A Round-up of Argyle News
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Greens on Screen's Daily Diary is a compilation of Argyle news, with help from these and other Argyle-related sites.
On This Day:
Also included on the three most recent days, facts from Argyle's history.
Peter Reid reverted to a 4-4-2 formation for the visit of Colchester United to Home Park on Saturday, and goals from Rory Fallon and Yala Bolasie gave his team a much-needed victory. Reid paid tribute to the players who returned to the fold, starting with the match-winner. He said: "It's been plain to see in recent weeks that we can't stretch people and it's always difficult to put them under pressure but I thought he had that. We stretched them a little bit with Yala’s ability to run with the ball and beyond. Rory Fallon played well too, he was a focal point for us but all in all, the atmosphere around the football club has been terrific, and I've got to say the players have generated that. But the supporters are the ones who have shone through and I'm delighted for them more than anybody today. I've been thinking about a lot of things. I was thinking about Marcel Seip back there but they were big and strong so I thought I'd go a bit more physical at the back. A very pleasing aspect of today as well is Bhasera coming on, who looked terrific, so besides the result there was a couple of really good performances. He had a chat and intimated to me that he'd give it a go on the bench and I think it's great when players do that and I was only too happy to agree with him. His first touch when he brought one out of the sky was terrific and he's got a bit of pace from that left-back position to support the front man and get beyond, which is always helpful." Reid insists that despite all the adversity Argyle have faced throughout this season, the spirit of his team has remained intact and paved the way for the win. He said: "It's been surprisingly good. I've always said and tried to impress that on the players - at least when you're out and you can do something about it. All these lads enjoy playing football and in training I think they've looked bright. Jim Paterson had a knee injury so I had to bring him off so I'll have to have a look at that and monitor that, and it looks like we'll be losing Chris Clark for three games. I've just tried to get on with it but they have responded well. It's been difficult because of the weather, the ground has been heavy so we've had to be really careful in terms of not doing so much physical work with them on the training pitch. Everyone was disappointed after the 10 points hammer blow, the performance at Brighton, the coach breaking down, how many things went wrong?! We could only look on the bright side of the road, and that's what the players have done."
Chris Clark will be suspended for the next three games after his red card in Saturday's win over Colchester United. Clark was dismissed for the first time in his career and the club have been informed that the referee deemed him guilty of serious foul play. There will be no appeal against the decision.
Romain Larrieu used the occasion of his 300th appearance for Argyle to praise the man he replaced for the Colchester game. David Button has made 22 appearances in his loan spell from Tottenham, but was dropped in favour of Larrieu, who said: "I need to talk to you about Butts. Without wishing to sound harsh on the rest of the team, it isn't easy to play behind a team that is losing. No matter how old you are. On a few occasions, it was just a matter of keeping the score down. Before I got dropped when Stockdale came in, I had played for 18 months behind a struggling team. It's just not easy when you are a goalkeeper and the ball goes in the net all the time. Experience can get you through it, but when you are young like Butts, you ask yourself too many questions. He was not at fault for anything, but, when you let in goal after goal, your confidence goes down. He's a great lad. Unfortunately you see the character of people when they get dropped, or when it's getting tough. There was no doubt in my mind the way he would react. I know how I was at his age. But he's done brilliant. Anyone who has watched us play this year will have to say he's done brilliant for us. He shouldn't bang his head against the wall, and I know he won't, because he is positive and clued in."
Peter Reid was reluctant to be drawn on what he thought about the sending-off of Chris Clark on Saturday. He said: "The referees are there, and they see it and they give decisions. Whatever I say, he's not going to change it. Was it a turning point? Well, I think we upped our game, to be fair. Some of the passing and movement with 10 men was terrific." Reid was more candid when it came to Argyle being awarded a penalty. He said: "I thought it was a harsh decision, from where I was standing, but the ref was closer than me."
Yannick Bolasie scored with Argyle's first penalty of the season to secure a victory over Colchester United on Saturday. Peter Reid revealed Chris Clark would have taken the penalty had he not been sent-off earlier in the half and Reid was surprised when Bolasie stepped up to take it but, at the same time, impressed he had the self-belief to do so. He said: "He went straight to the ball and I think confidence is a big thing in those situations. There was a discussion on the bench, but he's a front man who wants to score a goal and he stuck it away well. He was confident in everything he did about it, which was fantastic for us and for the boy himself, who I thought was terrific. I thought he brought pace to the side. It has been plain to see over recent weeks that if you can't stretch people it's always difficult to put them under pressure. I thought we stretched them a little bit more with his ability to run with the ball and beyond." The win ended a traumatic week for Argyle and Reid was thrilled with the character shown by his side. He said: "Fair-dos to the players, after a disappointing performance against a really good Brighton side they have bounced back. And I thought we deserved our victory. We dug in there and it's a welcome three points. We have had a difficult time recently. I think this win is a great fillip for the players, supporters and everyone involved with the club. Win, lose or draw this game, the lads showed plenty of character. That's all I ask. They certainly did that, and it gives you a good feeling when it ends in a victory." Argyle remain bottom of League One but are just five points from safety, with a game at Sheffield Wednesday coming up this Saturday. Reid added: "I hope this is a springboard for a result next week. I have been in the game a long time and Sheffield Wednesday is a difficult place to go. But if we can put in the same effort, and the same good passing and movement, then who knows? I certainly hope the standards we set are ones we can keep going next week."
Romain Larrieu played his 300th game for Argyle yesterday and was buoyant about the performance on the day and the chances of Argyle staying up. "There will be light at the end of the tunnel," he said. "We all believe that. But it needs to be every game. This can't be a one-off. That's the standard now. We need to keep it there. If we want to start rebuilding, we have to show some consistency. We have to strive to each this standard more often. Or every game, if we can. But it needs to be every game. This can't be a one-off. That's the standard now. We need to keep it there. I got one away with it with one long throw which I misjudged, but Nelse got me out of it. If we do that more often, help each other out when someone makes a mistake, that's the way forward. I was on the bench on Tuesday, but it hurt. There were a lot of players that played Tuesday then came out today and fought like lions." Although it seems unlikely, Larrieu still believes Argyle can escape relegation. "Of course I do," he said, "Why not? The day that mathematically we can't, then we can't. But even if that day was to come, I think we focus on trying to get enough points. Let's say we get 45 points; that would be 55 if we didn't get those ten points, that would be enough to stay up. Even if we were to miss out, we still want to earn that, and have the pride to say 'we would have stayed up' We can't give up. This would be the worse moment to give up. The players can put a smile on everybody's faces, and I hope everybody enjoyed that. And that goes for the offices too. That was for them. They are going through a time probably rougher than us. It was nice for them. It was emotional at the end today, because it was the end of such a bad week." Larrieu recognised the part the crowd played in the narrow victory, and added: We were positive, the crowd loved it. We played in the right areas, the last third. That's where we played our football and they couldn't handle us. Even ten against eleven they couldn't. The crowd appreciated the effort. I think I know this crowd now. We earned the right to play, put them under pressure, and this is what the crowd likes. It's what most crowds across the country like."
Romain Larrieu was thrilled to make his 300th appearance for Argyle yesterday. "When you see your name up there, it's really nice," he said. "I learned about it yesterday. I just couldn't wait to get out there. I tried to put in a performance, because the last game of football I played I played was my last game for the first team three months ago." Peter Reid paid tribute to Romain, as well as tipping David Button to bounce back. "While David Button's been in the side, Ro's been a fantastic professional," he said. I've got to give him all the credit as a person, with what he's been through in his personal life, to bounce back. I'm delighted he got a deserved 300th appearance and, even more crucially, a victory. David's a good young 'keeper but sometimes they learn the trade while they're on loan and sometimes you have to make decisions on gut feelings. It was a gut feeling I had. He's been terrific and, to be fair, even if you look at the Brighton game, he made two terrific saves early on to keep us in it. But it's just a feeling I had so I went with it."
Argyle’s youth team won 1-0 against Exeter City at the Cat & Fiddle training ground yesterday, the goal scored by Jared Sims. Argyle: Varazinskis, Bradley, Stephens, Richards, Copp, Hart, Clifford, Sims, Vassell, Rickard, Baker. Subs - Coombes, Ramday (not used - Berry, Jones, Ord).
Argyle beat Colchester United 2-1 at Home Park, the goals scored by Rory Fallon after 8 minutes and Yannick Bolasie (74). Argyle: Larrieu, Zubar, N’Gala, Nelson, Paterson, Clark, Arnason, Fletcher, Bolasie, Fallon, Mason. Subs - Bhasera (not used –Button, Patterson, Seip, Duguid, Young, Timar). Attendance - 8,982.
Peter Reid is hopeful his depleted squad can be bolstered in the coming weeks with the return of current injury absentees. Onismor Bhasera has not played since January 18, while Simon Walton has not kicked a ball all season. Reid said: "Bhasera joined in training this morning, non-contact and he isn't feeling it, so hopefully we can step him up next week. Walton's muscle strength is being assessed at the gymnasium, and he's due to see a specialist on March 1 to hopefully get the all-clear to join in training. I think he's quite a positive lad from speaking to him, which is a good thing. I get the feeling he's chomping at the bit to get back as soon as possible, but obviously after a serious injury we won't throw him in at the deep end. It depends how he feels." Meanwhile, Reid faces a headache at the end of the season, with a number of first-team players likely to move on when their contracts expire this summer, a situation he will deal with as and when. He added: "I knew when I got here there was about 13 or 14 players who were going to be out of contract and the club weren't in a position to negotiate with people for new contracts, i.e. Bradley Wright-Phillips, so it's not something new."
