A Round-up of Argyle News
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Also included on the three most recent days, facts from Argyle's history.
Bobby Williamson has no immediate plans to replace coach John Blackley, who left the club yesterday to join Sheffield Wednesday. Williamson said: "I wish him all the best in his new job. We have no immediate plans to get anyone in. We will sit on it for a couple of weeks." Williamson may now try to lure Jim Clark, who worked with him at Hibs, to Argyle. Clark is presently working as a youth coach for the Scottish Football Association. Williamson also admitted that he knew when he started at the club that the left side was an area that needed strengthening. "We could have played someone else in that position other than Worrell - and he did well, like everyone else," he said. "It is a position though that has needed strengthening since Ian Stonebridge left the club, but it is a difficult position to fill. I wanted someone there so the lads on the left didn't get complacent but now we have picked up a couple of injuries. I am not going to name players we are interested in as that would alert other clubs and it would constitute an illegal approach." Williamson dropped Paul Wotton in place of Mat Doumbe at Preston, and said it offered encouragement to other players on the fringes of the first team. "It has been the same at every club I have been at," he said. "Mathias knew the script when he came down here - players have to earn the right to play. The players that were already here won two championships in three years, so they are good players. But now he is in the team, Mathias has every opportunity to carry on." Williamson also offered encouragement to Nathan Lowndes. "He is in the same position as Doumbe - there is nothing stopping him getting an opportunity, except other players. Lowndes is a player I rate very highly and I am sure if he gets the opportunity he won't let anyone down." Williamson also had kind words for dropped skipper Wotton. "He and Coughlan had been playing consistently well but I decided to freshen things up," he said. "But he took it well, played his part as club captain and rallied the players."
Bobby Williamson will take a look at David Norris in training today before deciding whether he is fit to face Gillingham on Saturday. Peter Gilbert is also struggling to be fit for the game.
Paul Wotton is planning to bring a 'major European team' to Home Park for his testimonial game early next year. Among other events to mark Wotton's career at the club will be a testimonial dinner and a golf day at Elfordleigh Hotel and Golf Club. Wotton has also revealed that he has started work on his autobiography, which he promises 'will be totally honest and may upset a few people'. Wotton said he never envisaged he would still be at his home-town club when he started out. "It was always my dream to play for, and captain, my home-town club, but, when I made my debut all those years ago, I never imagined that, one day, I'd be marking my 10th anniversary here," he said. "When you are 17 you don't look that far down the line and I was just excited to get in the Argyle team."
Paul Stapleton was full of praise for Paul Wotton as he launched his testimonial year yesterday. He said: "If anyone has earned a testimonial, it is Wottsie. Hopefully we can set him up by having a great game and a great gate, because he deserves it. By staying at a club this long you don't get signing-on fees, you don't get the bonuses of moving, so this is perhaps an ideal way of recognising what he has done for the club and for the city of Plymouth. He has been the most tremendous servant to Argyle, and, in these rare days of one-club men, it is a special pleasure to be able to honour a Plymothian in this way. Paul seems to have been at Home Park forever. He made his debut on February 7, 1995 versus Shewsbury, and we lost, but that is not something we will dwell on now! Paul epitomises everything about this club and the success we've had. Yes, he's been here through the good and the bad times - and we all remember his tears after the Burnley game, when we were relegated - but we also remember him standing on the Civic Centre balcony and saying: 'We've only gone and done it'. He seems to have been here years and we hope he will be here for even longer. He has a love for this club. You know, I remember just last season, when he was left out for the championship decider against Queen's Park Rangers, he was devastated. But what he did was made sure that he cheered his side on, made sure they were OK and he was fighting for them even though he wasn't on the pitch. That was not just the mark of a captain, but also of someone who loves this town and loves this club. He has scored 40 goals for us and whenever he steps up for a free-kick we always expect him to score with a thunderbolt. I'd love everyone to support this testimonial. We can't get involved in running it as a club but we can support it and I'd like to encourage all Plymouth businesses and Argyle fans to get right behind the skipper and support his wonderful achievement."
John Blackley has left Argyle and is set to link up with Paul Sturrock at Sheffield Wednesday
Bobby Williamson admitted it had been a difficult decision to leave out Paul Wotton last night, but that he was pleased with Mathias Kouo-Doumbe's performance. "Paul Wotton is very unlucky to find himself out of the team," said Williamson. "He's a valuable member of this squad. But Mat has been waiting a long time for his debut and I felt it was a good opportunity to bring him in. He defended reasonably well and, thankfully for us, he has got his first goal as well. We haven't been playing terribly badly, as everybody who has seen us in the last few weeks will know. We have just been unfortunate. Even tonight, with their goal, our defender has headed it first and it has come off Cresswell and looped into the net. That's what is happening to us just now. Thankfully, we stayed strong and didn't concede another, and we could maybe have had a valid shout for a penalty." Williamson thought substitute Marino Keith was pushed by Dickson Etuhu as he tried to head home a cross in the 88th minute. "Marino has got a chance of getting his head on that and the number four has come in late," he said. "I think that's why he stayed down because he knows he has caught him. He stayed down, thinking he might have conceded a penalty, but unfortunately for us we didn't get it. To be perfectly honest, if we had taken all three points tonight there might have been a wee bit of robbery involved because we never played as well as we have been doing. We did get our noses in front, but, unfortunately, we did get pegged back and probably, over the piece, a point is a fair result." David Worrell and Mickey Evans were recalled to the Argyle team last night and Williamson said: "David did very well and gave a good account of himself. His distribution was decent and he had a couple of important headers for us and a couple of important clearances. I keep saying to the guys 'if you get an opportunity, do your best to keep the jersey' and he has done his chances no harm. I felt Mickey would be fresh enough to pose them problems and ask questions of them aerially, and he did that. He won a few headers but, unfortunately, we never really got on the end of them and that was disappointing."
Paul Wotton has been granted a testimonial and talks are already underway with several un-named clubs about providing the opposition for his testimonial match. Ian Adams, chairman of the testimonial committee, said: "We are in negotiations with one or two clubs at the moment. We hope to announce a fixture against top quality opposition shortly. We want to bring something a bit different to Home Park. I don't think there are many people out there who would begrudge Paul a successful testimonial. He epitomises everything which is good about Argyle. Paul is not just a player - he is a supporter as well, and so are all his family. We are indebted to the club's directors for making the facilities of Home Park freely available, and to Bobby Williamson, who is bending over backwards to fit in the match."
Mathias Kouo-Doumbe hopes Argyle can take confidence from their draw against Preston last night. He said: "I was pleased to score in my first game but it was important for the team to have a good result tonight. That has been done, so we can take confidence into the next game at home." Doumbe put Argyle ahead from midfielder Lee Makel's inswinging corner to the near post. "It was a great ball from Lee Makel," he said. "I got a good deflection on it and it went in." Doumbe thought Prestons equaliser was fortunate. He said: "Shelly has won the header and it has deflected off the forward and into the top corner of the net. I think 1-1 was a fair result but I'm disappointed with the goal we conceded. Still, we were strong tonight and it's a good result for us after the bad luck we have had in the past games. We were six hours on the bus coming here so to take one point is good." Doumbe had to wait until last night for his full league debut. "I was getting ready to help the team when I was needed and waiting for my chance, and tonight it came," said Doumbe. "The manager told me just before the game I was playing. I was really happy. Romain didn't have too much to do, apart from that great save in the first half. It was quite tough to keep them away from the goal at times, and I think everybody did a good job at the end to keep the score as it was."
Argyle draw 1-1 at Preston North End, the goal scored by Mathias Kouo-Doumbe after 19 minutes. Argyle: Larrieu, Connolly, Kouo-Doumbe, Coughlan, Worrell, Lasley, Friio, Makel, Adams, Evans, Crawford. Subs - Milne, Keith, Hodges (not used - Wotton, Lowndes). Attendance - 11,445.
