A Round-up of Argyle News
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Also included on the three most recent days, facts from Argyle's history.
Bobby Williamson paid tribute to Paul Wotton after he came off the bench to earn a point in yesterdays draw with West Ham. "If you are looking for someone to come on and score from that distance, it's Paul Wotton," said Williamson. "He epitomises everything that is good about this club. Credit to him for keeping his head up and being part of things - he plays a big part at this club and no-one should underestimate that. Even though he might not be in the starting XI, he's still a very important person to have around the place. He knows what Plymouth Argyle are all about - he's been here long enough - and he lets the rest of the players know what it means to be a Plymouth Argyle player. He does a good job at it. The reason we put him on is because we know he can deliver a set-piece. He did deliver. It took a wicked bounce in front of the goalkeeper and has gone over him into the back of the net. Credit to Paul. He came on and did very well. I'm pleased for him and I'm pleased for the rest of the guys, who worked very hard. I hope our fans appreciate that, what we lack in ability, we make up for in effort, and I don't think there's a shortage of ability, anyway. We're a team. We work hard for each other." Williamson felt the goal was merited by his side, who refused to lay down and die against resolute West Ham defending. "I felt we deserved at least something out of the game, although, because we were at home, we're disappointed because we lost two points. We've just got to be happy that we got something out of the game. West Ham scored with possibly their only effort at goal, whereas we had a lot of play and could have added to the one goal we got. Credit to West Ham - they defended when they had to and looked reasonably assured at the back, although we posed them problems. I hope we don't have an inferiority complex. We have got to have belief in ourselves, and I felt that was lacking in the first 45 minutes. We never troubled the goalkeeper, and that was down to belief and confidence. It's up to me to get them to believe they can trouble teams in this division. I don't fear anybody. I am confident in my ability, and that of my coaches around about me, the board, the players, everyone pulling in the same direction. If we continue to do that, I am hopeful we will be nearer the top end of this division than the bottom."
Argyle draw 1-1 with West Ham United at Home Park, the goal scored by Paul Wotton in the 76th minute. Argyle: Larrieu, Worrell, Kouo-Doumbe, Coughlan, Gilbert, Norris, Friio, Makel, Hodges, Evans, Crawford. Subs - Wotton, Milne (not used - Lowndes, Lasley, Adams). Attendance - 20,220. and Ian De-Lars match report is here
David Worrell has made the most of Bobby Williamson's readiness to give every member of the Argyle squad a chance. "The gaffer has always stressed that it's a squad game and it's not all about the 11 lads that are playing," he said. "But we're all here to play and it's very frustrating when you're not in the starting XI. I've enjoyed being back in the side and hopefully I can stay there. The standard is what we expected. It's probably the toughest league to get out of, looking at the sides in this division. There are plenty of strikers who, when they get chances, they take them and all the teams have got good midfielders and defenders. We're playing on edge every week. We know we have to concentrate for 90 minutes otherwise we're going to concede goals, like we did last week late on at Sheffield United." With West Ham next Worrell said: "There are a lot of big clubs in this league, but at the end of the day there are only three points to play for in every game. But we're looking forward to playing in front of a full house and there should be a great atmosphere."
Bobby Williamson insists today's game does not deserve special status. "I would like to think it's just another game," he said. "We're all looking forward to it, and whether it's West Ham, Gillingham or Rotherham we're playing it doesn't matter. They all get treated with the same respect. Hopefully the outcome will be a victory for Argyle." Williamson is hoping that the sell-out crowd will be a factor that works to Argyle's advantage. "We need the backing of the fans," he said. "If we're going to beat these teams, we need their support. I can't emphasise that enough. We need everyone to be pulling in one direction. The players will be giving every effort and, with the encouragement of the fans as well, I'm sure we can get something out of the game. We want to make West Ham defend. We want to put them on the back foot. We'll do that, we'll push forward at every opportunity, although we'll still be wary of them on the counter-attack. We'll give it our best."
Tony Capaldi has been told he can step-up his recovery from a broken leg. He saw a specialist earlier this week and was told the fracture of his left leg had healed. Paul Maxwell said: "We just need to start building him up now and see how he gets on."
Vilson Knezevic is to continue training with Argyle, but there seems to be no immediate prospect of him signing for the club. Argyle tried to get international clearance for the keeper to play for the reserves but they were unsuccessful. Bobby Williamson said: "He's not on trial. We have given him training facilities and if we can't offer him something then maybe somebody else will be able to. I'm not going to jeopardise anybody's future employment by commenting on them just on what I have seen in training. It's not enough to judge anybody, whether it's a goalkeeper, a defender, a midfield player or a striker. You really need to see them in games over a period of time, but we haven't got that time because we can't get international clearance to play the guy." Williamson also admitted he will not stand in the way of Blair Sturrock should another club want to take him on loan, or a trial period. He said: "If someone else comes on the phone and asks me if they can have a look at him then they can. I know what Blair's capabilities are. If other managers feel they can offer him first-team football then that's something we will look at - and that goes for anybody at the club."
Argyle schoolboy Ryan Moon captained Wales under-16s to a 1-0 away win against Scotland in the Victory Shield last night. Jamie Laird should have captained Scotland but he was ruled out by a shin injury. Stuart Gibson and David Tall made the long trip to Methil to watch the match and Gibson said: "It was unfortunate Jamie couldn't play because it would have been great for us to have both teams captained by our lads. Ryan did some good things and some silly things. He has still got a lot to learn but it was good for him to captain his country to an away win."
Playing West Ham tomorrow holds no fears for David Norris. He said: "None of the boys will need motivating for this one. West Ham are a massive team and it's going to be a sell-out. We have done reasonably well against the other big clubs, even though the results haven't gone our way sometimes. We have never been battered by anybody, or totally played off the park, so that shows there is nothing for us to fear. West Ham have got a squad full of star names and I expect them to be right up there at the end of the season. I think they had a slow start to the season but they seem to be hitting form now." Norris is convinced Argyle can take all three points off the East London club and is excited by the prospect of another sell-out at Home Park. "We will go out there to win the game, and I don't see why we shouldn't do that. It's brilliant when you run out and see the stadium full. It's a great atmosphere to play in. West Ham are going to bring a lot of supporters with them so it should be good tomorrow. Hopefully, our fans can really get behind the boys." Argyle slipped to 12th following their defeat by Sheffield United last Saturday. "We are still mid-table in the league and I think a lot of people would have taken that at the start of the season," said Norris. "The results have been a bit up and down and we haven't been on a great run recently. But the most important thing is to beat the teams below us, which will keep us around mid-table and above. We will be happy with that. We played well in the first half on Saturday, as we have done a lot of times this season. I think when we are playing that well and are on top we need to score. If we could get a goal that would give us that little boost. At Sheffield United we passed it well and dominated them, but we didn't score. The longer the game went on, it always looked likely they might nick one." The visit of West Ham is followed by second-placed Reading at home on Tuesday and away to leaders Wigan Athletic next Saturday. Norris admitted: "We have got a difficult week and if we can come away with a few points on the board I think we will be more than happy. It will be tough but we are looking forward to it. This is what being in this league is all about and these are the sort of games you want to be playing in."
Bobby Williamson saw West Ham beaten 1-0 by Chelsea in the Carling Cup on Wednesday and was very impressed with them. He said: "They had a good shape about them and a good balance. Defensively, they looked reasonably strong and they have got players who can create and take chances. We are well warned and we have really got to put ourselves about and work very hard for each other tomorrow and, hopefully, get the breaks that will win us the game. Sheringham wasn't available for selection the other night, but West Ham have got a squad of players who can compete at the top end of this league. That's what we are trying to amass here. Time will tell whether we have accomplished that." Williamson believes fatigue will not be a factor for West Ham, even though they played against Chelsea. "That will actually give them an edge, I feel," he said. "Teams who play midweek usually keep that momentum going into the next game. They will be resting up just now and will be ready to go tomorrow. We have got to make sure we start the game better than they do."
