal was fantastic, and he needed it to get rid of his frustration. It was a brilliant strike, and Barry's goal was equally as good as their first goal." Barry Hayles controlled the ball on his chest and in the same movement found the net with a crisp volley, only five minutes after Ebanks-Blake had equalised with a fierce drive. "I think Barry can score that sort of goal a lot more often than their centre-half, with the greatest of respect to the lad, but we knew what Barnsley are all about," Holloway said. "I want to give them some credit. They kept their spirit, they kept going and I thought that was an absolutely cracking game. I'm obviously disappointed we didn't get all three points, but I would have felt very upset for them if we'd done that. Good luck to Andy Ritchie and his lads, but I'm delighted with my lot. Don't get me wrong, there are still things there that we can get a lot better at, but I'm seeing the improvement week in, week out, in the way we're playing. The lads are bitterly disappointed, but it just goes to show. We've shown magnificent character - again - to keep going, and what I want to do is make sure we don't make mistakes like we did for their second goal. Their goalie kicked it and my backline should win the first header. We have Lil and Wotts who can win a header and we keep letting them do it. I want my backline to deal with that, and it makes a huge difference. I can show them that now on the video, but some of the attacking play was absolutely exceptional - at both ends. I was on the edge of my seat and thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm very proud to be involved with this football club, and very proud of my boys. And I can't tell you how proud I am of those people who have travelled all this way. I have got a lump in my throat just talking about it. I think it's absolutely marvellous. For me, that's what football is about, nights like this away at Barnsley." Holloway admitted Kay's 40-yard shot was unstoppable for Luke McCormick. He said: "That was a centre-half with a one-touch strike and it screamed in. We did nothing wrong. I can't blame Luke. I can't blame anybody. The closing was there. He just hit it and it flew in. But what I was pleased with was the character we showed. I keep talking to them about believing in what we are saying. I believe in them and I want them to believe in me. Hopefully, that will be a relationship that will keep growing, because I think we are getting better all the time." Holloway paid tribute to Hasney Aljofree, who played with a broken nose. He said: "We told Has to go careful, but I think he probably headed more balls tonight than he has ever done."
Sylvan Ebanks-Blake thought Argyle deserved more after their draw at Barnsley last night. He said: "It was a brilliant game to be involved in. It was end-to-end stuff and there was good attacking football from both sides. If you had asked us before, would we settle for a point away from home in our second game in three days, we would probably have taken it. But, as the game panned out, I thought maybe we could have taken all three, but we will accept the one." Ebanks-Blake never had any doubts Argyle would bounce back from conceding an early opening, and said: "We have been behind a few times this season. Anyone who has watched us knows we have got a great spirit and we never know when we are beaten. That was the same tonight. We bounced back brilliantly and were just a little unfortunate not to get three points." Ebanks-Blake scored with a fierce left-foot shot to put Argyle level at 1-1. He said: "Barry flicked it on and I got a good touch on it and hit it first time. I was pleased with it." Ebanks-Blake then repaid the compliment with an accurate cross which Hayles controlled on his chest before lashing into the net. "I went out wide and crossed the ball and Barry got onto the end of it," said Ebanks-Blake. "It was a great finish. Barry has been doing it for years and it just goes to show what a good buy he was. We are just trying to work hard in training. We have both been out injured so it has been a bit stop-start. But the more the games we can play together, I think the better we will link up and the more goals we will score." Argyle had 16 goal attempts, forced 12 corners to only one for Barnsley, and hit the post three times. Ebanks-Blake said: "It just goes to show how far we have come and what sort of football we are trying to play. We are trying to take it to the opposition whether we are at home or away. There's so much confidence in the camp now. We will just keep playing nice attacking football and try to break teams down and score goals." Argyle play fifth-placed Burnley at Home Park on Saturday, and Ebanks-Blake added: "We don't fear any of the teams up there at the moment. We will try to do the same things as we have been doing and, hopefully, we will get the right result."
Argyle drew 2-2 at Barnsley, the goals scored by Sylvan Ebanks-Blake after 29 minutes and Barry Hayles (34). Argyle: McCormick, Connolly, Aljofree, Seip, Capaldi, Norris, Wotton, Nalis, Buzsaky, Ebanks-Blake, Hayles. Subs - Samba, Summerfield, Djordjic (not used - Sawyer, Larrieu). Attendance - 9,479.
Argyle's home game against Coventry will be shown live on Sky Sports television. The fixture was originally scheduled for Saturday January 20th, but has now been moved to Monday January 22nd, and will kick off at 7.45
Ian Holloway refuses to be downbeat about the suspension to Mathias Kouo-Doumbe and any injuries, but instead sees it as the perfect opportunity for others to stake their claim for a place in the team. "It adds to our spirit and gives everybody a chance," said Holloway. "I have got people here who have not been given their chance yet and hopefully they will step in and take it, and if they do well, they will stay in." Marcel Seip is the example for others to follow and Holloway said: "Hasney did not deserve to be left out but Marcel has come in and he scored two, and stayed in. I will reward good behaviour and I will be upfront, and tell them what they need to hear and not what they want to hear. Everybody likes to deal with the truth because it lets you know where you are." Holloway is expecting a tough battle against Barnsley. He said: "It will be a very tough game. Barnsley play 4-2-4 and they attack and attack and attack. That might half suit us because we are happy to soak up bits and pieces, and then hit them on the break. I like Andy a lot. He was a fantastic player, very skilful and you do not go to Manchester United if you are not very, very good. He is a gentleman. I was a commentator for the Play-Off Final and I thought Swansea created the better chances but you can never write Barnsley off and boy do they like to attack." Argyle are currently on a run of three successive wins and Holloway is looking to beat the run of seven wins he achieved during his time at QPR. "I told the players that I want to beat the seven wins in a row that we got at QPR," he said. "I think Aljofree will be fine. He can smell round corners now, so we might have to straighten that nose up. He has definitely bust it but I have said to him that he was too good looking for a centre-back and he is starting to look like a real one now. It was the bleeding. He did not come off because it was hurting, it was just the bleeding. I have broken mine five times and always carried on playing. As long as it is not affecting his breathing or his airway, then he will get out there because he is made of the right stuff." One definite absentee is Nick Chadwick, who has failed to recover from a groin injury. Holloway said: "Chadwick is really upset because he expected it to clear up over the last two weeks and it has not, although he is chuffing at the bit to play. I have told him not to risk it. Things may have backfired a bit because I loaned out Reuben Reid, although I still think that was the right decision. Both Sylvan and Barry came through the Derby game. I had to take Sylvan off. What else could I do? He kept looking over and he knew it. I could have moved him outside to the wing but I had to do something." Holloway singled out Paul Wotton for his performance against Derby. "Take people for granted at your peril," said Holloway. "I thought Wotton was terrific at centre-back when he had to go back there in the end, absolutely fantastic and I am glad he got man of the match. It shows the measure of the man, again." Gary Sawyer and Scott Laird come into contention in the absence of Doumbe but Anthony Barness has not travelled due to the imminent birth of his child. Holloway said: "Sawyer will come into contention and Scott Laird may have to come in. I had to think about Anthony Barness because his wife is about to give birth. I know he is a player but that comes first, always has and always will. If you are a Father, you deserve to be at the birth. It is a miracle and no-one should miss that. You made it together and then you should bring it in to the world together." Holloway believes the Championship this season is as tight as any division he has ever known and clubs will do all they can to reach the top-flight. He said: "This division is the most even there has ever been and everybody is trying to reach that pot of gold, and they will keep investing. People will lose their jobs and more players will be bought because they are all chasing the dream. When you get there, it is not a dream, it is a nightmare, from a managers' point of view, but we are all living to do it. The only clubs that have been really successful at doing it have been going up, coming down, going up, coming down and then they become good enough and solid enough to stay there. The examples are Bolton, Charlton, and Portsmouth. The balloon payments when you are relegated from the Premiership means the rich are getting richer."
Marcel Seip is doing his best to convince Argyle that he is worth a long- term contract at Home Park. He said: "I am really enjoying my time here. Plymouth is a great club and it is a great city too. I like playing here and the manager has been very helpful to me." Seip has been brought to Home Park for his defensive skills, but he is also making his mark as a goalscorer. "It is always nice to score goals," he added. "In five years I scored two goals for my old club, but already I have two goals for Plymouth. The most important thing is that we keep winning and getting results." Tonight Argyle try to win four League games in row for the first time since they entered the Championship. "I do not know much about Barnsley or many other English teams at this time," Seip said. "All I know is that it will be a tough game for us, especially as it so close to Sunday's game. It was a good win for us on Sunday, but it was tough because we played so long with ten men. Losing Mat and then Hasney shortly after put pressure on us, but we knew we had to get stuck in and fight for each other, which we did. The first half was tough but, even though we were a man down, we played very well in the second half. Of course, I was very happy to score as well." Beating Derby lifted Argyle into fifth place in the Championship. "That is three wins in a row for us, so we are very happy," Seip said. "Derby are a good side, but so are we and I think we showed that on Sunday."
