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Argyle's losing run has continued with a 2-1 loss at Bristol Rovers, meaning Argyle have picked up just one point out of the last eight games. Nathan Blissett's strike was sandwiched between goals from Gaffney and Bodin. Argyle's woes were deepened with yet another sending off when Gary Miller was dismissed for serious foul play. Argyle: Letheren, Miller, Edwards, Songo'o, Sawyer, Sarcevic, Ness(Fox), Jervis, Carey(Sokolik), Wylde, Blissett. Subs: Cooper, Grant, Lameiras, Fletcher, Ciftici.
Derek Adams reiterated the importance of scoring first ahead of Argyle's weekend clash with a thus far inconsistent Bristol Rovers side. He said: "In this league, you have to give yourself an opportunity by scoring first and we haven't been able to do that. We have had opportunities early in the games; we have to put them away and that will gain confidence throughout the team. We have been in very good areas on the pitch and it just about taking the chances. It's a good league. It's better than I thought it was going to be; there are a lot better teams. In League Two, you have maybe got four or five good players in a team; we're talking seven and eight in League One. Bristol win one, lose one, win one, lose one – that's the nature of the team that they have. It'll be end to end because that's the way they play their matches. They are a very good team. They have done exceptionally well to get from the National League up into League One and have competed well at that level. They are finding their feet in League One again this year. They did well last year. It's a good pitch and there is a very good atmosphere. It's very hostile and a difficult place to go to. We are taking a full allocation and they will be in good voice, as they were at Wigan. They stayed behind and clapped the team off the pitch because they saw the effort the team are putting in. We are just not getting the rewards at this moment in time. We are just going through a stage when we need to win matches. We'll get a run together; we'll get a bit of confidence with the wins. We knew, at the start of the season where we were going to be at the end of the season and that's in League One. That's where we're trying to stay."
Adams also admitted that it is frustrating not to be able to field his best eleven yet he was full of praise for two of his Argyle deputisers Kyle Letheren and Yann Songo'o as well as Graham Carey who was coming back into the eleven at Wigan after suspension. He said: "I know my best starting 11 but, through injuries and suspensions, but I've not been able to have that at this moment in time. That's been a difficult part of the season; we've had to chop and change quite a bit. We just deal with what we've got at our disposal. That's the nature of management – you just have to deal best with the hand that you've got. We've had circumstances that have gone against us – we've had injuries and suspensions – but in the games, we haven't taken the chances when they have come along. That's something we need to reverse and we're trying hard to do that."
"Letheren was excellent. He did really well, coming in for his first game. He talked along the back four – and he didn't know everybody so well. Overall, a very good performance from him. He's played a good number of games in his career. I was delighted for him to get that start and disappointed we conceded a penalty because he nearly had a clean sheet. He made a couple of good saves.
"Yann is a winner. He wants to compete, and you need these players in your team. I've known him for many years. I played him at centre-half for my last club and took him here and moved him into midfield. I did likewise with Carl McHugh here and he's had a successful career, north of the border, playing in central midfield. It's just having that versatility that can help you."
"It was a difficult game for Graham Carey to come into because Wigan are a very good team and he's missed the last three games. Fitness levels were good because he's played in a Peninsula League game and trained, but it's not the easiest thing to go into a full-speed game. He came through it well. The players are working extremely hard; the confidence does get hit because you lose a game to a penalty, but the fight and endeavour was outstanding. The players are working very hard; they have not changed from last season from that mental mindset – they want to win, but we just need to get a break at this moment in time."
Songo'o himself shared his positive assessment of Letheren's performance as well as giving a vote of confidence in manager Derek Adams. He said: "It could be one of my best games for Argyle. Everything was working for me. I'm happy with the whole team; we defended as a team, all together, and we need to carry on. It was really disappointing because we worked really hard. We had a game plan and we stuck to it, it was unfortunate that we lost it with a pen but we take positive things from it."
"Kyle is a keeper with lots of experience," said Yan. "He has been with us for a couple of weeks, so we know him well, and what he likes to do. It was a great performance from him, he gave us a lot of security at the back. We are used to playing games with Luke, but Kyle stepped up and did really well.
"He's still the same manager. He's doing a really good job. The results are not helping at the minute but the results will come. We need to stick to what we are good at. We will get to where we want to be. We have a good squad; all the players are really talented. We need a little bit of time, a little bit of patience, It is still early doors in the season. We just need two wins on the bounce, and it will get us in the right direction. Sendings off haven't helped us. We have to ready for any situation. It would nice to have the whole squad back, then we could be a bit stronger. The lads look confident, and hopefully we can get the win on Saturday. The good thing here is that we all stick together. We know the quality we have in the dressing room and we believe in ourselves. We train hard, we give 100%."
Derek Adams praised the fighting performance of his Argyle side in spite of their loss at promotion-chasing Wigan. Adams said: "I thought they were terrific tonight, from a battling point of view; defensively very good. We're getting closer and closer all the time. I'm delighted that the attitude of the players was fantastic. Everybody contributed. I'm disappointed for them, more than anything, because they put in a lot of work. The players are showing a very good attitude. They are in a very difficult position at this moment in time but we're into a new league and that's always going to be the case. We need to get a win that propels us further ahead. We have got a squad that is capable of competing in League One, there's no doubt about that. We have shown that in the games we have played in and we've shown that tonight – Wigan had to score a penalty-kick and they are going to be promoted out of this division at the end of the season. I take a lot of positives from tonight: the shape of the team; the work-ethic was fantastic. The players have shown a great desire to get there, and we'll eventually get there. We'll go on a run and get things moving forwards.