Tony Capaldi is not the only injury problem that Argyle face ahead of tonights game. David Norris will miss his second consecutive match due to his thigh problem while Peter Gilbert is very doubtful. He suffered a knock on the hip against Ipswich. Lee Hodges is likely to retain his place on the left of midfield tonight, while Keith Lasley also looks set to continue on the right side in place of Norris. If Gilbert is unfit, David Worrell will probably be asked to fill in at left-back instead of Mathias Kouo-Doumbe, who struggled on his League debut in an unfamiliar position on Saturday. Ryan Dickson has also been added to the Argyle squad and may find himself on the bench. "That's what cost us on Saturday," said Bobby Williamson. "Both the crosses came from that side, and if Gilbert had managed to get through the game I'm sure we could have defended the situations a bit better. Matt Doumbe is not a left-back by any stretch of the imagination. We know Dave Worrells capabilities in that position. I had a look at him in pre-season at left-back and he did quite well. Young Dickson can play there as well but he has just come back from an injury and illness and I think he has played one game since then. It may be too early for him, but it will be good experience for him travelling with us and being part of things. He might find a place on the bench." That is indicative of the Pilgrims' lack of left-sided players, a situation which is likely to send Williamson back into the transfer market. He said: "The player that comes in needs to be better than we have got, or on a par with what we have got. We can't bring in somebody of a lesser standard, that's for sure. And it's hard to find these players. I will keep looking and I have got the backing of the board. They will certainly support me in that. There is no question that we are actively looking to strengthen that area of the team."
Bobby Williamson has called on his players to keep believing in themselves and said he took plenty of positives out of the match at Ipswich last weekend. He said: "Most people I have spoken to thought it was the best performance they have seen from Plymouth in a long, long time - not just this season. We have got to take some comfort from that, because I think we can play even better. To get two goals at Portman Road was great, but we could have scored more, and we should have taken more out of the game. All I said to the players at the start of the season was 'show me you can compete in this league and give me everything you have got in each and every game' and they are doing that. We are just not getting the breaks. As I keep saying, nothing has changed from the start of the season. I just hope the fans stick by us and keep encouraging the players because there is not a lot wrong with us. We want to compete in this league, and we have shown we can. We will win more games than we will lose at the end of the season I'm sure, if we all stay together." Despite recent results, Williamson will not be rushing to spend money in the transfer market. He said: "It's not necessary because I think we have got players here who are capable. Some of them have not had their opportunity to show us what they can do yet, but they will. It's a long season and they will get a chance."
Stevie Crawford enjoyed linking up with Lee Makel against Ipswich, in what was only their third game together. "We'd worked on that system in training all last week," he said. "There was a game-plan to come away and get a result at Ipswich. For the majority of the game it looked like it was going to work, but again the quality of the sides we're facing in this division showed through. Things are going against us, but we're trying not to get disheartened." Crawford was full of praise for Makel's ability to create chances with his clever passing. "Lee being here was a big factor in my decision to come to Plymouth," Crawford added, "because I'd seen him play up in Scotland." Bobby Williamson said of Crawfords performance on Saturday: "He was different class. He's a Scottish international player. When a player comes to a club there are always questions asked about him, and I think he answered those questions on Saturday. I would like to see him doing it at home and showing all our fans what a capable player he is. Stevie is an intelligent player, and we were lucky to be able to attract a player of his quality to the club. It was good to see him getting a goal and that will do his confidence the world of good. It was not an easy situation. He took it midway in their half, beat a man and got the ball under control running at pace and put in a good shot. He could have maybe got himself one earlier in the game as well. It was from a difficult angle but he has hit the target and made the keeper save it. It was a pleasing performance, but we had a number of good performances on Saturday. It's just in the last 10 minutes we never handled situations as well as we could have done."
Lee Makel thought Argyle had produced their best performance of the season at Ipswich, despite the defeat. "We had the chances," he said. "If we had scored the third goal I think it would have been all over. David missed a great header and I have missed a chance myself. It was just one of those days. We have got to keep our heads up and try to get the three points on Tuesday. It might take a bad display for us to get the points because lately we have been playing alright. I think today was the best we have played this season and we are really disappointed to come away with nothing." Makel is convinced Argyle have the strength of character to come through this difficult period for them. "They are a good bunch of lads and we will not let our heads go down," he said. "The club has been striving to play at places like this and it was a great afternoon. It's just a pity the result didn't go our way." Bobby Williamson went with a 4-5-1 formation for the game and as a result of the tactical change Argyle adopted more of a passing style. Makel said: "I think that's the way we are going to have to play. I think everyone has sussed the way Plymouth play. There are some big lads in this division, especially at the back, and Mickey is finding it a wee bit hard. We have been doing well but I think the gaffer just wanted to change it around, and I thought it worked well. Stevie made some good runs. He has been looking sharp all week. He has been banging the goals in so I wasn't surprised that he did start today. Hopefully, it will continue for the rest of the season." Makel hobbled off at the end of the match with a dead leg but expects to be fit for the visit to Preston. "I think I will be alright," he said. "It's just a dead leg. I should be able to get through it."
Stevie Crawford could not hide his disappointment after Argyle were beaten by Ipswich Town on Saturday. He said: "It's a sore one, but I think that shows maybe the difference in the quality of the teams we are playing. If they get a wee half chance they are taking them. If you look at the way we have played against Leeds, Wolves and then Ipswich today I think it's very unfair we have taken no points from them. We have got to stick together and the game away to Preston on Tuesday can't come quick enough for us, to try to get some points on the board now. I was happy with my goal but I have been always on record, as saying that if you don't get any points from the game then the goal doesn't count for anything."
Tony Capaldi will miss the next month of the season after x-rays revealed that he has broken his left leg. Capaldi sustained the injury setting up Argyle's opening goal on Saturday. He has fractured his fibula, the bone at the back of the leg which runs from below the knee to the ankle, and looks likely to be unavailable for all of October. He is also is certain to miss out on another international cap when Northern Ireland play Austria on October 13th. Bobby Williamson said: "We think he will be out for a minimum of four weeks. Obviously it's a huge blow for the club, as well as for Tony himself." Paul Maxwell said: "It was very unfortunate for Tony that his leg rotated as he crossed the ball. It's not too bad but it's still a fracture and the doctors have said it will take four weeks to heal. We have put him in an air boot cast, which will allow him to walk around rather than being on crutches all the time. He's going to have a few days off and then he will be working with me as best he can."
Argyle's under-18 side won 2-1 against Cheltenham Town yesterday, the goals scored by Daniel Rose and Chris Zebroski. Stuart Gibson said: "We had not played for three weeks prior to that win so it was a good victory to keep the unbeaten start going. Cheltenham is always a very competitive game. They are a physically strong side but we started well and kept it up. Rose played well again - he has been our most consistent performer this season - and I was pleased with Shane White, who came off the bench at right-back. He is only 15 but did not look out of place. And I was pleased with the back four in general, who were solid and led well by John Routledge." Argyle: Schofield, McKeever, Routledge, Laird, Nute, Rose, Summerfield, Bond, Dickson, Evans, Zebroski. Subs - Hoyles, Reski, Watson, White. Updated under-18's table and results can be found here.
Bobby Williamson rued missed opportunities after Argyle again squandered a lead and slipped to defeat yesterday. "We knew the next goal after half-time would be crucial," said Williamson, "and, if Friio had scored, or if we'd scored one of two or three chances, there would have been only one winner. At 2-1, though, we gave them every encouragement to get back into the game. They certainly took it. If you create chances, you have got to take them; if we'd have done that, I'm sure there would have only been one winner. We never took our chances and Ipswich were always in the game. I am disappointed in the outcome of the match. I don't think we deserved to lose the game at all. We started the game well. We could have been three up. Unfortunately, we were caught at a set-piece and that gave them the encouragement to push on. It was a very disappointing second-half performance. When you are playing against ten men, you have got to be big and brave, take the ball and make passes, and we didn't do that to the same effect as we did in the first. We created chances but we never had the killer instinct to put them away and kill the game: at 2-1, you never feel comforatble, but, at 3-1, you're very comfortable. We never got that goal." Williamson said he had switched to a 4-5-1 formation because he believed that would be the best way to cope with Ipswich. "I felt it would trouble them and I think I was proved right," he said. "We can pass the ball, but, first and foremost, you have got to stop the opposition playing, and I think we did that; when we had the opportunity to play, I felt we did that. I thought we knocked the ball about well. Stevie Crawford did a sterling job; Lee Makel did a sterling job, as well; David Friio got forward; Steve Adams got forward." He was forced though, to rearrange his line-up early on, when Tony Capaldi and Peter Gilbert both went off injured. "It didn't help," said Williamson. "Our left side was decimated. I was already thinking of putting Tony back to left-back because Peter was struggling, then Tony indicated he was struggling. It certainly changed things." Asked about the two late goals Williamson said: "They'll say it's good finishing; we'll look at it and say that it was bad defending. We'll try and learn our lessons from it, but we can't continue to keep leaking goals at the back."
