A Round-up of Argyle News
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Also included on the three most recent days, facts from Argyle's history.
Simon Walton has insisted he is willing to do whatever it takes to prove himself at Argyle. Walton spent most of last season on loan to Crewe Alexandra after falling out of favour with Paul Sturrock, but with Argyle set to appoint a new manager soon, he is hoping there will be a clean slate for him at Home Park. He said: "I'm a proud person and it's not nice that people think badly of me. I understand totally that the club put a lot of faith of me when they signed me and I have got a long way to go to repay that, but I'm more than willing to give it my all. I'm not stupid. I realise how it must look at the moment, but I have done a lot of growing up and I'm a lot more mature than I was. I have had a full season behind me at Crewe with no dramas and no hiccups, and people have started talking about me in a positive way again. I feel like I'm getting back on track. I have got two years left on my contract so there is still plenty of time to prove myself." Walton made 33 appearances, including 27 starts, in his eight months at Crewe. During that time, Dario Gradi was restored to the role of manager after the sacking of Gudjon Thordarsson. Walton said: "It was good for me. I hadn't played that many games in a season for three or four years. Working with Dario was brilliant and he had quite a few positive things to say about me by the time I had left. I learned a lot and I think it has done me the world of good. I went there to get back on track and I feel like I'm getting there finally." Walton is unsure what the future holds for him. "I really don't know to be perfectly honest," he said. "I haven't had any contact with anybody at the club since the day I left to go to Crewe. Unless somebody tells me otherwise, I will be back for the start of pre-season training and just take it from there. If the new manager is willing to give me a chance to prove myself, then I'm willing to do what it takes to try to get in the team. I'm in a lot better shape than I was, I have had a nice smooth season under my belt and I'm in a good place at the moment. I can't speak for anybody else, but I'm more than willing to come back and give it my all. I still believe I'm more than capable of playing in the Championship, never mind League One." Walton watched with disappointment as Argyle were relegated. He said: "Obviously, there was nothing I could do about it, but it was sad to see. There is no point in looking back now, though. You only break your neck. The club have got to look forward and start planning for the future." Walton had words of warning for anyone who believes Argyle will find it easy in League One. He said: "I have been in League Two for a season and I think the gap between the divisions is starting to shrink. It's not going to be a walk in the park. We have got to stabilise and make sure we don't slip into freefall. It's certainly not going to be easy by any stretch of the imagination."
Rory Fallon played the full 90 minutes as New Zealand beat Serbia 1-0 in a friendly in Austria.
Bondz N'Gala had no doubts about signing for Argyle even though they are still in the process of appointing a new manager. He said: "I was aware from quite early on they wanted to sign me permanently. I was happy to commit myself, even though they are looking for a manager. Paul Mariner is still there on the coaching staff, which is good, and the club did enough to convince me to stay. They want to go back up to the Championship the first time around, and then take it from there." There has been a lot of speculation over the last three weeks about who will be appointed as Argyle manager and when asked if he had been given any clues, N’Gala said: "No, I'm like everybody else. I'm waiting to find out who it is." N'Gala believes there is reason for optimism as Argyle prepare for next season. "I think we have got the nucleus of a good side," he said. "There are good young players, and then you have got the experience of Fletch and Damien Johnson." N'Gala started nine games during his loan spell, and eight of them were in central defence with Reda Johnson. "I definitely enjoyed playing alongside Reda in the team," said N'Gala. "We are good friends on and off the pitch, which helps, and Reda is a good player as well." N'Gala and Johnson will face competition for the centre-back spots next season from the experienced trio of Kari Arnason, Chris Barker and Krisztian Timar. "I'm always up for that sort of challenge because I think it brings the best out of you," N'Gala added. He had been with West Ham since the age of 13 but made only one substitute appearance for the first team. N'Gala said: "I have got close ties to West Ham because I have been there since I was 13. However, we all have to move on sometimes. It would be great to get them in the FA Cup next season." London-born N'Gala also has no qualms about being so far away from his home city. He said: "I think it will help me grow as a player, and as a person, to move down here and be away from my family."
Rory Fallon has admitted he could have played his last game for Argyle. Fallon suggested life in League One needed to be the 'start of a new chapter' for Argyle, and said: "Whether I am part of it or not is another matter. If I have a great World Cup and someone comes in for me, I'm not going to turn it down. But teams like Norwich have come back up stronger and Plymouth need to do the same. The club have already changed things higher up, with Mariner moved back into a coaching role, and it is time for a fresh start." Fallon was dropped by Mariner after a defeat at QPR and did not start any of the last 12 matches of the campaign. That, inevitably, led to tension between him and the head coach. Fallon said: "When he took me out of the team in March I thought it was a good decision at first. But then I found myself in the reserves and I stayed there. Things became strained with the manager. I think the pressure affected him. The mood around the place was horrible. We had been playing under the strain of a relegation battle every week and that is hard. It got to a lot of people." Fallon revealed he could have moved elsewhere before the end of the season. He said: "Paul is a nice guy but he was wrong to think I would leave when a loan offer was made. My character is not to run away. I wanted to finish the season at Plymouth and thought I still had a part to play. I worked really hard after that but didn't get the chance I thought I deserved. It has been a tough season and I haven't scored as many goals or played as well as I would have liked. But relegation was no one person's fault. We have been on a downward spiral since Ian Holloway left as manager in 2007."
Joe Mason has been forced to withdraw from the Republic of Ireland under-19 side playing in a tournament in Ukraine this week, due to food poisoning. This means that Mason has played his last match for the under-19s as he will be too old to play at that age level next season.
Argyle have been 'encouraged' by the sale of season tickets for next season. Rick Cowdery said: "We have sold getting on for 2,500, which we regard as a very good figure. It's difficult to make a year on year comparison because we had Early Bird prices last summer. But, if you had to try to compare it, we are slightly ahead of ourselves from last year. The end of May, when people have been paid by their employers, is traditionally a busy time for season ticket sales. We expect a spike this week, once many people are paid, and next week, with the June 4th deadline approaching. We are encouraged by the sales so far. It could be the last season for the Grandstand, a new manager is coming in and there will be some new players. Hopefully, England will do well in the World Cup and give everybody a nice taste for football and we will start again, afresh, in August."
