A Round-up of Argyle News
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John Harbin feels that things are finally coming together with Plymouth Argyle and that this has been the best month since being at the club. Harbin spoke about his role at the club and his delight that the fruits of Argyle's labour are finally on display. He went on to speak about the progress of Argyle captain Curtis Nelson and the qualities of vice-captain Curtis Nelson: “Since I’ve been at the club, it’s been the best month. I think the signings have been really good. We get people who haven’t been selected for the team and are a bit down, but they’re up there, applauding players, and they’re the first ones up there to shake their hands when they come in after the game. That stands out because they’re putting the team before themselves.
“My goal is to have people going out there confident and trying things and, if they fail, they fail trying. But they don’t get into the position of where they’re not going to try and not going to make decisions and have that no fear factor. I’m just glad to see 11 players out there, enjoying themselves on a weekend and hopefully getting the result. There’s a good spirit amongst them. There’s been a gradual change. I think the change in personnel has helped that and the players have accepted the philosophy and are getting to understand the manager and coaching staff, where we’re coming from; and vice versa - the manager and coaching staff are understanding individual players. All that fits under the umbrella of confidence.
“Curtis was like a wolf sitting in a corner, but now he’s vocal. I’m not talking about game-talk; I’m talking throughout the week. I think he realised that no matter whether Peter was captain, vice-captain or senior sergeant, his personality would be the same, and the title didn’t mean anything to Peter. I’m not saying that he wouldn’t want to be captain, just that his personality would stay the same – he’d still be loud and vocal, and still be a leader. Good leaders develop leaders, not followers, and that’s what’s happened here.
“I have got the philosophy that I treat every player like my son, so my decisions will be based on what’s best for the club. Sometimes they might need a kick up the backside; I’m prepared to do that, but I don’t need an audience when I do it. I’ll do it on a one-to-one basis. Same as the ‘arm around’ – I don’t need an audience when I do it. I think, in general and in life, people don’t appreciate the problems each individual has. If you can help anyone – a footballer, another athlete, or a person who works in an office – you help. I’m lucky that, in my life, people have helped me when they didn’t have to, and I’ll never forget it. I just think it’s a duty as a human being to help others. I can’t help what other people do, but hopefully people who I have helped, later on in life, will live the same philosophy. I’m not saying mine is right, but it’s my philosophy, and other people won’t be able to change that.”
Argyle have progressed to the next round of the Devon St Luke's Challenge Cup with a 4-1 victory over Exmouth in which Deane Smalley scored a hat-trick and Marvin Morgan also netted. A team of some professionals and some apprentices won the match convincingly at the King George V Ground. Argyle: Bittner, Bentley, Allen, Moxham, Jones(Palfrey), Norburn, Banton, Harvey, Thomas, Morgan(Roberts), Smalley(Vincent).
It has been confirmed that Bobby Reid will stay at Argyle for another month on loan from Bristol City. The young midfielder will be available up to and including Argyle's home fixture against York City on November the 29th.
Argyle have been drawn at home to AFC Flyde in the FA Cup first round proper. The match will be played on the weekend of the 8/9th November. Argyle's opponents Flyde (located between Preston and Blackpool) are currently sitting top of the Conference North after getting promoted to the division only last season.
John Sheridan spoke of two quirks of fate pertaining to the cup draw and went on to say that they would not be underestimated: "Funnily enough, my best mate's son, Bradley Barnes, plays for them. He thinks he might be suspended for the game, though, which is a bit of a sickener. It's funny how these things work out. I had Darren watch them a couple of weeks ago and he said they were very good.
"We wanted a home draw, and we that's what we got, so I'm pleased with that. We will fully respect them. They are going really well and will prepare for a very tough game, but we are at home against a non-league team and we expect to win our home games."