Nathan Lowndes and Steven Milne have both been added to the Argyle squad after recovering from injury. "They have been training with the rest of the first team players this week," said Bobby Williamson. Hasney Aljofree, Tony Capaldi and Marino Keith are still sidelined.
Bobby Williamson revealed preparations for tomorrow's game had not been disrupted by the stormy weather this week. "We have been very fortunate," he said. "Wednesday was probably the poorest day so we let the boys off. Tuesday was a great day so we had a double session and yesterday we managed to avoid the rain." The visit of West Ham is followed by another two difficult games but Williamson insisted: "I haven't looked any further than West Ham. That's the next game and we have got to give a good account of ourselves and, hopefully, get those points."
Weymouth are hoping to sign Stewart Yetton on loan for a second time. Yetton impressed during a short stay at the Wessex Stadium earlier this year
Paul Stapleton has thanked the Green Army for their tremendous support this season. He said: "I always knew we would get good gates after our promotion last season but they have been slightly better than I anticipated. To get sell-outs for Leeds and West Ham is great and I hope Queens Park Rangers on Boxing Day might be another one. I want to thank the fans for their support. It has been tremendous. If we keep that up we should be alright in this league and we can push on from there. We have always said any money we make will go to the manager to strengthen the squad." Stapleton is concerned, however, the clash against West Ham, has overshadowed the visit of Reading next Tuesday night. "People seem to have forgotten about that, and Reading are second in the league," he said. "On top of our memberships, I think we have sold 1,400 tickets so far. I know it is a few days away yet and people might buy their tickets nearer the time but at the moment we are looking at a gate of 12,000."
Argyles reserve team friendly at Weymouth tonight has been hit by the severe weather and the pitch was ruled unplayable
Ryan Dickson has had a week or so to remember, and now he wants to savour more of the same. "It's been a lot faster than I expected," he said. "There's a lot more mental pressure than I expected. As you go up from youth-team to reserve to first-team football, you have to move the ball a lot quicker. Players think more quickly and the standard is much better. At reserve level you only play in front of about 500 people, instead of up to 20,000 in first-team games. It's a big change to get used to. It makes you quite nervous to realise you're playing in front of so many people, but once you're out there you just shut them out and get on with your job. I think I've done reasonably well, but it's going to take time getting used to League football. It's a learning curve. I think, of the three games I've played in, I enjoyed the one at Rotherham the most because the team won. The result was more important than me playing well or me making my debut." Dickson was brought up and educated in Saltash, where he attended the Cornish town's Community College. "Roger Reynolds, the sports teacher there, helped me a lot," he recalled, "and at Argyle I've got a lot to thank Dave Newton and Chris Souness at the Centre of Excellence for. Stuart Gibson has also helped me a lot, especially with the mental side of the game. As a kid, you don't know what to expect, coming into a club full-time." Argyle are Dickson's local club, but he also followed another team's fortunes during his school days. "I supported Blackburn Rovers. I don't really know why," he admitted. "But it's brilliant to be playing for my local club. They're always the team where your heart is, really." Dickson is most at home on the left wing rather than in defence, but he does not mind what position he is entrusted with. "I just enjoy being out there," he said. "It's no big deal where I play. From now on I just want to take my chance when I can. There are people out injured at the moment, so I am getting a chance. I just hope to be involved still, although I don't really expect it, when players like Tony Capaldi are fit." For now he is delighted that Bobby Williamson has given him his chance. "He must have a lot of faith in me to put a 17-year-old in the side," Dickson said. "The gaffer has just told me to express myself, to work hard and get involved as much as possible."
Four members of Argyles first-team squad could play at Weymouth in tonights friendly. Keith Lasley, Paul Connolly, Blair Sturrock and Stuart Yetton are all set to feature. Bobby Williamson wants to give his trialist goalkeeper Vilson Knezevic some match practice in Dorset, but that will only be possible if international clearance for the Australian can be secured today.
Paul Stapleton hopes there will be an announcement before Christmas on when the final stage of Home Park's redevelopment will start. He said: "We are continuing to hold very constructive meetings with the council. We have got to see what's best for the football club and what's best for the city so that it suits both of us. That's where we are at the moment, but we are hopeful there will be some sort of an announcement before Christmas." Stapleton also confirmed Argyle would be interviewing candidates for the post of chief executive next week.
Despite recent results and a lengthy list of injured players, Bobby Williamson is reluctant to spend the transfer funds at his disposal. "I'm not in the mood for spending money," he said. "If there's a player out there who I can think can add to the squad and help us as a team, then I'll spend the board's money. But there's nobody jumping out at us at this moment in time who could do that. For, say, two, three or four hundred thousand pounds I don't think there's a player out there who can improve us dramatically," he added. "I do my work at the start of the season, I select my squad of players and they all get an opportunity to show what they can do during the course of a season. If I feel we have to add to that during the season, then I'll do that, but at this moment in time I'm comfortable with what we've got. Although I appreciate the board's support, I'm not going to rush out and spend their money needlessly. I hope the fans appreciate that." Two of the players on the injury list are nearing full fitness. Steven Milne's knee problem is not as serious as had first been feared, while Nathan Lowndes could be in contention again very soon. "Steven has started jogging again," Williamson said. "Hopefully as the week goes on he'll be joining in with training fully." According to radio reports in the Potteries, Lowndes was a loan transfer target for Port Vale before he hurt his neck. Williamson said: "He's been linked with a lot of clubs, but he's still here. He's still available for selection and he'll be included if he's fit. But if somebody comes in for him and he feels he's got more chance of getting a game with that club, then that's something he's got to consider and we'll consider it. But at this moment in time he's an Argyle player." Blair Sturrock is back at Home Park after returning from a trial at Northampton Town. "Blair is fit and available for selection," Williamson said. "He was unfortunate in that he went to Northampton for a couple of weeks and then most of our strikers got injured. That's just Sod's Law. But if he impresses me during the course of the week he may be involved on Saturday."
Bobby Williamson has stated that he is not unduly worried by his teams reliance on David Friio for goals over recent games. "He has done well, got himself in the box and that is what we expect of him," Williamson said. "But his game is not just about the goals he scores. More will get their names up on the scoring charts as the season progresses."
Bobby Williamson insists he does not consider the forthcoming games any harder than previous fixtures. "They are all difficult games," he said. "I don't look at any game differently - we have had tough games in the past. I am not worried about these three games coming up, I am confident - I am always confident."
It is not known whether Vilson Knezevic, who is training with Argyle this week, will play for the reserves against Weymouth on Wednesday night. Bobby Williamson said: "He looked good on the DVD I was sent but you can't really tell from that. I'm not sure if he can play on Wednesday - it is an official game, so he may need official registration."
Goalkeeper Vilson Knezevic will be training with Argyle this week. The Australian has been invited to Home Park by Bobby Williamson while Luke McCormick is on loan at Boston United. Williamson said: "I am more than happy with the two goalkeepers we have got, but I like working with two goalkeepers in training. With Luke away because he needs to be playing first-team football, I've asked Vilson to come down. We'll have a look at him and see how it goes."