Argyle lose 3-2 at Ipswich Town, the goals coming from Steve Adams after 12 minutes and Stevie Crawford (13). Argyle: Larrieu, Connolly, Wotton, Coughlan, Gilbert, Lasley, Friio, Makel, Adams, Capaldi, Crawford. Subs - Kouo-Doumbe, Hodges (not used - Evans, Milne, Keith). Attendance - 23,270.
Argyle schoolboy Jamie Laird has been named in the Scotland under-16 squad for their Victory Shield game against Northern Ireland next Friday
Bobby Williamson is not overconcerned that Argyle have lost three matches in a row and is looking at the big picture. "Nothing's changed since the start of the season," he said. "We are playing just as well as we did then. The breaks went in our favour then; now they are going against us. That is the story of our season. We have just got to keep working hard and go through it until results start going in our favour again. I wasn't getting too carried away when we were winning and we were up the top of the league and I'm certainly not going to get too despondent now that we've lost a couple of games. I believe in these players and, if everyone pulls in the one direction, it augurs well."
Blair Sturrock wants to make a loan move from Argyle and Bobby Williamson confirmed that other clubs had been notified of Sturrock's availability for a loan deal. He said: "We will see what comes back in and, hopefully, if there is somebody out there that feels Blair can do a job for them then we we will look at it and see if it's attractive for him."
David Friio wants to continue playing after the end of this season which would mean an extension to his Argyle contract. He said: "I have been so excited by the start of this season I would like to stay here. The level I played in France for six years was the same level as we are at now but the crowds and atmosphere here are far better. I would like to saty here for longer. We have decided, with my family, that we want to stay two more years in England. I will keep playing football for another two years and it is in the hands of others now."
Peter Gilbert is looking forward to facing England after retaining his place in the Wales Under-21 squad. He said: "It's a massive opportunity. They've got so much ability in their squad and they're mostly Premiership regulars. It's something to look forward to. All I can do is do my best against them and compete as well as I can. It will be a good chance for me to compare myself to them. It will give me an indication of just how far, as an individual, I've come." Running out at Ewood Park will give Gilbert a very different challenge to last month's trip to Azerbaijan, where he and his team-mates had to cope with a poor pitch and a tiny attendance in Baku. "It was an enjoyable trip," he said, "but it was tough. It was quite an experience out there, but the lads adapted well. That was why I wanted to play international football, to go to these sort of places, as well as playing against England."
Mickey Evans insists that confidence remains high within the squad despite recent poor results. "We've played well enough in the last three games to have won two out of the three," he said. "But we've lost all three. It's just the way it's gone. We're ninth in the League and at the start of the season we'd have been really happy with that position at this stage. We've proved that we can play against anybody and give them a good game. We mustn't let our heads drop and we need to give it a good go at Ipswich. Confidence isn't down, the lads are more frustrated than anything else. Losing by the odd goal proves that we're not that far away. If we were getting thumped every week, 4-0 or 5-0, we'd know that something was seriously wrong, but we're just losing by the odd goal in the last five minutes. We're hitting the post, it stays out, they're hitting the post and it goes in, and it seems like we're being punished for every little mistake." Asked to make comparisons with last seasons title campaign, Evans said: "Defences this season are more organised. I don't think defenders are any bigger or quicker, they're just a bit cleverer. We've still scored goals this season, we've been doing what we normally do and everyone chips in with a few goals here and there, and we've conceded a few that probably we wouldn't have done last season. If we'd missed a lot of chances there might be a problem, but I don't think we've had that many chances." Evans knows that Ipswich will be tough opponents: "They're a good footballing team and it will probably be one of our hardest away games, but we're still going into it full of confidence. We shouldn't be feeling down-hearted and neither should the fans."
David Norris is the only injury doubt for Argyle's game against Ipswich tomorrow having suffered a recurrence of the thigh strain which meant he missed the first five matches of the season. Peter Gilbert and midfielder Tony Capaldi have both been passed fit for the trip. A decision on whether Norris would travel with the rest of the squad was being made today. Bobby Williamson said: "It's a recurrence of the injury he had previously. There's a bit of scar tissue that has to be broken up. We will wait and see how he is. I wouldn't imagine it would need any surgery. It just needs strengthening really. When players go into rehab they work hard at building up, but once they come back into training and playing games they tend to relax upon it. It might be a little setback, but nothing major."
Argyle travel to Ipswich tomorrow having lost their last three games but still ninth in the Championship. Bobby Williamson said: "We have had some bits of bad luck and it has cost us. Nothing has changed from the start of the season. We are playing just as well as we did then, but the breaks went in our favour and now they are going against us. That's the story of the season. We have got to keep working hard and get through it. I wasn't getting too carried away when we were winning the games and we were up the top end of the league, and I'm certainly not going to get too despondent now we have lost a couple. I believe in these players and I believe in the backing of the fans. And if everyone pulls in the one direction it augurs well." Ipswich are currently fourth in the table and Williamson said: "Ipswich are like West Ham United - they have always been known as a passing team. Joe Royle is a very experienced manager and he will have them well organised and they will have players who can make a pass, and take one. We are well warned about that, and it's how we go about our business and impose ourselves on the game that I hope will get us through it." The game against Ipswich will be followed by another long trip to Preston next Tuesday. Williamson said: "We can't do anything about that. It's part of life playing for Plymouth Argyle and we have just got to adapt to it. Most of our guys have been here a few years now and they know how the trips go. They know what they have got to do to amuse themselves on the bus and get focused on the match ahead."
Bobby Willliamson is hoping Hasney Aljofree will return from his loan spell at Sheffield Wednesday ready to challenge for a first-team spot. Williamson will not be signing any replacement for Aljofree and said: "It will help them out because they have got a couple of injuries in that position, and it helps Hasney out because it gets him match fitness and first-team football, which is very important. He can play all the reserve-team games he wants here but he will not really improve. The tempo of the games in the first team are much faster, so he will go up there for a month and then come back and challenge for his place again." Williamson insisted Aljofree's loan move was not the first step to a permanent transfer. "That's not the plan at all," he said. "It's to benefit both parties, Sheffield Wednesday and us. Hopefully, Hasney will go up there and give a good account of himself. It's up to the guys that are here to make sure Hasney doesn't walk into the team when he's available to come back. We have got three centre-backs who are all fit and available for selection and, touch wood, nobody picks up any injuries." Williamson admitted Aljofree's loan switch might not be the last one between the two clubs. "If Paul has got his eye on anybody here who could help him, and it could help us, then we will do that. But it will not be to just solely help Paul Sturrock and Sheffield Wednesday. It has got to be beneficial for our part as well, and the Hasney situation is beneficial. If Paul comes back on the phone and asks about anyone else's availability, and our player wants to go, then that's something we would think about. It's up to the player. We have had quite a few requests from clubs wanting to take players on loan, but when I have put it to them they have declined the invitation."
Argyle have signed 17 year old Anthony McKeever, a utility defender. McKeever, formerly at Irish side Cherry Orchard, has been capped at Under-15, Under-16 and Under-17 levels for the Republic of Ireland and can play anywhere in defence and midfield. Both Arsenal and Nottingham Forest attempted to sign the youngster but he moved to Home Park instead on a two-year apprenticeship
Hasney Aljofree has become Paul Sturrock's first signing for Sheffield Wednesday, moving to Hillsborough on loan. Bobby Williamson said: "Hasney is coming on well. He has played for our reserves, and the next stage is now for him to get some first-team games under his belt. He offers Sheffield Wednesday some cover in an area where they are a bit short at the moment, so the move benefits everyone. What we want is for Hasney to do a job for Sheffield Wednesday, get some games under his belt, and come back ready to challenge for a place in our first team."
Bobby Williamson insists Argyle can compete with their Championship rivals at the top end of the transfer market but also insists that he is happy with the players currently at his disposal. He said: "We could compete in the transfer market if necessary. Those clubs who have been bringing in players have been spending a lot of money and are in a lot of debt. We will not live beyond our means and I will get the best out of the players already at our disposal. We have still got players like Mathias Doumbe and Nathan Lowndes, who have not had the opportunity to prove themselves in this league yet. Once they get an opportunity, then we will be in a better position to see if we need to strengthen. I believe the players are capable enough. Nothing's changed. We're not doing anything different from what we were doing at the start of the season. I've been in the game long enough to know that there's going to be times when luck or decisions go against you. The luck was going for us at the start of the season. I'm sure it will turn again. We've got to keep supporting each other. I've not seen anything that says we're out of our depth - not by any stretch of the imagination. Football's about repetition and doing the right things. We can compete with anybody and everybody in this league. It would be different if other sides were far better than us, but that's not the case."