The Chairman and Owner of Plymouth Argyle James Brent has revealed the basic details of a 'Plan B' to develop the Higher Home Park grandstand. The initially unveiled plan that was granted planning permission in August 2013 will be altered in design. Brent revealed that the club are now in dialogue with another institution to build a different grandstand for Argyle at the open fans forum on Saturday. Finally, he revealed that the greatest potential overall capacity of the stadium if all possible improvements were made would be around the 20,000 mark. He said: “What we are looking at doing is going ahead with the grandstand first, that is absolutely critical to the club for two reasons. One, the club does need to generate additional income on match days and non match days; and the accommodation there is not fit for purpose, we can’t expect fans to carry on using facilities that are that dated. We have taken the decision to go for a plan B, which does involve working with another institution to build the grandstand first.These discussions are pretty well advanced but until they are finalised we can’t go forward.”
Peter Hartley has declared himself pleased with yesterday's win against Cheltenham - speaking in terms of both his overall contribution and that of the team unit. He particularly emphasised the importance of the defending: “If you keep a clean sheet, you can sit and enjoy your meal on a Saturday night. Keeping the back door shut as a defender, your job is done. If it’s 3-1, you have the three points but there’s that little burden in the back of your mind. It was great timing to score the second goal,” Peter said. “It takes a bit of pressure off of you going into half-time; it’s not a nice scoreline to go in at 1-0. What we struggled with the first couple of weeks is, when we’ve gone 1-0 up, we sort of sat off and want to defend our lead. But I think, today, we showed a bit of hunger to go and get another goal, and it was pleasing in the dressing-room after that we had done that.
"Cheltenham are in good form of late so we knew we had to come out of the blocks quick, because they’re no pushovers and they’re a decent team. We expected them to start a lot better than they did. I thought they were petrified of Lewi and Reubs today in the first half and they showed them too much respect, which has to be earned. We won’t be showing any strikers the respect that they gave them today. Teams are coming down here and trying to second guess what we’re going to do.”
John Sheridan meanwhile gave special credit to two of his new loan stars whilst confirming that Bobby Reid will stay at the club for a further month: “He is going to stay, just for another month. That was Bristol City’s decision and I really appreciate them letting us have him. He is enjoying his football and you can see that. He is playing his part, and hopefully while he is here, he can continue to play the way he is and help us get some more results.I do not pick individuals out normally, but I thought Kellett and Kelvin were outstanding in our formation. Great energy, great legs, both excellent going forward, but they defended as well when they had to defend.It is obviously Andy’s first home game on loan, but he has got a lot of desire in his game. I had seen him play; Darren watched him and told me to take him – he has done okay and settled in well, along with Bobby, and it is good that loan players show that desire to help us and push on.”
Sheridan also spoke about Argyle's permanent left-back, young wing-back Ben Purrington as he recovers from a broken wrist. He also confirmed here that the primary role for Andy Kellett is as cover for Purrington. Sheridan said: “Ben didn’t have to have an operation on his wrist, which was good. The good thing about Ben is that he can keep up his fitness. He joins in training and plays spare, but we have got to be careful with him when it comes to contact. It could be the simplest thing – getting tackled and falling over on his wrist. John Harbin is doing all the fitness work with him. Andy has come in as cover for Ben. I know his timescale is probably four or five weeks. Andy has come purely to play games and help us win them.”
Argyle's unstoppable home form has continued with a 3-0 home victory over Cheltenham Town. Reuben Reid opened the scoring for Argyle halfway through the first half before Peter Hartley doubled their lead on the stroke of half-time. Lewis Alessandra put the icing on the cake with a quarter of an hour to go. Argyle have now not conceded a goal in over 500 minutes of competitive football. Argyle: McCormick, Nelson, McHugh(Banton), Hartley, Mellor, O'Connor, Bobby Reid, Blizzard, Kellett, Reuben Reid(Smalley), Alessandra(Harvey). Subs: Bittner, Cox, Morgan, Norburn.