Lee Hodges' return to the Argyle starting line-up ended in disappointment as they lost at Sheffield United, he said: "I was surprised to start because the boys have been doing well, but it was nice to be given the opportunity to play in the centre again. I thought it went well in the first half but we didn't get the ball down at all in the second half. It was going over our heads in midfield and we were disappointed with the goals we conceded. I think they had a series of throw-ins and eventually the cross came in and no-one went to attack the ball. Their boy did and he got his rewards." Although the Blades came on strong in the second half, they had been outplayed by Argyle for long spells before the interval. Hodges said: "We were getting into good positions but that last little bit didn't really happen for us and in the second half, right from the kick-off, we were on the back foot. From then on, we couldn't get our game going. I can't put my finger on why that was. We were going long and the ball was coming straight back because Crawf was up on his own. He was working his socks off but one against four is really hard." Although Hodges was frustrated with the result, he was still pleased to get his first team recall. "The second half did spoil it for me," he said. "I was happy with what I did in the first half. I thought I got on the ball, I passed it and I got stuck in. But, personally, in the second half I just couldn't get on the ball. Everything seemed to be going over my head both ways. You just get frustrated that you aren't in the game and it's really hard then, but it was nice to have a start and I did enjoy it."
Ryan Dickson retained his place as he made his second consecutive start for Argyle yesterday and Bobby Williamson said: "That's his second game so it's a learning curve for him. He can play better than that, but I think quite a few lacked a bit of belief in their ability, and that's disappointing."
Bobby Williamson was in a rueful mood after yesterdays defeat. He said: "I felt we were slightly better than United in the first half. We had a flurry of corners, but we never managed to capitalise on any of them. We were close with one that we put into the near-post area. If we could have got a goal then, it may have put a different complexion on the match, but in the second half it was a different performance from United. They got at us and put us under a lot of pressure. Both their goals were disappointing for us. Everything is a learning curve for us this season, and we've got to learn quickly. Concentration levels have got to be at their utmost. If you go to sleep in any situation, you're usually punished. We were severely punished here. We were trying to get the ball further up the park and hold on to it and get support up. We never managed to do that second half. First half we were a lot better. In the second half we seemed to try to just clear the ball rather than pass it." Argyle went into the game with a single-striker before ending it with two strikers as they chased the game. "I don't want to be too rigid in what we do," Williamson said. "We want to keep people guessing how we're going to play, and that's my prerogative. I felt, first half, we were reasonable. In the second half, we were under the cosh and we couldn't get an outlet, and that's why we changed it. We got one goal back and we tried to get the ball forward quickly and put them under pressure, but we ran out of time." Williamson knew that his players had not all done themselves justice. "I think quite a few of our lads lacked a bit of belief in our ability, and that's disappointing. When you come to places like Bramall Lane, you've got to stand up and be counted, and show how good you are, take the ball, make passes, and move. I don't think enough of us did that on the day."
Argyle lose 2-1 at Sheffield United, the goal scored by David Friio in the 87th minute. Argyle: Larrieu, Worrell, Kouo-Doumbe, Coughlan, Gilbert, Norris, Friio, Makel, Hodges, Dickson, Crawford. Subs - Evans, Lasley, Yetton (not used - Wotton, Adams). Attendance - 18,893.
Bobby Williamson faces a selection dilemma against Sheffield United today. He said: "We competed well at Rotherham and got a result, but I look at every game on an individual basis. I've always been reluctant to change winning teams, but if I feel it's necessary for tactical reasons then I will do that." Williamson has had a close look at the opposition - he was hired by Sky Sports as an analyst for the Blades' win at Gillingham last weekend, and he said: "There's never going to be an easy match in this division, that's for sure, whether you're playing against a team at the bottom or at the top. I saw Sheffield United in person last Sunday, when they got a convincing win. They drew 1-1 in midweek, so hopefully they're having a bit of a stutter with their home form. Hopefully we can capitalise, but I don't expect it to be easy. I don't think they'll be too far away at the end of the season. Neil Warnock has always had his teams well-organised and motivated, and pushing and challenging for play-off positions. I don't think this year will be any different. I don't think there are many surprises in football nowadays. We all know so much about each other. We're well warned."
Mickey Evans will today renew his acquaintance with the manager who first made him a Football League regular - Neil Warnock. "Neil helped me because he put me in the first team," he said. "When someone picks you and gives you a chance, you respect them, and he gave me my first real chance. My first start in that Wembley season was at Bury. We won 5-0, I was lucky enough to score a couple of goals and we went on to get promotion. It was a great season. I've got fond memories of Neil. He was great towards young lads. If you were one of his players, he really looked after you and tried to do his best for you. As a player, you really can't ask for much more from a manager." Warnock steered a seriously rebuilt side to play-off final success against Darlington after no fewer than 18 signings before or during the season. To achieve promotion with such a turnover of staff was quite a feat. "Neil's man-management skills were fantastic," Evans added. "What he did was bring in a bunch of probably average players - I think a lot of the lads would agree with that, looking back - and got them to perform week in, week out. It wasn't pretty football to watch, but at the end of the day he got results and got us out of that league. At the time, with the club struggling like it was, it was some effort by him." Evans hopes to help Argyle spoil his former boss's day this afternoon though.He is eager to retain his place in the side today. "They're all hard games in this league," Evans said, "but it will be harder than Rotherham because Rotherham's results speak for themselves. I thought the commitment from the lads on Tuesday was second to none and that's what we'll need again at Sheffield. They're a very physical, strong side, like all of Neil's teams, and they'll be hard to break down, but we've got to go there and play like we have in every away game. The results may not always have gone our way but you can never fault the lads' effort."
No decision has been reached on the future of Blair Sturrock, who has been on trial with Northampton Town for the past two weeks.
Luke McCormick has joined Boston United on loan for a month. Bobby Williamson said: "It's simply a question of Luke playing first-team football. Reserve-team football, at this stage of his career is not good enough for him, I'm afraid. He'll go to Boston and help them out, and that will help us out, too."
Bobby Williamson has shown he is not afraid to give young talent a chance to shine with Ryan Dickson making his debut as a substitute last Saturday and then starting in the win at Rotherham United. "I think that's the way forward for clubs like Argyle, to give their promising kids an opportunity," said Williamson. "If first team players are not available or they have got a loss of form then I will turn to the kids and see what they can do. I'm a great believer if you are good enough you are old enough. Whether you are 16 or 36 it's immaterial." Williamson believes Dickson should be a role model for the rest of the players in Argyle's youth set-up. He said: "If they are not pushing at the age of 17 or 18 then it's hard to keep them for another couple of years to see if they develop because, hopefully, we will have a conveyor belt of talent coming through. If I feel there is somebody below them who is looking better then they have got to move on. That's the nature of the game. I just want every kid that comes to the club to enjoy working here and being here. If they give it their best then, hopefully, it will be good enough. If not, then we thank them and wish them all the best and help them get fixed up at a level where they can play football and make progress."
Bobby Williamson insists that the game at Sheffield United had no more or less edge than any other, despite the link with Neil Warnock. "If you treat this game any differently from other ones, you have not been professional about those previous games," was his dismissive reply to any suggestion to the contrary. Argyle have taken the lead in all seven away games they have played this season and held on to gain 10 points from four of them. "I hope that continues," said Williamson. "It's always good to get ahead and try to defend a lead, rather than chase a game, especially away from home."
David Friio and Nathan Lowndes are back in contention for Argyle's game at Sheffield United on Saturday. Friio missed the match at Rotherham because of illness but took part in a light training session yesterday. Lowndes has recovered from the neck injury he suffered in the defeat by Wigan Athletic on Saturday. Paul Maxwell said: "Somebody fell on Nathan and he felt a jolt in the back of his neck. It has been really stiff this week but he should be okay for Saturday." Marino Keith and Steven Milne, however, are still on the mend after injury. Keith damaged ankle ligaments in the reserves drubbing of Swansea City a fortnight ago. Maxwell said: "Marino is making steady progress but he's probably going to be another couple of weeks." Milne limped out of the reserves win against Swansea last Tuesday with a knee injury but it is not a recurrence of a problem he had at Dundee at the start of last season. Maxwell said: "He had an MRI scan and that showed nothing. Over the last 12 months, since he came back from his previous injury, he has not been running correctly and that has put pressure on his knee, causing some inflamation. We will probably let his knee settle for a few days and then gradually start to build his leg up." Tony Capaldi is seeing a specialist on Monday as he continues his comeback from a broken left leg. "He's in the pool every day and is doing some work with the weights but it's all upper body stuff," said Maxwell. "Hopefully, we can get some advice from the specialist on Monday and take it from there." It could be the start of December before Hasney Aljofree is ready for a return to action. Maxwell said: "He's doing some cycling to keep his legs going but that's about it at the moment."