"It was a hard game because they are a very good side and they are going to beat a lot of teams here by a greater margin; we've been defeated by a penalty. We were playing against a very good side and there's not much you can do about that – the quality of Wigan and the quality of Plymouth is night and day. That's just the way it is. We have been competing tonight against a team that have been in the Championship and have come down to League One and are trying to get back up again. We just have to keep on working hard, and the players are doing that. It's a tough league we are in; it is early in the season and we have just got to keep plugging away and we'll get a break – we are not getting a break at this moment in time, but we'll get there. Our supporters that were here tonight told the story. They stood and clapped the players after the final whistle and that tells you what they thought of the players' performance."
Of debutant Kyle Letheren, Adams said: "He was accomplished in his performance. Coming in here for the first time with us – his first appearance – was not easy against a very good team. We've seen that he is a very good goalkeeper; he's experienced and he knows how to play the game. We had two goalkeepers out; we left seven players behind in Plymouth; we've lost Lionel Ainsworth tonight with a tight hamstring; and had to make an early substitution, so it's getting difficult. Songo'o was outstanding – he was my man of the match by a country mile. The back four defended well. I had to take Gary Miller off because he had just been booked and committed a couple of fouls after that, and Jakub Sokolik came on. We had 11 good players on the park; we had the substitutes that all contributed, as well. A couple of times, on the counter attack, we looked quite dangerous. I thought Joel Grant was going to score and that would have made it 1-0. That's not to say that Wigan didn't have a lot of the play, and rightly so. Wigan passed the ball very well. They have got a lot of talented players."
Letheren himself reflected on the irony of making his Argyle debut a whole 8 years after he first signed, saying: "I thought the lads fought tremendously, Each man was a different class and I thought we were there in the end. We were unlucky with Graham's free-kick hitting the bar, as well. On another day, that goes in off the underside of the bar and it's a good result, but things aren't quite dropping for us at the minute. There were loads of positives. I thought we contained them really well – I've had to make a few saves but I knew that, coming into the game. "We have just got to all stick together. It's tough times, but we have got a great bunch of boys, from what I've seen, and I 'm sure we will come through the other side and make us stronger for the rest of the season. We are all positive we can. I'm pleased with the way it went. Obviously, you can brush up on a few things. Nobody's perfect. It was nice to get back out there. I've missed it dearly. Hopefully now I can stay in the team."
"I've had to wait eight years for that. It's nice to show people I am capable of playing at this level. That's what I came here to do. I didn't think it would be this quickly but it happened and I'll just quietly prove a few people wrong. I walked in, Luke pulled me and said 'Be ready, I'm not fit and Luke wasn't on the bus on the way up, so I knew I had a good chance!"
Argyle have fell to bottom of League One after narrowly going down 1-0 to Wigan Athletic via an 83rd minute Nick Powell penalty. Jakub Sokolik gave away the foul after Argyle had held off the Latics for most of the game. A battling performance was not enough however to prevent Argyle's 7th loss in 8 games. Luke McCormick missed the game through an injury and with second choice Robert te Loeke also out injured, Kyle Letheren deputised in goal. Argyle: Letheren, Miller(Sokolik), Edwards, Songo'o, Sawyer, Sarcevic, Ness, Ainsworth(Wylde), Carey, Grant, Blissett(Fox). Subs: Cooper, Fletcher, Ciftci, Lameiras.
Derek Adams previewed two tough away games against Wigan and Bristol Rovers, admitting it would not get any easier for the greens: "Wigan, I've been told, are the best team in this league so far this season footballing-wise and Bristol Rovers have come off of very good win against Blackpool. It's two tough away games. We've obviously got injuries and suspensions that we need to pick ourselves up from. Wigan pass the ball very well; they're always going to be one of the better teams in the league. They've obviously come off a defeat today, but we'll have to go there and be as resolute as we possibly can and at this stage of the season. A team that's down the bottom of the division and a team that's at the top of the division: it's going to be a hard night for us. We've got to pick up points – and it's not as easy as everybody thinks it. We've got to defend better and, as I keep on saying, we have to take our chances when they come along."
Derek Adams blamed a number of factors for Argyle losing their fourth home game on the bounce- including poor decisions in both boxes. The frustrated Scotsman said: "We've obviously made it difficult for us. We started the game brightly, as both sides did, and both teams created openings. We were in the game but we didn't do enough to put pressure on their goal. We concede a goal from a corner kick where we don't deal well with it at the front post. It ricochets off the bar and we don't react quick enough to get there for the first goal. There's players in that area that should've done better with that. It's an easy ball into the box and not a great deal of pace on it. The second goal: It comes off Luke and they've been able to poke it in. The first one and the second one should've been cleared at the first attempt. The third goal: we don't deal well with the cross first of all and the runner gets ahead of us and gets the third goal. It becomes really difficult after that – and the red card doesn't help. Doncaster were always looking to play the ball in behind. They did that today. The goals that we've conceded were poor goals and we should've defended them better. We haven't created enough, I didn't think, in the second half to put pressure on Doncaster. We didn't create enough good openings. We didn't find the space well enough, and the balls into the strikers weren't good enough at times. Sometimes you can have too many attacking players. I thought the fans were very good today. They stuck with us and they could quite easily not have. Their loyalty to the players and myself is paramount, because they've seen how well they've done last season and been able to get promotion to League One. Now they want to kick on and do well in League One, and that's what we're trying to do."