Ian Holloway will make a late decision on whether to play Hasney Aljofree in tonight's game against Barnsley, after he had to be substituted against Derby due to a broken nose. Paul Maxwell said of the injury: "It looks like Hasney has burst a little blood vessel in there, as well as breaking his nose. It was like turning a tap on, to be fair, and it was a case of just trying to stop it. Obviously, that takes minutes and Ollie had to make the decision because they were chucking ball into the box. It was the right decision, to be honest, because he had to get someone on the pitch. From my point of view, I was trying to get it stopped as quickly as possible and, funnily enough, it actually stopped just after Luke had gone on."
Paul Wotton is not getting carried away after Argyle's rise to fifth position in the table. He said: "We are doing alright. We know exactly what we are. We have worked tremendously hard on the training ground and tremendously hard on the pitch for each other. As long as we keep doing that then we will see where that takes us, but we can still improve a lot. It was a great result on Sunday but we have got another hard game tonight. We have got to get our minds fully focused on getting a result at Barnsley." Lilian Nalis echoed the sentiments of Wotton about Argyle's start to the season. He said: "We have played only 11 games and there are 35 to go, but if we keep working hard as we have been, and try not to focus on the position we are in the league, who knows what could happen?" Argyle will be without Mathias Doumbe for the clash with Barnsley after he was sent-off against Derby and Wotton he was very unfortunate to be shown the red card. He said: "From my point of view, I thought it was a harsh booking. I didn't even think it was a foul, to be honest. It was a strong, honest challenge and the boy was hurt, but that's football. Matty is a strong player." Argyle were drawing 1-1 when Doumbe was sent-off but Nalis was confident they could still clinch victory. He said: "With the mentality we have got in the team, I was not scared about playing 10 against 11. Everybody is working hard for each other and we always try to go forward." Nalis, at 35 the oldest player in the Argyle squad, is not daunted by the prospect of a second match in three days tonight. He said: "You always want to be involved in games. The only thing is not to get it in your head that you played 48 hours before. On the day, you have to go out on the pitch and give it 100 per cent. I'm enjoying my football and, at my age, that's the most important thing. I'm happy with all the lads and this is a great group here." Wotton has now scored three penalties this season and all of them have been blasted home. He said: "People say to me 'Are you ever going to change your mind?' but I tell them 'no'. The Derby keeper knew where I was going to put them but did he get near them? I don't think he did."
Argyle will send an under-18s side to play the St Luke's Challenge Bowl first round tie away to Dawlish Town tonight
Barry Hayles was all smiles after Argyle's win over Derby yesterday, despite being bruised and battered. "That was a battle," Hayles said, "and it was a massive win for us. Derby are a decent side." Hayles was adamant that he had been fouled by Michael Johnson for Argyle's second penalty. "He had a tug and then he had another go," he said. "The referee gave that one, but he had a tough day and he made a lot of mistakes. I thought Mat Doumbe was very unlucky to be sent off. I tried to explain to the referee that he got a bit of the man but he got the ball first. The referee had made up his mind, though, and it was backs to the wall after that." Hayles finished the game at left-back, after Tony Capaldi had been booked and moved into midfield by Ian Holloway to reduce the risk of another red card. "I started my career at left-back at Stevenage Borough and I think the gaffer knew that," said Hayles, "so he told me to slip in there because the winger who came on was quite tricky. Tony had just been booked and I think Ollie wanted to get Tony out of the way." Hayles and his team-mates are travelling to Yorkshire today to prepare for tomorrow's game at Barnsley. "It's going be tough," he added. "If it was a home game tomorrow it wouldn't have been so bad, but we've got a long trip. Luckily we're going to fly up on Monday and have a training session later in the day, and then we'll look forward to Tuesday."
Ian Holloway knew that his team had come out on top in a real scrap yesterday, and he said: "It was a battle, wasn't it? People talk about football in the Championship, but that was a bruising, bruising afternoon. I was very encouraged. Derby are going to be a very good side. They're a big club - and I think we are too. I've said before that you cut your cloth accordingly. We will fall down on strength in depth but, hopefully, I can add people to this group in time. I'm very pleased with the ones I've added so far. Hopefully, people will hear about us and see us and might want to be part of it. That's all I want. We've got to keep building and keep going." Referee Paul Taylor did not impress either camp yesterday. "There were some strange decisions, to say the least," Holloway said. "Some embarrassing dives, to say the least. The one over in the far corner, by Marc Edworthy, what was that all about? Even Billy Davies had a laugh about that one. There were some harsh decisions, and maybe they could have had a penalty. There was one late on where it could have been handball, but I'm not sure if it was deliberate. It did strike his hand and, when you've had two penalties against you, it's pretty hard to swallow when you don't get one at the other end. I expect Billy will be fuming." Some decisions may have gone Argyle's way, but some didn't. "It shows the character of my lot," Holloway said. "I had to put Barry Hayles at left-back at the end, and we only had nine men for a while when Hasney was off. It looks like Hasney has bust his hooter - that's Bristolian for a broken nose - and we couldn't stop it bleeding. I was stood there thinking: 'Good gracious me, what do I do?' We were one in front and already one man short. But what great spirit these boys have got. It wasn't the nicest game, not the prettiest. It was bitty, a bit choppy. The game should have been allowed to flow more, and the referee was a bit whistle happy. Our lot weren't happy with their goal, but I think he got that right. I think he got a handball against Akos Buzsaky, when he was put through, right too." Holloway was not so sure about Mat Doumbe's second yellow card of the game though. "I thought Mat played the ball, and he needed to win the tackle," he said. "Did he carry on and hit the fellow as well? I don't know. I was incensed at the time, but I've done that loads of time and have been totally wrong and have had to eat humble pie, so I'll have to see it again. Mat wants to appeal against it, but you can't appeal against two yellow cards, can you? Only a straight red. That's the worst rule I have ever heard in my life. All that means is that it's too much work for the people in the offices. If someone can get a red card wrong, surely they can get two yellow card wrong as well, can't they? You should be able to appeal all of it. The trouble is people will abuse the system, but it's easily controllable. If you appeal and it's not overturned and it's seen as time-wasting, you should be heavily fined as a club. You should be able to appeal against two yellows but you can't, so we'll have to deal with it. We're pushed to our limits now." Holloway will have to replace Doumbe at Barnsley tomorrow, but he is hopeful that Aljofree will be able to play
Mathias Kouo-Doumbe was proud of his team-mates after the win over Derby. He said: "Everybody worked really hard when they were down to 10. I'm really proud of the guys. Sometimes this happens in football. When you have a team reduced to 10 they get that better spirit and work even harder because they are one man less. I suppose that was the case for us." Most spectators thought Doumbe was unlucky to be sent off after his challenge on Bisgaard, and he agreed. "I thought so as well," he said. "I made good contact with the ball and I didn't see anything bad with this tackle, but the referee saw it another way. I saw him put his hand to his pocket and I thought: 'I'm off.' I was disappointed at the time, but because we won I feel a bit better. It was an important game for us." Argyle's victory over Derby leaves them only one point behind second-placed Burnley, who visit Home Park on Saturday. Doumbe said: "It's going well but we have to stay focused on making sure it goes well a bit longer. I think playing Barnsley at their ground is not going to be an easy task but we will see what the manager knows about them and what he wants us to do." After Doumbe was shown the red card, Hasney Aljofree was brought on to play at centre-back. However, Aljofree was left with blood pouring from his nose after being caught by Mo Camara and had to be substituted, with Paul Wotton moving into central defence. Doumbe said: "Hasney has broken his nose before and it didn't take him long to come back." Marcel Seip put in another impressive performance and Doumbe admitted he was enjoying playing alongside him. He said: "We have had three games now and it's three wins, one clean sheet and we have conceded only two goals. It's going well. He seems a really sharp defender. He relishes the physical contact and I like this kind of player."
Argyle beat Derby County 3-1 at Home Park, the goals coming from two Paul Wotton penalties after 45 and 63 minutes, and Marcel Seip (79). Argyle: McCormick, Connolly, Kouo-Doumbe, Seip, Capaldi, Norris, Wotton, Nalis, Buzsaky, Ebanks-Blake, Hayles. Subs - Aljofree, Samba, Summerfield (not used - Djordjic, Larrieu). Attendance - 13,622.