Staff and players at Argyle are again working without pay after being told the club cannot afford their wages. Buyout talks are set to continue in London next week after a rescue package from the Japan-based directors again failed to arrive last night, despite fresh assurances from lawyers that a sum in the region of £500,000 would be sent. That, and the fact Barclays have frozen Argyle's bank account, left the club with no way of paying the February wage bill, understood to be around £500,000. Staff were called into a meeting yesterday morning by Peter Ridsdale, who confirmed the news. It is the fourth time in five months they have been paid late, and this time they were told that, without a cash injection, Argyle have no way of paying them in the near future. A staff spokesman said: "Peter Ridsdale told a full meeting of the staff that there wasn't any way of paying February wages to staff or players. He also kept us up to speed with developments in terms of potential new investors. We are very grateful for that but obviously it is disappointing." Ridsdale said: "In the absence of any inputted cash from our shareholders, we warned staff on Monday this would, regrettably, be the situation. My focus now is entirely on finding investors and the right financial structure going forward. I would expect to be around to see the project through. It's like going through a minefield at the moment, but I am confident because people are still talking to us. Administration will be wholly determined by whether the directors are legally trading."
Ryan Leonard has had his loan to Tiverton Town extended until April 29th.
Argyle's players have pledged their commitment to fighting their corner for the rest of the season and paid tribute to the club's fans. Reports have emerged that the players were so unhappy with the manner in which they heard the news of the club's 10-point penalty that they were nearing a state of open revolt, however, one of the senior professionals has played down such an idea. He said: "We are as disappointed as everyone else that the club was forced to take the action it did. However, we are 100% committed, and united as a team, to fighting for Plymouth Argyle and for ourselves. We thank the Green Army for their unwavering support and will continue to strive to do our best for their team. We would also like to make public our support for the office staff at the club who, like us, have not been paid this month."
Jim Paterson has revealed he is still coming to terms with the death of his mother, Eileen, at the age of 54. Paterson has spent time away from Home Park on compassionate leave, but returned to action at Brighton on Tuesday. He is determined to not let the death of his mother, who had cancer, affect his performances on the pitch, and said: "My mum hadn't been feeling too well and just after Christmas she was taken into hospital. She had a sore back and they thought it was gallstones." But when Paterson travelled to Scotland to see his mother on January 22nd there was devastating news for him and his family. He said: "They told us it was cancer. It was a surprise to everybody because she didn't really drink or smoke." Despite this, Paterson returned to Plymouth in time to play against Bournemouth the following Saturday and was all set to line-up against Yeovil Town until he received a phone call from his father. Paterson said: "The doctors told us they would get back to us on the Wednesday after the Yeovil game to let us know what sort of treatment they could give my mum. I was on the bus on the way to Yeovil, and the gaffer had already named the team and I was playing. But my dad phoned me and said 'look son, you had better get up the road', which I did. They told us on the Wednesday it was terminal cancer and she had only a few days to go." Paterson's mother died on the morning of February 5th, two days before her 55th birthday. He added: "It has been a tough couple of weeks, and, to be honest with you, I wouldn't say I was in shock but I'm still coming to terms with it. So is everybody in my family. But the club have shown me great support. The gaffer told me to go up the road, keep myself ticking over and come back when I was ready. After the funeral, I wanted to try to get life back to normal, or as normal as it can be. Being back on the training ground and back on the pitch at least gives me a break from it. I can get out there and relax, and enjoy my football. It was a shocker, and it's still a shocker, but it's something you need to get on with and try to deal with and move forward. I spoke to a friend who lost his dad quite young as well and he told me time wasn't a healer but that you learn to deal with it better." With Argyle's problems off the pitch as well, it has been a traumatic time for the defender. He said: "I had two broken legs and a fractured bone in my back over the course of three years when I was younger but this has been my toughest season by far. But I know my mum wouldn't want me to dwell on it. She would give me a slap if I was using it as an excuse." Paterson admitted Argyle had put in a very disappointing performance against Brighton, and said: "Brighton are a good side, and you can understand why they are top of the league. But we didn't exactly make it hard for them, if I'm being honest. The talk on the bus back to Plymouth wasn't about the 10-point deduction, or what's going on at the club. It was about the actual game, and how bad we were and how we could be better. That's what we spoke about on the long trek home."
‘The season starts here’, is the message Peter Reid is sending out to his players. That does not mean Reid has given up hope they can escape almost certain relegation and he called on his small squad to try to defy the odds, even though they are stacked against them. Reid said: "We are in a difficult situation, but if we win football matches you never know what's going to happen. But we have got to win football matches. That's the bottom line. It's not a case of 'the season starts here, we know we are going down'. It's 'the season starts here, let's win football matches and have a real fight at this'. It's not a negative attitude. It's a positive one. We need to win football matches, and let's start against Colchester on Saturday." Reid wants his players to take a positive approach tomorrow and added: "It's a home game, and it's a very important one. We have got to put behind us all the problems we have had. We are on a terrible, terrible run and we need to address that. Why not start against Colchester? It will be a hard game, but we need a result to lift everybody." Argyle have cut admission prices by as much as £7 for the visit of Colchester to try to persuade some stay-away fans to return to Home Park. Reid has had no complaints about the backing of the supporters who have continued to follow the team. He said: "The fans have been brilliant, even at Brighton, which was some journey for them to make. They are absolutely brilliant, and we owe them a performance and a victory. We have just got to go out there and be positive. Hopefully, there will be a big crowd. We know the situation, but it's a football match and we have got to start winning football matches for everyone's sake." Reid admitted there would be changes to the team following the defeat by Brighton. One of them could see David Button replaced by Romain Larrieu. Reid said: "I look at every possibility, and the goalkeeping situation is a difficult one. I think David would admit he has been disappointed with a couple of the goals he has let in recently. That's something I'm looking at, but I'm looking at a few things to be perfectly honest."
Peter Reid has no intention of walking away from Argyle. He said: "I tell you what, I couldn't sleep at night if I walked away from this. I can't sleep at night anyhow so I'm in a terrible situation! The bottom line is that I want to be here. And I don't sleep at night because I'm going through permutations of the team. You know the way people count sheep when they try to get sleep. I have players. It's great! The support has been tremendous ever since I got here, and it's a really good football club with a fantastic history. So why walk away from the battle? There is still a job to do, and still games to be won. I have never been the best of losers, believe me. Losing as often as we have done is hard work. It hurts. I'm the one who, when Everton got beaten in the FA Cup final in 1986 and Liverpool did the double, wouldn't go on the bus and got fined. I'm a notoriously bad loser, even though, as a manager, I might hide it because I think that's important. I just want to try to win football matches. And that's it." Reid has had a long-standing friendship with Bobby Saxton, former Argyle player and manager, who worked for him at Manchester City and Sunderland. Saxton phoned Reid recently and the pair spoke about the situation at Home Park. Reid said: "Bobby told me I would look back at this as an experience. I have managed at the highest level and have had success. This job is not particularly enjoyable at the moment, but you have got to take the positives out of everything and that's what I'm trying to do." Reid admitted the team bus breaking down on the way to Brighton summed up Argyle's season. He said: "These things are sent to try you. You don't know whether to laugh or cry. But that's the way it's going at the moment. Three hours at a motorway services is not great. The bus was just outside Bristol, but I was still here. I was in my car later on when I got the phone call. These things happen. It was just unfortunate timing. I have had buses break down on me on numerous occasions." Reid added that one of them had been during his time as the national coach of Thailand. He said: "It was in Bangkok when it was 110 degrees and we were pushing the bus up a ramp, and the yellow shirts and the red shirts were fighting outside the airport. So this one was a walk in the park. No problem."
Peter Reid made Luke Young’s 18th birthday a day to remember by handing him his first start for Argyle, against Brighton and Hove Albion. Young was substituted in the 54th minute but Reid insisted the decision to withdraw Young was no reflection on his performance. "I just wanted to try something else, but I think the lad is a good footballer," he said. "It was a difficult game for him to make his full debut but I thought he handled it really well." Joe Mason had been Argyle's lone striker in a 4-2-3-1 formation until Rory Fallon replaced Young. Mason then moved to the left side of midfield, where Young had been playing, and Fallon led the attack. Reid explained the decision why he started with Mason, not Fallon, up front. He said: "I just wanted to get Joe in down the sides. I thought if we could keep it tight into the second half, I might have changed it and gone more positive. It was a game-plan, but it was one that didn't work."
Argyle will attempt to end their losing streak on Saturday, when Colchester United visit Home Park, and that is what Peter Reid wants to focus on, not off-the-pitch issues which are beyond his control. "I have made all the comments I want to on that," said Reid. "I will comment on the football. We have got a game against Colchester on Saturday and we need to win it. But we have got to play better than we did on Tuesday. Brighton are a good side and they played well but we weren't good enough, and we didn't make them work hard enough, in my opinion. We were beaten too easily, so I'm looking forward to Saturday now. We have got to shake ourselves down and we have got to do better against Colchester."
Peter Ridsdale says he is confident of finding a buyer for Argyle following ‘intensive discussions’ this week. Ridsdale was set to spend a second day in London today, meeting with three fresh groups who have made expressions of interest since news of Argyle’s step towards administration broke. Ridsdale was also locked in talks with a multi-millionaire Westcountry businessman until late into Monday night. The unnamed tycoon, who is looking to make his first move into football, has now met club chiefs five times and is thought to be best-placed to stage a takeover. But Ridsdale said he had also held an ‘encouraging’ third round of talks in the capital with a South East businessman last night. A further group, based in the United States, is still circling. Ridsdale has said it is now ‘almost impossible’ for current directors to remain in the boardroom. He said: “I’m confident we will have at least one credible, sensible, recommendable buyer emerge from this. It’s a fantastic football opportunity at a club with a huge catchment area.”