Carl McHugh has said that his Argyle teammates and he are playing for the fans and eachother in their attempt to gain promotion from League Two this season. He also demonstrated his personal pride at Argyle's superb defensive record and praised Argyle's supporters for their show of numbers at Wimbledon on Tuesday: “It was unbelievable support but it’s no surprise. It’s a massive club and we want to give them a team to be proud of. It might not have been pretty against Wimbledon, but everyone put in 100 per cent for the shirt and that’s all you can do really. It’s an honest group of players and I think that’s what fans appreciate as well.
“It’s a tough place to go to and it was a cold windy night. I think it was one of those games that if you are not going to win it, just make sure you don’t lose it. It’s another clean sheet for us a defence, which we are proud of. Any points you pick up away are good and, hopefully, at the end of the season we will look back at that and say it was a decent result. I think the conditions played a big part in that. It’s not pretty every week and sometimes you just have to dig in and make sure you get a result. If you can nick a goal at the other end from a set piece or whatever then fair enough. It didn’t happen for us on Tuesday night but I think it was a good point and we will kick on now for Saturday.”
John Sheridan has re-iterated his determination to secure Bobby Reid on an extended loan deal after his initial one month period runs out following Saturday's game against Cheltenham: “I haven’t left it until the last game because I spoke to Steve before Wimbledon. I think it’s just a case of Bobby talking to Steve now, more or less, and we will see what happens. But I have got to respect he isn’t my player and I appreciate them letting us have him because he has helped us to get some good results. He has got that confidence and cockiness which I like in a player of ‘I will have the ball wherever you want me to have it’. I think he’s a decent little runner with the ball as well. He gains that 10 to 15 yards very quickly. He’s one of those players who believes in himself and I think that has shone out while he has been playing for us.”
John Sheridan was happy with Argyle's grit and desire to claim a point at Wimbledon last night but also bemoaned the greens for not getting their passing game going well enough claiming that the conditions were not an excuse. Sheridan said: “I thought we battled it out, and a draw was a fair result. It is another clean sheet, and we are getting into good habits, but obviously we all want to win. For both teams, the work ethic was there, but it was difficult conditions. The pitch was a bit dry and bobbly, and obviously there was the wind. In a 3-5-2 you do want to try and play in and around their midfield, with their 4-4-2. But we just did not really get going with our passing game; it was difficult conditions but that is no excuse. It could be a good point in the end, so I am pleased with it. It is still early days in the season, and there are lots and lots of points to play for. I said before the three games starting with Carlisle that seven points out of nine would be a good comeback from the previous three games, so obviously we have got to go and try and win the game against Cheltenham now. It is a very tight league; I just saw some of the results, and the top two were beaten tonight. It is very hard to predict. It is very evenly-matched division and no game is easy. You have got to work hard to get something from each game you play, no matter if you are playing a team near the bottom or top. Everyone can beat each other in this league.”
His specific praise was for his defence following yet another shut-out against one of the best offensive teams in the league: “That is what I am pleased about. They have got a good home record and have had some good results. They put the ball in the box, with the two lads up front scoring goals at this moment in time, so they are always a threat. Again, there is the good habit of keeping a clean sheet. You could see the desire to keep the ball out of the net. We keep clean sheets as a team. We work hard from the front and we try and make things difficult. They are all in it together. It is a good point, and we had to work hard for it.”
Peter Hartley echoed his managers words, stating his pride at the achievement of keeping a clean sheet against the formidable pairing of Akinfenwa and Tubbs: “I think it was a difficult game today in difficult conditions. As a defender it is my job to keep the ball out of the net, and as a team, we did that. We like to move the ball quick and open teams up, and we could not really do it on this surface. The ball was holding up, and it was quite windy in the second half, so we grabbed each other together on the pitch in the second half and played to the conditions to get ourselves through the game. Ade is a big strong lad and he cause problems, and Tubbsy works off of him. It is difficult – they keep you on your toes and you have got to be concentrating for 90 minutes – but apart from the chance they had in the first half, I thought we dealt with them well.