Tony McKeever scored the only goal in the 39th minute last night as a young Argyle side beat Elmore in the St Luke's Bowl at Horsdon Park. Argyle: Schofield, Drew, Routledge, McKeever, Nute, Reski, Summerfield, Bond, Robotham, Hoyles, Zebroski. Subs - Parkes (not used - Moon, Evans.D)
Bobby Williamson admitted after last night’s game that he had not expected such a significant contribution in front of goal from Mathias Kouo-Doumbe when he signed him in the summer. "In two and a half seasons at Hibs, I think he scored as many goals as he's already scored for us this season," he said. "It's a great result for us. We had to work very hard for it because Rotherham kept pushing to try to get that goal back. Their fans got behind them, as usual, and they were unfortunate not to get something, I must admit. The header they had went right at Romain and he had to catch it at his second attempt. Anything else he dealt with. It was always going to be difficult at set pieces because they have got a few big lads. But we competed well with them in the air and we won our fair share. We have got a good goal from a free-kick so we are delighted to have got the three points. The most pleasing thing about it for me was that we kept a clean sheet. We haven't done that for a while. Romain will take a lot of heart from that, as will the whole of the back four." Williamson paid tribute to Graham Coughlan for the part he played in Doumbe's matchwinner. He said: "Graham Coughlan did tremendously well. Their big goalkeeper committed himself, thinking he could get to it. Graham has got the ball back across and Matt Doumbe has put it in, so we are pleased about that." With David Friio, Hasney Aljofree, Nathan Lowndes, Tony Capaldi and Marino Keith missing Williamson refused to refer to their replacements as understudies. "We don't have fringe players at Argyle - we have got a squad of first-team players and everyone has got to play hard to get a shirt," he said. "If they do well, they have got a good chance of keeping it for the next match." Ryan Dickson made his full debut and turned in a very competent performance on the left side of midfield. "He worked very, very hard," said Williamson, "and gave everything he had. We had to substitute him in the end. Hopefully he will have a long career ahead of him." Stuart Gibson, who has helped Dickson through the ranks at Home Park was also there to see the game. He said: "Producing a player for the first team is like winning the Championship for me. That is why I have driven all the way to Rotherham to watch Ryan's full debut. It was great how he went out and expressed himself. He showed no fear-factor. He showed individual flair, and played a disciplined part of the team. If he keeps showing the maturity he's shown in the 18 months he's been at the club, he'll carry on developing into a very good player." Jocky Scott was also at the game and Williamson said: "He had an input at the start which is right because he's seen more Rotherham games than I have this season. He had an input at half-time and a few words at the end."
Jocky Scott thought Argyle were good value for their win against Rotherham, even though it came by the narrowest of margins. He said: "I thought we got caught up in the way they played in the first half, but one or two things were sorted out at half-time and I think we dictated things after that. The only problem they gave us was with set plays because of their height. There is always the danger the ball will come off somebody and land at somebody's feet and they stick it in the net. But, other than that, I didn't think they caused us any trouble. I thought we dealt with everything well and, in fact, we had the better chances and could have won by two or three." Scott carried out a lot of scouting missions for Sunderland, where he was the reserve team boss, so he knows a lot about the teams in the Championship, which could prove to be invaluable for Bobby Williamson. "I saw Rotherham a couple of weeks ago at Wigan so I was able to put them right on some of their players," he said. "I watched a lot of matches last season for Sunderland so I have got a fair idea of the teams, how they play and the individuals. If that's any help to Bobby then great." Williamson offered Scott the chance to work with him at Argyle after John Blackley moved to Sheffield Wednesday last month. Scott said: "Bobby phoned me last week while he had the international break and asked if I would be interested in coming to join him because of John Blackley's departure and there was a vacancy. For the last two years I have been working at Sunderland with the reserve team and I have missed the first team stuff. Tonight is the first time for a couple of years I have been excited, even though I was sitting in the stand. The nerves were there, especially towards the end of the game. From that point, it's a great move for me. The only problem I had in not saying 'yes' right away was the locality of the place. I was far enough away from home at Sunderland as it was, but I went to Plymouth at the weekend and watched the game against Wigan. I was there for a couple of days and had a look about the place and everybody tells me it's a lovely part of the world so I'm looking forward to it." Scott will work alongside Gerry McCabe as assistant to Williamson. "We know each other, so that's a good thing," he said. "They know I'm not coming in to upset what they are doing. I'm sure we will all listen to each other and just get on with it. I don't see any problems in us working together." Bobby Williamson added: "I'm pleased to get Jocky on board. He's a very good coach and vastly experienced. He will help us and that's what he's here for - to make us a better team. He will be assisting alongside Gerry and, hopefully, he will enjoy it”.
Argyle win 1-0 at Rotherham, Mathias Kouo-Doumbe scoring the goal in the 65th minute. Argyle: Larrieu, Worrell, Kouo-Doumbe, Coughlan, Gilbert, Norris, Makel, Adams, Dickson, Evans, Crawford. Subs - Wotton, Lasley (not used - Hodges, Yetton, Connolly). Attendance - 5,088.
Bobby Williamson returns to one of his former clubs as Argyle take on Rotherham tonight. He said: "Tonight is the first time I will have been back to Millmoor in a professional capacity, although I have been there to watch games." Williamson insisted there was no room for sentiment, even though Rotherham are bottom of the table. "I don't think they will be looking for sympathy," he said. "We are all professionals and we are all working as diligently and as hard as we can do for the teams we are involved with. I don't like to see any teams down the bottom end of the league, but somebody has got to be there. I had a lot of good times at Rotherham. They are a great club with passionate supporters. I'm sure they will encourage their team tonight to try to get the three points that will get them closer to the teams above them in the table." Williamson can expect a warm welcome from the home fans after his success as a player at Rotherham. He said: "I scored about 60 goals in 90-odd games, which was a great return and good for me as a player. I don't know how the fans will react to me turning up at Millmoor again - they will probably not recognise me! It's good to be going back, and we will see what the outcome of the game is."
Jocky Scott has agreed to join Argyle as first-team coach and Bobby Williamson said: "He's going to be a great acquisition for us. Jocky is a man I've known for a long time - he put me through my coaching courses - and I am really looking forward to working with him. He's vastly experienced, he knows this division very well, having been at Sunderland, and he will bring a wealth of knowledge with him that can only benefit us." Scott himself said: "It's a job I had to think about, because of the location. I've thoroughly enjoyed my time at Sunderland, but this offers me the chance to work at first-team level, which I've done for most of my career. I know Bobby Williamson very well from my time in Scotland."