Kari Arnason has played in several positions for Argyle this season, and the latest sees him being asked to play as an attacking midfielder, supporting a lone striker. Last night at Brighton he was asked to assist Joe Mason in the frontline and, despite the result, took to his assignment with enthusiasm. Peter Reid, however, feels that he still has one or two areas to work on. He said: "He's got to have more discipline in his play. I shouldn't be bringing players off because I need them to show more discipline. He's been sent off and booked too many times. It's a lack of discipline." Arnason was disappointed Argyle lost by such a margin, and said: "Not so happy at the moment, I must say, but they're just a better team, simple as. They pop it around, their movement was brilliant. They're a good team, brilliant manager. You can tell that by the way they played today." Marcel Seip’s appearance in the defensive midfield was a surprise, but Arnason felt his team-mate did his job. He also had some words for full debutant Luke Young, who started his first game on his 18th birthday. "Obviously it's not Seip's natural position," Arnason said, "but you have to rest players because it's a thin squad. The manager went for it, it didn't work out. You can't blame Marcel for that. I think he did his job decently. And Youngy, as well, he came in; he's a young lad and a decent footballer. He needs some experience and he could be a brilliant footballer in the future."
Carl Fletcher did not mince his words as he summed up the double blow of Argyle being docked 10 points and then losing 4-0 at Brighton & Hove Albion. "It is the lowest of the low, really," said Fletcher. "It doesn't get much worse than this. It's a funny place to be at the moment, and a lot of things need to sink in for the lads. It's been tough, and we probably could have done with a couple more days before this game to get over it all. It doesn't take away from the fact that we lost again, and that's disappointing. In terms of the club's long-term future, it is probably best for the club to go into administration, get a buyer, wipe the slate clean and get someone in who can sort things out and do it the right way. Sometimes, when things aren't going well, it has the opposite effect on the pitch, you can pull performances and wins from nowhere when you are not expected to - but that doesn't seem to be happening for us." Argyle are now almost certain to be relegated to League 2 but Fletcher does not believe that is a reason for chucking in the towel. "We aren't going to give up," he said. "You have just got to keep working hard, be as professional as you can. You have got to think of any way you can to get through the tough times. We are all playing for our futures. Every game we play is a shop window for all of us - you're playing for your next meal on the table."
Argyle lost 4-0 at Brighton and Hove Albion. Argyle: Button, Zubar, N’Gala, Nelson, Seip, Clark, Arnason, Fletcher, Young, Paterson, Mason. Subs - Fallon, Duguid (not used – Larrieu, Patterson, Timar, Stephens, Peterlin,). Attendance - 7,261.
Argyle will still be without Onismor Bhasera for tonight's game at Brighton and Hove Albion. Peter Reid said: "Bhasera's back in training, but tonight's game has come too early for him." Reid added that the rest of his squad were anxious to put a recent bad run of results behind them. He said: "We're desperate to get a clean sheet. We've not had a game for 10 days and the last game we had was very disappointing, but we had a lot of games over the Christmas period and it took its toll. I'm hoping the rest will galvanise us. We've got to get back to basics: defending when crosses come into the box and in attack being more clinical."
A mystery Westcountry businessman held late night buy-out talks with Argyle yesterday, according to reports. None of the board of directors were willing to speak publicly last night and reports suggest that deputy chairman Paul Stapleton yesterday flew to Dubai with his wife for a holiday. Peter Ridsdale said: "There are still three groups in the running and two of them are well down the track. I think we're far enough down the track with them to be confident of finding a solution. If we have not got a buyer within a prescribed period then administration is the only option." Reports suggest at least one local director is determined to remain on the board, with new backers joining the table. But Ridsdale said he was not part of a consortium planning to take over the club and insisted he had no knowledge of any directors' plans to remain. He said: "I want to see this football club survive. I've been locked into something I won't let myself get out of without a successful conclusion." He said rumours of club chiefs staging a pre-packed administration, which could see them transfer Argyle's assets to a 'phoenix company' and continue in the driving seat, were not true.
Argyle's match with Leyton Orient is set to be rearranged again after Orient’s FA Cup draw with Arsenal. It had previously been rescheduled for March 1st after heavy snowfall caused the original fixture to be postponed on December 18th but Orient will now play Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on March 2nd.
Peter Reid insists his players will battle for every point after receiving a major blow yesterday. He said: "Can we stay up? Listen, it's going to be very difficult, I'm not daft. But, as long as there's a chance, we'll keep fighting. It gives the board of directors the chance to find some investors for the football club, that's their domain. From my point of view and from that of the players and the supporters, it's a hammer-blow in terms of the points deduction and we have got a difficult situation on our hands. We need to fight for every point and it's going to be hard. But where there's a will, there's a way and I know the players and supporters will be battling away to stay up. We all need to back Argyle and keep going. We know the situation now. We've just got to try as much as we can to get as many points as we can. It's going to be difficult, there's no disguising that fact. But this is the way the cards have been dealt. We've got to get together now and push on and fight on. The players have already been through a lot this season, like everybody else at the club. But there are worse things happening out there in the world than what is happening to us." The players have not been paid in full since December, but Reid said there was nothing he or they could do about the financial situation except to act in a professional manner and try and get results. He added: "We're training as normal and we've got a big game coming up. I think the players are more concerned about our recent run of defeats, which isn't good enough. That's what we can affect and I think the players are being as professional about it as they can be and are focusing on getting a result at Brighton. Morale is okay, certainly on the training ground. We're professional footballers and the other side of things we have just got to put away. The lads are upbeat, remarkably so, and they'll be even more upbeat if they can get a result against Brighton." Reid accepted that Argyle face a tough game this evening. Reid, who watched Brighton at Stoke, said: "They played 4-4-2 on Saturday, but I expect them to be 4-3-3 against us. They made at least four changes against Stoke from the games they previously played. Craig Noone didn't play because he was cup-tied and Ashley Barnes will be a threat. It's going to be difficult."
Argyle will be up against a couple of familiar faces when they travel to Brighton & Hove Albion tonight. Peter Reid admitted he never wanted Ashley Barnes and Craig Noone to leave Home Park, but matters beyond his control forced their sale. Reid said: "When I first came here, Brighton were already actively pursuing Ashley Barnes, and it was a deal sort of already done, the club needed the money. It was the same with Craig Noone in January, he's a player with a great chance of going higher, and I was sorry to lose both players, but the circumstances are difficult for the football club. It will be good seeing them, I just hope they don't do the business against us on the football pitch. It's difficult when your best players go, that is without a doubt, and I think it's difficult for the other players as well. As everyone knows, there is an embargo on the club, but it's up to the lads who go out there and wear the Argyle shirt. We need to play with a passion and try and be difficult to beat. The lads that have gone can't help us now."
Paul Stapleton released the following statement this afternoon: The Directors of Plymouth Argyle Football Club have today issued a 'Notice of Intention' to appoint an administrator as they continue to seek a solution to the Company's current cash flow problems. This action gives the Club protection from Insolvency Action from Creditors, whilst at the same time allowing the Directors the opportunity to turn current expressions of interest into a permanent and lasting solution for the Club. This action does not mean that the Club is in administration today nor does it assume that it will necessarily enter into administration at a future date. Further steps will depend upon the outcome of current discussions with potential investors. Under current Football League rules and despite the fact that the action taken is not administration, Plymouth Argyle Football Club will be subject to a ten-point penalty under the League's Sporting Sanctions rule. To allow the best options for the way forward to be independently assessed, David Hinchliffe from Walker Morris Solicitors has been appointed to work with Peter Ridsdale who will for the time being continue to act as an Independent Advisor to The Board.
Peter Reid admitted it was a ‘hammer blow’ to be hit by a ten-point penalty by the Football League, but vowed to fight on as Argyle manager. He said: "It stretches everybody. It's a difficult time for everyone concerned and this is just another hammer blow, but there's only one way to overcome that which is on the football pitch for us as a team, as players and the manager and that's what we'll be looking to do. It's the rules laid down by the league and we've got to get on with it, it's just how we react to it. We've all got to pull even closer together and have a siege mentality. It's difficult but we've just got to go to Brighton and the only thing we can do as a football team and a club is try and get a result there. There's worse off people out there than us so we've just got to fight on. The supporters have been brilliant, I just feel sorry for them but I reiterate that we just have to fight and get as many points as we can. From a footballing point of view, it's a massive blow to everyone - players, supporters and myself. I think the players are more concerned about the run of defeats we've had, which isn't good enough and like I've said on many occasions, that's the thing we can effect even though it's going to be a really difficult game at Brighton. The players are being as professional as they can and focusing on trying to get a result against Brighton after some disappointing results." Reid called on fans to help, and added: "The most important thing is to safeguard this football club because it is a fantastic football club, and then if in anyway possible, to get the embargo lifted and get some new players in to help us fight even with these ten points. First and foremost, this football club has got to keep going. I think there's too many people with a love for Argyle, hopefully the directors can sort out the financial problems and hopefully this is the lowest ebb and we can start rising from the situation. I'll stay as long as the board of directors want me. When you look at some of the stories of the Argyle fans - the young schoolboy giving his last 53 pence when that's all he's got. I'm in a job, it's a difficult one, but perversely I'm enjoying it and I want to see it through."
Peter Ridsdale has said that it is unlikely that Argyle will be entering administration today. Ridsdale said that meetings with three groups interested in buying the club had continued over the weekend. He added that they were going on into last night, and were at a delicate stage. A fourth party taking an interest, based in the United States, is still circling. It is understood that interest from a Swiss group has cooled in recent days. Ridsdale has declined to name any of the groups, but said: "As far as I’m concerned, every day is a D-Day now. I’m pleased to say we’ve got people who are potentially interested in the club, but the situation could take any number of turns over the next few days."
Argyle’s youth team beat Torquay United 4-0 at Bovey Tracey yesterday, the goals scored by James Bradley, Jack Stephens, Jake Baker and Jordon Copp. Argyle: Varazinskis, Bradley, Stephens, Richards, Copp, Hart, Clifford, Sims, Harper-Penman, Rickard, Baker. Subs - Vassell, Berry, Coombes (not used - Jones, Trudgian).