On Bradley's sending off and Argyle's general problems with discipline, Adams had a philosophical approach and said: "I've seen it back. Sonny was getting held by Butler in the box. He tries to push him off in the first attempt and doesn't get away from him, then pushes him again at the second attempt, and that's why he gets the sending off. There's nothing I can say to change that. He is being held, but it's difficult because you're trying to push yourself away from a player, and it's usually the one that reacts to the situation that gets penalised."
"It's not good from our point of view; it's another player that we're missing through suspension. It's not helpful, because we've had enough sendings off this season already, and you don't need that.It's definitely not helping us. It's going other people's way at this moment in time and not our way. It's sad for the players, but it's something we have to get on with."
Finally, Adams called on fans and players to regroup and go again in the face of the difficult run of form, whilst giving his assessment of why he set up with the team he did: "When you go a goal down, it becomes difficult and that's happening to us at this moment in time. We're finding it difficult to get going after that. Looking at it from the bench, the players have got very good ability, but they're just not getting the breaks at this moment in time. I think the players work ever so hard but we are conceding goals and poor goals at times at important times of the game. We're not getting the first goal at this moment in time and that's not helping. We went 4-3-1-2, with Fletcher and Ciftci up front and Lameiras in behind. We tried to match up to Doncaster and we started the game well with that. Fletcher was given an opportunity today and he worked hard - and that's all you can ask. He's 18 years of age and Alex always gives his all. He had a chance in the first half but for his first league start it was very good for him.
"We'll just have to sit down and look at it Sunday and Monday, and see where we go from there," said Derek. "We're struggling at this moment in time with injuries. We obviously have Graham Carey coming back from suspension, but we lose Sonny Bradley to suspension. It's difficult when you've come into a new league and you've had four sendings off; it's not helpful, but we've got to obviously regroup and move on. As management and staff, we've got to try and pull things together at a difficult time for everybody. I was always a realist when we came into the division. I've spoken about my thoughts and how we would compete in the division. That hasn't changed and it's going to be a difficult campaign because there are a lot of very good sides in the league."
Argyle's poor start to the season has continued with a 3-0 loss at home to Doncaster that saw Argyle pick up yet another sending off- their fourth in four consecutive home matches. Argyle went a goal down midway through the first half and the game was put beyond reach by the 71st minute. 9 minutes later, Sonny Bradley saw red and punched a Doncaster player off the ball which will see him miss the next three games. Oldham's loss at Rotherham prevents Argyle dropping to bottom spot. Argyle: McCormick, Miller(Ainsworth), Edwards, Bradley, Sawyer, Songo'o(Fox), Ness(Wylde), Sarcevic, Lameiras, Fletcher, Ciftci. Subs: Letheren, Sokolik, Grant, Blissett.
Derek Adams alluded to the pantomime rivalry that exists between himself and opposite number Darren Ferguson after last season's promotion race but insisted that it was not the main focus of the game, saying: "It's always nice to see Darren again. There's a lot of respect but, when the whistle goes, then it's time to get to business. That's no different to any game in this division. That's the nature of football management. It's a pantomime at times and we're just the two ugly sisters. "Doncaster, like ourselves and Portsmouth, did very well to get promoted out of the league. They put on an excellent run and the two games that we played against each other were exciting matches – two very good footballing teams. Gaining points in this division for both clubs has been difficult at this stage but I think that both have shown that they compete in this division and we both need to get a run of wins together to pull ourselves up the league."
"It would be nice to get a win at home. The last win was the Charlton game and we played very well that day. Against the likes of Scunthorpe and MK Dons, we played really well, as well, and didn't get out of the game what we felt we deserved. We'll continue to work hard to get the wins we need."
Adams also kept faith in the statistics which have showed Argyle to have created a lot of good chances in the hope that one of them will finally find the back of the net on Saturday. Adams said: "The stats tell us that we have created a lot of opportunities but we haven't scored when we have had those opportunities on goal. We haven't hit the target enough and that's something we need to change. Liverpool have got the same problem. They've had 80 shots on goal and 19 on target – and they've got a forward line worth hundreds and millions of pounds. We just have to work hard on the training field and it will turn because we are creating a lot of opportunities in the game, but we do need to take them. Once you get your goals, you gain in confidence and feel you can score week in, week out, and we'll get to that stage. We want to get to that stage quite quickly. We have got to go and show we are as a good a team as we were in the early part of the season."
Gary Sawyer also gave his assessment on the 0-0 draw with Bury before detailing in depth his own role in the team this season, explaining: "As a back four, we went into that game not wanting to concede a goal. That's with Luke, as well; the whole team, actually, defensively – because it applies to everyone. We wanted to try and nick the game; we got a bit lucky in the last five minutes – Luke had a fantastic game – but they were at home. I've been in football long enough, and have played in teams where you come off the pitch after a game, hold your hands up and say 'We deserved to lose.' I think we've done well this year, and I don't think the league position shows how well we have done.