Tony Capaldi has been named in the Northern Ireland squad for their World Cup Qualifier against Austria on October 13th but will miss the game on October 9th against Azerbaijan due to suspension. Peter Gilbert has been named in Wales under-21 squad for their games against England and Poland next month
Bobby Williamson has hinted that the out-of-favour strikers in his squad may not have to wait too much longer for a first-team start. "I've got six strikers, and neither Blair nor Nathan can get themselves on the bench just now," Williamson said. "But if they keep doing well in the reserves then they will get their opportunity if the guys in the team aren't doing it. We haven't been creating a lot of chances for the strikers, to be honest, but it's only a matter of time before one or two of them start putting the ball in the back of the net. But we've got six strikers and we can't allow somebody to go four or five games without contributing a chance or a goal, because I've got to be fair to the other players. They will get their opportunity. If the guys in the team are not doing what's asked of them, then somebody else will have a go. Nathan and Steven have done well in the last couple of reserve games. They might well ask when they're going to get an opportunity. It's up to the players in the team to keep them out." Williamson knows the trip to Ipswich will be another massive challenge for Argyle. He said: "They are all big games, and it's an enjoyable league to be in. I don't think anybody is going to run away with it. Queens Park Rangers have picked up three victories on the trot and we have had three defeats and they are a point ahead of us now. That just shows everybody if they can string a few games together and pick up points you can certainly climb up this division. It's disappointing when you are losing games in the manner which we are losing them. You look at the stats and you look at the game on Saturday as a whole and Wolves weren't better than us, and they went away with three points. I think they realised they were fortunate to have done that. We have got to take a bit of comfort out of that, by knowing we aren't that far away. I'm really frustrated and gutted for the players because they have put so much effort in. I just hope we don't get too despondent. It's up to me as a manager to keep them focused and keep their spirits up. We aren't terribly far off it and the last two games have shown us that."
Paul Wotton insists that the team are remaining positive despite their second defeat of the week. He said: "I don't think we deserved to lose today or on Tuesday night, but you don't always get what you deserve in football. We hit the post twice today and it's come out. They hit the post once and it went in. We know we've got to finish teams off, but they were in the Premier League last year and we were in Division Two and there was absolutely nothing between us. Anyone who says any different doesn't know what they're on about. We're very disappointed, especially as I thought we passed the ball much better than on Tuesday night. We created a lot of chances and we crossed a lot of balls and we were on top for long periods of the game. We're still positive because we've played nine games and not one team has carved us open. Not one team has been better than us, but we're bitterly disappointed at the way we lost the game today. People will look at it and say we've conceded another two goals and blame the defence, no doubt, but that's other people's opinions. That's up to them. We're disappointed but we'll battle on. We've got two away games now and let's hope we get something out of them. We had some luck at the start of the season and now it's going against us. But football always evens itself out. Sometimes it takes a long time, sometimes it doesn't. Next game we might hit the post and it will go in, you never know. We'll keep plugging away. One thing this group of lads will never do is drop their heads. That will never happen."
Steve Adams has promised the Argyle players will stick together as they try to turn around their fortunes. He said: "We will keep working away in training. There are things to improve on and, hopefully, we can do the business on Saturday. We have got a bigger squad than we have had in the last couple of years but it's still a small one compared to the other teams. We are a close unit so we will stick together and fight it out." Adams thought Argyle had done enough to beat Wolves: "We were 1-0 up for quite a spell in the second half so it's disappointing to have lost," he said. "It was sloppiness on our part and they have scored a couple of goals. They didn't have any chances in the first half and only a couple in the second half. Overall, I think we deserved to win the game. That's the way it's going for us at the moment, but we will have to keep plugging away," Adams was recalled to the starting line-up after Tony Capaldi failed a fitness test. "It was good to be back in the team, of course," said Adams. "I had been sat on the bench for a game, but it's just disappointing not to get the three points." David Friio shared the frustration of Adams that Argyle had not taken three points on Saturday, let alone one. "I can't believe we came out of the game with nothing," he said. "But it's still early days and we have got to pick our heads up and keep working on what we are good at. We were lucky at the beginning of the season with a couple of own goals and a penalty that maybe never was. Now the luck has turned around and the only way to get it back is to work hard."
Peter Gilbert has escaped serious injury after being stretchered off on Saturday following a challenge from Kevin Cooper. Bobby Williamson admitted the injury was not as serious as first feared. "He has got a badly bruised foot," said Williamson. "It's up to the referee to make a decision if he has caught him or not, but these tackles were usual in days gone by. Strikers try to get across the ball and block it and Peter's foot has followed through and caught the boy's studs. It can be serious at times and the referee deemed it a sending-off offence, so that's the way it is. But, as I said, these were common occurrences years ago. Anyway, he's fine. He'll hopefully be back in training around about Wednesday." Tony Capaldi is also likely to be back on the training-ground by midweek. "They will be back to give me thought for Saturday," said Williamson
Bobby Williamson believes Argyle are not getting their just rewards after suffering a second successive home defeat. "It's another hard luck story, isn't it?" he said. "That's two home games and two home defeats, and I don't think we deserved not take any points away from both these games, but that's what you live with in football. There's going to be times in a season when you just can't get that victory for love nor money. We've just got to dig deep, keep believing in what we are doing is right, and we'll get there. Even before the first goal went in, I was positive we were going to win the match. We got our noses in front. Unfortunately, we couldn't get a second one. We defended the penalty situation badly. We had chances to clear it. We didn't manage to do that and we conceded the penalty. The second goal, I felt we had chances to clear also. We hit the post a couple of times, and, on another day, they might have gone in the back of the net. As I say, we have got to keep believing. I'm not going to try and kid the supporters on that we are doing better than we actually are, but I don't believe we are doing that badly. I thank them for their encouragement. They certainly getting behind the lads, and that's the way it's got to be. If we stick together, we will get more victories, than losses, I'm sure. For their second goal, the ball hit the post and spun in; ours has come out the way. That's football - sometimes it goes for you and sometimes it goes against you."
Argyle lose 2-1 to Wolves at Home Park, the goal scored by David Friio after 62 minutes. Argyle: Larrieu, Connolly, Wotton, Coughlan, Gilbert, Norris, Friio, Makel, Adams, Evans, Keith. Subs - Milne, Hodges, Crawford (not used - Lasley, Kouo-Doumbe). Attendance - 18,635.
Bobby Williamson thinks Argyle may need a degree of tactical flexibility after recent defeats. His team have struggled to supply many crosses in the last couple of games and Williamson said. "We were working on crossing before the Leeds game but we still never managed to get the ball into the box. Other teams have obviously been watching us very, very closely. They've seen how productive we've been from wide areas and they've worked hard to nullify that. They've been relatively successful in the last couple of games. It's up to me as manager to keep trying to out-think the opposition and change things as I see fit. If we can't do it from wide areas, we've got to think of creating from other areas and not be so one-dimensional. That's something we've been working on."
Tony Capaldi is still suffering from the bruised calf which led to his substitution against Leeds. "Tony's had another day of treatment today," Bobby Williamson said yesterday, "and he'll have more treatment in the morning and we'll take stock from there. If he doesn't make it, it will be disappointing for him but it will give somebody else the opportunity to show what they can do. We can change the shape slightly if necessary, too, but I'll keep everybody involved as long as possible, right to kick-off."
Bobby Williamson believes the loss of their 22-match unbeaten home run last Tuesday will be motivation enough for his team tomorrow against Wolves. He said: "We're disappointed we've lost the last two games and we want to put the record straight. The longer these results drag on, the worse it gets. There's not a lot separating teams in this league - there's been one goal that has separated us from a point in our last two performances - and these two games were a big test for us, with Leeds and Wolves both having been relegated a division. I felt we equipped ourselves very well against Leeds and it was only one goal that separated us, an own goal. We have just got to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves down and get on with the job in hand. Wolves have got players with good Premiership experience, but maybe they are not so experienced in the Championship. I'm hoping we can trouble them."