Argyle board members were locked in talks yesterday, amid speculation the club is on the verge of administration. They are expecting a tax bill in excess of £300,000 on Tuesday, and currently have no way of paying it. Paul Stapleton, Tony Wrathall and Robert Dennerly yesterday held four hours of talks at Home Park, with Peter Ridsdale. Ridsdale refused to comment afterwards on whether administration was a likely outcome, but said ‘all options’ remain on the table. Leaving yesterday's meeting, Stapleton would only say: "We're having a meeting and we're continuing to meet." The standard administration process would see an accountant appointed to restructure finances, sell off assets and find new owners. With many players having been sold in January, Argyle's biggest asset is their heavily-mortgaged stadium. The administrator could then draft a Company Voluntary Agreement, offering creditors just a portion of the money owed to them. That would shrink the club's debts but also leave board members out of pocket. Administration would also land Argyle with a ten-point deduction, meaning almost certain relegation. Under pre-packaged administration, the current owners could create a company which could take on Argyle's assets and see them continue at the helm. Asked whether entering that was a likely option ahead of Tuesday's tax bill, which will be quickly followed by a six-figure wage bill, Ridsdale declined to comment. But he said: "We are aware of all the milestones. All options were put on the table, considering the situation we are in. It is always a possible scenario if you can't find any other option. All I ever do is update the board on where we are and allow them to decide. The work I am doing at the moment is 99 per cent based on finding the best investment options going forward."
Peter Reid is hoping Argyle’s fans will fall in behind his squad for the cut-price home game with Colchester United a week tomorrow. The club have teamed up with the Argyle Fans Trust to get admission prices cut by as much as £7 to try and increase support for the Trust's Groundswell campaign. Reid said: "It's a great idea and, hopefully, people in the city will take advantage and come along and support us. The fans have been great this season. The players all appreciate the support we get from them, home and away. It really can make a difference if you're the home team and you know the fans are a 12th man for you. It's no secret we are desperate for a league win and, of course, three points. So, believe me, fans' support can make all the difference when you're a team looking to get every little edge going." The Groundswell campaign aims to bring in badly-needed extra revenue for the club, and Trust chairman Graham Clark, said: "This is brilliant news. The Trust is delighted that Argyle are actively participating in Groundswell. For our part, we will do everything we can to ensure Home Park is as full as possible for the remainder of the season. We hope this will be the beginning of a relationship between Argyle and the Trust that will continue for many, many years."
Argyle's trip to Carlisle United has been re-arranged for Tuesday, March 15th, at 7.45pm. With Argyle already playing Hartlepool the previous Saturday, the squad will now stay in the north-east for the entire trip. Peter Reid said the extended stay made sense for logistical reasons and he is also hoping to use his contacts to find training facilities. "It makes a lot of sense that Carlisle, knowing they have to move their match because of their Wembley trip, have brought it forward so it coincides with us being up in Hartlepool," he said. "Logistically, because of our geographical location, it saves us having to travel up the North East again. I'll be able to use my contacts to sort out some training facilities for the players between the two matches."
Argyle's players have still not been paid their wages for January. Peter Ridsdale yesterday confirmed that the players were still waiting for their cash, and said: "The players have not yet been paid. But we are hopeful that by keeping them involved they will understand and hopefully that situation will be resolved shortly. The focus this week has been very much about getting people to talk about investment around the table. There are a host of meetings taking place with three different groups. There are a number of others on the periphery but we have got fairly intense discussions with three."
Adam Sadler insisted opportunity is likely to coming knocking sooner rather than later for Argyle's fringe and youth players. After the Devon Bowl quarter-final at Bideford on Tuesday night he said: "It was a good performance by us overall and it was encouraging to see both established and youngsters play their part and take the opposition seriously. Krisztian and Jim both played well, as did Bondz and made sure we were sound at the back. And it was also a good outing and opportunity for the likes of Anton Peterlin to get a game under his belt. Jim, as we know has been on compassionate leave, so it was good for him to get 90 minutes, too, and like the model pro he is, his mind was fully on the job in hand. Bondz hasn't had too much first-team football, although he came on for Karl Duguid against Tranmere on Saturday. And, it's important that these lads and also the young players stay sharp as given the size of our first-team squad, it's a distinct possibility one of them will get a call up before the end of the season. For example, Curtis Nelson and Marcel Seip, have forged a good partnership in central defence in the first team. But all it needs is an injury to one or both and then the opportunity will come knocking for the likes of Krisztian and Bondz to step in. And youth players, too, like Jack Stephens who has been in the first team this season, as could one or two of the others, like very good technical players like Jordan Copp and Jake Baker."
Jim Paterson has returned to training with Argyle after being on compassionate leave for a fortnight. Peter Reid has no concerns over his fitness levels after a two-week absence, and said: "Jim has been through a tough time but he's a really good professional. I know he worked out very conscientiously while he was away."
There is still no date set for Onismor Bhasera to make his comeback from a knee injury. Peter Reid said: "Bas is coming along. He's running and we are just taking it day to day with him."
Argyle beat Bideford 4-1 on penalties last night, after a 2-2 draw in normal time, to progress to the semi-final of the Devon St Luke's Bowl. Argyle's goals were scored by Matt Rickard and Jordan Copp. Adam Sadler said: "We dominated with the ball and created a number of chances and really should have wrapped it up in normal time. I was pleased that we showed a good mentality in terms of organization and concentration and eventually got the result we deserved, based on chances created. The opposition were fantastic. We were really made to feel welcome and their lads certainly played their part in a great competitive spectacle." Argyle: Chenoweth, Stephens, Timar, N'Gala, Paterson, Peterlin, Copp, Clifford, Baker, Rickard, Sims. Subs - Berry, Harper-Penman (not used - Coombes, Richards, Varazinskis).
Peter Reid is still trying to line up loan signings for Argyle even though the club remain under a transfer embargo. Bob Shaw, an experienced chief scout who has worked for Sunderland and Hull City most recently, has been enlisted by Reid and is checking out some loan targets at matches this week. Reid had drawn up a list of 15 potential loan signings, but many of them have now been snapped up by other clubs. They include Chelsea midfielder Conor Clifford, who moved to Notts County on a one-month loan last week.
Joe Mason was born in Plymouth and is proud to play for Argyle, so it really hurts him to see the club in such a desperate situation, on and off the pitch. He said: "It's horrible to see, especially as I'm a local lad. It's devastating. It's not that long ago we were fourth in the Championship and going for the play-offs. We have got to start believing we will get some results because, at the end of the day, that's what we need badly. It's not nice, obviously, but we have all got to dig in now. It's tough, I'm not going to lie, but this is when you have got to show your character." Peter Reid admitted after the defeat by Tranmere he thought Mason was Argyle's only goal threat. The striker insisted he was not bothered about the burden of expectation, and said: "A lot of people do say to me 'we need you to score some goals'. But I don't feel the pressure, to be honest. I'm a local lad and I would love to score loads of goals and get us out of this. That's what I'm going to try to do." Tranmere led 1-0 at half-time on Saturday, and added two more goals in the second period before Mason struck in stoppage time. He said: "We never really got going until the last two or three minutes, which isn't good enough. Everyone is disappointed." Mason had another chance deeper into added time, but Tranmere ‘keeper Tony Warner made a good save. Mason admitted: "I should have scored. It was sloppy defending from them and I should have just shot instead of trying to take it around him. If I had got that one in, then maybe we could have got another goal. There were a few minutes left." While Argyle have struggled on the pitch, their financial troubles have been headline news. Mason added: "We try not to let it affect anything on the pitch, but it's not ideal. It's definitely not something that is helping, but what can you do? You have just got to get on with it."
Joe Mason scored his first home goal of the season as a late consolation in the defeat to Tranmere, and while Peter Reid was not completely satisfied with his performance, he recognises how important he is to the team. "Joe Mason looked like scoring," said Reid. "I don't think he had a particularly good game in terms of linking up, but there's always a goal in the lad. At this moment in time, without criticising anyone, he's the only one who looks like getting us a goal. That's a problem. That's a real problem. In football matches we aren't going to get goals like we did at MK Dons, brilliant goals. It's those ones like Joe Mason gets, where you get across people or get a header. At this moment in time, whether it's a lack of belief to get on the end of things, that's what we've got to start doing." Karl Duguid has been filling in at left back recently, but was forced off before half time with a groin injury, being replaced by Bondz N'Gala. Reid said: "He's had this problem in there and it was too sore to carry on. Funnily enough we did a little bit in training yesterday with Bondz going in that position. I thought he did alright when he went there, he won things in the air, he was aggressive." The manager also had some positive words for Luke Young, who made another appearance. "I thought he did smashing when he come on," added Reid.
Argyle are yet to be awarded a penalty this season, and believed they should have had one yesterday with the game at 0-0. Tranmere defender Ian Goodison appeared to use an arm in the area to block a Joe Mason cross, but the referee did not see it that way. "I thought it was a penalty," said Peter Reid. "We haven't had one this season. I've got no reason to see why we aren't going to get one. Without having a go at the officials, we need a break from somewhere. I don't even think, if he had have given it, it would have been a break. I think it would have been a fair decision. I think he'll be disappointed when he looks at it again. When things are going against you, these things happen. But there's only one way out, and it's hard work. I know I keep on saying it, but there's no magic wand. We've just got to get on with it."
After seeing his defence concede three more goals Peter Reid is concerned about the fragility of his back four. "We've got to start doing the ugly things, become hard to beat," he said. "Too many goals are going in over recent weeks. I think we've got to get back to basics where it's 'get a clean sheet, boys.' At least if get a clean sheet you get a point. The other things will look after themselves. We're conceding too easy. If someone plays great football, gets in and gets a good goal you go 'wow', but the goals we're conceding, especially the three today, I think are stoppable."
The Argyle youth team lost 2-0 at Bristol Rovers yesterday. Argyle: Varazinskis, Bradley, Sawyer, Richards, Clifford, Sims, Copp, Berry, Rickard, Baker, Coombes. Subs - Vassell, Hart, Sullivan (not used - Walton).
Argyle lost 3-1 to Tranmere Rovers at Home Park, the goal scored by Joe Mason after 90 minutes. Argyle: Button, Zubar, Nelson, Seip, Duguid, Clark, Arnason, Fletcher, Mason, Fallon, Patterson. Subs - N’Gala, Young (not used – Larrieu, Timar, Stephens, Peterlin,). Attendance - 8,015.