"I enjoy going forward, depending on the game. The standard of the pitch, and the way we play, with players like Foxy, Sarce and Nessy, they get the ball, get it wide, and we can get forward. I've been playing with Granty in front of me, and he's good like that. He will come back for you, or he will lay me the ball back so I can cross it, and crossing is a part of my game I pride myself on. We just need someone to stick it in. Hopefully it will turn. You never know, I might be the one who goes and scores! It's something I am looking to do. I have had a license to get further forward this year, which is nice. It's put me in a position where I have had a couple of chances this year, including the Blackpool one, where I should do better. It fell on my right foot, and I'm not really known for my right-foot finishes. Actually, I'm not well-known for my left foot finishes! I actually caught it too well and rose. If I had scuffed it, it might have gone in. I caught it too sweet!"
Derek Adams has reaffirmed his belief that the EFL should vote to pass the proposed motion that would see the transfer window close the day before the season starts, saying it would allow managers time to focus purely on the season itself once it has began. He said: "As a club, we haven't had the discussion as yet. We will have that discussion - The Board, the chairman, the chief executive – we'll all sit down and see what the right pathway is. I've said before that I think the transfer-window should close before the start of the season because it makes managers' jobs all over the country very difficult if we are going into a season not knowing if we are going to have a player or not have a player on our books. That's happened to us a couple of times since I've been at the club. We understand that clubs want to make later decisions on players and some clubs carry bigger squads, that allows them to keep them and assess them up until the transfer-window, then they can release them. People that want to try and get their squad together would like to have the transfer-window closed."
Gary Sawyer said of Saturday's opponents Doncaster, who like Argyle have made a poor start to the season: "Donny came up with us, they were one of the teams we were battling with.They know us as well as we know them so it should make for a good game. They have started similar to us. They are a good side. They are similar to what they were last season in certain areas, with some good players. It's made for a good game. It's at our place so it's one we are looking forward to. With other teams, there are lads in the dressing room who haven't played in League One, or have played against those teams. It is a feel out process, going away to different grounds and coming up against different players, but this is one that we know. We know we can beat them, and it makes for a good game. In games we've been more than competing, even with ten men, against anyone we've played at home. But it hasn't been ten men for five minutes, it's been 10 men for 60 minutes or however long, it's hard. You don't tend to think about it too much when you are on the pitch. You are in that zone of playing, so you know what you have got to do. Having been down to ten men a couple of times already, you know you have to try to keep yourself in the game. Unfortunately we couldn't do that. It's unfortunate, because you train all week as an 11, and with the lads on the bench we are strong, but if you go down to ten men against any time it is going to be difficult. There's a demand in football anyway, and it's even harder to get through a game with ten men. It's key for us to keep our discipline and stay on the pitch."
Derek Adams gave a mixed assessment of Argyle's 0-0 draw with Bury, claiming that whilst Argyle dominated the first half and should have gone in in front, Bury could have won the game late on. Adams analysed: "I think it was two points dropped today," said Adams, "just from the point where we were in the ascendency in the first half. Then, if you look at it from a different point of view, you can flip to the end of the game, and it looks like we gain a point. We did really well. We probably should have been three or four up at half-time: Ainsworth, Sarcevic, Grant and Ciftci should have scored and we'd have been well on the way. Then, at the end, we had a couple of good saves from Luke to give us the point. First half, we really should have been ahead; second half, as well, we had a couple of opportunities. But that's the way it is. We move on now. It's a good point. When you have chances in the first half and you feel you could have scored. It is important to score first in this division. If we had done that, we would have put Bury under pressure. They came into the game in the second period and had some very good opportunities.
"In the end, their opportunities will be spoken about because they came right at the end of the game. People forget the start of a game. You have to take chances when they come along. You won't get better chances than we had, we were one-on-one with the goalkeeper, but you have got to take them. I thought collectively it was a very good team performance. The players had a difficult long journey yesterday, and they've done well because they've had a lot of game time to play. You could see they were tiring, but overall I'm happy. We could have scored, but we didn't."
Adams went on to add: "We have had a lot of good performances this season and we have had better than the one we had today, but this was another good one from a different point of view. We haven't had the results because we've had three sendings off in seven games. We've had that to deal with. We feel we should have more points than we do because we feel our play deserves that. The players put in a lot of effort today. We had eight hours up yesterday; we played with ten players on Tuesday and last Saturday. So I am delighted with the players today. They are fantastic professionals and it was another very good performance from us.
We're a football club that is moving forward. It's a very difficult league to go in to. As I explain, week-in, week-out – I'm not going to do it again because people get annoyed with what I say – that's the reason. We've players out who are part of the first-team group. Hopefully we can get them back sooner rather than later. We've had a difficult period of games, in the legs and mentally as well because of the sendings off. It's nice to have 11 players on the pitch. This division is always conjuring up tests, in different ways. There wasn't a lot of pretty football today – it was a bit dull at times – but hopefully that changes."
Adams also had positive news following a knock taken by Luke McCormick late on in the match explaining that there was no serious injury obtained: "A couple of saves from Luke gave us the point today. Luke made a couple of very good saves, and I was delighted with that; delighted he was able to pull off those great saves. He's ok. Just a little knock to his ankle and his Achilles, so we'll assess that. After his injury, he managed a number of very good saves. That was the highlight of the last five minutes, but, overall, I am delighted with the team today. It was difficult coming here; we came out of it well."