Obviously clean sheets start from the front, with our two strikers working really hard to cause problems. I am playing with two very talented defenders, who take it personally when we concede a goal, like myself. To have players like that next to you is always going to be a benefit. It started early in pre-season, and we have been in every game. The goals that we have conceded, we could have prevented, so really, in the games we have been beaten, we have beaten ourselves. We have spoken about that a lot and worked hard in training, and I think we are just starting to reap our rewards now.”
Argyle's unbeaten run and run of clean sheets has continued but Argyle could not get the goal they needed to secure another win. A 0-0 draw meant the greens dropped one place to 6th in the table. Both sides had chances and penalty appeals but neither could find the opening. Argyle: McCormick, Nelson, McHugh, Hartley, Mellor, O'Connor, Bobby Reid, Blizzard, Kellett, Reuben Reid, Alessandra. Subs: Bittner, Bentley, Banton, Harvey, Norburn.
A time and date has been confirmed for the meeting between Argyle fans and representatives from the club's board of directors. The meeting will take place at 10am, will be open to all supporters and is expected to last for around one hour.
Andy Kellett is not phased about being away from home on loan to Argyle from Bolton Wanderers and sees it as an opportunity rather than a risk. He also only had positive things to say about the players and stadium of the club. Kellett today said: “I was told about it on the Thursday night and straight away I wanted to come down because I wanted to play football. I came down on Friday and got here quite late. It wasn’t a difficult decision at all because it’s a big club and I just want to be playing football. I stopped a few times on the way down and it ended up taking me about six-and-a-half hours, but I’m not bothered. It’s the first time I have been away from home, but it doesn’t really faze me.
“I enjoyed it. There are some very good players and you can tell there is a good team spirit as well. I think that’s why they are doing so well and I just can’t wait to get out and try to help the team. I thought it would have been a lot more long ball but they try to get it on the floor and pass it and move it. The atmosphere in the stadium was very good as well. I have felt at home straight away. The lads have made me feel very welcome. All the players introduced themselves to me and I went out with a few of them for a bit of food on Friday.”
Following Argyle's 4th win in a row in all competitions, John Sheridan once again declared himself very pleased with the way the greens played as well as the winning result. Sheridan claimed that Argyle's superior defensive shape allowed Carlisle few serious chances as well as hailing the improved consistency and singling out many individual players for praise:
“Other than the two blocks – which were great blocks – at the end, I was not really too worried. They are a decent team; they had not let a goal in for three games, they are scoring goals and have got a good manager who has got them well organised, and the lad up front Mark Beck is always a handful. A lot of the goals we were conceding were soft ones, but I think we are a decent team when we set up and make it very hard for teams to play through us. We played the 3-5-2, and it enables you to pass the ball a little bit more in that system. Again, Anthony and Kelvin were solid and did their job for the team. Kelvin is a very laid-back character and a great lad. He is always thinking of the team, does not think of himself, and Anthony is the same. When I asked them both to play wing back, their answer was ‘as long as I am playing, I will try and do the best I can for you.’ It is about the team; you can see the front lads are working hard and stopping things happening easily, then obviously the lads at the back are enjoying it because we are getting clean sheets, and it is a good habit. If we go into a game thinking we are not going to let goals in, you have always got a chance. You get the goal, you defend, and you work hard to keep that lead. That is what we have shown of late.”
"We passed the ball well and we had some opportunities and good set plays in and around the box. It is the magic word, especially at this level; it is about consistency, and if one or two of them could get consistency in their game, they could go and play higher. That is what it is all about; knowing what you are good at, and do not do the things that are going to make you an inferior player to what you can be. When you look at our goal today and the one last week against Tranmere, when we do the move the ball, we look a decent team, but you have got to move the ball with purpose. It was a great goal. When it is 1-0 it is always tight, but again we have seen the game through very well.”