Argyle beat St Austell 4-2 in yesterdays South Western League fixture. The goals coming from Scott Laird, Toby Davis and two from Sam Malsom. Argyle: Sandercombe, King, Kendall, S Laird, Watts, Smith, Hopkinson, Gosling, Dickson, Davis, Malsom. Subs - Petnehazi, Laird.J (not used – Wright)
Ian Holloway has no immediate plans to strengthen his squad with loanees. Gary Penrice has already recommended several potential signings but, for now, Holloay is content with the players he has got at his disposal. He said: "If I need to bring anybody in, I have got Penny now, who is working his socks off to give me some names. I have got a list as long as my arm, who I could have, but, at the moment, it's going very nicely thank you very much. Now it's can we keep going? Can we keep ticking over? And can we get on a consistent run?. I don't need to bring in any loan signings at the moment. Sometimes loan players are good because you need a lift. But if you bring one in at the wrong time it could unsettle a very happy ship. At the moment, everybody is feeling part of it and I have got a few selection problems. There are one or two people who probably deserve to be playing, but aren't. That's unlucky, but we are a Championship side now. I'm a very lucky man and it's down to me managing them." Holloway is still having to do that without coach Tim Breacker, whose move from QPR has been further delayed. Breacker has agreed a two-year contract with Argyle but there are still issues to be resolved at the QPR end. Holloway said: "I have asked the chairman to talk to Gianni Paladini at QPR so, hopefully, we can sort that out. When you are in that situation and you feel you have been placed on gardening leave quite unfairly, through no fault of your own, it's not very nice to deal with. I think Tim needs to move on really, and I'm delighted Penny has moved on already."
Argyle youth striker Joe Mason, younger brother of Anthony, made his first international appearance for the Republic of Ireland under-16s on Thursday against Wales
Argyle are keeping fit this season with the help of Plymouth boxer Scott Dann.The squad has been attending regular training sessions with Dann, the Commonwealth middleweight champion, at Stonehouse Barracks. Ian Holloway said: "It's part of our training regime. You can't keep doing the same things all of the time. We aren't leathering each other. We are doing the exercises a boxer needs to do. Scott is a fantastic fella. If you can't learn from someone like him, who can you learn from? I wouldn't argue with him, with or without his gloves on." Holloway believes the sessions with Dann are proving to be very beneficial for the players. He said: "I think Tony Pulis brought it in and I have just carried it on. It's upper body training and work on the legs. A boxer is really strong around those areas and everything comes from there. We are pinching some of their knowledge."
Ian Holloway slogged his way through 90 minutes in Tuesday's South Western League game at Liskeard, but he will not be making a habit of resurrecting his playing career. In fact, it will probably be a one-off. "I didn't enjoy it," he said yesterday. "Not really. I think the man up there was giving me a message, what with the thunder, the lightning and the rain. It was like: 'What are you doing, Holloway? Get off!' But maybe I'd have got round the pitch a bit quicker if one of the lightning bolts had hit me!" On a more serious note, Holloway added: "I'm glad it's over. It wasn't something that was planned, and I'll never, ever do it again. We moved up people from our South Western League team to the reserves, who did very well, and put schoolboy players in at Liskeard. No way could I play in the reserves, so it had to be at Liskeard. It's a young man's game, and I was 28 years older than one or two of our team. It's a beautiful game, I used to love playing it, but this week it was like running on treacle. It took me about an hour to get to grips with it."
Argyle are likely to restore Barry Hayles and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake to the starting line-up for the game against Derby County tomorrow. Nick Chadwick has been hindered by a groin injury in training in the past week, whilst Hayles missed the trip to Coventry with a groin strain of his own, and Ebanks-Blake was absent with a niggling hamstring complaint. While Hayles seems fully fit now there is a slight doubt about Ebanks-Blake's participation. "Chadwick is probably the worst of the three," Ian Holloway said. "He's further back than Barry or Sylvan, so we'll have to take a late look at him tomorrow to see if he can be involved on Sunday. If Chadwick was fully fit he'd probably have started, because I thought he played ever so well at Coventry, but I'll have to be careful. It's the first time I've ever had to plan for two games at once. Today I've talked to the players about Derby and tomorrow I'll be talking about what Barnsley do, just to put it in their minds. Tomorrow we're training and eating at different times as well, to get them prepared for Sunday's game. That's what happens with Sky. You hope to show millions of people on the telly what you can do, but you have to play at ludicrous times which the body isn't used to." Argyle will be well paid by Sky but it has not made their manager's life any easier. "That's the Championship for you," he said. "We've had two weeks doing nothing, and now we've got two games in three days, which is very hard to plan for, but we'll get on with it. I'm sure the chairman will like the money, and I'll see if I can help him spend it when we need to, but that's life. There won't be any excuses."
Ian Holloway has called on Argyle fans to get to Home Park on Sunday. Holloway is hoping the fans will flock to Home Park, despite the lunchtime kick-off and the presence of the TV cameras. He said: "Derby are a great club with a huge tradition, but I really think we are on an upward curve. I don't think this club has done much better before than we are doing now. We are on a roll and I'm on about the team, not me. It's a very exciting time for everyone connected with the club. I'm delighted with how the players are performing at the moment. They are starting to play the way I want them to, and are looking like an Ian Holloway team, which is very encouraging. I just hope people spread the word that we are playing some good football and it's entertaining to watch us. I would love to see a few more come along to Home Park on Sunday, rather than sitting at home in their armchairs. My message to them is: 'Come and watch it live, you can't beat the atmosphere'. I'm absolutely loving it here, and the more people that come along to our games, the better it is for everyone." Derby won only one of their first six league games, but have picked up lately and are 10th in the table, one point behind Argyle. Holloway said: "I have got a lot of time for Billy Davies. He was tremendously successful at Preston, getting them into the play-offs for two successive seasons. I think he will be a fantastic manager at Derby and he's already proving that. He has got a tiger by the tail there. Derby have got rid of some of their debt and they will be going for it this season. It's going to be a tough game, I have no doubt about that, but it's another chance for us to test ourselves against a good side."
Argyle have lost all four matches against Derby over the past two seasons, and have failed to score a goal in any of them. Ian Holloway though, is not worried at all about the past results. He said: "I don't believe in any of that sort of stuff. I always have a positive mental approach to every game. It will be a great time to get a victory over Derby. That's how I look at it." Derby will have a familiar figure leading their attack - former Luton Town striker Steve Howard. Holloway is an admirer of Howard, and said: "He's a very good player. I wanted to take him to QPR and we would have had a chance, but I wasn't allowed to and then he goes to Derby for £1m." Barry Hayles will return from a groin injury to play up front for Argyle alongside either Nick Chadwick or Sylvan Ebanks-Blake. Holloway added: "Sylv had a bad hamstring tear when he was at Manchester United and he has got some scar tissue there. Sometimes scar tissue can cause a problem, but we have got ways of working through that. Sylv has been working really hard for the past couple of weeks. We are gradually strengthening the area but we have got to be careful with him. Chadders has got a sore groin but we had him scanned on Tuesday and that showed there was no rupture and no hernia. Hopefully, he will have a chance for Sunday." Argyle won back-to-back games before the two-week international break and Holloway said: "It does seem a while since we played at Coventry and all I'm hoping is that we can carry on from where we left off. It was nice to go into the break with two wins on the trot, but sometimes confidence can turn into complacency if you are not careful. Hopefully, we can put a string of results together. I think that's important in this division because teams are very inconsistent. Reading were an exception to that last season, and so were Sheffield United until they had a little blip late on. They were both very consistent, but otherwise you could throw a blanket over the rest of the division, and you can do that again this season."