After a chaotic start to the season, things returned somewhat to normality for Argyle with a 0-0 draw at Bury that did not see any red cards in the match. Both sides had their chances, though it was Bury who had the better ones, hitting the woodwork on two occasions and forcing Luke McCormick into some fine saves. Argyle: McCormick, Miller, Songo'o, Bradley, Sawyer, Fox(Lameiras), Ness, Sarcevic, Ainsworth(Jervis), Ciftci(Fletcher), Grant. Subs: te Loeke, Sokolik, Wylde, Blissett.
Derek Adams has spoken of the need to protect his players in the modern social media era, saying that it is a regrettable part of the modern game: "You have got to be there for them and keep driving the bus, so to speak, and keep them focused. That's why we try to keep the outside influences away from them, because it's the outside influences that affect people. In the modern era, that is very difficult – the way social media has gone and everybody needing a story, so to speak. So we try to keep them away from it as best we can, just to keep them in a positive frame of mind. People, a majority of the time, are able to hide behind a keyboard and have names that are not their own – that's the nature of the world; it happens in every walk of life and is something we have to get used to. It's not right, but that's the way it is. You get flack when you're doing well, as well. It's all the same."
He said of the trip to Bury: "When you go into every game, you are just looking to win," he said. "Saturday is no different and we continue to work away. The players have got every right to feel sorry for themselves a wee bit because of the circumstances, but they will pick themselves up and we will go and play in a positive way. We have done that for the seven games in this division. We have played a lot of good football. Yes, we need to tidy up in our finishing, because of the chances that we have created, and we'll do well this season. It's throughout the season, over 46 games, that you want to see where you are. You are going to have spells in the season where you are going to be up and down, but, performance-wise, we are happy; results-wise, we haven't been able to pick up as many points as we feel our play deserves. It's a competitive league and there are going to be swings and roundabouts throughout the season. We just want to see how many points we can pick up; see where we are on the 40-game mark, when we will have 18 points to play for before the end of the season."
Derek Adams reiterated his positive belief that Argyle's poor run of League One form is more down to a catalogue of individual factors rather than any great underlying weakness. He said: "We have played a lot of good teams and have competed really well. We feel we should have more points than we do. I'm delighted with the way the players are; I'd be more delighted if we had taken our chances. The other night, we had five or six very good chances against Blackpool and we didn't take them. When you are on top, you need to take your chances. We have scored three own goals this season – Miller, Sawyer and Bradley; we have had three red cards; we have had a leg-break and an ankle-break, and we are only seven games into the season. It's difficult for the players, because they are a good group who work really hard and they are not getting the rewards for their hard work at this moment in time. They'll get there. You see the right signs; you see, by the players on the pitch and the chances created, we are doing well.
"It's been difficult. We've played three games now with ten players for 45 minutes, working out the game-time roughly, in each of them. That's not easy at any level of football. I felt for the players on Tuesday night because they had played from the 33rd minute on Saturday with ten players and then had to play from the 65th minute on Tuesday night and you could see them visibly think 'Oh no, not again'. They have put in so much effort and they just need a break now. They will get it because they are very good professionals and they will keep on working hard and get their rewards. We just have to keep on knuckling down and it'll turn – it always does and the players are old enough and wise enough, and have good experience throughout the squad, to realise that. Their spirits are alright, considering what they have been through, and they have been through a difficult period."
Derek Adams expressed his frustrations that Argyle 'are being punished' in the wake of their 3-1 loss at home to Blackpool. He spoke of the irritating combination of events that led to the fourth successive loss for the club, saying: "Blackpool started the game very well and then we were able to grind ourselves into the game and we did that well. They got a lift after getting the early goal. After we went down 1-0, we had a lot of good play and put them under a bit of pressure. We changed things about a number of times just to see if we could get at them and we did. We had umpteen chances from corner-kicks which we should have scored more at. We needed to score and the amount of chances we had from corner-kicks was frightening, right on top of the goalkeeper; we just feel we should have done better with them. We are not taking the chances when they come along and we have seen. We have seen that from the stats – we are quite high in the division. Then we do get one, make it 1-1; then we get the sending off and it's an uphill struggle after that. We have had a third sending-off in seven league games. We have played well in large spells in these games but you can't have ten men on the pitch all the time, hoping to get a result. We just keep on shooting ourselves in the foot. The sendings-offs are really killing us at this moment in time. We have been able to play well but the players are getting frustrated when we're getting a sending-off and they're having to run even more, again, for the third game in a row. That's hard because it's a difficult league we're in. The players have stuck at it but, when you go down to ten players, again, it becomes a hard thing. I have been there myself as a player and it becomes mentally draining – they feel they have got a bit of pressure; they were on top of the game; and it has just been taken away from them."
On a more positive note however, Adams said he was sure that as long as his players kept showing the level of performance that they currently have, Argyle's fortunes will turn. He said: "It's not nice, but the players have shown they have got fighting spirit after they went 1-0 down and they are hurting just now. But, as the nature of things goes, things will turn round and we will get a lift, we will get a win that probably our good play doesn't deserve and we will take it. The positive thing is that we are where we are in the league but we're three points off 15th place, it's that tight. But we need to start playing with 11 players. Blackpool have scored three from outside the box. It's not as if they are playing through us. They were struck well but, when they're coming from 20 yards out, they're a long way out, so we have to just look at that and look to see why they've been able to get the time or what is the story of them going into the back of the net. We're all despondent because we can't afford to allow the goals that are going in. We have got to stop that. And stop getting red cards, rightly or wrongly."