Romain Larrieu looks set to retain his place against Wolves tomorrow: "It was a very long wait," he said yesterday. "Just to come back in the first place took a long time, and then working to try to get my place back was a long process, with Luke doing so well. I knew it would take five months to get fit, and five months is a long time, especially when your career is so short. In the end I have wasted a year, but during the year I worked very hard on different points of my game, I have worked on my body and I have improved, I think, my fitness. I hope that all this will help me in the future." Larrieu played no direct part in winning the Second Division title but said it was not too hard to be a spectator: "I enjoyed it," he insisted, "because of what we achieved. Of course I was upset not to be in the team, but I've realised that I was nowhere near where I needed to be to play first-team football. But I couldn't admit that because I wanted to play so badly. I wanted to see if my knee was OK, but it was hard to know in reserve games. I needed everything all together, the crowd, the pressure, to test myself. I missed all that, but I was jumping around because we were winning almost every game. I was very happy, and I knew that everything the boys were achieving would benefit me in the end because we are a team. We are all part of the club and we need everybody to do well. This year I managed to get an opportunity to play and I was lucky enough to play against Leeds. That would never have happened if the lads had not done so well last season. That's football, you just have to accept it. It was really hard when I couldn't see an end and I wondered if I was ever going to play again for the first team, but that is part of the game. I just had to keep my spirits up. That was when the staff helped me, and my family as well. I had to believe that I could still do it. That is what I was trying to do, to make sure I was ready when I was needed." Larrieu was reasonably content with his form in his comeback game. "I was happy overall," he said, "but it was far from perfect for me. But 12 months is a long time. I was still very confident going into the game, and the reception from the fans when I was warming up was more than what I was expecting. I wasn't expecting anything, actually. It was a really, really good feeling to just walk out at Home Park knowing that you are going to play the next 90 minutes. I walked on to the park before the game against QPR last season knowing that I was not going to be playing. It was different, I enjoyed it, but I didn't feel tense. This week, though, it was 'here we go'. I wanted to enjoy it as much as I could." Larrieu now hopes to keep his place: "Nothing is guaranteed for any of us in the team, which is good because it keeps us on our toes," he said. "We just have to perform every time we are lucky enough to be on the pitch. That's what this job is all about."
Bobby Williamson is confident the goals will soon start flowing for his strikers. He said: "It's not a concern. If you look through the league, not everybody's strikers are scoring goals. I don't really care where the goals come from. If our strikers are scoring them, brilliant. As long as we score one more than the opposition that will do for me - but preferably two or three more than them. Strikers will go through periods where they can't get a goal for love nor money. They just need to find the net with one of them and then they hit purple patches. People look at the stats, but I don't. I look at the game and I judge on what I see. I don't really read too deeply into stats, although they give you a lot of information if you read them properly." The game against Leeds was the first time Stevie Crawford had not started a match for Argyle since joining the club and Williamson said: "If I feel I need to freshen it, it doesn't matter who it is. I will take them out and change things about. Stevie is part of the squad, the same as everybody else, and I will try to pick a team I feel is going to win the game. I will explain it to individuals why I make these decisions, but it's very much a squad game just now. I feel we have got a lot of decent strikers at the club and it's only a matter of time before one or two of them actually start hitting the back of the net on a regular basis." Steven Milne and Nathan Lowndes both scored for the reserves in midweek and Williamson added: "I see these guys on a daily basis and I know their capabilities, but it's good for them to hit the back of the net. As I said to them all at the start of the season, they don't have to prove anything to me about their ability. It's their attitude, their temperament and how they deal with situations. That's life in general. We all go through experiences, good and bad. It's how you react to them and deal with them that will tell you what kind of person you are. I have not really got question marks over any of the players in the squad." Some of the Argyle team who were on duty against Leeds are injury doubts for the visit of Wolves, but Williamson would not say who they were. "We picked up a few knocks on Tuesday night," he said. "It was quite a bruising encounter for some our players. I'm not one for naming guys who pick up injuries because we forewarn the opposition. I know it keeps our fans in the dark and it keeps our Press guys in the dark, but it's business and that is the way we have got to deal with it."
Lee Makel thinks he is starting to find his feet at Argyle after his pre-season was disrupted by an ankle ligament injury. He said: "It has been pleasing to be involved in the last couple of games but I still feel I can do more myself. I think my fitness is getting there and it's just striking up a partnership with David, to know when he's going forward and I have to sit, and vice versa. David is a pretty similar type of player to me. That's how I played at Livingston last season. I have had to sit a bit more. I do like to get forward so I have just got to try to pick my moments. But as long as I'm in the team I'm not too bothered really. We will have to gel pretty quickly because it's a hard, hard league and we have got to try to pick up points. We have lost three games out of four but no-one has dropped their heads." Makel insisted Argyle should not fear playing sides of the standard of Leeds and Wolves. He said: "We all thought we deserved something from the Leeds game. It was disappointing to lose our home record by an own goal, but we just have to pick ourselves up and try to get the points tomorrow. I don't think there was much difference between Leeds and us. They just got the rub of the green with the own goal. We were getting that at the beginning of the season and, hopefully, it will turn around and we will get it back - starting tomorrow. It was brilliant to play in front of a full house. That is what the club has been gearing up for - games like this and crowds of that size. It's always great to play in big games and I enjoyed it on Tuesday. The fans got behind us against Leeds and, hopefully, they will do the same tomorrow. Every game is a big one. That is why Argyle wanted to get in this division. The fans are coming out in force and long may it continue." Makel is expecting another tough, physical encounter against Wolves. He said: "I think most of the teams in the Championship are similar. They are all big, powerful sides nowadays. I think that is what you need, to try to get out of this division. You just have to look at what Leeds have bought - Butler, Deane and now they have got Gregan. Clubs are looking for big players, size-wise. That is what most teams are like this season. I think Leeds came down here and expected a tough time. They knew what our game was like and they did to us what we normally do to other teams." Makel was upbeat about Argyle's start to the season, despite back-to-back defeats: "There is enough experience in the dressing room to know you are not going to win every game. You are going to go through little bad runs during the season but, like I say, no-one is dropping their heads. We are all looking forward to the games up and coming."
Romain Larrieu is determined to keep hold of the Argyle goalkeeping jersey after regaining it against Leeds. "I was delighted," said Larrieu. "It was a great feeling to be back, especially for that type of occasion - although we are going to be playing a lot of games of that standard of opposition. The result apart, I was really happy to be at Home Park again. Whenever you don't play it's frustrating. I've been feeling ready to play for a long time, and that's the hardest thing in football - being patient. I was just waiting thinking it's got to come one day for me. The frustration was strange. I didn't feel I'd done anything wrong, but I still couldn't get back in the team because Luke was outstanding. It's hard being in that position when you've not done anything wrong, but you're place has gone. You've just got to keep working and working. I just thank all the people who have been supporting me all the way, even with my moods! I thank all the lads who have been behind me and the staff - everyone." Larrieu is not taking his place for granted ahead of the visit of Wolves. "The gaffer gave me the Leeds game so if he decides to give me the next one I've got to make sure I'm ready for it - and I will be ready," he said. "I think I showed that, despite the long, long wait I've had to cope with. I was happy with parts of my performance, although I think there is a lot I can do better in different parts, but overall I think I didn't do too bad. You've got to keep working and waiting for the next game. I don't know whose going to play on Saturday, and Luke doesn't know either. It's going to be a fight, but it doesn't matter because the working relationship I have with Luke is very good. I think that has been driving us on. He has asked a lot of me to get my opportunity back. I've really had to work hard, but I've been happy to do it."
Argyle's reserve team won 3-1 at Bristol City, the goals scored by Steven Milne (2) and Nathan Lowndes. Argyle: Schofield, Routledge, Doumbe, Aljofree, Dickson, Summerfield, Adams, Lasley, Sturrock, Lowndes, Milne. Subs – Laird (not used - Reski, Evans.D, Hoyles)
Bobby Williamson took defeat on the chin as Argyle surrendered their year-long unbeaten home record last night. He said: "It's disappointing that we've lost our unbeaten record at home after a long time. I thought we deserved something, if I am going to be honest, especially with the second-half performance. I couldn't have asked any more of them. I asked them for a gutsy performance and we certainly got it in the second half. We gave everything we'd got. Unfortunately, we just couldn't get our break. Leeds stood up to everything we threw at them, cleared most of it, and, when we did get through, their goalkeeper was on form and saved a couple of opportunities from which we could have got back in the game." Williamson was disappointed with the manner in which his team conceded the goal. He said: "The ball was bouncing about for a long time in our box and it should have been dealt with. I felt we could have dealt with the situation better than we did. If we can highlight where the damage was done we can hopefully solve that problem in the future. We've got what we've earned this season and we've worked hard for that. We worked hard tonight and we never got our rewards. We have just got to keep applying ourselves in the same manner." Williamson recalled Paul Connolly, Romain Larrieu and Marino Keith to the team. "I felt Romain deserved to come back in," said Williamson. "He's been working hard in the reserves. He had a great game at Yeovil the other week and showed me indications he was back to his old self. I think he showed that. It's no disrespect to Luke McCormick. He's come a long way in a short space of time for a young goalkeeper and he'll learn from his time in the team. We now know we've got two very capable goalkeepers. Nobody is an automatic first-choice throughout the team. That's good. It gives everybody that encouragement to try their best during the course of the week and when they get and opportunity in a match, they have got to take their chances. David Worrell has done well. We've got good competition in that position as well. I felt Shelley was just that little bit taller. They had a lot of height and we were well warned about that. That was a concern. There's now places up for grabs throughout the team because we lost our last game."