Argyle yesterday completed the permanent signing of Bondz N'Gala on a two-year contract. N'Gala admitted there had been interest from elsewhere but said: "The club did enough to convince me to sign for them. It's good to get my future sorted out and I can just relax now and enjoy the summer. I am going away soon to take it easy but you still have to keep things ticking over." N'Gala made nine appearances for Argyle during his loan spell. "It was a great experience for me, and I learned a lot from playing that amount of games in a short space of time," he said. "I loved my time down there. It was easy playing with Reda and we developed a good partnership because we both like to defend." Awaiting N’Gala and his team-mates at the start of pre-season will be a new manager, new league and new grounds to discover. "I am always up for a new challenge, so, hopefully, I can show what I can do and I'll be alright," he said. "I would like to get in the side again and play as many games as possible. From the team's perspective, we want to get back up in the Championship."
Work on Argyle's new £500,000 pitch at Home Park is already four days ahead of schedule and the club are now confident the playing surface will be ready for the start of next season. They are therefore hoping to confirm a friendly against high-profile English opposition for July 31st. Tony Campbell reported good progress had been made over the past two weeks. He said: "They are currently laying the drainage pipes for the pitch, and are four days ahead of schedule. Everything is going very well and we don't anticipate any problems. Anything unforeseen which could have caused a delay would have been discovered when it was dug up. We are now confident the pitch will be ready for the start of the season. We have had some good weather, which has helped with the work on the pitch. The key to it now is the eight-week growing period of the grass. As long as there is plenty of sunshine, we won't have any issues. We are hoping to have a pre-season game on the pitch on the Saturday before the season starts. It will be against high-profile English opposition, but we are not in a position to name the team we are playing because it hasn't been confirmed yet."
Argyle are a step closer to appointing a new manager after drawing up a shortlist of the leading candidates and, according to newspaper reports, interviews will take place in London, where Roy Gardner and Keith Todd are both based. Bruce Rioch, a rumoured candidate for the job, is reported to not be interested in becoming Argyle manager.
Argyle's wantaway players have been warned there will be 'no soft routes' for them out of Home Park next season. Keith Todd insisted the club would neither tolerate nor countenance expensively-paid players having their contracts torn up. This means that the likes of Steve MacLean, Alan Gow, Simon Walton and Marcel Seip will have to honour their contracts with Argyle, who need to cut their wage bill. Despite the financial pressures Todd confirmed the club will not be by paying off players, whom he said will have to return to pre-season training at the end of June with the rest of the squad. He said: "I simply don't buy into this idea that players who allegedly don't want to return to the club, will be paid off. Let me be clear, there are no soft routes from this football club. We will expect players who are under contract to come back in time for pre-season. There can be no exemptions. I say allegedly because I haven't heard for myself that MacLean or Gow have said they do not want to come back to Plymouth. However, it doesn't change the fact or principle that we will not be paying players off."
Keith Todd would not be drawn on rumours that Steve Cotterill or Paul Jewell head the list of favourites to take over as Argyle's manager. However, he is optimistic Argyle will have a new manager in situ before pre-season starts, ideally, he said, two weeks before. "In an ideal world, we'd like the manager to be in place ahead of pre-season training, which is at the end of June," he said. Todd added that contract offers for players like Romain Larrieu and Yannick Bolasie, who are out of contract at the end of June, are still on the table. He added: "Nothing's changed there either — the contracts are on the table, but it's that odd time of the year, when people and agents etc are on holiday. We hope to have some news on that and the new manager before very long."
Rory Fallon started for New Zealand in their 2-1 friendly defeat to Australia.
Krisztian Timar is determined to be fighting fit for pre-season in a bid to win back his place at Argyle. He said: "I am more determined than ever to win back my place with Argyle. I want to prove to people that the injuries haven't weakened me — and instead have made me stronger. It's been a frustrating time for me over the past 18 months, but now I'm feeling positive and strong, both in mind and body. Obviously, it hurt everyone at the club when we were relegated at the end of last season. That includes me. Like every professional footballer, I have belief that I can help the club do better and, hopefully, get in the promotion mix next season. But, in order to that, I need to be in the first team — and to do that I'll need to prove I'm fit enough to do so. So, I'm coming back earlier than the rest of the team before pre-season training starts. I want to be 110 per cent fit — that's what I'm driving towards." Paul Mariner has already cast doubts over Timar's possible availability for the start of next season, but Timar, his trainer Dave 'Boy' Smith and Argyle physio Paul Atkinson beg to differ. Smith, trainer of boxer Scott Dan admitted to being surprised at Timar's determination and desire. "Krisztian's been working like a demon and I think he's going to surprise a lot of people next season," he said. "We're working on his core body strength and, to be honest, I think the fans are going to be really, really pleased with the results." Timar added: "I'm already feeling a lot stronger and the benefits of the training programme with Dave will pay dividends. I've not lost belief in my ability. Why should I? I'm an international footballer. But I know I need to convince others and I'm going to give it my best shot."
Jamie Mackie has left Argyle and joined Queens Park Rangers for an undisclosed fee believed to be in the region of £500,000. QPR manager Neil Warnock said: "I'm really pleased to get him in. Obviously, with my connections down there he is a player I've seen and heard a lot about. He was a stand-out striker for them this season. He's full of enthusiasm and when I first met him there was nothing else on his mind other than playing for QPR." Paul Mariner was always resigned to losing Mackie. He said: "Jamie had expressed a strong desire to leave Argyle. With his contract due to expire at the end of next season, we felt it was in the best interests of ourselves and Jamie to allow him to move now. There were a number of clubs interested in acquiring his services and we are very happy with the deal that we have struck with Queens Park Rangers. We thank Jamie for the commitment he has given the club during his stay at Home Park and wish him well for the future. Agreeing this transfer so early in the summer gives us ample time to plan for next season without him."
Marcel Seip has again been linked strongly with a permanent move to Sheffield United, after he impressed during a four month loan spell despite his stay being marred by injury. Kevin Blackwell’s assistant, Sam Ellis claimed Seip had tried to negotiate a switch to Bramall Lane before he joined Blackpool on loan. “He always maintained that he wanted to come here,” said Ellis. “And now he’s got his wish.”
Yannick Bolasie is rumoured to be a target for two Championship sides, QPR and Leeds United. Bolasie’s contract runs out in June, and he has yet to accept the club’s offer of a new deal.
Alan Gow's future is uncertain after he returned to Argyle after his loan spell with Hibernian. Gow has made it clear he doesn't want to return to Argyle next season, a position echoed by Steve MacLean, but both players have contracts with 12 months remaining. Gow has been sidelined recently by a hamstring injury and made only a handful of starts for Hibs. Argyle's board face a choice of paying up his contract and releasing the player, likely to cost in the region of £200,000, or sending Gow out on loan again. He is unlikely to want to leave Argyle unless another club matches his wages with, thought to be in excess of £3,000 a week.