Argyle today faced a double whammy, losing 3-1 at home to Blackpool and doing so without Graham Carey in their line-up following the committee decision to uphold his three match ban for serious foul play. Another early goal proved Argyle's undoing, going behind in the second minute of the game. Argyle improved as the game went on and equalised early in the second half through a Sonny Bradley headed goal. Argyle's other crippling vice however is red cards and this too set us back, Ryan Edwards being dismissed for a second bookable offence. After this, the game was stretched and Blackpool scored two further goals to claim all three points. Argyle: McCormick, Edwards, Songo'o, Bradley, Miller, Fox, Ness, Sawyer, Grant(Wylde), Blissett(Jervis), Ciftci(Fletcher). Subs: te Loeke, Sokolik, Ainsworth, Lameiras.
Argyle have formally appealed to the FA regarding Graham Carey's 3 match ban from the red card he picked up in the loss against Milton Keynes on Saturday. Derek Adams said: "It's definitely not a red card in my eyes. You can clearly see in the video that he made a genuine attempt to get the ball. It's clear as day in the video, when you slow it down, he is a millisecond out of connecting with the ball and he has gone into a tackle that is not dangerous and that's good to see. It's a clear attempt to win the ball. We're more than hopeful that Graham will be available tomorrow night."
Adams also confirmed that he will not be making the switch to a 4-4-2 formation, in spite of many Argyle fans wishing he do so. He explained: "We play with two wingers and a striker, with one-off. That's how we play.That can constitute a 4-4-2 if you want, with a deep-lying attacker. Will we play with a 4-4-2, with two centre-forwards up against two defenders, the answer is 'no' because you lose control in the middle of the pitch. We play with very quick attacking wide players, and a centre-forward most of the time with one-off. People used to say Sir Alex Ferguson played 4-4-2 all the time. He said he never. He played 4-4-1-1. It just depends on how you see the game and your opinion. We have had great success playing 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 so we will continue to do that."
Derek Adams has stated his opposition to the red card shown to Graham Carey by referee Charles Breakspear on Saturday and stated his intention to appeal the decision. He said: "I've just looked at it on the video and I don't think it's a sending off. One foot goes in for the tackle, the other one is on the floor. It's a tackle; it's a booking at most. It's a little late, but nothing malicious in it. It's a contact sport and the tackle had to be made. But the player for MK Dons makes a real deal of things and allows the linesman at the near side and his referee to make a quick decision. That changes the game, but I don't think it's a sending off. I didn't see it at that moment in time. It was quite tight and I thought there's a tackle, but I just don't understand how a referee can make that decision so quickly. Maybe they were too on top of things and they get caught up in it. I don't see it being a dangerous challenge. He was sliding along the floor and the player's flipped himself and up and done a few cartwheels to make sure that the referee and linesman see it. We'll speak to the powers that be and we'll look at the footage again. I feel we should appeal the situation. I feel it's a red card that we should appeal. We'll have to see what the chairman and the chief executive say. When they look back on it, they'll see it was a sliding challenge, and the reaction of the player makes it look worse. We all make mistakes, and hopefully they'll look at the video footage and say 'listen, I've got that decision wrong.
"I spoke to him after the game and said to him about the time wasting. He said to me he booked three of their players for time wasting, but my recollection of the game is not that. I didn't see him book anyone for time wasting. He didn't give us anything. MK Dons were disappointing as a team, with the way they went down when they were getting substituted on the other side of the pitch. The referee allowed that. He didn't book any of their players, in my recollection, for time wasting. That was very difficult; it was stop-start. Early in the game, when he makes that big decision, it changes the game for us."
With a mixture of key decisions and bad luck going against Argyle in their loss to Milton Keynes, Derek Adams said that he was determined for his Argyle side to hang on in there in spite of the poor form. Adams explained: "I thought we started the game well. We finished the game very strongly. I thought we were the better team on the day. I think we forced them back down the pitch. We had a lot of decent play. It's not easy to start with because we've got to be canny in a way and not allow space. Later on in the game, we can take that opportunity to go forward. We've got to try and get that goal. Joel Grant has an unbelievable chance and should score, and Sonny Bradley from a corner kick should score as well. It would make it a different game, but there was a lot of good play with 10 players. They were hanging on with 11, and with 10 players, we were the better side.
"A number of their players; the way that they really went about things really disappointed me today. I think the majority of people watching the game as a neutral would've been disappointed with their reaction as players. MK Dons were holding on and they had to react and stop the game. If I'm their manager, I'm not happy. Obviously they've got the three points, but if you have to hold off like they did with 11 players; it's not the way I like to manage. "We've shown we can compete at this level. We made MK Dons look like an ordinary side with ten players this afternoon, so that's got to be something we can take a lot of heart from. We're not getting a break at this moment in time. We've had a number of situations go against us. We haven't taken the chances when they've come along. We've had two players sent off in home games. We're just not getting the breaks at this moment in time. I work with them day in, day out, and I know the attitude and application of them is fantastic. They kept on going. We just need to get that break when it comes along."