Sheridan also promised that new loan signing Andy Kellett will be a hit with the green army in spite of his non-appearance in yesterday's match. Sheridan spoke of Kellett's directness and said that the youngster came highly recommended: “I like him as a player. Darren watched him last week and I have spoken to other people about him. I’m really pleased to get him. He’s very positive in the way he plays. If I’m going to play 3-5-2, he can definitely play in that wing-back position. He’s come in to hopefully get a few games. He’s a really good player and I think the fans will like him once they see him. He’s a young lad with lots of potential. If he has played in Bolton’s first team at the age of 19-20, he has got something about him.I spoke to one or two other scouts who work around that area and they said ‘you have done really well to get him'. Hopefully, he will be a part of it and get some football while he is here.”
Argyle's impressive run of form has continued with another 1-0 victory making it 4 wins in a row in all competitions. The greens beat Carlisle from an early Lewi Alessandra goal. Both sides had their chances but it was Argyle who held on to win. Argyle: McCormick, Nelson, McHugh, Hartley, O'Connor, Cox, B.Reid, Blizzard, Mellor, Reid(Smalley), Alessandra(Morgan). Subs: Bittner, Kellett, Norburn, Banton, Harvey
Argyle have completed the one month loan signing of Bolton Wanderers left-back Andy Kellett on a one month loan. Kellett is 20 years old and has played 3 times for Bolton in the past. His availability will start tomorrow and end in our game against Portsmouth on November the 15th. The number 13 shirt last occupied by Caolan Lavery will be his during his month at Argyle.
Lee Cox has proclaimed himself 'buzzing' following three consecutive wins which have coincided with his own return to the team. Cox spoke positively of the focus and commitment around the Argyle dressing room and spoke of the importance of keeping that winning run going. He said: “Even in training, we’re finding our way with each other’s abilities. We had a good week last week, but you can’t keep thinking about it. You got to take every game as it comes, and try and win, and if you get a little run going, then you’re buzzing.
There’s pressure on you no matter what. Whether you’re getting relegated or trying to get promoted. That leaves pressure both ways, but there’s a buzz about the players then, and there’s a buzz about the players now. You can see it in training, everyone wants to get on with each other, so it’s positive everyday. When you have that experience of promotion winning sides, you know that it’s consistency that gets you up there, and you know if you can get that to rub off on other players, then you don’t have to worry about it, and you’ll find yourself up the table. It’s majorly important if you can stay solid at home, get victories, and get results away from home, then you find yourself up there.”
John Sheridan also previewed tomorrow's clash with Carlisle, claiming that we should not take the match lightly in spite of the visitors low league position: “Carlisle have a new manager, and he’s made one or two changes. It’s working for him. They’ve picked one or two results up of late, and it puts them in a position in the league where it looks a bit more positive. When a new manager comes in the players are trying to show the new manager they’re worth a place in the side. I think that’s what’s happened there. They on a good little run, and it’ll be a tough game. Everyone’s fit, available, and wanting to play, so it makes my job hard to pick a team. It’s important that you get a good mix, put them all together and you make a good team, it’s not individuals. I’m sure every manager says the same. I’ll look at the strengths they’ve got and hopefully where we can affect the game. Whatever team I put out will be to try and win us the game. “I’ll pick 11, and hopefully we’ll get the right result which is a win - that’s what I expect.”
Sheridan also said that he was not worried about Reuben Reid's arrest in the early hours of Sunday morning for affray following an alleged nightclub fracas. Sheridan kept in calm spirits about the situation, saying: “I have spoken to Reuben and he has told me his side. I have just forgotten about it now. I don’t think anything really happened, to be fair. It has been blown a bit out of proportion. I just think that’s the way young people act now. I have got two daughters myself who go out at 11 o’clock and don’t come in until three or four. That’s just the way young people are. They go out later and come in later, whereas we used to go out at seven o’clock and come in at two. I don’t want any player being involved in any kind of fracas, or whatever, or having his picture on the front page of a newspaper. But as far as I’m concerned it has all been dealt with and nothing has really happened. That’s the way I have looked at it.”
On the subject of Argyle's other Reid, Bobby on loan from Bristol City, Sheridan spoke of his plans to talk to the parent club following the midweek match at AFC Wimbledon: “Probably after the Wimbledon game is the time I will talk to Bristol City regarding Bobby. I think the most important thing is Bobby wants to come and play football, and that’s what I like. He has come from a big club in Bristol City and is enjoying his time here. Hopefully, he can continue doing that.”