Argyle will play at Elmore this Wednesday at 7.30 in the first round of this year's St Luke's Bowl
Bobby Williamson has named three teenagers in his squad for tomorrows game at Rotherham: Ryan Dickson, Stewart Yetton and Chris Zebroski. The call-ups come as David Friio is a doubt with a fever, as is Nathan Lowndes, who was taken off on Saturday after a blow to the neck. "A big chunk of the squad is unavailable," said Williamson, "but we've still got enough players to field a team. I've no problem with it. It's up to these guys to show they want the jersey. I think that's the way forward for clubs like Argyle - to give promising kids an opportunity. If first-team players are not available or they have a loss of form, I'll turn to the kids and see what they can do. I am great believer that, if they are good enough, they are old enough. Whether you are 16 or 36 is immaterial. If they are not pushing at the age of 18, it's hard to keep them for another couple of years to see if they develop because, hopefully, we'll have that conveyor-belt of talent coming through. That's just the nature of the game. I'm sorry David is not available for selection, but I'm not going to dwell on it. We move on and someone else gets an opportunity." Williamson reported that Saturday's defeat had not affected morale. "It is the same as usual," he said. "We don't ever let it drop, and we don't let it get too high. That's the way it is. We have got to keep on a level keel and move on to the next game. I had a lot of great times at Rotherham. It was probably the most prolific period in my career - I scored about 60 goals in 90-odd games, which was a great return. They are a good club, with passionate supporters who will be trying to encourage their team to get three points that will get them further up the table. I'm focused on what out objectives are, and that is to get the points and climb the table again".
Mathias Kouo-Doumbe thought Argyle did not deserve to lose on Saturday. He said: "Roberts and Ellington are both good players, but we handled them pretty well. They have a mix of everything. They are strong, they have pace and good technique. You have to try to hold them, make sure they don't go forward and, when you can take the ball, you take it." Doumbe had to deal with a yellow card early in the game. "I could not go as hard as I wanted to go," he said. "Wigan scored twice, but their second was a lucky deflection. We don't have to be ashamed. We all did our best and maybe we didn't deserve to lose. A draw would have been a good result." David Norris also thought Argyle were a little unlucky. He said: "Coughlan and Mathias did really well to contain Roberts and Ellington. It was another hard-luck story for us. They are top of the league and we put up a good show, but we've come out with no points again. Our game is all about getting the ball wide and getting crosses in, and I thought it mostly worked well. It was a decent performance from us."
Paul Stapleton has confirmed that money is available if Bobby Williamson decides to strengthen his squad He said: "We've said all along that if Bobby felt he needed to add to his squad then he will have our full backing. We have always been a board who believe in letting a manager manage. Bobby knows what his budget is, but if he felt that one or two players were needed, then we'd have no objection. It would be no discredit to the current squad if Bobby wanted to sign a couple of players, when you take into consideration injuries, suspensions and so on. Bobby is always looking anyway, he has lots of contacts worldwide, not just in Scotland, and he knows the English game really well, too. Of course, if he wanted four players, then we'd say, not that he doesn't know it, a couple of players would have to leave before he could do that."
Ryan Dickson made his Argyle debut as a second-half substitute on Saturday and Bobby Williamson said: "Young Ryan has got potential and enthusiasm and a willingness to get up and down the park. I felt he deserved a chance to show us what he can do and I'm not disappointed with what he did."
Bobby Williamson wants former Notts County boss Jocky Scott to join the Home Park coaching staff. Scott attended the match against Wigan yesterday and Williamson said: "Jocky Scott is the man who I'm trying to bring to the club. There's only one difficulty and that's his family. They've got to make their mind up that this is the right move. We'll see how his wife enjoys being down here and, if she wants to be a part of things and he wants to be part of things, too, then we'll take it from there. He's vastly experienced.I've been on coaching courses that Jocky has staffed - he was actually the staff coach when I was sitting my badges, so that shows you how old he is! It was about 11 or 12 years ago, and he had the sense to make sure I got my qualifications, so maybe I'm paying him back here. I've never had the pleasure of actually working with him at club level yet, and I'm hoping that it'll come to fruition over the weekend. He's vastly experienced and he's been around a long time. He's more than capable, I know his qualities, and I am sure he can add to us."
Bobby Williamson has been told that money is available to strengthen his squad, but he is in no rush to spend it. "That's something that I will reflect on," he said. "I've said to the board of directors that this is a big week for us, with three games in a short space of time. We will see how we get through that and then we will be able to judge what we have got to do. The board have assured me that there's funds there to go out and bring players in to strengthen us. As I've said all along, from day one since I came in the door, the guys that are here will get an opportunity to show what they can do at this level and nothing's changed."
After yesterday's game Bobby Williamson said: "Credit to our guys. We could have accepted it, but we never. We kept battling on, and the fans kept encouraging us, but unfortunately, we couldn't reward them with a point, or three points for that matter. I think Wigan were fortunate with their second goal and we had a lot of pressure late on in the game. They kept hitting us on the counter and that's always a problem, especially when they've got strikers who have got genuine pace and strength, with midfield support. We had to throw caution to the wind, though, to get something out of the game." Williamson praised the way that Graham Coughlan and Mathias Kouo-Doumbe coped with Roberts and Ellington, especially after harsh cautions from poor referee Clive Penton. "It was difficult after picking up bookings for their first tackles in the game and that's disappointing.," he said. "If they are genuinely going for the ball, I don't see why they should be picking up bookings in these situations. The strikers then have the advantage."
Argyle lose 2-1 to Wigan Athletic at Home Park, the goal scored by Stevie Crawford in the 79th minute. Argyle: Larrieu, Connolly, Doumbe, Coughlan, Worrell, Norris, Friio, Adams, Makel, Crawford, Lowndes. Subs - Evans, Dickson, Lasley (not used - Hodges, Wotton). Attendance - 14,443. and Ian De-Lars match report is here
Graham Coughlan is relishing the challenge of taking on the Championship leaders at Home Park today. "As we've found out over the last three years, teams that are on top of a league are there on merit," he said yesterday. "Wigan are not conceding many goals and they're scoring plenty, which is one of the main reasons why they're up there. But we're the home team and the onus is on us, whether they're a top team or not. We need to go out and show what we can do. They've got two big names up front, but it's not just those two, they have quality throughout the team and their league position doesn't lie. Their all-round quality has taken them to the top and it's good to have the leaders coming here. We all know about David Graham, who I can't speak highly enough of. I think he's a very, very good player. With him, Ellington and Roberts there's a couple of million pounds worth of talent on the park, but that's why we're in this division. We want to get out there and compete and see if we can give Wigan a good match. It would defeat the purpose of being in this league if we were going to start worrying about the teams we're up against. We need to go and show what we can do. I'm sure both teams will be going out looking for three points and the crowd will hopefully see a good entertaining game." Argyle have not played since they beat Gillingham two weeks ago. "It was a long fortnight," Coughlan said. "You just want to play. Your mind is set on the 46 games of the season and playing week in, week out, with a few Tuesdays thrown in. We'd picked up four points from our last two games, winning at home and drawing away, which wasn't bad, and we just wanted our momentum to continue. We didn't need the break, but it was forced upon us. It's been the same for Wigan, though, and they've had players away with their countries too." Last weekend Coughlan took advantage of his weekend off to travel to Paris and cheer on the Republic of Ireland as they drew 0-0 with France. "I follow Ireland, and Celtic, when possible," he said. "I enjoyed it and it was an education for me as well. It was a good weekend. We even gave the French a hand singing their national anthem!"
Lee Makel believes plans to fly to some away games will pay dividends on the pitch. He said: "It is definitely a good idea. For the games at Preston and Ipswich we were on the coaches for seven hours - that is a long time. It can only be good for the players if they can get that bit more rest. I think it is fair to say we were a bit leg weary against Gillingham - the trips do take it out of you. Fourteen hours on the coach there and back is tiring so all the boys appreciate the idea of flying." Argyle have also brought in a new chef, Christopher McIntyre, to prepare lunches for the players and club staff on a daily basis. Makel said: "The gaffer wants us to do it to get more of a team bond and keep an eye on what the players are eating. We have got a few younger lads at the club so it is probably more for them than the senior players." Makel was used just behind the lone striker in the games against Preston and Gillingham and has enjoyed the role - but is happy to play anywhere. "I have played a few times behind the lone man at past clubs," he said. "I'm happy to play anywhere I'm asked." Makel added that he is confident of getting a positive result against Wigan today, and believes Argyle's luck could have turned against Gillingham. "We have shot ourselves in the foot on a few occasions, against Ipswich and Wolves come to mind, but we got the breaks in our last game. Hopefully we can get something out of the game against Wigan. I know it is a difficult game, and they are flying, but I am confident we can get a result."