Bryan Robson and Gerry Francis are the latest names to be linked with the Argyle managers job. The two are ‘being mentioned in footballing circles’ in connection with the job, according to a national newspaper. Robson is currently the coach of Thailand's national team whilst Francis is at present working for Tony Pulis as first-team coach at Stoke City. Another Englishman who is at present working in Asia that could feature in the discussions being held by Argyle's board is Bob Houghton, who has not managed in English football since he left Bristol City 28 years ago. Since then however he has put together a fine body of work overseas and it is understood that he was briefly considered as a replacement for Paul Sturrock last year. Argyle's insistence on seeking an experienced manager should rule out any consideration being given to one alleged candidate in Peter Schmeichel, after rumours that the board made some sort of approach emerged from within the club in recent weeks.
QPR manager Neil Warnock has confirmed his interest in Jamie Mackie but stopped short of making a commitment to try and sign the striker. Warnock said: "He's one of a number of players we are looking at. Other than that, I haven't got anything else to say on the subject." Mackie was linked with a £500,000 move to QPR by a national newspaper yesterday, and the report also stated Mackie had been to London for talks. Mackie was signed from Exeter City for £145,000 in 2008, and a 20 per cent sell-on clause was also agreed. So Exeter would pick up £100,000 should Mackie be sold for £500,000.
Newspaper reports have suggested that Argyle are tracking out-of-contract Cardiff City striker Warren Feeney.
Reports that Paul Jewell may take over as Argyle manager within the next week seems wide of the mark. Keith Todd said on Monday that the new manager would not be named until the end of May at the earliest, the board of directors being determined not to rush into a decision, and wanting to assess all the options open to them. They are currently sounding out some people, and reviewing the applications they have received, as they prepare a list of potential candidates. Todd has admitted there has been a lot of interest in the vacancy and Argyle will eventually decide on a short-list of two or three contenders, who will be interviewed by the board. An Argyle spokesman said: "We don't comment on speculation. As and when there is any news about the search for a manager or, indeed, the appointment, we will obviously make it known." The latest rumoured candidate for the job is Bruce Rioch, the former Bolton Wanderers, Arsenal and Norwich City boss. Rioch is now living in Cornwall and has recently taken his local side, Falmouth Town, for training. Reports suggest that Rioch saw Argyle play at Home Park on several occasions last season.
Liam Head must improve his application and attitude to make the grade at first-team level, Mike Pejic has warned. Head signed a professional contract with Argyle on his 17th birthday in January 2009 but has not made the progress that would have been expected of him, and has not featured in a matchday squad for the first team. Pejic said: "I'm really disappointed with him. He got through to the England set-up and has got the ability but his attitude and application hasn't been what it should be. That's what every kid has got to show. If they don't, they soon fall by the wayside. If he doesn't get his act together he could find himself out of the game. That's a lesson for any young player when they turn professional. There are two sides to every story." In contrast, Pejic heaped praise on Joe Mason, who was selected as Argyle's young player-of-the-year. "He has been an absolute model for anyone else," he said. "He just gets on with his work. In his first 12 months as an apprentice with us he rarely got into the youth team. It wasn't until the December and January in his second year that he really broke through. We played him in four or five different positions so he has had a good education. I have been really pleased with the lad. He's an instinctive player and is always on the move in the box. He's a nat ural goalscorer." Four apprentices will be first-year professionals for Argyle next season and all four featured for the reserves this season, although not as much as Pejic would have hoped for. He said: "I think they would have had more chances in the reserves, and the first-team squad, if there hadn't been so many professionals at the club. It wasn't good at all for young player development. The first-team squad will be cut down quite considerably now and there will be a better chance for the young boys to come through."
Argyle’s new pitch at Home Park is not scheduled to stage any non-football events before the end of 2010, but Tony Campbell has admitted that could change. The durability of the playing surface will allow other sporting events, such as rugby games, and pop concerts to regularly take place at Home Park. Campbell said: "There are currently no planned events, outside of football, scheduled for the pitch before the end of this year. I am also not aware of any discussions taking place at the moment. However, it is possible that opportunities may arise as the year progresses."
Former Argyle caretaker-manager Lennie Lawrence has emerged as a possible candidate for the Home Park managers job. Lawrence yesterday left his job as Bristol Rovers’ director of football, where he had worked with head coach Paul Trollope since November 2005. Trollope remains in charge, but has also been named by national media as a possible contender for the Argyle post.
Argyle are ready to give youth a chance following relegation. Five of the seven apprentices who signed two-year deals in the summer of 2008 have now been offered professional contracts. Ryan Leonard and Sean Kinsella have been handed one-year contracts. Ollie Chenoweth and Jordan Trott have also been given six-month deals and Liam Head signed professional forms on his 17th birthday. The elevation of so many apprentices to the senior ranks has been a source of pride for Gordon Bennett. He said: "Given that Paul Sturrock upgraded Liam Head on his 17th birthday in January last year, it means that five out of the seven apprentices taken on in the summer of 2008 have now been awarded professional contracts. That represents a success rate of 71 per cent — twice the national average of 35 per cent. It reflects great credit on, not only the work of Mike Pejic as head of youth coaching, but also that of Allan Evans and all the other centre of excellence coaches who have greatly helped the lads in their formative years." Argyle will have nine second-year apprentices next season, of whom six, Connor Clifford, Curtis Nelson, Jake Baker, Luke Young, Lewis Coombes and Matt Rickard, played for the reserves in the Combination this term.
Argyle are facing a race against time for the new pitch at Home Park to be ready for the start of next season. Tony Campbell said: "We have spoken to the FA and the Football League about what we are doing, and they have been very helpful. The first one or two games next season could be played away from home, to give sufficient time for the grass to grow. They are happy we are digging the pitch up and replacing it with a better one." Argyle are funding a new playing surface after the old one became badly worn and torn last season. Campbell said: "The cost of the new pitch is in excess of £500,000, and we are allowing four to eight weeks for excavation. It will involve digging down one metre and then laying new drainage pipes, a gravel base, a sand base, and a layer of Fibrelastic. There are millions of rubber bands, the same length and thickness as human hair, mixed into top soil. The grass then grows through the rubber bands and top soil. It makes the pitch more durable and the elasticity means there are less impact injuries. We are allowing between four to eight weeks for excavation because they don't know what they are going to find. It is hoped it will take four weeks but, should there be any unforeseen circumstances, it could take up to eight weeks. There will then be an eight-week growing period for the grass. We have only got a 12-week window but, all being well, we will make it in time." Collapsed drains are thought to have been one of the main reasons behind the old pitch's waterlogging problems. Campbell added: "The Fibrelastic Turf will allow water to drain right the way through and we shouldn't have issues like we did last season." The relaying of the pitch is also a step towards the start of work on a new South Stand. Campbell said: "We will be lowering the pitch on the Mayflower side for when we start work on the new stand. It will allow for better sightlines."