Argyle lose 1-0 to Leeds United at Home Park. Argyle: Larrieu, Connolly, Wotton, Coughlan, Gilbert, Norris, Friio, Makel, Capaldi, Keith, Evans. Subs - Hodges, Crawford, Milne (not used - Lasley, Adams). Attendance - 20,555. Attendance - 17,538. and Ian De-Lars match report is here
Bobby Williamson, who has never seen an Argyle crowd lower than 16,000 wants Argyle to use the current huge crowds to their advantage. "The fans have pinpointed this as one of the big game against one of the big-name clubs," he said. "It will be a great atmosphere and, hopefully, that will spur the lads on. I don't think our fans need much encouragement here at Home Park. They have been brilliant. In all the games I've been involved with here, it's been nearly capacity and I'm looking for the same atmosphere, and if our fans can do their bit, I'm hoping our players can do their bit. Leeds will have a team down here that will be capable of getting results in this division and they have got a huge, loyal, support who will give them every encouragement in trying to do that. But I've always been focused on what we can do to the opposition, rather than what they can do to us. We're the home team and we've got to get them on the back foot as soon as possible and impose ourselves on the match." Williamson is not likely to make many changes following Saturdays loss. "There's always a temptation to make changes when you've been conceding goals, but no panic buttons will be pressed," he said. "There were obviously negatives because we lost, but there were positives as well and we have got to highlight them as well to the players and not just dwell on the negatives. If I feel I need to change it, I will. We will see how the guys shape up in training this morning and then I will make a decision from there."
Graham Coughlan is looking forward to the challenge's ahead and he will not be overawed by the task. "It is an enticing prospect," he said, "and we're looking forward to seeing full houses as well, but part and parcel of this division is winning, just like any other division. It's no good having the spectacle and the full houses and the big teams coming here unless you win. The be-all and the end-all at this football club during the three years I've been here has been winning. We haven't been doing that recently, away from home at least, but we'll look to bounce back against Leeds. There could be no better game - a full house here and a massive team to face. Our home form is imperative. We've got to compete well and pick up the majority of our points at home. Anything you pick up away is a bonus, but lately we've been picking up nothing away from home. Obviously we have to correct that. Defeats away from home are not good enough. We competed well enough in the first 45 minutes at Watford, but it went wrong in the second half. Individual errors count. We've competed well and gone ahead at QPR but again individual errors cost us. We need to eradicate those errors. We're not going to go and win every home game. There are going to be defeats here at home. We do know that. But we got beat at Watford and bounced straight back with a home win against Forest two days later. We're looking to bounce back this week in the same way." Coughlan insisted that the team will not be worried if the Argyle fans start showing signs of impatience if goals do not come tonight. "They're football supporters," he said. "They will get agitated, they well get nervous. There will be an expectancy level. I do it myself when I go to watch the Republic of Ireland and Celtic. I'm a football supporter, I've paid my money and I've come into the stadium and I demand, I expect. I know what it's like. They're fully justified if they want to get on our case. That's what following your team is all about. We know that. We won't criticise the supporters for getting edgy. If games were a foregone conclusion, nobody would turn up." Republic of Ireland manager Brian Kerr watched Coughlan last weekend and Cocko said: "There's been some nice positive press both here in Plymouth and in Ireland. There's been a lot of talk about me and the national team, but that's all it is. Just talk. I was bitterly disappointed with my display on Saturday. I felt I let myself down. It still hasn't sunk in. First and foremost I perform for Graham Coughlan and then Plymouth Argyle. Maybe Brian Kerr comes third and maybe he picked the wrong day. It's just sod's law, but there's no point in crying over spilt milk. If it happens, it will be a dream come true. If it doesn't happen, I'll just get on with my job. If I am picked, though, there will be no prouder person."
David Friio opened his goalscoring account on Saturday, but was far from happy. "It's always good to score a goal, especially my first of the season," he said, "but I would have been much happier if the end product had been a victory, or at least a draw. But we got punished by the way we played. Queen's Park Rangers are a good team and I have a lot of respect for them, but we could have done a lot better and got at least a draw. But we didn't do enough to get that result and we got punished. It's still early days, though, we still have plenty of games left to play. We started really well and we should have got a result. We are in a good area of the league and we want to improve it. We will want to pass the ball against Leeds, and against Wolves. Today, though, it was a battle. When you go to places like this you have to impose your own game if you want to be ambitious. We didn't do that today. All the lads are frustrated, and we can't wait to play the next match. Today Tony and Chuck didn't get the ball. It wasn't our game today. It was a straight game, and we didn't pass the ball out to the wings. We never crossed the ball, but the wide players were not the only ones to blame. The ball didn't come to the wings. We know what Plymouth Argyle is all about. Getting the ball forward, playing in the other team's half and getting the ball to the wings for crosses to come in. We didn't do that at all today. That's why we got punished."
Republic of Ireland manager Brian Kerr was at loftus Road to watch Graham Coughlan on Saturday
Bobby Williamson was not a happy man following the defeat yesterday. He said: "It's a long way to come to go back home with no points. It's a big blow, but if you concede goals in the manner in which we're conceding them just now we'll not pick up many points. We never took our chances either. "We can play better than that and I'm sure QPR can play better than that as well. There wasn't a lot of good football played, it was just a case of winning battles and unsettling defenders. They did that better than us today." Asked if he was worried by his team's defending, Williamson said: "We need to work hard at it. The goals we conceded here were defendable, and we need to learn from them. If the guys in the team don't learn, then we've got to look elsewhere. We've done well up to now, and this is a big blow for us, losing this game today." Williamson insisted though, that what proved to be the winning goal should have been ruled out because Kevin McLeod fouled David Worrell before setting up Kevin Gallen. "We thought it was a foul," he said. "David was in front of the lad and then all of a sudden he was behind him. He felt he was pulled. The referee wasn't in a good position to give most decisions today, and unfortunately he didn't make a decision this time. We've got to keep playing in these situations, but unfortunately we stopped on this occasion." Asked if poor defending had contributed to QPR's second goal, Williamson said: "They're difficult balls to deal with. The striker's always going to be favourite when the ball is bouncing. Defenders are easily pushed under. We never got enough on the header back and the goalkeeper wasn't close enough to it either. But maybe the ball should have been headed wider or even inside. We should have changed the angle of the ball so that the forward had to change his stride. Decisions have got to be made and they've got to be made quickly, and unfortunately we made the wrong one in some situations, and that was one such situation where we should have been able to deal with it better. We're starting games very well and we're getting our noses in front, but unfortunately we're letting teams back into games. I felt their equaliser was another goal we could have dealt with better. We've let a long ball come in and we've not cleared it. We had men heading back towards our goal-line instead of picking up in the box and working towards the ball. It was a good time for them to get the goal and it was a bad time for us to concede. We had an opportunity early in the second half in a one-on-one situation but we never took it. If you take your chances you can win matches, and QPR took their chances when they came along. Also, we never got a lot of balls into the front two. We never got enough forward and we never got enough wide. Capaldi didn't too much on the left and Norris didn't do too much on the right. If we don't get the ball in wide areas and get decent balls into the box, then we're not going to trouble teams." Asked whether his players had suffered any injuries which might prevent them playing against Leeds on Tuesday, Williamson said: "There's a lot of damaged pride in the dressing-room, never mind injuries. We'll lick our wounds after this defeat, have a look at the squad in its entirety, and I'll pick a team that I think will get a result."