Bobby Williamson has confirmed that Steven Milne is out of today's game due to the knee problem he picked up in the reserve game against Swansea on Tuesday
David Norris does not expect to start for Argyle against Wigan tomorrow. He said: "It would be great to start against Wigan but the lads who played last time won so I don't expect to get right back in the team. I hope to make the bench if I can. It is a strong midfield and there are a lot of good players in there. Competition is strong." Norris now believes he is back to full fitness after two reserve outings in the past two weeks. "My fitness is back - my standard of fitness is quite good anyway, and I felt good out there on Tuesday," he said. "I was disappointed not to make the bench for the Gillingham game but that was probably better in the long run for my thigh - but I can't wait to get back involved now. I have never really been injured before so it has been frustrating. Maxi the physio has put me on exercises now and touch wood that will be the last of it. Wigan would be a great game to come back for and the boys will have to be right up for it. These are the type of games you look forward to. "They are a very strong team with a lively strikeforce so we will have to be on top of our game."
Bobby Williamson has confirmed that Marino Keith is ruled out of the Wigan clash with the ankle ligament injury he picked up for the reserves last week whilst Steven Milne's fitness will be assessed tomorrow.
Bobby Williamson insists Argyle will not be overawed by the visit of league leaders Wigan tomorrow. He said: "I did not expect to get dominated by a team for 90 minutes this season and I don't expect that on Saturday. We have looked at tapes of the opposition but we are totally focused on how we can trouble the opposition. Hopefully we can nullify their threat and offer a threat of our own." Williamson admitted there is a lot more to the league leaders than just their strikeforce. "Everybody knows about their strikers because they are scoring goals at the moment but the game tomorrow is very much a squad game," he said. "They are up there challenging at this moment in time but hopefully their luck will run out on Saturday. If we get the breaks on the day, we can trouble any team." Williamson would not reveal whether he would play the same five-man midfield formation as in the last home game. "I'm not going to reveal what the formation is. I have thought long and hard about it since Gillingham and nothing is written in stone," he said. I don't want the opposition to know how we will start the match. Tactics and formations are for dressing rooms, not for newspaper guys or fans." Williamson also said he was not unduly worried about the fans'expectations. "The fans' expectations are up there but that's where they should be," he said. "They want to see us up there challenging but I am more of a realist. Every game is difficult and you could see how hard Gillingham made it for us. There is never a case of an easy three points." Williamson confirmed that Stevie Crawford, who played 90 minutes for Scotland on Wednesday night, is likely to figure in the squad for Wigan: "It is a difficult situation but when Stevie reports back I hope he will be fit and available for selection. Peter Gilbert is also fit and available for selection. As I have said before, I am not a big lover of breaks for internationals. We now have three games in a short space of time - which is not easy on fans."
Mickey Evans believes containing Jason Roberts and Nathan Ellington is the key to Argyle beating Wigan on Saturday. He said: "I was only with Roberts briefly at West Brom, but I was with Ellington for about six months at Rovers. He is probably the best forward in the league - he has shown that time and time again and it can only be a matter of time before one of the big clubs come in for him. He is good in the air, has two good feet, is very strong and has a turn of pace - you can't ask for much more in a striker. His goalscoring record shows that and the lads at the back will have to be on top of their game." Despite Wigan's attacking threat, Evans is optimistic Argyle can get a good result. He added: "We have been playing well and not picking up the results - apart from the last game against Gillingham, where we didn't play well but won. They score a lot of goals and I hope we can contain that on Saturday."
Bobby Williamson has confirmed that Steven Milne was taken off as a precautionary measure in Argyle reserves' win over Swansea on Tuesday. He said: "Steven felt something with his knee and was taken off as a precaution. His fitness is being assessed but we are not yet sure of his availability for Saturday."
Argyle’s reserves beat Swansea City 5-0 at Home Park in last nights Pontins Holidays Combination Cup. The goals were scored by David Norris (2), Steven Milne, Stewart Yetton and Ryan Dickson. Argyle: McCormick, McKeever, Drew, Routledge, Dickson, Norris, Summerfield, Hodges, Lasley, Nute, Yetton. Subs – Zebroski , Bond, Evans.D.
The Argyle squad are to fly to their game at Rotherham next week. Director Phill Gill said: “The Air South West flight from Plymouth might not be the last time we fly during this campaign, and fans may, in future, be able to travel with the team. We are considering the option of chartering planes later this season, for both players and fans, subject to demand."
Peter Gilbert won his fourth Welsh under-21 cap in last nights 2-2 draw with Poland
Bobby Williamson would rather give his out-of-favour players a chance than sign someone on loan but he conceded that some squad players and promising youngsters in the youth set-up have not had a chance to impress so far this term. He said: "We have got enough players here. While you always keep an eye on players elsewhere, not everyone here has had an opportunity. We have still not ascertained whether everyone can play at this level."
David Norris will play in Argyle’s reserve fixture against Swansea at Home Park tonight and Williamson hinted he hoped to give the midfielder more than the 70 minutes he got in last weeks match. "He played a part in the game last week and came through unscathed and will probably play a bigger part tonight," said Williamson. Argyle beat Swansea reserves 10-1 last week, with Williamson admitting he "learnt nothing" from the match. This time, the he said he would not field so many first-team players. "I haven't been in contact with Swansea so we will have to see how strong their side is," he said. "But we won't be fielding so many first-teamers."
Bobby Williamson is happy Peter Gilbert is making his mark for the Welsh under-21 side. "It is good for Gilly, it is good for his confidence and it gets his fitness levels up," he said. “It was good for him to get a game because he has missed our last couple of games through injury. It's great that he's had a run-out and done reasonably well. There's another game coming up, so hopefully he'll do well in that as well."
Peter Gilbert admitted he was devastated after Wales' lost 2-0 to England on Saturday. He said: "I was really disappointed for the lads on Saturday, but there's a lot of games left to be played. They conceded an early goal and it really killed the game. It took the pressure off England and we kind of let them off the hook. I don't think Wales were too negative. They picked up an injury in the warm-up and had to change the whole team. The first goal really was the most important and it cost us. England are a quality team." Gilbert won his third cap in the defeat to England’s under-21s on Friday night. He said: "I thought we did really well. No-one was expecting much of us, but in the first half we were the better team against England, who are full of top Premiership players - the best young players around. We kept the ball really well and went up there and put on a good show. We conceded an early goal in the second half and it hurt us. But we've competed, you know, and the lads are really pleased with the performance." Gilbert should win his fourth cap against Poland’s under-21s tomorrow night. He said of the experience: "It's really, really good. I get on well with the manager. There's no problem at all. It's a lot different to playing for Argyle; it's a different kind of football. It's a bit slower, but I think international football is slower in general. Opposition teams play different kinds of football. It's more technical and less physical. It's about having the ball and what you do with it - that's the difference."
Blair Sturrock today returned to Northampton, where he will spend a further week on trial. Sturrock played for the Cobblers' reserves last week but boss Colin Calderwood wants to have another look at him. Bobby Williamson said, when asked about Sturrock's chances of moving to Sixfields permanently: "That's the reason why he's going there for a week but I'm not pushing Blair out the door by any stretch of the imagination."