Brighton and Hove Albion manager Gus Poyet has confirmed his interest in signing Ashley Barnes this summer. "We need to wait and see what is going to happen at Plymouth, who is going to be the manager and what they want," said Poyet. According to Home Park sources, there is no interest, at the moment, in selling Barnes. Poyet insisted he would not pay over the odds for Barnes. "If they are going to go with crazy money he's going to stay at Plymouth because he has one year left on his contract," he said. "He's 20 and in a year's time we can have him for free — six months in fact because on January 1 we can make an offer. So it's up to Plymouth what they want to do with the player. We are working on plenty of things." However, Poyet is mistaken as Argyle would be entitled to a compensation payment, provided they offered Barnes a new contract, because he would be aged under 24. Brighton could also not approach the striker in January as pre-contract agreements are not permitted domestically.
Dario Gradi has admitted that Crewe Alexandra have no expectations of being able to keep Simon Walton at Gresty Road. Gradi had kind words to say about Walton's efforts during the course of the season, but knows that the midfielder is out of reach for his club in a financial sense. "Simon has done well, but if I was him I'd go back to Argyle," Gradi said. "He has got two years left on his contract, so I'd go back and get paid."
Steve Cotterill is the bookies favourite to become the new Argyle manager. Cotterill has just led Notts County to the League Two title but his short-term contract at the club ends later this month. He has also been linked with the vacancy at Coventry City. George Burley is second favourite for the Argyle job, followed by Gary Megson and Paul Jewell at 7/1. Tony Mowbray and Gareth Southgate are also thought to be in the running and an outsider is former Argyle defender Keith Hill.
Argyle will not appoint their new manager until the end of May at the earliest. Keith Todd has confirmed that a series of interviews with candidates will take place throughout the month and he said: "There really isn't much to say on the management front other than there is quite a lot of interest in the position. We will be undertaking a review of potential candidates and carrying out interviews through May because of people being on holidays, and such things. We will keep the supporters posted when there is anything more to say."
Rory Fallon hopes that his presence at the World Cup might provide him with a chance to play in the Premier League. "I really believe, if I have a good World Cup, I could play in the Premier League," he said. "I've played against Premier League players, and I know I can play against them. I just feel at the peak of my career, I've worked so hard in my life, and that's all I've got in my sights. If I don't make it, at least I'll know I gave my 100 per cent to try to get there. I don't want to come to the end of my career and have regrets, and have to ask: 'Could I have worked harder?' I want to know in my own mind: 'Yes I've worked my hardest, I gave it my best shot, and it wasn't to be.'" With Argyle having been relegated, Fallon is well aware that the club are going to have to part with players in order to balance the books. He knows that he cannot rule out leaving Home Park prior to the start of next season. "Me and my wife Carly absolutely love Plymouth, we've got brilliant friends there and, if it's a case of us having to move, it will be really upsetting, because it's just been such an amazing time there," he said. "It reminds me of New Zealand – we're next to the water. In England, you don't get places like Plymouth. It will be really upsetting if I do have to leave, but I really want to kick on in my career and do really well." Fallon's public profile has not been hindered by his exploits for New Zealand at the end of their World Cup qualification campaign. He added: "The attention was amazing, because I've worked so hard to get where I am. People might think this is an overnight success – it isn't. I've been working since I was nine years old. I've been working for a long time to get where I am, and to get this attention is just a bonus, really. It is part and parcel of success. The more good things that happen to you, the more the public want to know about you. I feel it has been a massive blessing to me, and I'm enjoying it."
Work has begun on the Home Park pitch and the relaying of the surface will start tomorrow, replacing the current pitch with a state-of-the-art fibrelastic surface. "We have gone for the fibrelastic surface because it's hard-wearing, giving, reduces the risk of injury, as well as durability and user friendly," said Tony Campbell. The decision on the playing surface was taken after consultation with Premier League clubs and pitch experts Sports Turf Research Institute on the best available options The laying of the pitch is expected to last between four and eight weeks with a further gestation period of eight weeks for the pitch to take, which casts a doubt over any pre-season games and the beginning of the season at Home Park. "There is a plan to try and play a pre-season game at the beginning of August and we have got a team lined up, but we can't say too much about it because it needs confirmation. It will be a big name team to come down here and play the first game on there," added Campbell. "We would like to have our opening game of the season away because that gives a two-week recovery period to address any issue that may have come out of the practise game. The football league is aware of what we are doing and there are going to be accommodating, and helping us as much as they can."
Argyle’s youth team drew their final match of the season 1-1 with Bristol Rovers on Saturday, the goal scored by Matt Rickard. In so doing they extended their recent unbeaten run to ten games and earned praise from Mike Pejic. He said: "We've played very well in all three areas of the pitch - at the back, in midfield and in the final third. We've only drawn because of one defensive mistake. We could have scored seven ourselves - but those missed chances are mistakes too. I've got to be pleased. It's a very young team. We started with only two second-year apprentices and lost one of those when Jordan Trott had to come off with an ankle injury midway through the first-half. We finished with six schoolboys on the pitch. Overall, I'm very pleased how well the young lads have done over the last seven weeks. They've developed well, playing in the reserves and the Devon Cup, as well as in the youth team. The experience should stand them in good stead for next season." Argyle: Chenoweth, Stephens, Nelson, Trott, Clifford, Harper-Penman, Young, Berry, Copp, Baker, Rickard. Subs – Pearce, Sims (not used - Ramday, Trudgian).