Argyle lose 3-2 at QPR, the goals scored by David Friio after 7 minutes and Marino Keith in added time. Argyle: McCormick, Worrell, Wotton, Coughlan, Gilbert, Norris, Makel, Friio, Capaldi, Crawford, Evans. Subs - Lasley, Keith, Hodges (not used - Milne, Adams). Attendance - 15,425.
After his strenuous week, Tony Capaldi is keen to play at Loftus Road this afternoon and in next week's home matches against Leeds and Wolves. "I've had a day's rest and I feel fine," he said. "I'm looking forward to the game. This is what it's all about - playing in front of full houses for club and country." Bobby Williamson said: "He'll be fine. I've not got a problem with Capaldi or Stevie Crawford or anybody who has been away playing international football. At this time of the season the games should be coming thick and fast. Unfortunately we've had this two-week break for most of the squad. It's been disappointing, I'd have liked to have kept going. But Capaldi will play tomorrow and we'll see how he does then before we decide whether he plays on Tuesday or not."
David Worrell is enjoying being back in favour, and wants a better ending to his afternoon's work at Loftus Road than he endured last season. "From a personal point of view," he said, "I'll want to exorcise a few ghosts or whatever, but I think you've got to move on in football. It was a very frustrating time for me last year and I deserved to be out of the team - but that's gone now." Argyle have made a better start to the season than QPR, but form may count for little today. "I don't think there will be any easy games in this division," Worrell added. "It's early days in the season still. The longer our good run goes on, the better it will be for us, but it is still early days. We're not building our hopes up too high just yet, we're just looking to consolidate at the moment." Asked what lessons Argyle had learned from the defeat at Watford, Worrell said: "If you give strikers in this division chances, they're going to punish you. And we've got to learn to take our own chances as well. We've been playing against better teams and better players but we've been able to lift our game to accommodate that. Maybe we've rode our luck at times, but I'm sure that will even itself out over the course of the season."
Bobby Williamson wants Tony Capaldi to carry his excellent international form into the Championship. "He's 23 and he's a fit player," said Williamson. "You saw how hard he worked the other night and we are expecting the same again tomorrow from him. I saw quite a lot of the game on TV - I was flicking back and forth - and he was everywhere. One minute he was playing left-back, next he was up front and then he was in midfield. He had a stellar performance and we are looking for some of that to rub off in his domestic scene." Argyle return to action against QPR tomorrow after an 11-day break and face a busy week in which they are also at home to Leeds United and Wolves. Williamson said: "We are looking forward to tomorrow. It's quite frustrating when these international weekends come along. You don't have a game for a fortnight and then you get three in the space of a week. It's not ideal but that's the way it is and we will just get on with it. We are expecting a tough game against QPR and I'm sure they will not disappoint us on that score. I don't think they have had many changes from last season, but we have had them looked at. We will be as well prepared as we possibly can be for the game, and I'm sure QPR will be the same. We lost our last away game to Watford so we would like to put that straight because we do have a big travelling support and we don't like disappointing them."
Bobby Williamson has a fully fit squad for the visit to Queens Park Rangers tomorrow after the return from injury of Hasney Aljofree. He said: "Hasney has been feeling a bit stiff, but that's a normal reaction after being out for as long as he has been. He did work very hard on the morning of the match as well, the same as the rest of the players, and they felt the effects of that as the game progressed. But that's what it's all about - getting fitness levels up - and Hasney will feel the benefit of that over the coming weeks. If he's training fully and if we don't do so well tomorrow, or we get injuries or suspensions then he may be called upon, but you can't really map things out for him just yet." Aljofree admitted it had been very frustrating to miss the start of the season: "I was competing to be in the first team and then, all of a sudden, I found out I needed an operation. It hit me for six really, but that's the ups and downs of football. Hopefully, things will level themselves out over the season, but the lads have been doing really well, so what can you say?" Aljofree first felt a twinge in his knee during the final game of last season. "It wasn't that bad at the time and I did a few runs through the summer and everything was fine," he said. "I did everything in pre-season and then came to the last week and I did some training with the kids and my knee went on me. It was really disappointing having gone through all the running and all the hard work we did." Aljofree praised Paul Maxwell for getting him back to fitness so soon. "Maxie has kept me going right from the start," he said. "I was running literally two days after the operation. It has basically been four weeks of rehab. I haven't been sat on my backside. I have been working really hard. It's disappointing not being in the team but you want to see them doing really well. Thirteen points from six games is different class. There is a gulf between the two leagues, but we are competing with these so-called bigger teams and holding our own. The lads have kept it going from last season and there is competition everywhere, but I have got to say Wottsie and Cocko have been really good together. Hopefully I will get my chance soon, but I will just keep working hard and I need a few games anyway."
Tony Capaldi was delighted with his performance and the result after Northern Ireland's 2-2 draw with Wales. He said: "It was always going to be difficult when we went down to nine men. But, after the game at the weekend, I thought we showed great character and it was a pleasing result in the end. We wanted to start well and we might have caught Wales cold. At 2-0, I think if we had kept 10 men on the pitch we could have held out for a win. But it was always going to be tough, especially with the big lad Hartson up front for them. Away from home in international football, if you are a man down you have got to be happy with a draw. It doesn't really matter who you are." Capaldi started the match at left wing-back for Northern Ireland but ended up playing most of the match on the left-side of midfield after the red cards. Capaldi said: "We went down to 10 men and changed slightly and then we went down to nine men and it changed again. We played a three in midfield and I was on the left-side. I just ran about and made a nuisance of myself and, luckily, I did okay in the end."
Tony Capaldi won his eighth Northen Ireland cap in tonights 2-2 draw in Wales whilst Stevie Crawford won his twenty-third cap as a substitute for Scotland against Slovenia
Hasney Aljofree made a successful comeback from his knee injury in the reserves' draw at Yeovil last night and admitted: 'I can't wait for my next game.' He said: "We trained really hard this morning because the gaffer had given us a few days off. I was only supposed to play 45 minutes tonight but it went well. I felt quite good after 70 but the gaffer thought it was best I came off because if you get tired that's when you can hurt yourself. I was pleased with the way it went and we kept a clean sheet so I can't complain. Matches are what it's all about. You can train all the time but there's nothing like playing. I have been running for a few weeks but it's a different kind of fitness. I loved being involved with the lads, hopefully I can kick on from here now." Aljofree thought the reserves had put in a good performance against Yeovil and had showed the strength of the squad. He said: "Stevie Adams and Keith Lasley were different class in the centre of midfield. They can do an excellent job if anyone in the first team slips up. I thought Nathan and Stevie Milne were brilliant up front and Blair was a whippet on the right wing. It's good for Argyle that the boys who are not in the first team are doing well and their attitude is spot on." Bobby Williamson was at Huish Park last night and was pleased to see Aljofree return. He said: "It's always good to get players back from injury. Hasney has worked hard to get himself into good condition. It was just a shame his injury came along when it did. He was getting to a decent level of fitness. Then, just prior to the season starting, he had to go in for an operation on his knee. That was a major blow for him, and us. Hopefully, his injury problems are behind him now and it's just getting him match fit."
Peter Gilbert was pleased with his performance against Azerbaijan in Wales under-21 match last Saturday, he said: "It was a good result because it was a difficult place to go. They tried to mess us about with the facilities we had to use, and the pitch was very poor, but we overcame it in the end. We were strong at the back, even after we had a player sent-off, and we have had a couple of clean sheets now. It was a good performance and everybody was really happy afterwards - the players and the coaching staff - and it's something for us to build on, really." Wales will play their second game in the qualifiers against England at Ewood Park on October 8th and then host Poland four days later. Gilbert said: "We are a very young side and are not expected to do anything in our group, but that might bring the best out of us. Virtually all the England team play in the Premiership, so it will be a great experience for all of us." Gilbert has enjoyed working with under-21 boss Glyn Hodges and his assistant Clayton Blackmore, on his two trips to eastern Europe. He said: "Clayton Blackmore was at Manchester United for eight years and he played at full-back for them, so I think I can learn a lot from him. Glyn Hodges has been great too. It's something I have really enjoyed and I think it will be good for my game."