Ian Holloway and Gary Penrice concluded a discussion on their vision for the future at Argyle by focusing on centre-forwards, with Sylvan Ebanks-Blake the first man to be discussed. Penrice said: "Sylvan has not been playing real football. He has been playing reserve team football where the result does not count and there is not the same pressure. No-one boos at a reserve game, so it is a different thing altogether. There has to be a little patience attached while he is getting used to the emotions of playing every week." Holloway then recalled a comical scene at Non Walton and Hersham where he and Penrice were watching Nathan Ellington with a view to signing him for Bristol Rovers. Holloway had heard reports that Ellington was on the verge of signing for QPR, but he managed to convince the striker and his family that Bristol Rovers was the best place for him to develop into a good player. Holloway said: "The funniest one ever was Nathan Ellington. We have gone up there and we have heard that QPR have already done the deal and got him. Gary is stood in the crowd and I am in the Directors' Box with my wife, and I told Gary that we might pay the money and still get him. To be fair, he did not play that well on the day but he did certain things that we knew were right. At half-time, I have gone in and had a cup of tea with their chairman, and told him that we would buy him and pay whatever he asked. I went back to the Directors' Box and Gary has climbed up the side, almost been thrown out, and he is going on and on about how we have to sign him. I told him it was already done. He was only 17, so we invited his family down to come and see what we were going to give him and do for him. We showed him where he would live, the gym he would attend, the programme he would follow and the training he would be doing. I told him about Gary's record as well and his Mum said that he would come to us. To this day, Gerry Francis still can't believe we stole him. It was down to the depth of what we knew about him. We knew what he was good at in his schooldays; we knew what he wanted and what he liked. We knew absolutely everything. When he started, he came on as a sub and scored one hell of a goal and then he struggled a bit but we knew that given time, he would be ok. It was down to him." Penrice and Holloway went on to discuss the importance of players joining clubs for the right reasons and Holloway gave some examples from the past. Penrice said: "Ellington was a different type of signing because he came from non-League and he knew all about playing games. Some of them you buy when someone else thought they were not good enough, a bit like Jason Roberts. He halved his wages, which showed us a lot. He was on good money at Wolves but they did not think he was good enough at the time. They were a Championship club, so it was fair enough." Holloway said: "Roberts was at Hayes originally and we offered them £100,000 but they turned it down, and he went to Wolves for £250,000 where Mark McGhee was manager. The following year, McGhee was starting to come under pressure from the Wolves' fans and he said Roberts was no good to him, and he needed the money. We had made £300,000 from selling Pete Beadle, so we paid for him and Roberts took a cut in his wages. Believe it or not, Barry Hayles took a cut in his money to come from Stevenage to Bristol Rovers. If either of them had not taken a cut, we would not have signed them. They wanted to come for the right reasons. It is not about the money, it is about how good you are going to be. Barry Hayles came to Argyle and took a cut in his money because he wants to win. I told him that I thought we had a right chance of winning and the two of us had some unfinished business. I said to him, 'I want to try and get to the Premiership; you have been there, so come and help me with this lot.' It was music to his ears. He came to the game late at 26-years-old and he had broken his leg before. Sylvan broke his leg last year and he is probably not as fit as he needs to be. There are players here that are exciting the hell out of me. Working with Nick Chadwick, for example, the person he is, the way he wants to do things, the frustration he had last year and working with people like him is what it is all about." The two finished their interview by discussing the massive options of other clubs in the Championship. They also gave their views on Argyle legend Micky Evans. Penrice said: "I have worked with Micky Evans and he is a quality player. He probably went a lot lower than his ability but he loved Plymouth. Argyle were in the bottom League when they got him back and Micky could do that standing on his head. If it was not Plymouth, he would not have dropped down." Holloway said: "In fairness to Micky, he had a pay day and he wanted to come back for the right reasons. He came back home and played with the pride and the passion that no-one else would have given." Penrice said: "What I am saying is that you could not get away with that in the Championship. You could not just rely on Micky at this level. Southampton, for example, have got Rasiak, Kenwyne Jones, Bradley Wright-Phillips." Holloway said: "Norwich have got Rob Earnshaw, Peter Thorne, Darren Huckerby and Dion Dublin. Sunderland have also got loads to choose from. This is where we are and the people have got to know that. Once they do, I think they will be with us. I honestly believe they will be with all of us, not just me but the chairman, the board, everybody. We should all be working towards making Plymouth better." Penrice said: "The one thing about Plymouth is the good team spirit because it is such a close-knit thing. At Bristol Rovers, it did not matter what you were doing, as long as you were doing better than Bristol City. In London, QPR was one club amongst many." Holloway said: "I don't want us to be a sleepy hollow. I want us to start getting out there. I have to be honest; I am amazed at how professional this club is. Everything is absolutely spot-on. It is well run, well organized and deserves better things." Penrice concluded: "Bristol Rovers still won the best pasty award, though."
Ian Holloway is preparing his team for two matches at the same time, admitting there would be little chance to plan for the visit to Barnsley after the game against Derby, so he will do it in advance. "I have spent the last two weeks preparing for these two matches and I have got quite an in-depth knowledge of both teams," he said. "I will not have enough time on Monday to talk about Tuesday's game, so it has got to be done together, which is really unusual. If we had had an extra day and played on Saturday, I would have had Sunday and Monday to do it." Argyle are thought to have asked Barnsley to put back the game by 24 hours but that was rejected, so they are faced with the prospect of two tough games in three days. Holloway said: "It's a little bit unfair on us, but we are getting some money in the bank because of it. With the way our gates have been, I'm sure the chairman is happy with that. To play at 1.15pm on Sunday, for me, goes against the grain a little bit, but Sky pay the money and they call the tune. It will make it more difficult with the limited recovery time in between the two games so I will have to be very careful with who I play and when." Nick Chadwick and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake have both been receiving treatment from Paul Maxwell this week, but they are expected to be available for selection. Holloway said: "I will probably have to use one of them on Sunday and the other against Barnsley. They have both got slight injuries which could worsen with over-use. Through Maxie's training regime, we are trying to strengthen the areas they have got the problems in. We know that will sort things out eventually, but you can't control it in matches because you have to sprint full out. In training, sometimes, you can regulate what you do."
Tony Capaldi was again an unused substitute for Northern Ireland in their win over Latvia last night
Argyle won 2-1 at Swindon Town in last nights reserve match, both goals scored by Martin Watts. Geoff Crudgington said: "It's a long way home from Swindon so it's nice it's coming off the back of a decent performance. I was very pleased with all of them. They worked their socks off, stuck to their task and played some good football at times." Romain Larrieu was playing for the third time after returning to action but was not tested too often. Crudgington said: "Romain didn't have a great deal to do, but what he had to do he did well." Argyle: Larrieu, King, Sawyer, Kendall, Laird.S, Smith, Gosling, Summerfield, Watts, Davis, Djordjic. Subs - Hopkinson, Malsom (not used – Saxton)
Ian Holloway played the full 90 minutes as Argyle lost 3-0 to Liskeard Athletic in the South Western League last night. Holloway then promptly ruled out a future return. "I'm going to put a nail through these," he said, holding up his boots. "It's a young man's game - my time's gone. I only played because we didn't have enough players and we didn't want to risk anybody from the first team before Sunday." Stuart Gibson sounded like he'd happily welcome him back. "How many first-team managers do you know would do what he did?" he said afterwards. "He was a real inspiration to our young players." Argyle: Sandercombe, Barness, McCrory, Holloway, Cayford, Laird.J, Robinson, Petnehazi, Grant, Morrison, Duggan. Subs - Bonney, Edwards
Ian Holloway has predicted a bright future for Scott Laird. Laird completed a one-month loan spell with Tiverton Town at the weekend and Holloway said: "Scott went to Tiverton to do them a favour because they had an injury crisis. I also thought the lad needed some games. His attitude is absolutely A1. He has got every chance of making himself a player. It's at what level. I think Scott can do it at our level - easily. He could help me take this club forward." Laird can play in the centre of defence, but Holloway believes his future is at left-back. "There is a bit of a blockage ahead of him," he said. "You have got Capaldi, Hodges, Aljofree, Sawyer and then Laird, but it's about developing young players. Look at Manchester United and the amount of players they send out on loan. For example, they have got Giuseppe Rossi at Newcastle United at the moment. Arsenal have got Lupoli at Derby and three more at Birmingham, including Bendtner. That's what they are all doing. There is no reason why we can't be like that, but on a smaller scale, with the young fellas we have got. I can't see me loaning anybody to Newcastle - not at the moment. What we have to do is emulate what they are doing but at our level and then take it forward if we can."
Nick Chadwick has been receiving treatment for a groin injury from Paul Maxwell. Chadwick has been in some discomfort since the win at Coventry and will have a scan to make sure the problem is not a hernia. Ian Holloway said: "We don't think it's that, but sometimes when you find out it's not what you have been worried about, it all feels a little bit better."
Lee Hodges should be ready to return to action for Argyle before the end of the month. Paul Maxwell said: "It has been three-and-a-half weeks now and I'm pleased with his progress. He's not there yet, but he did some gentle kicking yesterday afternoon. Hodgie will be with me for another 10 days and then, hopefully, he will be ready to get back into it." Hodges himself said: "I have been running and building up my training. I am still cautious about kicking a ball. Perhaps I am being a bit too careful but I don't want to do any further damage. Generally, I feel that everything is on course and I am progressing well." Sylvan Ebanks-Blake and Barry Hayles are expected to be fit to face Derby after hamstring and groin injuries respectively.
Ian Holloway has come out of retirement as a player and signed on as a fully-fledged Argyle squad member. He said: "I have heard the new signing is a bit fat, slow and ugly but we needed some experience and he is going to step in. He is definitely not as fit as he used to be and we may need to check the insurance forms." Holloway has registered as a player to help relieve some of the burden placed on his squad when there is a clash of games, as is the case tonight. Argyle's reserve team face a trip to Swindon Town, while the youth team take on Liskeard in the South Western League at the same time. Holloway is expected to feature in the squad for the Liskeard game and he will be looking to impress himself with a view to an appearance in the game with Derby County at Home Park!