A time and date has been set for Argyle's Johnstone's Paint Trophy area quarter final game at Coventry City. The match will take place on Wednesday 12th November at 7.45pm.
Following the 1-0 victory over Tranmere on Saturday, Argyle have the joint best defensive record in League Two- a record that defender Carl McHugh is very proud of. McHugh: “It is pleasing – for, especially, the defenders – that we are keeping clean sheets and we have got the joint-best defensive record in the league. That is something to be proud of and something to build on. It shows a bit of resilience that, when we get ahead, we are able to stick in there and grind out the wins. That’s a good sign. It shows you that defenders want to keep clean sheets. That’s what we’re here for.We’ve had a few 1-0s. I think it was important to get that second win away from home because we haven’t done the best away from home. If we can keep our home form the way it is and back it up with good results like that, we will do quite well. I’m enjoying it. I’ve got two good players beside me, to be fair. We’ve looked quite solid."
John Sheridan hailed Argyle's 1-0 victory at Prenton Park as a 'great, great result'. He was slightly critical of Argyle's second half performance and was praising Tranmere in the same period but generally he was contented with a positive result and a hard-working performance. Sheridan: “If we’ve got any disappointment, it’s the way we went about the game in the second half. Although, we were brilliant in the first half – we played really, really well and scored a great goal. The downside is that we came out in the second half and we weren’t keeping possession of the ball and we were giving it away cheaply; we were on the back foot too much and we were inviting Tranmere to get back into the game. That should never have been the case. After the first half, we should have gone on to control the game and see the game out. I said to the players at half-time “Have the know-how to affect the game”, but we didn’t. But to come away from home, keep a clean sheet, and win the game is a great, great result. Our away form has not been great but, as I’ve said before, we’ve been in a lot of games which have been really tight. Again, it was really tight today but you expect the home team to have some pressure and we stood firm and defended, and it was another clean sheet.
“Anyone who was watching us in the first half would probably have said we were the best team they have seen here, the way we played. Tranmere are definitely in a false position, so I knew it would be a really tough game, but we went about it really well in the first half and we got the goal. You get a goal, and you’ve got something to hang on to, and that’s what we did. We just couldn’t keep it up, but there were some very good performances in that first half and that’s what I’ll be telling the players, because three wins out of three is a very good comeback. We have just got to keep plugging away because we have done nothing. There are lots of things we still need to improve in our game.”
“It puts a smile on people’s faces. We’re in a position and we have just got keep improving and improving. I try and stay the same all the time, whether we’re winning or losing. I prefer it when we’re winning, believe me. When you are losing, I have got to believe in what I am trying to do. That’s all I can do, If I don’t, I won’t be the manager; if I do, hopefully we will be successful. We’re in and around. We all know what points-tally we need – two points a game. That’s what I’m looking at, throughout the season; if you get that, you’ll get promotion. It’s a funny old league – everyone beats everyone –and it’s about getting that bit of consistency. The magic word. If you get that, you’ve got a chance.”
Sheridan also contemplated on the embarrassment of riches that he has at his disposal- especially in central midfield. He spoke about how Argyle have used variants of 4-4-2, 4-3-3 and 3-5-2 to varying success: “The 3-5-2 system did very well for us for away results last season. It enables Carl [McHugh] to play in the middle of the defence, and two up front, instead of three. I threw Coxy in after his performance on Tuesday night and I’ve got a couple of other players who could fit in that system. If I feel it’s going to have an effect on the game, I’ll play any system. Carlisle will be a different game next week. Whether I’ll play it at home, I don’t know, but we’ll look at it and purely play a team that will hopefully go out and affect the game, and win the game.