Keith Todd has pledged that Argyle will press ahead with plans to begin the replacement of Home Park's grandstand next summer, despite the club being relegated and the prospect of increased financial hardship. Todd said: "The World Cup bid has a timetable which involves an England presentation in December this year, and we'd very much like to be through the planning processes for the redevelopment by the time England stands up and says: 'This is our final presentation'." Argyle have approved a plan to transfer the ownership of their stadium from the football club to Home Park Properties, a newly created company. Todd added: "There has been no transfer of the asset as yet, but the expectation is that Home Park Properties will handle the architectural and planning processes, and that will be done with funds which are segregated from the football club." As well as the Grandstand, the Mayflower terrace will be demolished next summer and it will be closed next season. Todd knows that plenty of season-ticket holders are riled. "We are well aware that there has been a reaction from fans," he said. "We certainly don't like upsetting fans at all, anything but that, but the general view is that the Grandstand side of the stadium is going to knocked down in a year's time, and that seating will disappear. In order to have a more orderly management of the migration of people from the Mayflower, the plan is continuing. Don't forget, many more people, including the board, are going to have to relocate to another area of the ground the following summer."
Argyle want a proven manager with experience of ‘League One and above’, according to Keith Todd. He said: "We want to be promoted to the Championship next season, but we want to go further than that in the longer term. So we are looking for a proven manager with experience of League One and above." The board held meetings last Thursday and on Sunday and there were ‘further conversations’ before they decided on their course of action, Todd said. It is clear Argyle chairman Roy Gardner, who has come in for considerable criticism for his lack of involvement with the club, was a key figure. Todd said: "It was the board's decision, led by Sir Roy. Paul Mariner was obviously very disappointed with the results but, in his own words, he's a realist and he understands why the board have taken the decision we have done. We very much want to maximise the chances of us bouncing straight back up next season." Reports suggest Paul Jewell would be interested in becoming the new manager and another possible candidate could be Gary Megson, who started his player career at Argyle. Todd added: "This season was exceptionally disappointing and it hurt a lot of people, including the board of directors and Paul Mariner. I think Paul described it as the lowest point of his football career. What we need to do now is get through the grieving process as quickly as possible and then get on with the battle of getting ourselves back in the Championship. By deciding to appoint a proven, experienced manager, hopefully the fans can see the direction the board intends to take the club in. I would call on them to keep the faith, keep supporting us and let's all get behind the team next season."
Steve MacLean has insisted he has no idea where he will be playing football next season. He said: "I haven't got a clue where I will be playing next season. But, as far as I'm concerned, I have still got a year left on my contract and, unless I'm told otherwise, I will report back for pre-season training. I haven't spoken to anyone from Plymouth since I left for Aberdeen. If they don't want me at the club they are going to have to do something about it." When asked specifically about the possibility of having his contract paid up by Argyle, MacLean replied: "I'm not going to rule out anything." Argyle's relegation has impacted on MacLean, even though he has not been at the club for the past three months. He is among a group of players who have clauses in their contracts which will see their wages reduced next season. "It's not nice for anybody that the club has been relegated," he said. "I'm sure there will be some cost-cutting done, and maybe some jobs will go." MacLean has made 14 starts and one substitute appearance for Aberdeen and has enjoyed playing regular first team football after being frozen out at Home Park. He said: "The results haven't been good enough for a club like Aberdeen. We have struggled, and they are used to challenging for European football. It has been disappointing and the manager hasn't been happy with some of the performances. I have done well in some games and not so well in others, but, all in all, I have enjoyed my time up here. I left my family at home in Plymouth, which wasn't an ideal situation, but I wanted to play regular football. I took the chance to come up to Aberdeen and I have enjoyed it. It's a good club and, hopefully, it can get back to better days. I'm coming back to Plymouth next week and we will see what happens from there."
Keith Todd has confirmed that he and Argyle chairman Roy Gardner are to expand their involvement in the clubs parent company. Mastpoint Limited, a company set up by Gardner and Todd, gained a 13 per-cent stake in Plymouth Argyle (Holdings) Limited last July, when the two joined the board of directors and despite relegation the two want to raise their stake in the club. Yasuaki Kagami, whose company holds 38 per cent of the club's parent company, also has options to increase his stake, but it is understood that he is unlikely to do so. When Todd was asked if he and Gardner expected to raise their stake in the club this summer, he replied: "We have the options. They have not been exercised yet, but Sir Roy and I have been discussing making use of the options over the past few weeks. There is an agreement in place. The likely outcome of the discussions is that one member of the board will be stepping down." Despite relegation Todd insisted that he and Gardner remain fully committed to the club. "We're not backing out, we're going forward," he said. "Relegation is more than an inconvenience, I have to admit that, but these things happen in life and in business. We have to deal with them, and move on." When Todd was asked if he expected Kagami and George Synan to increase their stake in the club, he replied: "They already have 38 per cent of the holding company, and they have a few options. There is still some additional time for them to exercise those options. Whether they do or not is up to them. If they don't, we may well take up their options." Todd believes that Kagami and Synan remain committed to the cause, however. "I'm expecting them to be part of the club," he said. "There have been discussions with them about widening the investor base of the Japanese contingent, and I'm supporting Kagami-san and George in those discussions, which will continue. We have created quite a lot of interest in the Japanese business community. We are the only football club in England which has a Japanese investor, and as such that is newsworthy in Japan." Todd and Gardner may also seek fresh sources of funds. Todd said: "It's possible that further investors could come in alongside Sir Roy and myself. Whether they join the board or not is a different matter, but there is a lot of interest in Sir Roy and in what we're attempting to do here. That has drawn people into being involved."
Roy Gardner has announced that Argyle will undertake a search for a new manager. Paul Mariner will remain as Head Coach, supported by John Carver and Mariner will retain all football responsibilities until a manager is appointed, at which time he will revert to his role as head coach. The club statement said: The Argyle board of directors has taken this decision in the light of the club's poor season and the desire to enhance the prospect of the club returning to the Championship at the end of next season. They feel this will be achieved by recruiting a proven experienced manager. Paul has provided a renewed impetus to the club since taking over football responsibilities in December 2009 but, unfortunately, the results have not met expectations. The Board looks forward to Paul and John playing a full part in supporting a new manager. The Board does not currently have a specific person in mind for the role, but hope to have the process concluded in time for pre-season training. Gardner said: "We are serious about taking this club forward. Paul was fully aware, when he took on first-team responsibilities in December, that the Board would review his position at the end of the season. While we could have extended his trial period in leading the team, we decided to increase the possibility of success by seeking to bring in an experienced manager to help achieve our goals. We will now begin the process of seeking applications and reviewing potential targets." Paul Mariner said: "I am disappointed that we could not produce the results we wanted last season. I am a realist and understand why and how the Board came to the conclusion they have done. I am committed to this club and want only to help it regain Championship status as soon as possible and build on that."