Peter Reid has been pleased with the progress of David Button this season. He said: "David is a good 'keeper, but I think he's still learning his trade. I'm a great believer that 'keepers aren't at their best until they are in their 30s. Goalkeeping is about shot-stopping and coming from crosses, but it's also about decision-making. And you can only learn that by playing games." With no goalkeeping coach on the staff at Argyle, Button and Romain Larrieu have worked closely on the training ground, with Larrieu also taking Button for warm-ups before matches. Reid said: "I have got to say Romain has been fantastic with David, in terms of taking him in coaching sessions and being there when he needs him. You have got to give Romain a lot of credit for that. But David has certainly saved us in games and I think he's learning his trade really well with us." Ollie Chenoweth, a first-year professional, is the third 'keeper in Argyle's squad. Reid added: "The three 'keepers work really well together, and that's typical of the spirit of all the players. We are down to bare bones when it comes to staff, as well as players, so it's really difficult. But we all mix in together, and that's the good part." One feature of Button's goalkeeping in recent games has been his strong, decisive punching when crosses have come into the penalty area. Reid said: "I think a lot of 'keepers are doing it now. Whether it's the movement of the ball, or people putting pressure on them, I'm not sure. Certainly, if you are playing against Stoke City I think you would come and punch certain things. And that's a compliment to Stoke. I personally like 'keepers catching it, but I'm not out there making the decisions."
Argyle's game at Carlisle United, scheduled for April 2nd, will have to be rearranged because Carlisle are now in the final of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy the following day. One option would be to stage the game on Monday March 14th so that the Argyle squad could stay in the north of England after their game against Hartlepool United two days earlier. An Argyle spokesman said: "We have had preliminary talks with Carlisle. We are waiting for them to get back to us with their thoughts. No date has yet been ruled out by either club."
Peter Reid has no qualms about describing Argyle's game against Tranmere Rovers tomorrow as crucial to the rest of their season. He said: "I can't impress on the fans enough how much their support means to us. They have been brilliant. And we need it again tomorrow because this is a crucial match for this football club. I can't guarantee a victory against Tranmere. It's going to be hard. But what I can guarantee is that if we get that vocal support and people through the turnstiles we will have a better chance of winning. That's a fact." Reid has been pleased with the way his side have passed the ball recently, with the exception of the defeat at Brentford last Saturday, but believes they will need another quality if they are to overcome Tranmere. He said: "My message will be 'besides playing good football, let's win the battle'. And this will be a battle. We need to earn the right to play our football. Les Parry's team will test us physically, and we need to be up for it. And I don't mean with rash challenges. We have got to be sensible." Reid has earned praise from supporters for the way he has conducted himself during the club's financial crisis, but all he is interested in is improving the results on the pitch. He added: "The bottom line is we need to win football matches. We have had one victory in eight games and that's not good enough. That's all that concerns me. The only thing that is occupying my mind is a victory over Tranmere. If we get that, I will be absolutely delighted, and that's what we have got to focus on."
George Synan has hit back at claims that he and Yasuaki Kagami are abandoning Argyle. The pair are under pressure for failing to deliver promised instalments of a £2 million rescue fund. Synan stated that the pair were working ‘around the clock’ to free up more cash for the club, and said: "Since our investment, we have let the local management make the decisions and have tried our best to support the outcome. We feel the facts are somewhat different than what has been said regarding our efforts in supporting. We are working around the clock to secure additional funding, and the last thing we want to see is the club go into administration." Synan said that about £950,000 had been sent to Plymouth since last February through Kagami's K&K Shonan Management Corporation. However, Keith Todd said in October last year that Kagami had invested ‘no money’ since he raised his stake in the club to 38 per cent in July 2009.
A loan that helped keep Argyle in business is under investigation by the Charity Commission, it was reported today. The loan from the Plymouth Argyle Supporters Training and Development Trust (PAST&DT) was understood to be in the region of £330,000, a large portion of which was used by Argyle to pay off their outstanding tax bill. Paul Stapleton, who is also a trustee of PAST&DT, has declined to comment on the matter, but the charity's chairman, Jeff Ellis, strenuously defended the decision to make the loan. He said: "First and foremost, it was a commercial opportunity for us, as the trustees, to better the return on the investment. In doing that, it gave us an opportunity to support the club as well. At this moment in time it's a win-win for both." The club would be paying back the loan, with interest, at regular intervals, he added. But now the Government's charities watchdog says it will be contacting PAST&DT for further details and a Charity Commission spokeswoman said: "Concerns have been raised with the Charity Commission regarding the Plymouth Argyle Supporters Training and Development Trust. We are currently considering these in order to determine what, if any, regulatory interest there may be for us."
Rory Patterson emerged unscathed from Northern Ireland's 3-0 defeat by Scotland on Wednesday and is expected to return to training with Argyle this morning. Peter Reid is hoping Patterson will have been boosted by his latest international call-up, despite the disappointing result, and said: "I think playing for your country is a fantastic honour. Rory scored a penalty for Northern Ireland in their last game against Morocco and it gave him a big gee-up when he came back to us. Hopefully, playing 90 minutes against Scotland, albeit in a difficult game, will have given him extra confidence and a little bit of sharpness. That will do Plymouth Argyle a lot of good."
With Argyle still under a transfer embargo, Peter Reid cannot add any loan signings to his squad, and so has the same players available to him for the visit of Tranmere as he did at Brentford last Saturday. Karl Duguid will continue at left-back in the absence of Onismor Bhasera and Jim Paterson. Reid said: "I think it's going to be a bit too soon for Bhasera, and Jim Paterson doesn't make it for the weekend, but will be with us on Monday."
Joe Mason says he has no regrets about his decision not to join Swindon Town on transfer deadline day. He said: "It's horrible seeing what's going on because I've seen the good days, I wouldn't want to leave the club in this state. I want to make sure that we definitely stay up and try and push on. No disrespect to Swindon but I just didn't think that was the right move for me. If I'm going to leave then I want to make it a much better move for myself and I just didn't think I'd be doing that if I went to Swindon." Since opting to stay, Mason, like the rest of the squad, is still awaiting his January pay. He added: "There's nothing we can do about it, it's not ideal because we've all got things to pay for, bills and mortgages, but what can you do?"
Peter Reid is poised to bring in much-needed recruits on loan, once he is given the green light to bolster his squad. Reid watched two of his former clubs, Bolton Wanderers and Manchester City, in a reserve game earlier this week. He said: "I've been out and about at games, watching players so that I'm ready once the embargo goes. I've got a list of targets and I'm working my way through them, which is why I was at the Bolton reserve game in the week. I'm certainly not going to say who I was looking at, or if any of them were at the Bolton game. But it's fair to say that we've had trouble scoring goals and letting them in. That's not a criticism of the players at the club. They've been outstanding, but clearly we need strengthening and in a perfect world I'd do that." Tranmere visit Home Park on Saturday on a three-match unbeaten run, but still deep in the relegation battle. Reid, whose team have lost seven of their last eight league games, are just two-points ahead of Rovers, and he added: "It's an absolutely massive game for us. The Green Army can do us a great favour by coming to Home Park and backing the lads on Saturday. It's crucial we get a win, we're not far away from doing that, so a big, vocal support would do us the world of good."
Paul Stapleton has revealed none of the club's directors would stand in the way of a last-ditch buyout, with five separate parties now interested in the club, according to Peter Ridsdale. It is thought some of those potential buyers are interested in picking up the club for a nominal fee, plus the cash it would take to keep them afloat. Stapleton admitted that could be a favourable outcome for the club, and said: "No director will hold back Plymouth Argyle or the club's future. We are talking all the time, talking to potential stadium purchasers and investors. These things take time but nobody is going to stand in the way of something that is in the club's best interests. The sale and lease of Home Park, bringing new investment into the club; we're looking at all those aspects. It's not going to be easy but we're doing everything we can." Reports suggest potential buyers are hoping the club can dispose of certain debts before a deal is done. The club owes around £10million, though the vast majority of that is through loans from shareholders, both secured and unsecured. Asked if there was a possibility of Argyle changing hands for as little as £1, Stapleton said: "If the buyer also had investment for the club, then yes. We have to think of Plymouth Argyle's future. As a fan myself, I never wanted to see Plymouth Argyle in this state. Peter Ridsdale has been fantastic. He's come in and since then certain things have come to light that we weren't aware of. But now is not the time to be playing the blame game. Lessons will be learnt, but the key thing now is we have to focus all our efforts on working together to find a solution. The High Court hearing was a hurdle, there are more hurdles to come and we have got to do everything we can to make sure we can jump those."
In the High Court today Mr Registrar Nicholls formally dismissed winding-up petitions against Argyle and a related company, Home Park Properties Ltd, on request from petitioner Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs. HMRC's counsel Catherine Addy told the Registrar that both the club and the company's debt and costs had been paid in full. However, Peter Ridsdale said afterwards that the club had other creditors and ‘still has a long way to go’. Ridsdale said that he would be leaving his position with the club today, but would continue to aid the search for a new buyer or investors at a distance. He said: "Clearly there is still a long way to go for the football club. It still has a number of creditors. We ask for their patience. The club will be working tirelessly to make sure the creditors are paid in full and the club is restored to its full financial health. Every day we survive it gets better. I was advising the board, and I made clear that would cease today. I will continue trying to find a buyer or investors, but I will do that at a distance. It's a big uphill test but that is up to the club not me."
Onismor Bhasera has returned from a trip to South Africa for treatment on his knee injury and Peter Reid is hoping he will be fit to return to action soon. Reid said: "Bhasera is back from South Africa and is working in the gym. I'm hoping, having spoken to the physio, he will be fit to play within a couple of weeks. He went over there for four or five days for treatment from someone he knows."
Argyle are due in the High Court this morning as talks over a potential buy-out continue in the capital. The club have paid Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs more than £1 million since the beginning of the year so the hearing should be a formality, and the petition dismissed. Talks are expected to continue today between Peter Ridsdale and potential investors. Ridsdale is understood to have met interested parties from the United States and Switzerland, as well as a locally-based potential backer, yesterday.