“Carl’s a competitor. He’s unbelievable – the lads will tell you that – in training. He’s frightening – he competes for everything; never lets anything go by; and he’s a bit of a warrior. Obviously, he’s got Pete and Nelse next to him. It looked alright, especially in the first half. Anthony and Kelvin did well. So the system works. Whether I play it next week…I’ll look at Carlisle, and whatever system I play will hopefully get us the three points. I’ll always try to win the game; I never try to get a draw or be negative. That’s my job. It’s about winning football matches.”
Carl McHugh wants Argyle's excellent week of three games and three wins to be the springboard to push in for the rest of the season to come: “We ground it out today, even though, in the first half, we played some brilliant football. The move before the goal was great; we kept the ball for a good minute or so. We moved it from side to side and were patient, then we got in. It was a brilliant goal – a great ball by Anthony and a great header – and I thought we deserved the win. We probably made it a bit tougher for ourselves towards the end than we needed to. We played really well in the first half, but when it comes like that and you are under a bit of pressure, we all dug in, stuck together, got our blocks and heads in front of stuff, and kept a clean sheet. That is the main thing when you come away from home – you give yourself a good chance of winning the game, and we did. We all just put 100 per cent into it, tried to get our positioning right and we got our heads on most things. It’s not going to be pretty every week; there’s going to be a lot of ugly wins and you need that if you are going to be successful. It’s been a good week but we have done nothing yet. We just need to use it as a springboard for the rest of the season. Things can change really quickly in football – everyone can say you are great team after winning three games, but you lose a few and it changes very quickly. We’ll just look towards Carlisle next week.”
Argyle have been drawn away to Coventry City in the third round of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy South. The game will be played at the Ricoh Arena on the week commencing the 9th of November. John Sheridan had this to say about the draw: “I think it’s a really good draw for us. They are a good footballing side and it will be a test for us. I’m happy with the draw. Obviously, I would have preferred to be at home, but it’s a lovely stadium, a good place for the lads to play, and we’ll go to try and win.”
Nathan Thomas has seen an asthma specialist following his asthma attack in the game against Swindon on Tuesday and has been given a change of medication. His manager said: “He went to see the specialist. I think he’s got to change his medication and hopefully everything will be fine. I think he’s able to train. It’s just a case of trying to avoid the attacks because he’s had two or three since pre-season. Whatever he’s going to get, hopefully the attacks will clear up.”
Argyle secured their third win in a row in all competitions with a 1-0 win against Tranmere with Reuben Reid once again the only scorer of the game. The greens withstood late pressure to hold out for their second away win of the season. Argyle: McCormick, Nelson, McHugh, Hartley, O'Connor, Cox, B.Reid, Blizzard(Norburn), Mellor, R. Reid(Morgan), Alessandra(Smalley). Subs: Bittner, Harvey, Banton, Bentley.
Luke McCormick has responded to his recent good form with modesty, saying this is is up there with the best Argyle defences that he has had in front of him. He drew parallels with the Pilgrims' fantastic defence of the 2003/4 season and gave credit to Paul Wotton's coaching: “When I think about the year we went up and how the back four managed to keep a load of clean sheets, there was an appetite, and a hunger, and a desire to keep the clean sheets. I can see that with this back four now. I see it in training; when the lads are conceding goals, there’s a response – that’s partly to do with Paul Wotton – there’s an appetite and a desire to keep the ball out of the net. We’ve had a big turnover in the summer; we’re sort of getting use to each other and how the gaffer wants us to play; and I think this away form isn’t far away. Going into Tranmere with two victories is a massive chance to help us build again. Wins breed the confidence and we were really resolute against Shrewsbury on Saturday. They chucked so much as us and we withstood all the pressure. So, as a defensive unit, we’re really pleased with how we performed, and I think things like that will only help us going into Saturday.”