Joe Mason has been called up by the Republic of Ireland squad for the forthcoming Under-19 European Championship qualifiers. Also, Sean Kinsella has been put on stand-by for the tournament which is being held in Kiev. Ireland's first match is against England on May 26th, they then play host nation Ukraine on May 28th, before finishing off against Bosnia-Herzegovina on May 31st.
Rory Fallon has admitted Argyle have been on the slide ever since Ian Holloway walked out on the club. He also believes that experienced players such as Lee Hodges, Lilian Nalis and Paul Wotton were moved on too soon. Fallon said: "I don't want to be negative about the club because I love it here. But since Holloway left it has been a lot harder for us. We were flying when he left and then, all of a sudden, it just went downhill. I think it shows we missed him. But I know we can rebuild and there is a great future for the club. We have got some good young players coming up. Hopefully, the gaffer can take us back into the Championship. The brilliant thing when I first came into this team was there was a great changing room. There was a great core of players. I felt we got rid of people like Lilian Nalis, Paul Wotton and Lee Hodges too quickly. Once you lose characters like that, the changing room becomes completely different. One of the most important things in a football club is how your changing room gets on. It's hard to get that sparkle back, but we have got to try to rebuild that changing room to the way it was when I first came here." Fallon was a regular in Argyle's starting line-up for much of this season, until falling out of favour over the final two months of the campaign. He said: "I really wanted to play a part in the last bit of the season but it wasn't to be, which is really disappointing because I do love the club. I have been here for three years and I feel I have given my heart and soul for the club, on and off the field. But I know that whatever happens, I believe we are good enough to go back up." It is now less than 6 weeks until Fallon and his New Zealand team-mates get their World Cup campaign under way and he is taking a short break after the end of the season. He said: "I'm having 10 days off, and I know when I'm rested that, on my day, no one can stop me. So I'm going to make sure I get the best rest I possibly can get, and then I'm going to try to be the fittest and strongest player at the World Cup." Fallon is not worried his lack of match practice will have any impact on how he performs at the World Cup. He said: "I believe that all things happen for a reason, and the harder you work the more rewards you get. I do believe God will bless you for that hard work you put in. He knows the hours I have put in, and I really feel I will be blessed at this World Cup."
Argyle have already made it plain that they intend to reduce the size and the cost of the playing squad following relegation, but they are also unable to promise that there will be no job losses off the field. Keith Todd said: "We have to took at everything across the club, in these circumstances. We have to look at all areas of the club to see if it is necessary to make any reductions. If we can achieve the process without losing any jobs off the field, that would be great, but we certainly can't commit to that at the moment." Todd joined the board in July last year, along with chairman Roy Gardner and relegation was not on their agenda for their first season. "Relegation is an incredible disappointment," Todd said. "It was furthest from my expectations about how this season would finish, but we have to deal with it. We have to deal with it on the pitch. We have been having lots of conversations with Paul Mariner and John Carver about what we can learn from this year, and we have to deal with it off the pitch." The board has not yet confirmed that the roles of Mariner and Carver will remain unchanged. Gardner stated late last month that the directors intended to review the club's coaching staff at the end of the season. "Sir Roy is very clear in the way he runs businesses," Todd said. "There is always clear accountability. He said, earlier in the season, that we would take a decision about Paul Mariner at the end of the season." One project for the board is the problem of Argyle's surplus playing stock. Steve MacLean, Alan Gow, Simon Walton and Marcel Seip are four of several players who have been sent on loan to other clubs, but have still been having some of their wages paid by Argyle. They are all under contract for next season, and Todd has warned that unless some or all of them leave, Argyle's playing budget next season will be adversely affected. "The club has been carrying a very significant financial burden," he said. "For the sake of those players' careers, as well as for ourselves, we need to find permanent homes for them. If we do not, it has to have an impact on the playing budget. It has to, in the real world. There would be less flexibility. If we have to continue to make contributions to on-loan players, that will take away from what we can do elsewhere – but we want to hold the core of this young team together and we want to make a flying start in League One."
Argyle’s youth team beat Hereford United 3-1 yesterday, the goals scored by Jack Stephens, Jordan Trott and Jed Harper-Penman. Argyle: Varazinskis, Stephens, Trott, Richards, Clifford, Harper-Penman, Young, Nelson, Copp, Baker, Rickard. Subs – Chenoweth, Sawyer, Sims (not used – Ramday).
Paul Mariner has insisted Argyle will be competitive in League One next season even though they must cut costs after their relegation. He said: "I think the people at the top want to send out the message that we want to get back up as quickly as possible. When any company loses £2m, there are obviously things that have got to change. But I think everybody at the top realises the most important thing is what is on the field. It's a case of watch this space, I suppose." Mariner wants to make sure he has a fully committed and focussed squad next season. "We have got an amazing core group of fans at this club," he said. "So it's very important that is reflected on the field and the players are really fighting for the cause." Mariner flew out of London yesterday for a two-week trip to visit his family in the United States. There has still been no official confirmation from the board that Mariner will remain in control of the first team next season, but all the indications are that he will do so. Mariner attended a board meeting last Thursday, and also spoke to the directors after the defeat by Peterborough United on Sunday. He said: "I just went in and gave them my assessment of the game. That was it. I was only in for 10 minutes." As for his own future, he added: "I'm just getting on with what I need to get on with."
Work on digging up the pitch at Home Park and replacing it with Fibrelastic turf is set to start next Monday. As a consequence, there are unlikely to be any home pre-season games this year. Paul Mariner believes the new pitch, which will cost in excess of £500,000, will allow Argyle to pass the ball more next season. "I think it will be a massive factor," he said. He pointed to the goal scored by Bradley Wright-Phillips against Peterborough United. Mariner said: "When Bradley got in on Sunday and stroked that ball into the back of the net, I think you'll see more of that next season, with players getting into scoring opportunities and getting their shots off. At the moment, even top- class players sometimes have a hesitation when they get into the box on our pitch, and at our level you can't afford to have a hesitation, because you get closed down. If you're playing pressure games and the game is at a pressure point, and you've got to have that extra split-second to think or to take care of the ball, it isn't ideal. It could have made a big difference to our season." Keith Todd confirmed that the pitch replacement project is on track. He said: "We fully expect that the pitch will look very different next season. The tenders are in, and we've had review sessions." Todd was reluctant to confirm the use of Fibrelastic Turf, but said: "We're 90 per cent there. I don't want to confirm it absolutely, because we're running some further comparisons on the durability of the pitch. There's a trade-off to be considered between durability and the appropriateness of it for the sport itself."