Peter Gilbert won his third Welsh under-21 cap in their 2-0 defeat against England last night. Stevie Crawford was an unused substitute in Scotlands 1-0 loss to Norway
Wales under-21 manager Glyn Hodges believes Peter Gilbert could become a future full international. He said: "For such a young lad he's very experienced. He won promotion with Plymouth last season and has played a lot of first-team games for them. He has made a good start to his club career and also at international level. The thing about Wales is that young players do get fast-tracked to the senior squad if they show the potential. If Peter keeps his head down and keeps working hard he has got a chance of making the step up. He has fitted into the squad very well. I have got a good bunch of lads and we have had two decent results and not let in any goals. It's a big test for us tonight but, up to now, things have been going well." Hodges has a very inexperienced squad and was relieved Gilbert has recovered from a recent injury. He said: "Peter was injured a couple of games ago and I wasn't sure he would be fit for this game. But he has come through training unscathed and has been working hard - as have all the players." Gilbert was born in Sunderland but qualifies for Wales because of his grandmother. "He has definitely added to the squad," said Hodges. "I knew of him because I had seen him play for Birmingham City reserves and had followed his career, but I wasn't aware Peter could play for Wales until after I took over."
Bobby Williamson thinks Argyle should be playing this weekend, despite having two players away on international duty. He said: "I think the matches should be played this weekend. Some teams like Wales have a number of Cardiff players, so maybe there should be an exception there, but the rest of it should be carried on with regardless. I think games could be played a bit earlier so fans can get home to watch the kick-offs. Through August we had loads of games, I think it was six, and the following month we don't have so many. We should keep the fixtures coming. Other managers complain about the clashes but it does not bother me." Meanwhile Williamson admitted he 'learnt nothing' from the reserves thrashing Swansea City reserves 10-1 on Tuesday. "We put out a strong team and they should have let us know about their team," he said. "We learnt nothing and the senior players got nothing out of it. It is good for the youngsters, and the fans to see all those goals, but that's it. It would be better if we could all be up front with each other and we can prepare the teams accordingly."
Hasney Ajofree has been ruled out of action for at least a month after damaging his shoulder playing for Sheffield Wednesday. Wednesday manager Paul Sturrock said: "Hasney has arguably been our best player in three games. He has a tendon problem. It's detached off the bone in his shoulder. He'll be out for four to six weeks."
Romain Larrieu believes he is close to getting back to his best form. He said: "I'm feeling more and more confident and I can keep up with the pace of the game a little bit more. At the beginning, when you haven't played for a while, it's hard. You are excited to play but the ball moves around quickly. And the last game I played was in League One and now we are in the Championship, so that makes a difference as well. I want to stay in the team like everybody else so I'm going to do my best. It's hard to judge a goalkeeper over five games, especially in my situation when I hardly played at all last season. After eight, nine or 10 games I will look back on it and think 'what have I done well and what have I have done wrong.' So far, I'm really happy with a lot of parts of my game, but there are a lot of parts I still need to work on. That will be the case all my career, but I'm getting there. I'm quite happy. I have still to keep a clean sheet so that's my next goal. It wasn't to be against Gillingham so, hopefully, it will be the next game. Who knows? But it was good to win on Saturday. I thought it was very important as we were losing until near the end." David Friio came to Argyle's rescue against Gillingham with two late goals. "Everybody knows he wants to score all the time, and he showed it again on Saturday," said Larrieu. "His first goal was the first time the guy didn't grab him completely at a corner. He managed to run in the box and get on the end of it. For the second one, when the cross came in not many players would have dived for it because there was no chance of him getting to the ball because the guy was in front of him. But he went for it and the ball ended up in the net. He made it happen. He has shown so many times that he's always in the box when it matters." Argyle's victory over Gillingham was their first in the Championship for six games: "I think a few people were expecting us to win three or four-nil but that was never going to happen," said Larrieu. "Every game will be tough in this league. We are playing against teams who have a lot more ability than before." Argyle do not have another game until October 16th and Larrieu believes the two-week break will be beneficial. He said: "We need to focus on our training to sort out the little things that are not good enough yet."
Argyle’s reserves beat Swansea City reserves 10-1 at Home Park tonight. Marino Keith scored four goals with the others coming from Nathan Lowndes, Mickey Evans (2), David Norris (2) and Stuart Yetton. Argyle: McCormick, McKeever, Wotton, Routledge, Dickson, Norris, Summerfield, Hodges, Lowndes, Evans.M, Keith. Subs – Laird, Reski, Yetton (not used - Bond, Evans.D)
Hasney Aljofree was back at Home Park yesterday after suffering a shoulder injury playing for Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday. Bobby Williamson said: "We are disappointed to discover he has hurt his shoulder. It looks as if it could be a torn muscle. Hasney managed to get through the 90 minutes on Saturday so credit to him for that. The signs are he could be out for a bit, but he's Sheffield Wednesday's player at this moment in time anyway. They are picking up his wages so it will be their decision what happens with him. He came back down yesterday just to let us know how he is and we will get it checked out. As soon as Sheffield Wednesday get in contact we will be able to decide what is the best course of action for him. He has played three games in the space of a week there, which will do him the world of good. I'm hoping this setback is not going to be a long one."
Lee Hodges and Nathan Lowndes have been added to tonight's reserve team line-up. Hodges partnering Luke Summerfield in central midfield, and Nathan Lowndes playing wide on the left initially. Argyle: McCormick, McKeever, Wotton, Routledge, Dickson, Norris, Summerfield, Hodges, Lowndes, Evans.M, Keith. Subs - Laird, Yetton, Evans.D, Reski, Bond
Scott Laird and Ryan Moon have again received international call-ups. Laird will captain Scotland in European Under-17 Championship matches against Norway, The Faroe Islands and Israel later this month. Moon will play against England in an Under-16 Victory International on October 14th
Stevie Crawford has been named in the Scotland squad for their two World Cup qualifiers against Norway and Moldova next week
A strong argyle reserve side will play Swansea City at Home Park tomorrow evening. 16 year-old Anthony McKeever is set to make his first start and Bobby Williamson said: " I saw him in a game when he came over from Ireland, at the start of the season, in which he did very well and I'm looking forward to seeing him tomorrow night again. He's been playing left-side but he his right-sided and can do an adequate job in both positions, it's a learning process to try and discover which is the best position for him. He's certainly comfortable in full-back areas, we may have a look at him in central defence, and maybe even in midfield. He's still learning his trade and the more strings he's got to his bow the better for him and for us. Every kid that comes into the club has got potential, it's how that potential develops and we hope it develops nicely into a professional football player, he'll get every opportunity here to progress. He'll probably start at right-back tomorrow" Several first team squad-members are set to play including Paul Wotton, Mickey Evans, David Norris and Marino Keith. Norris is returning from a recurrent thigh injury and Williamson said: "If I feel they need a game then they'll be selected, or if they feel they need a game they'll play." Argyle: McCormick, McKeever, Dickson, Norris, Wotton Routledge, Bond, Summerfield, Evans.M, Keith. Yetton, Zebroski, Hoyles, Laird, Reski
Blair Sturrock is spending this week on trial at Northampton. Bobby Williamson said: “He's joining Northampton on a trial basis and will play for them on Tuesday. If both parties like each other, we will see what we can do."
David Friio was delighted with his magnificent late goal-double yesterday. "It wasn't my fault we lost at Ipswich," he said, "but it was definitely my fault we didn't win. Normally, heading is my one of my strengths, and to miss a header like the one at Ipswich was still in my head for days. I didn't sleep for four or five days. So, I wanted to be sure that these ones went in, and I'm really glad about that. More importantly, we took the three points today. We were desperate for them. It was a big result for everybody at the club. The first one was the first time in the game that my marker didn't grab me so I had a slight touch on the ball and, as soon as I turned, it was in the net. I was happy, but I was still going for the winner. The second one, Steven Milne got the ball on the left and kept it, which gave me time to get into the box. When the ball came over, I was behind my defender; I got my head to it, it hit his head, hit my head again, and when I opened my eyes, it was in the top corner of the net." Bobby Williamson paid generous tribute to Friio, he said: "He's an aggressive player in the air. He makes himself available and gets on the end of things - he's got that determination and drive about him - and he's desperate to score goals. Thankfully, he has done that. I think Gillingham may have thought their game-plan was working, and it was, right up until the very death, but we persevered and got our just rewards. Maybe we didn't deserve to win the game, but we didn't deserve to take nothing out of the game. There was not a great deal of good football played in the match, but Gillingham's plan was to take the tempo out of the match, slow things down at every opportunity. That was frustrating for players, fans and the manager alike. I'm just glad we kept going and, thankfully, a piece of magic came from David Friio."