Carl Fletcher believes Argyle can halt their slide down the table. He said: "I think Saturday was a bit of a blip, and Bournemouth away was a bit of a blip. Other than that, the performances have been pretty decent, and we have been playing football the right way. It's very difficult to do that in this league and it shows the character we have got in the squad. We have worked hard on our passing and trying to do things the right way. In a lot of the games I don't think we have got what we deserved out of them, but at the end of the day we need results. Everyone is confident we will get them and, hopefully, on and off the pitch things will turn around for us."
Peter Reid is undaunted by the challenge of trying to keep Argyle in League One. "It's a battle, but I have never shirked a battle before, as a player or a manager," he said. "I'm up for it as much as I have ever been, and I'm going to take the players along as well. There will not be a white flag from me. It will be the complete opposite, in fact. It's a difficult one, but the harder the job the harder you have got to fight. The one thing I'm concentrating on is winning against Tranmere on Saturday because it's a big, big game, and I don't mind saying that. Sometimes, as a manager, you try to keep pressure off your players, but this match is going to be crucial, and you can't hide away from that." Argyle's latest setback was the loss to Brentford on Saturday and Reid was desperately disappointed with the lacklustre performance. He said: "We had a bad day at the office. We conceded two very poor goals from our point of view and I wasn't happy about that." Reid had been the assistant boss to Tony Pulis at Stoke City before taking on his current role. Seven months on he has no regrets about the move. He added: "I'm the manager of a great football club which had support at Brentford that was second to none in the circumstances, and I mean that. We have got to keep the football club in this league, and that's all I'm focusing on. I had a brilliant time at Stoke City, but this is the future for me."
The Plymouth Argyle Supporters Training and Development Trust released the following statement yesterday: "Plymouth Argyle Supporters Training and Development Trust is pleased to announce that, following an opportunity to invest in Home Park Stadium, the Trust has agreed to provide a short-term mortgage secured on Home Park Stadium. These negotiations have been ongoing since January 1st and have now reached a satisfactory outcome. The Trustees are pleased to have been able to agree a package which will benefit both parties."
Argyle chiefs are pinning the club’s survival hopes on a last-ditch buyout, with a £2million promise from Japan looking all but doomed. Three groups of investors are in talks over buying a majority share in the club, newspaper reports suggested today. It is understood they are seeking complete control, with any deal leading to a complete overhaul in the corridors of power at Home Park. The reports state that three groups of potential investors, from the United States, Switzerland and the UK, are involved in discussions with Peter Ridsdale, and are thought to be considering making a move for 100 per cent of shares in the club. That could potentially see the club sold for £1, with the new owners taking on Argyle’s cashflow problem and other liabilities. Ridsdale declined to comment on the latest developments last night but did confirm his unpaid role running day-to-day activities at Home Park will come to an end tomorrow. He said: “There is no way we can see through the season without further investment. The situation is frankly desperate now and time is running out really quickly to find a solution.”
Joe Mason struggled to make an impact on his return to action for Argyle at Brentford at Griffin Park. Mason played on the right-side of midfield in the first half, before being switched to a central role for the start of the second period. Peter Reid said: "We tried a couple of things with him. We tried him in a wide position and we tried him 'in the hole'. To be fair to Joe, he has been out with an ankle injury. He possibly needed a game and, hopefully, he will be better next week after playing in this one." Reid used two substitutes in the second half, first sending on Luke Young for Rory Fallon. Reid said: "Rory Fallon has had a problem with a toe injury so, with the state of the game, I put the young lad on." The other change saw Krisztian Timar replace Rory Patterson in the 82nd minute, and he played as a makeshift striker. Reid added: "I thought I might he get the bounce of the ball or the rub of the green and create a chance, but it wasn't to be."
Argyle's poor run of results continued with a defeat at Brentford on Saturday and Peter Reid had no complaints about the outcome of the match. He said: "I thought the better side won. The conditions were difficult. There was a swirling wind out there and it was hard to get it down it and pass it. But I thought they just won more second balls than us. We huffed and puffed, and hit the bar early on with a great strike from Kari Arnason, but, apart from that, we got what we deserved. In conditions like that, it's not going to be pretty and sometimes it's about winning those second balls, and we didn't do it. They won more of them and, consequently, we lost the game. From their point of view, they were two really two good goals, but from our point of view it was disappointing defending. For the first one, we didn't stop a cross and the lad had a free header at the back stick. Then, for the second goal, he cut onto his left foot, which is his stronger side, and we didn't stop the shot." Argyle had the advantage of a strong breeze behind them in the first half, but could not make it count. Reid added: "If you tried to knock it in the first half the ball was running out of play. I wanted us to try to get over the top in the second half and turn them, but we didn't do it well enough. We didn't have enough pace out there to stretch them, but they had the pace to stretch us." Argyle face Tranmere Rovers at Home Park on Saturday, desperate to end a sequence of four successive defeats. Reid said: "In some of those games we didn't deserve to get beaten. We created chances. This time we didn't and we got what we deserved." When asked whether he took any positives out of the defeat by Brentford, Reid replied: "Yes, there is a game next week, thank God."
Carl Fletcher has revealed Argyle's players have still not been paid their wages for January and admitted it was a 'very tough' situation for all of the squad. He said: "I'm sure a lot of us haven't been in this position before and it's very tough. It's your livelihood at the end of the day. It's the roof over your head. It's difficult for everyone and, obviously, the results on the pitch aren't taking away any of the troubles off it. We have got to get through it together and, hopefully, things can be resolved sooner rather than later. It does affect you because you have got to pay for food on the table, nappies for your kids, and stuff like that. It affects everyone, whether you are 18 or 19 and over 30. It's a stressful time and you have got to look to your inner self to try to pull through it. There is nothing we can do about the off-the-field stuff. I just hope it gets sorted sooner rather than later. There have been no wages for January yet. At the end of the day, if there is nothing there, there is nothing there." Argyle have settled all of their tax debts with HM Revenue and Customs, so HMRC will ask for a winding-up petition against the club to be dismissed at a High Court hearing on Wednesday. But until the players are paid, a transfer embargo imposed by the Football League will remain in place. Fletcher and Romain Larrieu have tried to keep their team-mates up-to-date about the crisis and have spoken to club officials and the Professional Footballers' Association, but there is only so much they can do. Fletcher added: "At the end of the day, we aren't qualified to deal with that side of the thing. That's why you have people who work in the offices and on the board of directors. That's their domain. We wouldn't expect them to come in and tell us about how to play football, so we put our trust in them." Argyle were beaten at a windy Griffin Park on Saturday and Fletcher said: "It wasn't great. It was a windy day and a bobbly pitch and they just out battled us. I think the first goal was going to be key and, unfortunately for us, they got it. It was always going to be uphill from there."
Carl Fletcher had a passionate conversation with a member of the Green Army following the defeat at Brentford yesterday. As the players began their post-match warm-down at Griffin Park, their attention was drawn to a vociferous Argyle fan that had stayed behind. Fletcher immediately trotted over and engaged with him and other fans. "We had fantastic support here today, and they are obviously very disgruntled with the way things are going at the minute," he said. "Obviously things on the pitch and off the pitch aren't going ideally and the least you can do for your fans is to go over and talk to them. They have made a massive long trip to come and support us, so five minutes of our time to go and talk to them was nothing. I hope it made their journey home a little easier. There were a few of them there who are Plymouth through and through. The passion's there and they wanted to speak to us, ask things, to see our side of things. We should respect them."
Argyle’s youth team lost 4-1 to Torquay United at Elburton yesterday, the goal scored by Lewis Coombes. Argyle: Varazinskis, Bradley, Sawyer, Richards, Clifford, Sims, Berry, Copp, Coombes, Rickard, Baker. Subs - Jones, LeCointe, Vassell (not used - Ord).
Argyle lost 2-0 at Brentford. Argyle: Button, Zubar, Nelson, Seip, Duguid, Clark, Arnason, Fletcher, Mason, Fallon, Patterson. Subs - Young , Timar (not used – Larrieu, N’Gala, Stephens, Peterlin,). Attendance - 5,613.
Peter Ridsdale says he is working on the assumption that rescue cash will fail to arrive from Japan. Yasuaki Kagami and George Synan promised £2million to drag the club from the brink of extinction. Synan said earlier this week that a sufficient amount would arrive either yesterday or on Monday and the money had still not arrived last night. Ridsdale said: "I read with interest what George Synan said in The Herald. The situation remains the same, I have made it clear that without investment this club will fold. We await Monday with bated breath. In the meantime, I am working on the assumption that nothing comes from Japan." Meanwhile, the Plymouth Argyle Shareholders Association committee has complained about being kept in the dark about the crisis at Home Park by the club's directors. In a statement, committee members admit they are viewing Argyle's crisis with ‘increasing concern’, adding that the club's board has got it into the dire situation. They said: "With little fact available, and speculation rife, there is nothing to assuage this anxiety. Despite direct approaches to the board, shareholders, other than directors, are completely in the dark as to the scope of the financial difficulties, and, importantly, the ability of the current board of directors to lead us out of the dire situation in which they have placed our beloved club. A thriving football club, in a stadium owned by that club, is an immeasurable asset to the city of Plymouth, and its supporters throughout the West Country and beyond. Our football club has a proud history, and must survive these darkest of days so that one day it can achieve its full potential. The mistakes of the past few years must not be repeated, and a new era must begin."
Plymouth Council leader Vivien Pengelly has refused to rule out buying Home Park back from Argyle, less than a week after saying a market-value deal would be ‘madness’. Pengelly held talks with members of the Argyle Fans' Trust yesterday in what both sides said was a positive meeting. She said: "I thoroughly support and agree with their aims and objectives, Argyle is there for the community. The club understand we cannot give them a penny to help the current situation, but officers have dialogue with board members over other ways the council can assist." Asked about stepping in to buy Home Park in the event of administration, Pengelly said: "Nothing is ever a closed door. If the club went into administration then we would all sit down and try to find an appropriate way forward." Acting trust chairman Graham Clark added: "Mrs Pengelly was very enthusiastic in her support. We came away absolutely and totally reassured that the council and its officers are doing everything they can to safeguard the future of the club."