Tony Capaldi was an unused substitute for Northern Ireland in their 0-0 draw with Denmark on Saturday
Reuben Reid scored the opening goal for Kidderminster Harriers in their 2-1 win over Grays Athletic on Saturday, and was named man-of-the-match. After the first game of his loan spell at Aggborough, Reid said: "The ball came into me on the edge of the box and I managed to flick it over the defender. got what you could call a perfect touch to put me straight in on goal. I just concentrated on hitting it low and hard, and fortunately it went in." Reid was given a standing ovation by the crowd when he was substituted ten minutes from the end. After collecting the bottle of champagne which went with the man-of-the-match award, he added: "It was great game and a very good win. It was nice to come in and help them out. I think my strong point is running forward with the ball, but not every game is going to work out like that. I could have taken more care of the ball at times, but at times I did well with my back to goal, linking the play up." Despite his starting appearance at Coventry, Reid was not surprised to be sent out on loan by Argyle. "Ollie wants me to go away and get games and goals in competitive football where people want to win," he said. "He feels that playing in the reserves isn't getting enough out of me, but the Conference is a good level. It's fast and it's rough. Kidderminster are playing some of the top sides in the Conference this month, and it will be a very good test for me. I want to try and do my best and get some goals here."
Argyle's youth team lost 5-1 to Yeovil on Saturday, the goal scored by Joe Mason. Chris Souness said: "We were over-run physically. We gave as good as we got at times and in patches we played some very good football but generally we could not cope with the physical difference. The improvement, from my point of view, is that we are at least crating chances."
Ian Holloway and Gary Penrice continued their discussion on their vision of the future at Home Park with an analysis on the art of recruiting players. Holloway said: "It is talking to people because loads of people are out watching games all the time and you never ignore a name, whatever the level. You try and get some more feedback." Penrice said: "What people must realise is that you do get it wrong sometimes because it is not a perfect science. You are not going to get them all right. Generally speaking, if you do your homework and you get a bloke that wants it enough and has got the basic things you are looking for, such as height if you want someone to head it or certain strengths. You then build on those strengths and sometimes it is just giving them the opportunity. It is obviously more difficult to blood people at the higher level. We took bad performances on the chin sometimes at Bristol Rovers and people would ask us why we were playing certain players but we would say, 'give him time and keep believing in him'. Sometimes, just that belief would make them the players they became but it is questionable whether you can do that at this level. You have to be careful." Character is hugely important for Holloway because he is fully aware that the club cannot afford to recruit the best youngsters in the country, so he and his coaching team will have to sculpt flawed players into the finished article. He said: "The funny thing is, when you look at some of the performances and someone like Reuben Reid, you would ask why he has not played and he has probably wondered himself. He is only 18 and to play in the Championship at the moment, a lot of his game will be shown up. With centre-forwards it is about knowing the skills that they have got and pairing them up with someone who will complement those skills. You also have to judge their character right because if that is not right, they will not have the patience and they won't do the work, and you will never make a player out of them. It is their responsibility and we will be there for them if they want to work. We are not in the position to get the best of the best, so we have to look at the flawed ones and the ones with some difficulties. We then have to polish them up, chip away at them and hopefully they will be gleaming like diamonds in the end. The secret is to know what you are looking for, seeing it and then trying to convince them that we are the place to come to. Hopefully, the record we have started to put together helps. Sylvan Ebanks-Blake would not have come here if Gary was not coming." Penrice said: "Sylvan made a football decision because he could have gone to Watford and a few others bigger than us but he wanted to play, and he saw the opportunity." Since his arrival, Ebanks-Blake has been contesting with Nick Chadwick for a starting place and Holloway feels he can mould Chadwick into an old-fashioned centre-forward, similar to Micky Evans. Holloway said: "You have got to earn the right to play because the difference between Sylvan and Nick Chadwick is nothing. Nick has been very unfortunate to be left out and he feels very aggrieved because Sylvan has had a run in the team. I don't blame him for feeling like that. He is a good lad and I have told him to be patient, he is very close because Hayles is 34 and we are trying to work with Nick. We don't want him playing in midfield like last year, we want him back upfront. He is big enough to be a number nine but with Micky Evans here, he did not need to be a number nine. What I mean by a number nine is an old fashioned centre-forward who gets the ball from the back and lays on someone else and can head it, and he has got all the attributes to do that. I think Gary will be able to help him with his movement and he is still only 23, so I am excited and happy because I want to work with these people." Penrice believes that young strikers need to be believed in and he used Cardiff's Michael Copra as a perfect example. Penrice said: "Michael Chopra is a good example because he has actually been signed by a club now. A lot of these young players go out on loan somewhere and then they go back, in this case to Newcastle, and they can't get the run of games to get established and build their confidence. He has now been brought by Cardiff and is at a club that has confidence in him and believes in him, and the goals come. You never know they could end up going back, a bit like Andy Cole when he went from Arsenal to Bristol City and then back to the top flight. You have got to give them the opportunity and the belief, and they will play games and hold down a place but it is difficult to do it with two players in the same team." Holloway said: "With Bobby Zamora, we loaned him out to Bath City and then Brighton and he scored loads of goals. The only thing we did not do was secure him on a longer deal before he went out on loan because the chairman did not want to do it as he was unproven. Some players need to go out on loan. Anthony Mason has gone to Tiverton playing in man's football where it is physical and it will do him good because he was doing ever so well in the youth team. It is about their development. Out of everybody, centre-forwards go in and out of form, they always have done. When a game needs to be won, the two that have given their all may need to come off and someone fresh comes on. If you look at Manchester United when they did the triple, Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke went off, Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer came on, end of story." The option of loaning younger players from clubs Premiership has become less likely in recent years as many big teams are sending them out to the lesser clubs in the top division, and Holloway feels this is hugely unfair. Penrice said: "Manchester United loaned out the boy Guiseppe Rossi to Newcastle and that is the way the game is going. They are probably thinking that he will get some experience because the demand for results at Manchester United means there is no room for error. It is hard to learn your trade there. Holloway said: "I don't like the fact that they are allowed to loan out to the same division, I don't think that is right. The big teams are stacking and racking all the best young kids in the country. Those players should belong to us or we are never going to get the money, or we can borrow them because we can't afford these people that they are chucking money at when they are 16-years-old." Holloway is delighted to have Penrice on board and feels that his old comrade has chosen Argyle for all the right reasons. Holloway said: "Gary had a contract at QPR; I chose Plymouth and I spoke to him about coming to Plymouth and he wants to come here. It was his decision and he believes in the place like I do. He has given up more money than he was on to be here. Hopefully, we will get people for the right reasons. Barry Hayles chose this club for the right reasons, Sylvan Ebanks-Blake chose this club for the right reasons and we have chosen it for the right reasons." Penrice said: "That is the key really because you can kid yourself sometimes. If a player has got a choice of clubs, Plymouth might not be his first-choice unless you offer him lots of money but at the moment it is a club trying to establish itself as a force in the Championship, so we have got to do our homework." Holloway said: "We have to get them right, the people, their character and it will take time but I am more than happy not to panic. I took over a Championship club with one young striker. We had Reuben Reid and Chris Zebroski underneath who were 17 and 18 respectively. I have had to work hard and Hayles and Ebanks-Blake can now help us and I can focus on getting the rest of them right. We have set our standard and these are the people we want to bring here, and we want to excite the fans. I have enjoyed every single performance, not every result but every performance so far. Even against Walsall where we lost to a team two divisionS below. We had a lot of the ball and did not make enough from it but maybe when Gary sees the video, he can help because he knows a lot more about putting the ball in the net than I do."
Argyle won todays South Western League match against Millbrook 2-0, the goals scored by Mark Petnehazi and Martin Watts. Stuart Gibson said: "After the way we played on Wednesday it was always going to be a bit of an anti-climax and I thought we were a bit sloppy in the first half. But I was very pleased that the lads managed to score and get a win under the belts which will not do their confidence any harm." Argyle: Sandercombe, King, Laird, Hopkinson, Kendall, White, Smith, Petnehazi, Davis, Duggan, Watts. Subs – Malsom, Gosling, Grant
Akos Buzsaky hopes Argyle's good start leads to a special season both for the club and himself. Buzsaky praised Ian Holloway's attacking instincts, which he feels has been the catalyst for his return to form and the feel-good factor at Home Park. He also insisted he was 'very happy at Plymouth' but was still optimistic of fulfilling his dream of playing in the Premiership - hopefully, with Argyle. "Yes, why not - anything is possible," said Buzsaky. "Of course I want to play in the top league, who wouldn't? But that doesn't mean I'm unhappy at Plymouth - I'm not. I'm very happy at Plymouth and I think as a team we can go even higher. We're not getting carried away with things just because we've done well so far. But I just sense that this could be a very special season for Plymouth. We've surprised a few people and clubs already this season and I don't see why we can't carry this on. We are not eighth in the league by accident, we deserve to be there on merit. With more luck in matches against Wolverhampton and QPR we could easily be higher right now. People say our squad is not as big as some others in the league but on the pitch it's still only 11 against 11. And we have self-belief and quality players, so if bigger clubs are surprised when we out outplay them, then good. Since Ollie has come in, he has encouraged the players to be more positive. That has allowed attacking players like myself and also Chuck to play our natural game. Ollie has kept us solid in defence but has given us more freedom to attack, without losing our discipline. It's obvious that a team of 10 attackers will score but concede goals, just as 10 defenders will not let many in, but not win a lot of matches either. Now I am happy to do what Ollie asks of me, as an individual player, and as part of the team. I am making up for time lost last season when I was carrying an injury. But that's in the past, let it stay there, I am just looking forward."