Argyle are likely to start next season with three goalkeepers in their squad. Apprentice Ollie Chenoweth has been offered a six-month professional contract but Paul Mariner believes it is too soon for him to be the club's number two. So there are likely to be two other keepers at Home Park, one of whom could be Romain Larrieu, who is considering a player-coach role. Mariner said: "I think it's probably a little bit early for Ollie to be a number two." Chenoweth got his chance because of a foot injury to Lloyd Saxton, who has subsequently been released. Mariner said: "It's amazing how things happen. Lloyd Saxton didn't play against Reading and Ollie did, and he was exceptional. I'm not saying that one game got him the extra six months, but it certainly helped. He's a terrific lad, but you don't know how young players are going to develop." Mariner thought it would be a ‘healthy scenario’ to have Larrieu, another full-time 'keeper and Chenoweth as part of his squad at the start of next season. He ruled out the possibility of one of the other shot-stoppers being a loan signing.
Bondz N'Gala has confirmed he is in ‘advanced talks’ about a permanent move to Argyle. He said: "I'm in advanced talks with the club, and they are going well. I like it here. The fans are great, and so are Paul Mariner and the backroom staff. They have got good ambitions, and so do I. I have learned a lot from the nine games I have played in. It has been a great experience and I have really enjoyed it." N'Gala's centre-back partner for eight of his Argyle appearances was Reda Johnson, another player who shows promise for the future. And Onismor Bhasera was signed on a full-time contract shortly after N'Gala came to Home Park. N'Gala said: "We have all had to learn together but, hopefully, that will hold us in good stead next season." Argyle ended the season with a 2-1 defeat by Peterborough United on Sunday and N'Gala said: "It definitely wasn't the way we wanted to end the season. We would have liked to end it on a high, against a team we are going to play next season. We got a good start, but we couldn't build on Brad's goal. We had a few chances which we should have taken really. All we can do now is look ahead to next season and try to come straight back up." Paul Mariner spoke to N'Gala yesterday, before leaving for a two-week trip to the United States this morning. "I think it's important we get Bondz signed," he said. In addition to N'Gala, Argyle have offered new deals to Yannick Bolasie, Karl Duguid and Romain Larrieu. Mariner is prepared to let them all have time to consider their options, but he will not for too long. He will be pushing for decisions, one way or the other, before the end of May. "Hopefully, they will sign their contracts sooner rather than later because it makes the planning simpler," he said. "But players have options, and it's their right to exercise them. That's what they are doing." Mariner also revealed apprentices Sean Kinsella and Ryan Leonard were close to signing the one-year professional contracts they have been offered.
Geoff Crudgington is relinquishing his role as goalkeeping coach to become Argyle’s new chief scout. He will be based at Home Park and work closely with Paul Mariner and John Carver. Mariner said: "We see the chief scout being in the office with us because then we can tell him exactly what we want, whether it's a report on a match or a player. Then, as it gets to the sharper end, if we are thinking of signing someone he will go and have a look." Romain Larrieu has been offered the chance to become a player-coach, effectively replacing Crudgington, but has yet to decide whether to accept. Meanwhile, Mariner has admitted he hopes to add another coach to his backroom staff over the summer. He has already lined up someone but the appointment is dependent on financial approval from the board. Mariner declined to comment on what role the potential new coach would have. "We just need to add to the staff," was all he would say.
Paul Mariner has confirmed that Argyle's board of directors have approved his proposal to take the squad to a pre-season training camp in Holland. They will be based at the Dutch Olympic Sport Federation's National Sports Centre at Papendal, near Arnhem, during the last week of July. They are likely to play one or two friendlies there.
Alan Judge has warned Argyle must become more professional off the pitch before they can start to enjoy success on it. Judge spent the final three months of last season on loan to Argyle, as well as all of this one, and has clear ideas on what the club must improve. "There are a lot of things behind the scenes that need to be turned from amateur to professional," he said. "I think that has been their downfall this season. The lads need better training facilities, and the club know that. They are working on it, which is good. The lads also need more medical staff, which Paul Mariner and John Carver are working on. It's going to be a big season for them, and I think they could come back up easily." Blackburn are ready to let Judge leave but he effectively ruled out a return to Home Park by stating he wants to play for a Championship club in 2010/11. "My aim is to play in the Championship again," he said. "It's nothing against Argyle, but I would like to see myself giving it another go in the Championship. Hopefully, that will be full-time, or maybe on a loan deal — whatever." Wherever he ends up, he will always be grateful to Argyle for giving him so much first-team football over the last 15 months. Judge said: "I hope all the fans know that whenever I went out to play I always played with my heart on my sleeve. It doesn't matter what team I play for, I always run myself into the ground. Plymouth gave me my first go in professional football and I will never forget that." Judge sat on the Home Park pitch after the final whistle against Peterborough reflecting on his time with Argyle. Eventually, he was hauled to his feet by Kari Arnason and, after saying farewell to the fans, he told the media what was going through his mind at the end of the game. "I was wondering how we had lost the game, and just thinking about my time here," he said. "I've been here longer than about half the players in the team. I've always considered myself as one of the permanent lads, but my time is up now. We didn't have the best of seasons, but playing with those lads and getting to know them so easily, has been great." Judge's last match ended in disappointment, as did the season. "We stood off them too much," Judge added. "In the first half, the long ball was working for us, but I think we used it too much in the second half. They got on to it, and started backing off."