Argyle won 2-1 against Gillingham at Home Park, both goals scored by David Friio, after 90 minutes and in added time. Argyle: Larrieu, Connolly, Coughlan, Doumbe, Worrell, Lasley, Friio, Makel, Adams, Hodges, Crawford. Subs - Lowndes, Milne, Evans (not used - Wotton, Dickson). Attendance - 13,665.
Bobby Williamson has admitted he would 'welcome' loan bids for some of his out-of-favour players. He said: "Any clubs looking to strengthen their teams should feel free to give me a call. It is up to the individual player to decide whether he wants to do that or not. I would be flattered if we have got players here that other teams and other managers would want. Players want to be playing football." Williamson thinks a loan move would especially suit Blair Sturrock, who has appeared only once on the bench this season. "At this moment in time he has not had an opportunity as in the striking department there is a large number of players," he said. "First-team football somewhere would be beneficial for both parties." While Hasney Aljofree's loan spell is purely to improve his match fitness, Williamson admitted any cash offer from Wednesday would be 'looked at'. He said: "Paul would have to come up with the money, like any other manager, and it would be up to Hasney. It is Paul's prerogative whether he comes down here and looks at players, but my concern is Plymouth Argyle." Williamson also said a short term loan for Luke McCormick was a possibility. "He is in the same position as Larrieu a few weeks ago," he said. "It is down to Luke, but I am not actively trying to loan him out anywhere."
Bobby Williamson has insisted that Gillingham must not be under-estimated. "I should warn the fans that they shouldn't turn up here and think that Gillingham will roll over and let us beat them," he said. "If they think we're bound to turn them over, they're misguided. Gillingham are a capable side, they've been playing in this division for a few years now, and they know what is expected of them. We'll need the backing and the support of the crowd." Williamson did not dismiss the possibility of using the 4-5-1 formation used at Ipswich for home games. "I would never rule that out," he said. "It's not a dilemma for me, I know what I'm doing. But I'm not telling anyone what I'm doing! It's always difficult when you're picking teams, though. We've got a lot of talented players at this club and unfortunately some of them have not had an opportunity to show us what they can do because I've been loyal to certain players and have given them an opportunity. But as the season progresses I'm sure they'll be able to show us what they can do." Peter Gilbert and David Norris are back in the Argyle squad - but may have to wait for their return to the first team. "They have both been training for the last couple of days," Williamson said, "but this game might have come too soon for them. Their fitness is fine, but it's just their match fitness that concerns me." Williamson is keen to add to his squad to solve the left-sided problem, but he has ruled out making a short-term loan signing in the near future. "The search is ongoing, and has been since the start of the season," he said. "It's only being highlighted now because we've suffered a couple of injuries on that side of the team. But nothing will be done hastily, and I'd rather give a kid a chance than bring in a loan signing. If I'm going to make a signing, it's going to be done on a permanent basis."
Mathias Kouo-Doumbe enjoyed his full debut for Argyle on Tuesday. "I was waiting for my chance," he said, "so it was really pleasing to play. I was happy and I was ready to give 100 per cent. At Ipswich, for sure I was not playing in my best position, but a game is a game and it is important to play. It was good for me to experience playing in a stadium like Ipswich, even if it was on the left side. But after that, yes, it was good to play in my own position at Preston. It was important to break the sequence of defeats. Now everybody feels better and we can focus on winning our next game." The Frenchman gave Argyle the lead at Preston and added:. "I know what I have to do at the set- pieces. It was a really good ball from Lee Makel and I went for it." Kouo-Doumbe found himself playing alongside Graham Coughlan: "Graham has a lot of experience," he said, "and he was giving me plenty of advice. We have worked together since the start of the season, so even though I was not playing I was working in training on my relationships with the goalkeeper and every other player." Kouo-Doumbe is hoping to retain his place and is looking forward to playing his first competitive game at Home Park. "If we want the three points, we have to deserve them," he said. "In this league it is hard and you have to battle in every game, especially when you are at home, because it is important to get points at home. I don't think that it's going to be like a piece of cake, and we have to be ready for the challenge." Bobby Williamson was pleased with Doumbe's display at Deepdale. However, he added: "As a manager, I know he can do better. He's a young player that I've brought down here and I've got a lot of time for him, but I still think he can improve as a player. He'll have that opportunity here."
Argyle youngster Jamie Laird captained Scotlands under-16s in their 2-2 Victory Shield draw against Northern Ireland at St Johnstone's McDiarmid Park tonight
Peter Gilbert and David Norris have been added to the Argyle squad for the game against Gillingham after recovering from injury. However, David Worrell could retain his place. Bobby Williamson said: I don't like talking about individuals because it's very much a team game. But David came in and did a very good job on Tuesday and he has got a good chance of retaining his jersey for Saturday. That's the encouragement I give to all the players. If they get an opportunity to play in the team and they do well I have got to stand by them." Williamson is relieved Argyle are back in action at Home Park. "It was good to get the point at Preston because I think we did enough to get something out of the game," he said. "I wish we had picked up more points in recent weeks, but that wasn't to be for one reason or another. I think we have played really well. We have encouraged the fans to come back to Home Park and follow us on our travels because we have given a good account of ourselves."
Argyle's home game against West Ham United on October 30th is on target to be a sell-out. Only a few front row Devonport End seats and around 2,000 Mayflower Terrace tickets are left
David Worrell has warned that Gillingham will be no push-overs when they visit Home Park tomorrow. "Gillingham are one of those sides who are established in this division," he said. "The point we got the other night is only a good one if we can get three points tomorrow, but I'm sure it's going to be a very difficult game. Hopefully, with the backing of the fans - who have been great this season - we can come through it and pick up our first three points in a while. It would be nice to go into the break with three points, but it will probably be as hard, if not harder, than the games against Leeds and Wolves. As I say, Gillingham are used to this league and they are going to come here and scrap." Worrell enjoyed the game at Preston, which was his first start in three matches since losing the right-back role to Paul Connolly: "I think it was important to get off the 13-point mark and it probably stops the rot a little bit," he said. "The boys haven't been playing particularly badly. It's just we are getting punished at the minute. You saw that with Preston's equaliser. The ball loops in off the lad's head and over Romain's hand. Probably at the start of the season it would have hit the bar or gone over. We have just got to ride it out and, hopefully, come through it. According to the lads, we passed it better against Ipswich on Saturday, but I think it was solid enough at Preston and we all worked hard." Worrell got his chance to play on Tuesday after Gilbert suffered a bruised hip at Ipswich. “I don't mind it," he said. "I know it's an old saying, but I will play anywhere to get in the team. It's nice to give the manager another little option as well. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I have never played regularly at left-back - just now and again maybe. I played two or three consecutive games there in pre-season, but before that it was a needs-must sort of thing. Having played at right-back for so long you get used to that position. But I don't find it that strange playing at left-back. You are working off different shoulders and stuff but you are coming inside on your good foot so it's a help at times as well." Worrell is waiting to find out whether he will retain his place against Gillingham: "I hope so, but that's down to the manager at the end of the day," he said. "I think Gilly is back fit and he has done well this season."
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