Reuben Reid has joined Kidderminster Harriers in a one-month loan deal. Reid is looking forward to the challenge of regular first-team football. "It is a good opportunity for me to go and play some competitive football in the first-team," he said. "I want to get stuck in and get some goals." Ian Holloway feels that Reid will benefit hugely from the move, mainly because the gulf between reserve team football and the Championship is far too big. "I think there is too big a gap between our reserves and the first-team," said Holloway. "I want this young fella to go there and it is part of his education to blend in with their squad for four weeks and tell me if they are saying anything different to me. It is about him, getting his confidence, getting some goals at the right level. I think he is a quick learner and he will get frustrated in our reserves, and frustration leads to bad play."
Ian Holloway believes loaning out Josh Clapham and Reuben Reid will be very beneficial for them both. He said: "I think young players learn by playing in first team games, not the reserves. To get them up to speed as quickly as I need them, I really think this is the way to do it. The gap between our first team and the reserves is a million miles. There is absolutely no comparison." Even without Reid, Holloway still has four forwards in his squad, and added: "By next week I should have all my strikers fit. It might have been difficult for Reuben to sit on the bench or play for the reserves after starting the game last Saturday. He needs to go out and play as many games as he can in a month. It's all about his development as a player." Holloway is taking a similar approach to the development of Reid as he did with Bobby Zamora when he was a youngster at Bristol Rovers. He said: "He went to Bath City and scored goals for them and when he came back to us we moved him up a level and loaned him to Brighton, who were then in the bottom division then." Kidderminster are currently 19th in the Conference and Holloway added: "I think this is the right level at the moment to get him going and doing really well. If it was good enough for Jermain Defoe to go to Bournemouth on loan to get his career going, that's what it's all about."
Ian Holloway cannot decide if he loves or loathes international breaks. Holloway feels that the long break inevitably leads to fixture congestion at other stages in the season which is very strenuous on the squad but he also believes the rest has benefits. He said : "I don't like the way it cramps up your season and you end up playing Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday, Tuesday too many times. At this level, it puts a tough strain on your squad. Yet again, it is sometimes it is nice to go out and watch other teams, and give your lads a bit of time off. I fall in between stalls really. I am not sure if I like them or loathe them. If you have got some injuries, it gives them time to recover and you can give all your lads a physical and mental breather." Holloway has given his players a long weekend to rest and spend some time with their families, and added: "Playing six or seven games in four weeks is very tough for anybody and it is nice to give them time with their families, so I have given them Friday, Saturday and Sunday off. If you are on a good run, however, you want to keep it going. We probably played our best game against Stoke and then we had a two-week break and did not play so well against QPR, which was disappointing."
Ian Holloway may indulge in some squad rotation when Argyle return to action after the international break. "We have tried to plan it so that we should have just about everybody fit for the next batch of games," Holloway said, "but we've got a game on the Sunday and then on the Tuesday, when everybody else is playing Saturday and Tuesday. That's going to test us more than anybody else. We have to be very, very careful. I might have to pick two different teams for those two games. We'll have to wait and see, but hopefully everybody will be fit." Lee Hodges may not be back in action after his knee injury, but Barry Hayles and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake should be ready to play, if selected. Holloway said: "Barry Hayles is joining in training. He's fine, but it would have been bad if we'd had to play him this week. Sylvan, we don't know about - we'll have to wait and see - but this break has definitely helped us." Argyle were yesterday enjoying a training session at the Devonshire Health and Racquets Club, before moving on to an afternoon's racing at Exeter. Holloway said yesterday's session, which allowed the players to do their own thing, including playing tennis. The reserves were fresh from their friendly draw at Truro on Tuesday. Holloway said: "The first team are working harder than the reserves, to be honest. The players have been allowed to do what they want and then we're off to Exeter for the racing."
Josh Clapham has joined Tiverton Town on a month's loan
Argyle's youth team lost 1-0 to Saltash United in last nights South Western League game. However, Stuart Gibson was delighted with the performance, if not the finishing. "It was probably the best first-half performance I have seen from our lads but we can't hit a barn door at the moment," he said. Argyle: Sandercombe, King, Laird, Hopkinson, Kendall, White, Smith, Petnehazi, Davis, Duggan, Watts. Subs - Malsom (not used - Saxton, Adelsbury, McCrory, Morrison)
Ian Holloway and Gary Penrice have teamed up again after spending much of their playing career's together, as well as sharing coaching duties at Bristol Rovers and QPR. Holloway is delighted to have his right-hand man on board and the two of them are now eager to build on the excellent team spirit in place at Argyle. "There is a good atmosphere at the moment and the lads want to learn, and they want to work hard," said Holloway. "What we need to do in the future is add to this and I am sure that when I get my structure right, which Gary is a massive part of, we can do that. We have done it before with young ones that have never been heard of, where we made them good players and they have gone on to better things. Sometimes results overtake what we do but we have short-term goals and long-term goals. If the first-team is losing we have to look at the short-term goals. We have to sort out the movement and, if the back four is wrong I will need to work with them and the midfield four and get them used to squeezing and pressing the play. We can also quickly turn that around with some forward play with the wingers and strikers." Although scouting will be Penrice's primary role, he will also be used in a coaching capacity for the centre-forwards at the club. "Gary is very good at getting strikers in the right place, so they can be consistent at their job, and that is being a centre-forward in a 4-4-2," said Holloway. "Sometimes he will need to give them some TLC on their own and sometimes he will need to watch a game with them, and talk through where they could have been and where they should have been. Now I am getting the structure that we have had before, I am confident we can make them better and work on improving the group by bringing in others." Holloway and Penrice go back a very long way and the manager is proud of the relationship they have built. "We have known each other for so long," said Holloway. "He was eight and I was nine when we first met, so you almost know how the other one feels and thinks. We have worked together for a very long time and I think we have done very well at certain places, if not every place. We started off playing together at Bristol Rovers, which was not easy. We had a little spell where he played centre-midfield alongside me and it was very, very enjoyable." Both men have identified effective recruitment as a major factor in the future success of the club. "We have identified that recruitment is a big part of Plymouth because of where it is on the map," said Penrice. "You have to do a lot of homework and get players that will be interesting for the crowd but to get people good enough to play in the Championship, your homework is very important and I will be trying to concentrate on that a great deal. My title is chief scout but I will come down and work with the centre-forwards as much as possible, which I love doing. Ollie is very good with team spirit and gets them playing, and giving 100%. He has the vision to get them playing for the fans and that is his strength. He gets the club going but, at the end of the day, it is about players and the quality of your players. As I said, Plymouth being where it is geographically, it is not as easy to get players. In London, we would get older players that wanted to come back but were still good quality. We won't have the option, so recruitment is a big part because you are only as good as your players. Paul Sturrock did it exceptionally well by getting some good lads from Scotland and they were successful but now you are in a higher standard." Holloway backed that view and he will now be looking to add some players to the few Sturrock signings still at the club. "He identified people to play in the bottom division and they have taken them up twice but we will have to wait and see whether they can do it a third time," said Holloway. "What we are saying is that it is very difficult to find players to take us out of this level, even Sturrock would find it difficult, as he is at Sheffield Wednesday." Penrice added: "Sturrock is a football man and I see him on the circuit quite often and he would say himself that finding the quality to move forward in the Championship is obviously hard. Sometimes people rush it and end up getting very expensive players who don't do the job and destroy team spirit." Marcel Seip is the perfect example of the sort of quality the two are looking for, and Holloway said: "Marcel is an example of that because, with the greatest respect to us, he has played at a higher level and he agreed to come here to prove to us that he is as good as he knows he is. We are looking forward to it and Gary identified that in his CV because Gary has been nearly everywhere for me watching games and he knows the level Heerenveen are at. He has only been on trial once before and that was Spartak Moscow and, if you get a trial there you are not an average player. I saw him for just one training session with our kids and it was enough to give him a short contract, and he took it and said 'I'll show you', which I thought was tremendous and showed us what sort of character he has. It is vital we get people's character right to add to the lads we have already got because if you get one wrong, it will ruin team spirit and you will waste money and time. For the sake of the fans, we can't afford to waste time. We have to make them believe that we are moving forward and there were a lot of people talking nonsense before and saying that we had no chance." Holloway is also very keen to generate larger gates at Home Park with good performances