A cash injection aimed at rescuing Argyle will arrive ‘by Monday’, George Synan promised yesterday. Synan said he was preparing to travel to Plymouth confident the club would survive the crisis, but would not specify exactly how much money was being sent to Home Park, describing it as a ‘sufficient’ amount. He said: "It doesn't need to be there until Monday anyway. We are targeting next Monday to actually be on the ground in Plymouth. I want to be there in person to make sure everything is coordinated on that side." Asked about the clubs chances of survival, Synan said: "We are all confident we will avoid liquidation". He promised fans there were no plans to put the club into administration, a process that would lead to a ten-point deduction and almost certain relegation. "We are doing everything we can to avert that. That's not something we have on our agenda right now," he added.
The Argyle Board of Directors yesterday released this statement: "An article in today's newspaper, The Herald, in Plymouth, may lead to the impression that funds are about to be received from our Japanese shareholders that 'are sufficient', implying that the problems created by the identified cash shortfall that currently exists at Plymouth Argyle Football Club will be resolved. At the time of writing, no new cash has been received from Japan, nor have we had any confirmation that there is likely to be any imminent investment from the Far East which would be of a level previously indicated to us or indeed to the Court. We are disappointed that any statement may have been made in the public domain that could either intentionally or otherwise been misleading to our creditors or supporters which regard to the real challenge that still faces this club, if we are to secure the funding level that we require. Everyone at the club is working tirelessly to ensure that a solution can be found but as yet, the task is far from complete."
Karl Duguid is up for the task of filling in at left-back for Argyle. He said: "I'm fine about it. I think I played more games for Colchester at left-back than I did at right-back. When we were promoted to the Championship I played most of the games at left-back. It's not much different to playing at right-back, although you are obviously going to get the ball on your left foot more often. You have just got to get on with it. I enjoyed the game on Tuesday, but I didn't enjoy the result. We are all thinking about Jim and send him our best wishes. I have got to fill in for him and Bas and, hopefully, do a good job for the team." Duguid clocked up his 100th appearance for Argyle against Yeovil, and is proud of reaching that milestone. "I played 45 games in my first season here and 41 in the next one, which was very pleasing," he said. "I haven't played as much as I would have liked this season, but I think 100 appearances in two-and-a-half years isn't too bad. Hopefully I can keep on adding to that. It's up to me to perform well and stay in the team." Brentford sacked manager Andy Scott yesterday after picking up only one point from their last seven league matches, but Duguid insisted Argyle could not be distracted by that. "Their players might be geed up and want to prove the manager was right for the job," he said. "They might want to prove to any potential new manager who is at the game what they are capable of. Or they could have the hump about it. But that's not our concern. All we have got to concentrate on is getting three points for Plymouth Argyle and moving up the table." With the departure of several players this season because of the financial crisis at Home Park, some of the club's teenage prospects have been thrown into the first team. Duguid has been particularly impressed with Curtis Nelson, and he said: "It's great to see the young lads coming through. I think, sometimes, they have been chucked in at the deep end because of the circumstances at the club, but it has given them a chance to play for the first team. We had five or six centre-backs at the start of the season so Nelse was probably the seventh or eighth choice. Now he is probably one of the first names on the teamsheet, and deservedly so because he has done really well. It's a great opportunity for the young lads. They have got no fear about coming into the team and have all given a good account of themselves. It's down to the older pros to keep them going and help them as much as we can."
Adam Sadler has insisted the spirit among the squad at Home Park remains upbeat despite their poor recent results. In a break from their usual routine, the squad reported for training on Wednesday, which is usually their day off. But, to compensate for that, the players had time off yesterday. Sadler said: "We came in to train on Wednesday and the mood, as ever, was really upbeat and very positive. It's a small group of players and we know we have got a job on our hands over the next few months. They are all up for that challenge and, I have to say, the togetherness and the spirit has been absolutely first class." That unity in the dressing room has been tested of late, with the players repeatedly not paid their wages on time or in full. But Sadler does not believe that has adversely affected the players on the pitch. He said: "Uncertainty is, I guess, part of football in everyday life. Contracts run out, managers change and coaches come and go. I know in this case, where the club is in trouble financially and has been for a short period now, that it could have a real effect on people and their families. But this group of players have been first class in terms of their attitude and their application. I think the way they are going about their jobs is testament to them as individuals, and as a squad of players." Argyle lost to Brentford at Home Park in November and, in general, have struggled to pick up points against teams at the lower end of the table, which Sadler thought reflected the competitiveness of League One this season. He said: "We have played top sides and won, and played lower sides and been beaten. There's no real formula or science to the league at all. So I think the only thing we can do is focus the best we can on the next game. In this case, it's Brentford and we have got to try to come up with a plan to give ourselves the best chance of winning." Sadler was asked about how the sacking of Brentford manager Andy Scott would affect Argyle's preparation for the trip to London. He said: "I think, first and foremost, I'm really disappointed for Andy. I'm a young coach who will hopefully go on to be a manager myself one day. I think young managers need to be given time and support by boards of directors and owners. This is just another example of a manager losing his job after a string of poor results. I'm sure he was working not just for the benefit of the first team as it stands today, but for the club as a whole. It's another disappointing day for another young manager. In terms of taking on Brentford, will it affect them? Who knows? I think all we can do is focus on ourselves." Argyle's inability to convert chances in recent matches has proved costly, but there have still been some encouraging signs for Peter Reid and Sadler. "We're really pleased at the moment with the way the team is playing," Sadler added, "we are creating lots of chances and playing a nice brand of football."
Joe Mason has a better than 50-50 chance of being fit for the game at Brentford tomorrow. Adam Sadler said: "I think if Joe Mason comes through training today all clear he will be available for selection. Apart from that, everything is as it was on Tuesday. There are no further injuries, so that's a real bonus. With such a tight squad at the moment, the management of injuries and giving the players the right amount of recovery time so they can be pretty much at their maximum come game-day is going to be vital over the next few months. Everybody connected to the club, players, staff and fan, we all know about the talent of Joe Mason. He's a real handful. He has got loads of potential, and I think he's one not just for now but he will grow into a fantastic footballer. It gives everybody a lift when you see someone of Joe's quality come back into the reckoning." Mason could have moved to Swindon Town last week but chose to stay at his hometown club. Sadler said: "Joe's a local boy and I think there is nothing better for the supporters to see one of their own grace Home Park, and put in the kind of display we know Joe can. That sends out a real powerful message. If Joe is available tomorrow and plays anywhere near his best, he will be a real threat. I think he has got a better than 50-50 chance. He has worked very hard with the physios this week. There was a suggestion he might have been able to play on Tuesday, but it came a little bit quick for him, and that meant it was pushed back to Saturday. If he can get through today's training session, then great." Argyle have scored only one goal in the three games, but they could easily have had many more. Sadler said: "One of the most difficult things in football is the creation of chances, and creating chances is something we are doing. There's no doubt about it that we have missed some real clearcut chances in the past couple of matches, which certainly would have been game changers or even game deciders. So that's an area we are looking at, but we have total faith in the boys who are playing in those positions. And Mason coming into that group of frontmen only strengthens it, of course." Yala Bolasie will be missing for three matches after his red card against Yeovil. Sadler said: "I don't know the ins and outs of the exact incident. I know the manager has spoken to Yala and I think he will be dealing with it on an internal basis. Beyond that, I don't think there is any further comment. As an attacking player, Yala is always a threat to any opponent because of his pace. He's very good in one-on-ones and he can score goals, particularly from outside the penalty area. He has also been very good when coming on as a sub as a game changer. So, there's no doubt about it, Yala not being available is disappointing, but what can you do? Somebody else will come in and it's an opportunity for them."
Peter Reid is familiar with selection headaches this season, and a three-match suspension for Yala Bolasie presents another issue for him. Adam Sadler confirmed the person to benefit will be one of Argyle’s youngsters. He said: "Luke Young coming on last weekend was another local lad and a real bonus to the youth department and the fans of this club. He's a really good little technical player, he's trained with the first-team for the last couple of weeks and hasn't looked out of place at all. Physically at the moment he's not the biggest, but for the 10 or 12 minutes he played last Saturday he did really well and that was a real bonus for the boy. It's always great for any young player to have that experience, but I'd like to think they're there on merit more than anything else. Luke, Curtis Nelson, Jack Stephens and Matt Rickard have all been pushed up because of their performances in the youth team and the feedback from Kevin Hodges has been very positive about those lads. It's a very good time to be a young player and they should be working extremely hard every day to catch the eye of Kevin, and then Kevin can come to us as the first-team staff with the recommendation, because there's certainly chances available as we can see. One or two injuries and all of a sudden we're going to become very reliant on the young players at this club."