Ryan Edwards too felt that Argyle looked the better side even after going down to ten men and deserved more from the game, saying: "I thought we stuck at it, we kept our shape and then we limited them to chances. We had a number of chances which unfortunately one of them never went in for us. I think we were the better team today. I think if someone was watching today and had to guess who had 10 men I'm sure they'd have said them because it was all us second half. It was disappointing to concede first which takes the sting out of you a bit but I thought we reacted well especially the second half. I don't think it looks like it (a sending off) on the video but I think the lad's reaction has killed him. I've seen it there from one angle; here are several angles. From that angle it didn't look like it to me but on the pitch I'm thinking, the way he's rolled round, the way the players have surrounded the referee, whether he got affected by that I don't know. I'll have to see it again. He just apologised. If there was a tackle to be there and to go and win I've no problem with that. These days there's a limit on tackling that seems to be going out of the game which is a shame with referees but it's happened now there's nothing you can do about it. We have to move onto Tuesday and quickly get a result back."
Regarding Argyle's much-needed yet elusive win, Edwards added: "Conceding the first goal can take a little sting out of you but I think we reacted well today. I don't think we're far away from getting it right. I was just speaking then to a few of the lads - we don't think we're far away. When we get that win we feel like we're going to go on a roll and I think we'll be alright. We can't keep going down early and giving ourselves a mountain to climb. I thought we reacted well and I think we were unlucky today. I can't remember them having a shot second half but we've got to start like that and then when we start well we've got to put the ball in the net and keep it out the other end. They've had one chance and they took it so, as a defender, I've got to look at that myself. We have got to be better in both boxes. After the game everyone was saying we couldn't have given more. I think we'll be alright and it's a matter of time before we climb up. We're in it together."
Argyle's losing run has extended to three games with a 1-0 loss at home to Milton Keynes. Another early goal was Argyle's undoing, conceding in the 8th minute. Argyle plugged away for most of the game but could not find an opening, their task made harder by the dismissal of Graham Carey for serious foul play in the 35th minute. Argyle: McCormick, Miller(Lameiras), Edwards, Bradley, Sawyer, Fox, Ness, Carey, Jervis(Ainsworth), Grant, Ciftci(Fletcher). Subs: te Loeke, Songo'o, Wylde, Blissett.
Plymouth Argyle Football Club Limited has published its financial results for the year ended December 31, 2016. The club have stated that: 'Turnover increased by 31% to £6.2m, generating earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation of £757,000. This result was achieved after increased expenditure on 'catch-up' maintenance. Share Capital increased by £4.4m and these funds were utilised to purchase back the stadium and to reduce short and long term debt by £3.2m.'
Derek Adams revealed his reasoning for having a third keeper on the books at Argyle this season when he previously said two would be satisfactory. Adams explained: "I enjoyed, last season, where we had three goalkeepers, because it became competitive. When you work with two goalkeepers it is not the same. I had thought about going with two but seeing the situation - I didn't like it in my first season at the football club, it was better in the second season. We've got young Michael Cooper and Max Childs with the under-18s, but they don't train with us. We could only have used the emergency loan market if both goalkeepers were out. That would be something we could have used, but bringing in experienced goalkeepers is beneficial, not just for game time, but training. Sometimes one might be injured, and you're only left with one, and at a professional football club, that's not very good. That's why I've changed my mind.
"You have to be sure that you have good competition for places. We have that in the outfield 10, and goalkeeper is a vital position, and you have to have cover there as well. Kyle was here as a young boy, many years ago. Over the time since then he has gained a lot of experience and played a good number of games. He's competition for Luke, as is Robbert. It keeps people motivated and bouncing along."
Newbie Kyle Letheren has said he hopes to fight his way into the Argyle side and indeed wishes he had not left to begin with in his former spell in 2009. Letheren said of the situation: "I'm here to fight for a place. I just want to get going, because I've missed the start of the season. It's good to be involved. I got a phone call one morning from Derek, just saying he was after more competition for places in the goalkeeping department, and would I be interested in coming down for a few days, see what my fitness levels are like. He's seen me play many times when he has been manager of Ross County. I was here for three days, then he said: 'Let's do it.' I was a free agent through the summer and had one or two offers that never really took my fancy. I've had to be patient, and thankfully it has paid off in coming back here.
He likes working with three keepers, clearly. I'm not here to be a third-choice or second-choice. I want to play. I understand Luke is an experienced goalkeeper. It's going to be hard to displace them, but it's what we're all here for. I didn't manage an appearance last time I have here so hopefully this time around I can show the Argyle fans what I am capable of."
"I was here from the first game of the season up until New Year's Eve," said Letheren. "I loved my time here; didn't want to leave. Paul Sturrock offered me a contract, but Paul Mariner took over and went with his own ideas, which happens in football. I went up to Scotland and played a lot of games for Kilmarnock and Dundee. I then got a move to Blackpool, which didn't quite work out for me. I went to York to get some games, and ended up doing really well – I got player of the year.
"At Home Park, it's the same offices, the same training ground, which is nice to see because there was nothing wrong with the place the first time. Obviously the club has been through difficult times but it is good to see it back on its feet, getting back to where it belongs: if we can get back in the Championship. It's a big club for this league, so hopefully we can start climbing the league now. I'm delighted to be back. I never wanted to leave in the first place. It's a lovely town."
Argyle have re-signed goalkeeper Kyle Letheren. The Welsh stopper was previously at Home Park for the last four months of 2009, as cover for Romain Larrieu. He did not make a first-team appearance. He now joins Argyle as a free agent, hence why the deal has been signed after the transfer deadline closed on Thursday.