Paul Mariner has admitted Argyle are 'in a state of flux' as they start preparing for life in League One next season. Mariner confirmed after the defeat by Peterborough that Lloyd Saxton, David McNamee and Yoann Folly were all being released. Argyle will also not take up the option they had to sign Kenny Cooper. Yannick Bolasie, Karl Duguid and Romain Larrieu are all considering new deals to stay at Home Park and the club are also trying to complete the permanent signing of Bondz N'Gala. Goalkeeper Ollie Chenoweth, a second-year apprentice, has been offered a six-month professional contract. Mariner said: "We are in a state of flux, to be perfectly frank, and the sooner it gets resolved the better. We have varying degrees of targets, depending on the budget. So we will wait and see what happens." Mariner has no doubts he would remain as boss, despite ending the season with five successive defeats. He said: "As far as I'm concerned, I will be here. That's all the indications I have had. This has been the lowest point of my football career. I have been absolutely devastated ever since we were relegated. I haven't been my normal self. Anybody who knows me, will have seen how low key I have been. The worst feeling in football is losing, and it has really hurt us, but we will bounce back and we get it right." Mariner was bemused by how poorly his team had played after half-time yesterday. He said: "It was a classic end-of-season game on a bumpy pitch, and on a windy, sunny day. You name it, there were all the conditions for a horrible football match. I didn't think we started particularly well, and you could say we got our goal against the run of play. But it was a super goal by Bradley. It was very nicely created and he finished it very well. Then, just after that, Joe Mason put one the other side of the post. Maybe 2-0 at half-time would have flattered us, but it would have been nice from our view point. It was the first time for quite a while we have had a goal lead, and I was interested to see if the players could handle that situation. But we came out flat at the start of the second half and conceded some soft goals." Peterborough’s winning goal was scored from a free-kick which came after Chris Clark was harshly penalised for a challenge on Tommy Lee. Clark suffered a knee injury in the process, and was replaced by Yannick Bolasie immediately before the free-kick was taken. Mariner said: "Clarky got an unbelievable wallop on his knee. It will be like a balloon tonight. He's in massive pain, but his wife has just had a baby so he has probably got a lot of work to do when he goes home. I couldn't work out why it was a free-kick to them. I just couldn't. Clarky had to come off because he could hardly move. He has got stud marks across his knee cap."
Argyle lost 2-1 to Peterborough United at Home Park, the goal scored by Bradley Wright-Phillips after 31 minutes. Argyle: Larrieu, Duguid, Arnason, N’Gala, Bhasera, Judge, Fletcher, Johnson.D, Clark, Wright-Phillips, Mason. Subs – Barker, Bolasie, Fallon (not used – Chenoweth, Summerfield, Nelson, Johnson.R). Attendance 8,557.
Carl Fletcher has won this year's Player of the Season award. Paul Mariner was quick to acknowledge his importance to the squad. "When he was injured, we missed him," he said. "As soon as he went off after seven minutes against Blackpool, I thought 'That's going to hurt us' because, obviously, his ability, plus his character...he's a fantastic professional. It's an absolute pleasure to work with him."
Joe Mason has won Argyle's Young Player of the Season award. "Joe is definitely a player for the future of this club - he is the future of this club," said Paul Mariner. John Carver added: "He's developing as a young player, has got natural instincts and he gets himself in the right areas. You can see that from the goals he scores; he's always thinking, following things in, and he did that. Getting in the right areas is a great striker's knack, and that's one gift he has, amongst other gifts. He is going to score goals. He's scored goals at every level he's played at. We'll keep his feet on the ground. It's very important he continues to develop. Let's face it - he's got a great teacher in the manager, as strikers go."
Argyle’s youth team beat Cheltenham Town 3-1 yesterday, the goals scored by Matt Rickard, Jed Harper-Penman and Jack Stephens. Argyle: Varazinskis, Stephens, Trott, Richards, Clifford, Harper-Penman, Young, Nelson, Berry, Baker, Rickard. Subs – Sims, Copp, Ramday (not used – Vassell).
Romain Larrieu has admitted he does not know whether he will still be with Argyle next season. Larrieu has been offered the chance to extend his stay at the club but has yet to decide whether his future lies at Home Park or elsewhere. He said: "I don't know yet. It's too early to say. There are so many things that need to be sorted out first, to see where exactly we are going." Paul Mariner hopes Larrieu will stay with the club. He said: "He has got a very good offer on the table. It's up to him. He has got the whip-hand on it." Larrieu has found his recent absence from the first team hard to take. He said: "I enjoy playing a lot, so the last three months or so has been frustrating, but that's football. You are never guaranteed to play, so when you don't play you need to accept it and try to find a way to help your team differently." Larrieu did that by offering advice to, and sharing some of his experiences with, David Stockdale. He said: "That's the only way I felt I could help the team in very difficult times. Everybody needs help. I needed help when I was younger and I still need help now." Larrieu admitted it had been a painful experience to sit on the sidelines and see Argyle relegated. "You never want to see your team in the position we have been in for the last two seasons," he said. "There is a lot for us, as a squad, to think about because I really believe there was enough talent in the team to stay up. But talent, on its own, doesn't win you anything. So people need to think about what they want to achieve. Do they want to be talented players, or winning players? We have been a losing team for two seasons, and it hurts me to say that." Larrieu believes one of the main reasons for the team's struggles over the past couple of years has been the lack of stability at the club. "There has been a lot of change, in terms of personnel, at every level of the club from the board, to the staff, to the players," he said. "And maybe we haven't gelled because there were so many people coming from a lot of directions. Some of them haven't settled. You can find as many reasons as you want but, in the end, when you are on the pitch you need to get results, and we haven't done that. I have played in teams where we have had really bad spells. Every team goes through bad spells, but we knew what we were capable of doing because we had done it before. But when you have got a team of players coming from everywhere, you haven't got that base so you need to try to gel quickly. That is ever so hard to do the higher you go up the leagues. I don't think we have done that because, here we are, we are going down. I know the staff are aware of that, and they are trying to find ways of making us successful again. That's the only way forward for the club."
Paul Mariner is trying to convince Bondz N'Gala to sign for Argyle on a permanent basis. N'Gala is being released by West Ham this summer and talks about a full-time move to Argyle have been taking place over recent weeks but without resolution, as yet. Mariner said: "His contract is there to be signed but until he puts pen to paper it's not done. I spoke to him again yesterday morning and told him exactly what I feel about him. I think he has done exceptionally well for a young player."
Argyle could be ready to sell Jamie Mackie following their relegation from the Championship. Paul Mariner was asked whether he thought Mackie would still be at Home Park next season, and he replied: "I don't really know, to be honest. I would expect there will be interest in a lot of our players, so it's up for speculation. I sincerely hope Jamie is here next season, but we will just have to wait and see." Mackie has already been linked with a move to Sheffield United, while Middlesbrough are also thought to have some interest in him. He sat out the defeat at Nottingham Forest last Saturday because of a calf injury, and is still sidelined for the season-ending visit of Peterborough United to Home Park tomorrow. Argyle will be desperate to avoid a fifth successive defeat when they face Peterborough. Mariner said: "We haven't won for quite some time, and we obviously want to win football matches, especially in front of our fans, who have been great to us this season. We need to give them something to smile about, so this is an extremely important game for us. The simple fact of the matter is we need to be professional and we need to go out on a high." Reda Johnson could line-up for Argyle, even though he had to be replaced against Forest because of injury. Johnson returned to training yesterday and has a chance of being passed fit to play. Otherwise, Kari Arnason will play in the centre of defence alongside Bondz N'Gala.
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