Peter Reid has conceded Argyle are facing a relegation 'dogfight' between now and the end of the season. His team have lost six of their last seven matches, and have kept only three clean sheets in 29 league games this season. Reid said: "We went away from home and we created more chances than Yeovil, but we didn't finish them off. And the bottom line in football, without trying to sound like a broken record from Saturday, is that we have got to stick those chances in. We can't get a clean sheet either. Yeovil scored from a goalmouth scramble when we didn't deal with a second ball and we have come away with no points again. We are getting dragged into it now. We are in real dogfight, and we have got to start digging results out. We are creating chances but we have got to stick them away. I have told the players we have got to keep getting there because sooner or later they will hit the back of the net. It's frustrating and disappointing for everybody concerned, but the players don't miss chances on purpose. And I think the fact Yeovil's goalkeeper was their man-of-the-match says it all. I honestly believe the players are giving me, and the football club, everything, and that's all I can ask for. If I'm being super-critical, though, the same as Saturday, we have got to get a goal or two." Reid did not have any attacking options on the bench against Yeovil so, instead, repeatedly changed tactics in the second half. He said: "I tried everything. There were a few systems out there, I have got to say. We just weren't getting in behind them and, the end of it, I went four up top. It was like a cavalry charge. We still had chances then. I can remember Yala Bolasie going through but he didn't hit a right-footer well. The keeper made a couple of good saves. We can't buy a goal at the moment." Next up for Argyle is a game at Brentford on Saturday, where they will definitely be without Onismor Bhasera because of a knee injury and Yannick Bolasie. Jim Paterson is also set to be unavailable, as he was on Tuesday, after returning to Scotland on compassionate leave. Karl Duguid played out of position at left-back against Yeovil instead. Reid said: "Jim is going through a tough time at the moment. He needed to go back to Scotland for family reasons." Reid is hoping Joe Mason will be fit for the trip, and added: "I will be keeping everything crossed, hoping he's fit for Saturday. He's improving gradually." Reid is determined to battle on despite the adversity facing his side. He said: "It's a tough way to go at the moment, but we have got to go to Brentford and get a result. We have got to keep on creating chances, but we have got to score goals."
Yala Bolasie will miss the next three games following his sending-off at Yeovil Town. The club received notification from referee James Linington that Bolasie was dismissed for violent conduct after an incident involving Yeovil midfielder Luke Ayling.
Failure to convert chances into goals cost Argyle dearly at Yeovil last night. After the 1-0 defeat Peter Reid said: "We're creating things but we can't stick it in the back of the net, and if you don't, you are always liable. It's really disappointing. We have just got to get on with it, keep working hard, and try to create chances and hopefully stick them in. The players have given us everything. We just haven't got the rub of the green, and we're not clinical enough in front of goal. We created more chances. Their 'keeper won man of the match. I think that tells it all. The disappointing thing for me and the players is that we're not being able to dig the results out." That failure, means that Argyle are not pulling away from the relegation zone. "We are getting dragged into it and we have got to start getting results," said Reid. "It's alright for me to say that we are doing this and that, that we are creating chances but, sooner or later, we have got to stick the ball in the back of the net." The winning goal was reminiscent of recent problems as Argyle missed chances opportunities to clear the ball. "It's happened once or twice before," added Reid. "What do you put it down to, bad luck? No. We haven't defended it well enough and we have got to start doing that. I tried everything. There were a few systems out there. At the end, I went four up top and it was like a cavalry charge. We still had chances then, but we can't buy goals. The fans were absolutely outstanding - they got behind us - but we haven't come up with the goods. It's a tough way to go at the moment. We have got to go to Brentford and get a result. We've got to keep on creating chances and we have got to score goals." It is unlikely that Joe Mason will be available for the trip to Griffin Park. "I would love to say 'Yes' but everything would be crossed, hoping he would be fit," said Reid. "He's improving gradually." The game ended on a sour note when Yala Bolasie was dismissed for an off-the-ball incident, which Reid declined to comment on.
Argyle’s youth team drew 3-3 at Swindon Town yesterday, the goals scored by Matt Rickard (2) and Lewis Coombes. Argyle: Varazinskis, Hart, Clifford, Berry, Sawyer, Richards, Harper-Penman, Sims, Rickard, Copp, Coombes. Subs – Jones, Le Cointe, Vassell (not used – Ord).
Argyle lost 1-0 at Yeovil Town. Argyle: Button, Zubar, Nelson, Seip, Duguid, Clark, Arnason, Fletcher, Bolasie, Fallon, Patterson. Subs - (not used – Larrieu, N’Gala, Stephens, Young, Peterlin, Timar). Attendance - 5,208.
Peter Reid will be telling his players to beware of a Paul Wotton special when Argyle play Yeovil tonight. Wotton celebrated his permanent move from Southampton to the Glovers by scoring a trademark free-kick winner in their 2-1 victory at Brentford on Saturday and Reid said: "It's a thing I have been harking on about all season, so it's nothing new. One of my main basic principles for the players is for them to stay on their feet and not concede free-kicks in the final third because, invariably, it puts you under pressure. Early on in the season we were conceding goals from those situations. It's something I make the lads aware of before every game, and certainly when you have got a lad who is a free-kick specialist you have got to be even more aware of it."
Argyle suffered their fifth defeat in six matches on Saturday when they lost to Bournemouth at Home Park. Peter Reid said: "In general, I have been pleased with the way the team have been playing. The results haven't gone our way, which is a concern, but if we keep playing our football, hopefully, we can stick away some of the chances we are creating. That's important for us. I spoke to the lads about it yesterday and told them to keep their confidence up. If they keep doing the right things, the goals will come sooner rather than later. I'm hoping so, anyway." Reid has done his homework on Yeovil but the main focus of his attention has been on his own side. He said: "Obviously, you look at the match reports for the opposition, and assess their strengths and weaknesses. But it's about what we do. I think they get the ball forward a bit earlier than the likes of Bournemouth do, so we have got to be ready for that, and ready to win the second balls. And the most important thing is, when we get a chance, to get the ball down and play. I think we have done that well recently, and we have also got to try to get that cutting edge in the final third."
The transfer window closed last night without any more player sales at Argyle. The one departure was midfielder Sean Kinsella, who signed for Maltese club Hibernians after his contract was cancelled by mutual agreement. Peter Reid admitted he was pleased Onismor Bhasera and Joe Mason had not moved on, although it meant the club were still under a transfer embargo. He said: "It's a balancing act because I'm acutely aware of the financial situation the football club are in, but I want to keep the likes of Mason and Bhasera. If those two had been fit, they most probably wouldn't be here now. From a selfish point of view as a manager, I'm delighted Mason and Bhasera are still here, but looking at the finances of the football club, that's a different story." Argyle remain in a perilous financial position but Reid is staying focused on performances on the pitch, rather than the problems off it. He said: "I'm just concentrating on trying to get the players right and to win football matches. I'm aware of the situation but it's something I can't affect. I don't think it's worth expending any of my energy on." Reid is expected to name an unchanged side for Argyle’s first-ever league game at Yeovil. He said: "Like I have said before, the players have been tremendous during all of this. We have got what we have got, and we have got to get on with it."
Luke Summerfield has admitted patience is the key as he battles back to fitness. After two separate medial knee ligament injuries he had an operation to repair the damage and has an appointment to see the surgeon tomorrow, when he will be given a progress report. Summerfield hopes to get the go-ahead to start running, and said: "I was away at Lilleshall last week to see what stage I'm at. It has been a long process. I have got to be more patient this time because it's getting towards the end of the season and I need to get my knee properly fixed. I have got an appointment tomorrow with the surgeon and, hopefully, he can give me a progress report and tell me I can start running. But, like I say, patience is the key thing for me this time." It was after the defeat at Walsall in August that Summerfield suffered the first of his two injuries. "It was a late tackle in training and I damaged my medial ligaments," he said. Summerfield returned to training in early November, but in only his second session was injured again. He said: "I was just on the fringes of things, there was no contact work. I went to pass a ball and went down on my right knee. The ground gave way and I completely went over on it. It turned out to be a worse tear, and in a difficult place, than the previous injury. It wasn't like it was a recurrence of the same injury. When I did it I thought I hadn't got my leg strong enough, but I was told it was bad luck and just one of those things. It was a different injury in a different place in the same knee. I spoke to all my family, my agent and the physios and we decided the best course of action was to go under the knife and try to sort the knee out. The surgeon had a look and he completely repaired the knee. It's the first operation I have ever had and, mentally, it has been tough for me. I got told straight away it was going to be April before I was back fit. I was glad I got told that early on, but after playing only three games, that was tough to take. Now I have just got to knuckle down until I get the go-ahead to start running." Summerfield impressed Peter Reid during pre-season training and his reward came when he was selected for the starting line-up against Southampton. "I was playing and enjoying the games before I got injured, which made it worse for me," said Summerfield. "It has been tough mentally, more than anything, for me and the family." Argyle's financial crisis has attracted a lot of attention over recent months, but Summerfield has tried not to dwell on that and, instead, concentrate on recovering from his operation. "I need to focus on me and getting back to fitness," he added. "So I have tried to keep everything else to the back of my mind. When I get the go-ahead to start running I will start seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I'm definitely looking to get games towards the end of the season."
"If you get a chance, take it," is Peter Reid's advice to players who have sat on the substitutes' bench recently. He continued: "Football is a squad game here, so they have got to keep their heads up, and have a look at what's happened to players who have got in the side. Chris Clark could have come to see me, or Jim Paterson, or Marcel Seip. These players have been on the bench and got in, and done well. Bolasie and Patterson, too." Despite so many games in January, Reid is pleased that the players have come through it relatively fresh. "The fitness level in the players looks good," he said. "Mason isn't available, Bhasera isn't available, and there are a few bumps and scrapes, but I expect everyone else to be available for selection. We've had a lot of games recently and it's a credit to them. We are just trying to manage it, with the sports science and everything, and it is going well."
Argyle are looking no further forward than to tonight’s game at Yeovil. With the season well into its final third, Peter Reid is refusing to set any targets for his side, and said: "I know it's an old cliché, and it's a boring one, but it's fact of life, you look to the next game, and that's all you can do. It's a big game for us. They have just brought Oli Johnson, from Norwich, who is a striker, and changed a couple of things. It will be a difficult game. We have got to compete well but the most important thing is to get the ball down and play when we get a chance - we have done that well recently - and try to get that cutting edge in the final third."
Plymouth City Council yesterday rejected a motion to buy back Home Park at the current market valuation to save the club from the threat of bankruptcy.
George Synan has broken his silence over the crisis that is threatening Argyle’s existence. The club are waiting for a £2 million cash injection promised by Synan and Yasuaki Kagami. Synan has insisted there is unity in the boardroom, however. In a brief statement, he said that directors were “working together” to solve the club’s financial predicament. He declined to reveal any details of a rescue package, but said: “At this stage we are working together to put together a solution, and that is our only focus at this point.” He promised to make a further comment “later this week”.
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