Derek Adams revealed the reasoning behind Jordan Bentley's loan deal to Sutton United, explaining why he thinks they are the right club for his development. Adams: "I put a circular out to all the National League and National League South clubs for the six younger players – the three first-year professionals and the three development players – to try to get them out on loan. Sutton came back to us about Jordan Bentley, through his agent, Scott Fisher. Ian Baird gave me a call, and I spoke to the manager as well. It's a good move for him; it gives him a chance to play first-team matches. Their captain has an injury and is going to be out for a few weeks. Jordan will be in the thick end of the action with a team at the top of the National League. He went there on Monday, he'll train with them, and see how he gets on. It will be a difficult league to play in, because of the physicality, but that's what Jordan has about his game. He's good in the air, a good tackler, reads the game well; he'll have to do that for them. He's come on as a substitute for the first team; he's started first-team matches, and has been in and around the squad. This is the next stage of his development, to play in a first team, to aid his development for the good of him and the football club."
Young first-year-pro Jordan Bentley has joined Sutton United in a three-month loan deal in what will be the youngster's first spell away from Home Park. He will link up with former Pilgrim Simon Walton at Gander Green Lane.
Derek Adams spoke of his frustration that in-game tinkering to change to a 3-5-2 formation was not enough to prevent Argyle losing another League One game. He said: "We started the game very well. We were on the front foot. Much like the game against Scunthorpe, we had most of the attack and then we lose a goal against the run of the play. It was a ball into the box and the two centre halves don't deal well with it, and they get the goal. We should've scored before they scored, because we had the run of the play, but they get a ball into the box and a free man. We had to go to three at the back very early in the game. I had to take Joel Grant off because their two strikers were causing our two centre halves a lot of trouble. We were going to lose another goal if we didn't do that. The two centre halves struggled today with the two forwards. It solved the problem and we quietened them down a bit. To be fair to them, they defended well and defended the penalty box well, so they've got to take credit for that. We lost a second goal when we were chasing it. We should've made a tackle in the middle of the park. We didn't do that and then he hits it from long distance. They've shown already this season how well they can play. Today, we didn't do enough in both boxes, and that's something we have to improve on."
Adams also said that he had no thoughts of Argyle reaching the league one play-offs, admitting that he did not have the financial capability to compete with many sides in the league: "We want to consolidate in this division. People will talk about trying to get in the play-offs – well, they can forget about that because, at this moment in time, we haven't got the squad capable of pushing for a play-off place and we're not arrogant enough to think we can get there.\"I can't do anything about it. I can't compete with a lot of clubs in this division. That's just the nature of my job and it has been since I've come to the football club. I've known about that. I've always had to overachieve. I did that in my first season here; I've done that in my second season; and I'll continue to try to do that because we do not have the finances of any other club in this league. It's a difficult league to compete in. Walsall are the same. They are a club which is run the same way as us, very prudently, and I think it's the way forward. You have got to live within your means. We do that, as a football club, and we will continue to. We have to overachieve. People don't like me saying that but that is a fact and, if they want to say anything about that, then just have a wee thought that other people in this division can pay a lot more money than we can to get players. We were looking. The ones that we wanted were of a good standard and, unfortunately, we haven't been able to get that. It's difficult with the type of player we are going for and other clubs are able to finance it, which is fair enough."
Finally, Adams cited a lack of ruthlessness in the final third as a major reason behind their failure to win the match, saying: "We didn't create enough in the final third of the game. That started after they had scored the goal. Before that, I thought we started really well. We had shots on goal; we've had 13 this afternoon, but we've only had two on target. We didn't get ourselves in good enough positions later on in the game. We had a lot of the ball but we didn't do enough with it to create that opening. We had a lot of free kicks and deliveries where the delivery from Graham Carey wasn't good enough. That was hugely disappointing.
"We talk about playing two up front. I've done it a number of times trying to change the game, and I get annoyed with myself because I keep on doing it and it doesn't work for us. It was a dull affair from both sides. It was a poor game. I didn't think there was any excitement in the match. We didn't show the quality that we can do. At this level, you need to do that. We've got to continue working hard with them. We're at another level now and we know that."
Argyle's wobbly start to the season has continued with a 2-1 loss away to Walsall. The home side went 1-0 up in the first half and sealed it late on in the game. Argyle pulled one back with three minutes to go from a Graham Carey penalty but it was not to be enough to get anything from the game. Argyle: McCormick, Miller, Edwards, Bradley, Sawyer, Fox(Lameiras), Ness, Jervis(Blissett), Carey, Grant(Songo'o), Ciftci. Subs: te Loeke, Taylor-Sinclair, Ainsworth, Wylde.
Derek Adams spoke ahead of Argyle's clash with Walsall tomorrow, stating both sides had made strong starts to the season. Adams analysed: "We have played against a lot of the top sides this season already and we are going to do that against Walsall, as well, because they are an established League One side. They have done exceptionally well over the years; they've kept themselves in League One. They had a really good result last week at home to Bradford, to be 3-0 down and to get back into it to be 3-3. They have made a solid start to the season, like ourselves. Peterborough was a very good game for us; they're at the top of the league now, so to play so well there was good. Against Southend, they were the dominant in the first half but we became the dominant team in the second half. The players have already put the Scunthorpe result behind them, as they always do. We are just looking at getting as many points as we can now."
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