Argyle's reserves draw 0-0 at Yeovil. Argyle: Larrieu, Connolly, Kouo-Doumbe, Aljofree, Dickson, Sturrock, Lasley, Adams, Reski, Milne, Lowndes. Subs – Laird.S, Hoyles (not used - Schofield, Routledge, Evans.D)
Paul Wotton is enjoying his unexpected position as one of the top goalscorers in the Championship, he said: "I think I had better make the most of it while it lasts. I'm sure I'll not be there for many more games. Fortunately, we've had three penalties this season so I have been a little bit lucky, but I did get a decent free-kick against Sunderland. It's lovely to be up there with all those names, such as Teddy Sheringham, but I will take it for what it is. At the moment, things are going great for me but, more importantly, they are going great for the team." Wotton took his career goal total for Argyle to 40 with his penalty against Nottingham Forest and added: "It would be nice to get to 50 goals for Argyle so, hopefully, we will get some more penalties and free-kicks!"
Bobby Williamson thinks that Ryan Dickson is close to making the step up to the first team. "He is a player I feel could bid for a position on the left-hand side," said Williamson. "We only have Tony and Peter there and I hope complacency doesn't creep into their games because Dickson's at a stage now where he's pushing very, very hard to be in contention. It's a side of the park that we have not really got enough competition for. It's between those three guys to try and get in the team. Ryan's not featured as often as he would have liked. He played in the pre-season matches and picked up a few knocks, but that's just a learning-curve that these young and enthusiastic guys are going to have to go through. They are going to have to start recognising tackles they should avoid and tackles they are going to win. Dicko's not really recognising the ones that are hurting. Hopefully, he'll learn sooner, rather than later, otherwise he's going to be on the treatment table more often than not." Also returning from injury is Hasney Aljofree: "He has worked hard to get himself in good condition," said Williamson. "It's just a shame that the injury came along when it did because he'd worked hard all pre-season. It was a major blow for him, and for us. Hopefully his injury problems are behind him now, it's just getting him match-fit."
Paul Connolly captains a strong Argyle reserve team at Yeovil tonight. Wayne Quinn will not be part of the squad though and Bobby Williamson said: "I've not seen him yet, and until I see him there's not much point in talking about him." Hasney Aljofree makes his first start of the season following a knee operation
Argyle's under-18 side beat Yeovil Town's 1-0 on Saturday, the goal scored by Dean Evans. Stuart Gibson said: "It was a good game and we played very well, but I was afraid that they would catch us on the break and win the game. That would have been totally undeserved and might have knocked the lads' confidence. But, if you don't take your chances, you get punished in football. Thankfully we scored after great work by Ryan Dickson, who was a class apart, and a fine finish by Dean, and it was no more than we deserved given the amount of possession and chances we had. A truer reflection would have been a 3-0 or 4-0 scoreline, but I told them at half-time that I'd be happy enough with a single-goal victory." Argyle: Schofield, Drew, Routledge, Nute, Laird.J, Rose, Summerfield, Reski, Dickson, Hoyles, Evans. Sub: Buckley, Manley (not used – Parkes). Updated under-18's table and results can be found here.
Former Sheffield United and Newcastle player Wayne Quinn is to start training with Argyle and is set to play for the reserves at Yeovil Town tomorrow night. Cornwall-born Quinn, who can play on the left-side of defence or midfield, was released by Newcastle at the end of last season and is without a club at the moment. Bobby Williamson said: "He will be coming in training for a couple of days and playing on Tuesday. I just feel we are short on the left side. We have only got Peter Gilbert and Tony Capaldi and we could do with more competition there. We will see how he does over the next couple of days and then take it from there."
Tony Capaldi won his seventh Northern Ireland cap in todays 3-0 loss at home to Poland. Stevie Crawford won his 22nd Scotland cap in the 1-1 draw against Spain last night - the match was abandoned after 59 minutes due to a power failure. Peter Gilbert played his second game for the Welsh under-21 side as they won 1-0 in Azerbaijan
Argyle are heading for a record crowd against Leeds United later this month. The club announced today that it had sold out of tickets for the game on September 14th. If Leeds sell their full allocation of tickets the crowd will surpass the previous best at Home Park since it was rebuilt. The current highest is the 19,888 that attended last season's championship decider against Queens Park Rangers. Since that game, the capacity of the ground has been raised to 20,922
Tony Capaldi is set to start for Northern Ireland against Poland tomorrow. Capaldi has played six successive games for Northern Ireland since making his debut and they have not lost any of them. He said: "I hope my unbeaten run continues. The aim is to make it seven games without defeat. International football is not as fast as the Championship and you get more time on the ball, but you have to do something with it when you get it."
Tickets for Argyles game at Queens Park Rangers have gone on sale again. Sales had been temporarily suspended due to "teething problems" with Rangers match-day security company. These problems have now been resolved and Argyle are selling tickets for the lower tier school end of the ground. Tickets are on sale to all members until Tuesday, when they will be also be available for non-members
Argyle's home games against Leeds and Wolves are heading towards being sell-outs. Only standing tickets are available for the Leeds game, and though seats can still be purchased for the visit of Wolves, they are expected to be snapped up in the next few days. "The demand has been incredible, particularly for the visit of Leeds," said club secretary Carole Rowntree. "Basically, we have only around 4,500 tickets left for the Leeds match, and Wolves will probably follow the same pattern, as while we've got Lyndhurst, Mayflower Terrace and segregated area tickets left, the interest in those are also growing fast".
Bobby Williamson is refusing to panic at the sudden rush of goals his team have conceded in their last four matches. He said: "As long as we score more than the opposition, that'll do for me. It was good to bounce back after the defeat at the weekend - that too was pleasing. The crowd was fantastic and provided a great atmosphere. And to be fair, I think a lot of teams will appreciate coming here because of the atmosphere the crowd is generating. I know the players appreciate the backing the fans are giving them at the moment, and are responding to it." Williamson said Luke McCormick, David Worrell, Paul Wotton, Graham Coughlan and Peter Gilbert have all deservedly been ever-presents in the opening six matches of the season: "I don't like making changes for the sake of it - you notice that most teams who are successful have that continuity at the back. And we've got that, these five guys have played all the games so far and I've been pleased with their contributions. But you've got to recognise the fact that these guys have got Romain Larrieu, Paul Connolly, Hasney Aljofree and Matt Doumbe breathing down their necks. So they know they can't afford to be complacent."
Bobby Williamson has defended his policy of not having a goalkeeper among his substitutes. He said: "I'd tend to do that nine times out of ten to be honest. Goalkeepers don't tend to pick up too many injuries, do they? And I'd rather have more options on the offensive than the defensive. I'm sure Romain is disappointed about the situation at not getting an opportunity, he's bound to be, he's a professional. He may have seen a few goals go in and think he's got a chance, but goalkeepers have got to wait and be patient. But if Luke doesn't play as well as he can do, or he gets an injury or a suspension, then Romain could get through the rest of the season. But there's 40 games to go and I don't know what's around the corner. And as long as he keeps as fit as he can, if an opportunity comes along he can grasp it."
Argyle are revamping their ticket sales operation to cope with demand. They are looking at upgrading the telephone system used by the ticket office, and, to take some of the strain off the lines, are encouraging fans to apply for tickets either in person or by postal application. Supporters who apply in person or by post will be able to buy their tickets two weeks before the club accepts telephone applications for the same match. The club is also working on plans to introduce an on-line ticketing system. Details of ticketing for individual games will be issued through the club's website
Bobby Williamson believes Argyle have been boosted by the return of David Norris and admitted he was impressed by Norris' fitness levels. "He played last Wednesday again on Saturday and then on Monday night," said Williamson. "It's a tremendous credit to him. His energy is fantastic. He gets up and down the park and he's a big player for us. Although Keith Lasley did a good job for us on the right-side, Chuck gives us more of a balance and is more disciplined to stay there. I was wondering whether to put him on the bench or start with him and, thankfully, we started with him. He worked very hard when he was out injured and he was very frustrated because he wanted to play football. Obviously, his injury was holding him back, and he did try to come back from it and he was so close, but he had a recurrence and we had to rest him again. The kid has got a great level of fitness and I'm pleased he got his goal against Forest." Williamson also praised Mickey Evans: "He epitomises what Argyle are all about," said Williamson. "He's a local lad and wants to do well for the club. He lets everybody know what it means to be an Argyle player. He's great for us. He's irreplaceable." Williamson admitted the win over Forest was an important one because they do not have another game until Saturday week. "I have never been one in favour of breaks," he said. "It's always difficult to gauge what you should be doing with your players, whether you should work them harder or rest them. It's difficult to get it right, and if you have won a game you want to keep going, but we have got this enforced break and we will just have to see how we get on with it."
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