on the pitch and the introduction of exciting new players. "I have seen the passion here and I have felt the passion here for years, before I arrived, and that is what you need at a football club," he said. "I have got to re-ignite the atmosphere around here because away from home, I have never seen anything like it. I have never heard singing like it, every place we have been. They are the ones that commit to it all the time and some of the others need to get that bug, and they will, when we perform. Hopefully, we can bring some players that they might not have heard of before, who will become household names in the end. We have done it before. I think Bobby Zamora is now top goalscorer in the Premiership and he turned up at Bristol Rovers at the age of 16. We hardly played Bobby but he was at our club and we signed him but he got frustrated because he did not get used enough. At the time, we had Jason Roberts, Barry Hayles and Nathan Ellington, and they were all unheard of but it is what you do with them, and how you mould them." Holloway is equally excited about the centre-forwards he has at his disposal at Argyle. He said: "Gary has had one look at Reuben Reid and, gracious me, all he has to do is get himself right and he could be one hell of a player, providing he does things in a professional manner. Centre-forward play is a partnership and you need to get a blend, and you need to work with the wide man and full-back on both sides. You need to get the balance right of where they are and what they are doing. Their movement should invite the pass, so there should be none of these mediocre, head-height balls where we are getting mashed to the ground. It is either in the space behind where the run is or into feet or chest where it has been invited. It is all about a football brain." Despite his work with the strikers, Penrice will be based in Bristol for the majority of the time to enable him to be closer to the rest of the football world. He warned that it will be tough to find players of the required quality to thrive in the Championship. He said: "Obviously, it is harder to learn your trade at Championship level and Ollie has done great to get Barry Hayles because he buys you time. You can't have two learning in your team. That is a recipe for disaster at this level because fans demand points. We were lucky at Bristol where it was a slightly lower standard and to bring them in was not quite such a risk." Holloway said: "There were many times when Penny played in midfield with me and we had Jason Roberts and Jamie Cureton up front, and they were not the perfect pair, so I would often move Cureton out wide, bring the winger inside and put Penny up front to talk them through the game. It is nigh on impossible to do that in the Championship". Penrice added: "We brought Micky in and he did fantastic for us." Holloway said: "Our chairman sold Jason Roberts to West Brom £2M and we had to ring up and ask to borrow Micky Evans and only pay half his money, which was a bit embarrassing. They told us to swivel, so we ended up paying £250,000 for Micky and he was on a lot more than Roberts was in the first-place but we knew that we had to buy some time because Penny was not going to play anymore. We have brought Hayles here and he is already helping everybody, and he will buy us some time to work with the others behind the scenes. Gary's work will be balanced because I can't have everybody living in Plymouth. We are too far away from the rest of the football community, so he will work from Bristol and then come down now and again. At first it will be blanket, where he will come down for a few days and work with the players, and then he will be watching our opponents and telling me how to beat them." The final piece in Holloway's coaching puzzle will be Tim Breacker and he is due to join up with the Argyle squad in the near future. "Tim Breacker, when he comes, will be based down here to organise the training and make these lads quicker, fitter and stronger than they were before," said Holloway. "He will work very closely with Maxi, so I will have enough people here to go right through from the top of my club, all the way down to the Under-9 kids. They will all be doing the same thing and I want the same things from them, so we will be a mini-Ajax because that is all they did. Long term, that is what we want to do because I want to be here, I want to work here, I trust the people, so what more can I say."
Paul Wotton insists the two-week international break has come at a good time for Argyle. He said: "We are pleased with how we are doing at the moment. We know we can do better and there are still things to work on, but there are massive positives to be taken. It was lovely to get a win going into the international break as well. There are a few knocks and strains about and the boys put a lot into the game against Coventry, so it's nice to have a break and we can enjoy it even more after getting three points. I'm not a massive fan of international breaks and we have won two games on the trot, and played very well in both games, but I think this one has come at the right time, to be honest. It just gives us some time to get over the knocks we have got." Argyle have four wins, four draws and two defeats so far this season and are just two points behind second-place. Wotton said: "The gaffer told us where he wanted us to be after 10 games and I will not divulge that, but I think he will be relatively pleased. It's nice to get two wins on the trot, but the most important thing is the way we have played in those games, against two teams who have spent a lot of money. We haven't spent a lot of money and that speaks volumes for us. We have deserved the six points massively. It's very, very pleasing." Wotton enjoyed playing at the Ricoh Arena on Saturday. He said: "It's a lovely stadium and it's probably the best pitch I have ever played on. The boys commented on that before the game and it makes you want to go out and perform. I thought we did that. We were brilliant. We were getting bodies in the box and I thought we looked fit and strong. Everybody went forward together and we defended together as well. It really was a fantastic team performance." Two of Argyle's substitutes combined for the winning goal, Cherno Samba and Hasney Aljofree, and Wotton added: "Hasney put in a world-class cross and Cherno was there in the right place and stuck it away well. We might not have the biggest squad but what it lacks in size it makes up for in quality and attitude." Wotton played against Coventry despite not being fully fit because of his back injury. He said: "In the early part of the week I was doubtful but credit to Maxie again. He seems to get me though games. I honestly couldn't tell you the last game I missed through injury. It has got to be about six or seven years ago now. It's something I'm proud of. I wanted to give myself every chance and, thankfully, so did the manager. I got through it. There was a bit of discomfort, but that all goes when you have won 1-0 away from home. I was sore afterwards, but I'm sure there were 10 other boys on the bus who were sore as well. I have got two weeks until the next game now so, hopefully, I can get myself right."
Argyle drew 1-1 in last nights friendly with Truro City, the goal scored by Cherno Samba. Argyle: Larrieu, White, Kendall, Laird.S, Barness, Smith, Summerfield, Gosling, Djordjic, Reid, Samba. Subs – King, Laird, Watts (not used - Saxton, Hopkinson, Davis, Malsom)
James McPake's trial with Argyle has been called off. Argyle were hoping to assess McPake's ability with a view to arranging a transfer in January, if he impressed, but the player is staying in Scotland for now thanks, apparently, to the late intervention of Livingston chief executive Vivien Kyles. "They've changed their minds," Ian Holloway said. "Their manager would have allowed it but their chief executive, whoever she is, stuck her nose in and we're not allowed to have him. It seems a bit childish, and now I expect there will probably be a lot of other clubs interested because they've heard that we are. I'm probably in line for an absolute hammering from my chairman because he said we shouldn't let anybody know about him, but I didn't tell anybody. I'll get the lad watched again and get some write-ups, but it would have been better to have had him down here, but that's football for you."
Ian Holloway will not be cracking down on David Norris after the midfielder picked up his fourth yellow card of the season at Coventry, meaning he is one caution away from a suspension. "The bookings are for being combative, and that's what he is," said Holloway. "I think, when he gets home, he tackles his girlfriend before they eat their tea. The lads reckon he met her in a nightclub, where he crunched into her and liked the fact the she got up quickly. You can't imagine that boy being anything but being combative. Crash, get in there - that's what he's like."
Ian Holloway praised Paul Wotton for playing through the pain barrier, and then warned that he would not hesitate to drop him. "Wottsy was magnificent on Saturday," said Holloway. "He's got a very sore back; he's been taking painkillers. However, no-one's irreplaceable. I do believe that Steven Gerrard's been substitute at Liverpool on a couple of occasions, so if it's good enough for him? If anybody becomes bigger that the club, then they won't be at the club - it's as simple as that - but I want to use whoever I've got if they've got the right attitude, and as far as I'm concerned, that man has got one of the best attitudes I've ever worked with. He just needs to encourage people and believe in himself, and I can help him do that."
Romain Larrieu will continue his comeback when Argyle visit Truro City for tonight's friendly. Ian Holloway said: "It's nice to help Truro out. They are a great team, with great ambition. I'll send the strongest team that I am allowed: Romain will definitely play, Aljofree will play, Sawyer, probably Samba, our latest goalscoring hero, Djordjic, Barness, Summerfield." Holloway said he selected Larrieu on the bench on Saturday because he feared that, after so long without a replacement goalkeeper, he was pushing his luck. "I honestly believe in laws of averages," he said. "I believed on Saturday, after eight or nine games, we might have got a slight knock or a slight injury. Lee Hodges plays quite well in goal, too, so without him, it was a bit too much of a risk." However, he need not have worried about either the fitness or form of Luke McCormick. "Luke was absolutely tremendous on Saturday," said Holloway. "His kicking was spot on; everything he did was immaculate. There's no coincidence is there? He doesn't want to lose his place to Romain. When someone else is on the bench and you are fighting for your place, it's amazing what concentration, what focus, brings - that's what I've got to try to bring here in full. If you know you have got a position in the team, you don't play as well as when you are under pressure for it."
Ian Holloway believes Reuben Reid has the ability to become a 'fantastic centre-forward.' He said: "For a young kid, he did very well at Coventry. I believe, when he is 20-21, he will be fantastic. I've got no doubts whatsoever that he will make himself a player, a very, very good centre-forward. It is a huge step from playing in our reserves to our first team. It's too big a step. It's unfair on him. If I had a bigger squad, I'd loan him out. It's about development. I've no doubt he will develop into a fantastic centre-forward - if he doesn't, it will be his own fault."
Ian Holloway has issued a rallying call to the Green Army – to get some new recruits and get behind the club. "This is about everybody in this area," he said. "It's why I wanted to come here; it's what I'm doing. I want everybody to get involved, every single person who's from Plymouth, or who lives in the surrounding areas. I want all your help. Look after us, help us out, and we'll look after you. You do things for us; we'll do things for you. That's what it's all about, because we care. People will realise that eventually. We've got a committee of players, now, so that every time we get a letter, I give it to them to decide who goes where. They've got to organise that - they have got to give back to the community. Where at all possible, we will do anything, because that's their job - to give back to the community. The community should blooming well be proud of them, and we've all got to march on together: when one fails, we all fail; when one triumphs, we all triumph. That's what it's all about. If I can get people right, and we can move forward bit by bit, and the fans turn up, get our gates up, and we can get on a roll, who knows what can happen?"
Argyle's youth side lost 2-0 to Oxford United at the weekend. "It was a great game of football that was finely balanced until the final minutes," said Chris Souness. "Oxford fielded a side comprising solely of second-year apprentices but we caused them lots of problems in all areas."
Ian Holloway believes there is still a lot to work on despite Argyle's excellent start to the season. He said: "If one of your team-mates is in a slightly better position you should pass him the ball, and I didn't think we did that a couple of times. So on Monday I'm going to mention that. It's all about the team - not individuals. We have got to make sure everybody sings from that songsheet but, on the whole, how can I complain? I think that's three away wins now. What can I say?" Argyle kept their second clean sheet of the season on Saturday and Holloway added: "It's about time. They tested us and it could have been different. Luke made a terrific save in the first half. They are a dangerous side with quality in it and they are hard-working and organised. I'm just really pleased with our overall performance. I would say we probably deserved to win it, but I'm a little bit biased aren't I?" Holloway insisted he would be taking no notice of Argyle's league position. "You don't look at those things at the minute," he said. "It's all about performances. I need to get my team up the pitch a bit more. We go too deep at times. But they are starting to look like my team, which I'm pleased with. We are defending a bit higher, but we can still get that better." Argyle are not in action for two weeks because of the international break. Holloway said: "The boys should be feeling confident, but we will get two good weeks of hard work in. I will give them a little break next weekend when they can have some quality time with their families and, hopefully, they will pay me back tenfold. It's always about getting the right balance."
Argyle's youth side drew 1-1 with Liskeard Athletic on Saturday, the goal scored by Ryan Dickson. Argyle: Sandercombe, King, Laird, Hopkinson, Kendall, White, Smith, Gosling, Davis, Duggan, Dickson. Subs - Petnehazi (not used - Watts, Malsom, Morrison, Adelsbury)
Luke McCormick was delighted after Argyle beat his hometown club Coventry City on Saturday. He said: "It has been a perfect day for me, first of all with the clean sheet and secondly to come and get the win as well. I felt we had chances first and second half, to be honest, and it could have been more. We did ever so well at breaking away and getting ourselves in good positions in and around the box." Cherno Samba scored the winner, and McCormick added: "I'm absolutely made up for the lad. He has worked his socks off since he has been here and it's no less than what he deserves. He's a nice lad and fair play to him. Hopefully, there's a few more to come from him as well."
Livingston centre-back James McPake will be training with Argyle this week. Ian Holloway said: "The lad is coming down and we are looking at him. His manager, John Robertson, is also coming down. I know John very well and he's a great bloke. He's going to come and see what we do. I met him when he was at Inverness and QPR played them in a friendly up there. It was a good game. We drew 1-1 and we stayed and had a little shot of whisky with him afterwards."
Hasney Aljofree came off the bench on Saturday with the intention of shoring up the Argyle defence, but ended up providing the cross for Cherno Samba to score the winning goal. "I came on to keep it tight at the back really," he said. "I just found myself in a good position where I over-lapped Tony Capaldi. I managed to get in a decent cross and Cherno stuck it in the back of the net. As soon as the ball left my foot, I knew it was a good connection. I was just hoping someone would get on the end of it and Cherno did. It's a massive result to come here and get three points. Coventry have spent a lot of money and we are really delighted. All the boys were brilliant." Samba's crucial goal came in his first competitive appearance in league football. Aljofree said: "He's really happy in there. He's a nice kid as well, and I'm delighted for him. But it could have been anyone. It could have been Reuben Reid. I thought he worked really hard and it's a shame he never got his goal. Chadders also worked hard up front. Everyone is buoyant. The boys have got some momentum going. There is a lot of confidence and there is also competition for places as well."
Ian Holloway paid tribute to his side's team spirit after Cherno Samba's goal gave the team a 1-0 win at Coventry. "It was an all-round team thing," said Holloway. "I don't think we lit anything up, but we were organised, we looked solid, and we sort of got a goal out of nothing. It was a great quality cross. I didn't put Hasney on to get crosses in - I was worried about one going in the other end. We've got some quality players here who have done ever so well for us. That was a quality cross and a great finish. They had three or four blue shirts in the box and there was one of us - he's popped up and it's hit him on the head. It still had to find the back of the net, so I'm delighted for him." Holloway paid tribute to Des Bulpin, who recommended him when he was freed by Spanish side Cadiz this summer. He said: "Des knew what he could be, potentially, so, after we lost Zebroski, I had to do something - the window was shutting and there were two or three other clubs that wanted him, but we managed to sign him. It's not about me. I didn't know anything about him, but he joined in training with a smile from ear to ear and has been an absolute breath of fresh air. He chased everything. There was an empty water-bottle on the wind and I think he chased that. He's been a little bit frustrated that I haven't involved him, but he's listened to what I've talked about at Plymouth and he embodies it, really - work hard, care for your team. It's nice for the boy. He's had to be patient. We found him from nowhere, really. You are only as strong as your weakest link. Hasney hasn't let me down at all. He's played every other game; got concussed for the cause the other day - and now he can't get back in the team. Hopefully, that will continue for every bloke, as soon as he loses his place, because that's what it's all about. Paul Wotton hasn't trained all week. He's laid on the dressing-room floor now with a torn muscle. It just shows the spirit we have got and it's nice to see so many fans come up, as well. It's a beautiful arena isn't it? And it's been a fortress. I'm a great believer in being in the right place at the right time and it fell for us, because Coventry have been superb here. I felt they would come out and steamroller us in the second half and it didn't really happen, so I'm delighted with that. How can I complain? That's three away wins now. They tested us and it could have been different - Luke made a terrific save in the first half. They are a dangerous side, got quality in it, hard-working and organised, but we just about smidged it. We were tested a little bit but I thought we were professional - I think that's fair to say: we gave a professional performance. I'm just delighted for the Green Army. I'm very, very proud to be part of them. It's all about performances. I need to get my team up the field a bit more - we go little bit too deep at times - but we're starting to look like my team, which I'm pleased with. My lads have dug out a fantastic result, they deserve it. I just need a bit of a breather myself. I'm absolutely worn out. It's hard giving energy out - I need to plug in to the mains."
Cherno Samba reflected on his decision to join Argyle after his late goal secured a 1-0 win at Coventry yesterday. He said: "It's a goal I've been waiting for and I'm glad that I did. It's nice to get it for a team like Plymouth because they showed confidence in me. I'm so glad I've signed for Plymouth - it is something I will never regret for the rest of my life. Ever since I've been here I've thought that this is a team that is going places. It's not a massive club but, with a manager like we've got, we can get to the play-offs. I've always had confidence in my ability because you can't just lose your football overnight. The most important part is working hard an waiting for your chances. I believe that. Generally in life, it's about taking your chances so I'm glad that I did, but it's not about me - it's about the team." Speaking about the goal, which came from Hasney Aljofree's cross, he said: "I did see it late, but my adjustment was kind of good, so when I saw it I thought 'I've got to put this in the back of the net.' The main thing is that we got three points. It was a good performance from all the lads - they worked hard and I've come on and got the goal. It's not an easy place to come to. I think we deserved to win. We played extremely well from the start, made some good tackles."
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