McCormick also was humble on the subject of his magnificent save on Tuesday night against Swindon and had positive words to say about understudy James Bittner: “I can’t really remember much about it, to be honest. I just remember the ball coming through the crowd and trying to get as much on it as I could, and sprawling for the second, for the recovery save. I’m just glad to see it stay out of the back of the net. It’s just nice to contribute, I suppose. Preferably you wouldn’t have anything to do and everything will be done for you by the lads in front, but the occasions where you are called into action, it is nice to contribute. For the last few games, I’ve been able to do that, and I’m happy with the way it’s gone. A lot of it is instinct although you work on your techniques in training. You born to be a goalkeeper; you either are or you aren’t. It’s a specialist position; you’ve got to work hard at it; and I’ve enjoyed playing, training, and every game when it comes up. Me and James Bittner work well together. He’s been there every session, training, and he’s more than ready to come in if there’s a problem, if there’s a dip in form, or anything really. I consider James to be the sort of contender as I did Jake.”
Nathan Thomas will not be involved with the Argyle side at Tranmere on Saturday as he sees a specialist about his asthma. John Sheridan informed the fans: “Nathan has got asthma, unfortunately he had to go off as he had a bit of an asthma attack. He’s off to see a specialist, but hopefully everything’s okay with him. Hopefully everything will go well. He’s not involved Saturday. I’m not really too knowledgeable about asthma but you can get different types. He has got to see a specialist today, but hopefully everything is okay with him. We have just got to look after him and make sure everything is right.He will not be involved on Saturday against Tranmere, but hopefully he will be back next week."
The Plymouth Argyle accounts for the calendar year 2013 have been released and are available for purchase from the Companies House website. The club has reported an operating loss of approximately £1.5 million for the year compared to 2.4 million for last year. The total debt for Argyle as of the turn of the year was reported as around £6 million.
Bobby Reid is aiming for 'goals and assists' as well as maintaing his high standard of performance in the two games he played for the greens: a win against Shrewsbury where he was the provider for Reuben Reid's goal and also the loss at Accrington in which he and the team apparently played well in spite of the scoreline. Bobby said: “I thank the fans and everyone at the club for the warm welcome I have had. I want to give them goals and assists, and three points every week. I’m enjoying it here. I knew a few of the lads from before, but the rest of the lads have been fine. We want to pick up as many points as we can, get on a good run and keep the confidence high. Momentum is key.”
John Sheridan hopes that Saturday's match at Tranmere will be the start of Argyle's good away performances being converted into goals. He also noted the importance of getting the game's first goal. Sheridan said: "I I felt the only game where we weren’t really in was the first half at Bury, but other than that we’ve been well in every game. We’ve been creating, and sometimes I think it’s just getting that first goal. We got to start to chip away, start trying to pick up points away from home. We’re not far away getting a result. Home form is decent at the moment, but we’d like to pick up one or two points away from home, and that’s what we’ll do, and we’ll try and win the game on Saturday. I don’t look at where they are in the league as I’ve watched them myself, and they’re playing well, so I’m expecting a really tough game. Coming from Exeter, he’s got them playing a little like Exeter. Passing and moving the ball well. I’ve been to Tranmere a few times as a manager, and it’s a tough place to go. They’re fighting for their lives, I know it’s early on in the season, but they want to get a good positive result and it’ll be a really tough game.”
John Sheridan has declared himself delighted with Argyle's cup upset victory over Swindon on Tuesday. He went on to talk about Argyle's chances of staying in this competition until the very end: “Tonight will not do us any harm – getting a good result against a really good team in a higher division – and hopefully it builds a bit of confidence again. I said, in my programme notes, that this is the best chance that players at this level can get to Wembley. I was lucky to be a manager when Chesterfield went there, and it is a really good occasion. It is something that every player wants to do – play in a cup final at Wembley. I am sure that, if we did get there, we would take a few fans with us. I am sure we would. It is a really good result to get into the next round.”
Lewi Alessandra was equally pleased with the surprise victory: he also reserved special praise for Deane Smalley who he played with at Oldham yet hoped Argyle would now also learn to come from behind. The Argyle forward said: “I have known Smalley since I was 13 or 14 years old. We know each other quite well. We came through the youth team together. Smalley was always a right winger then and I was up front. Maybe Smalley’s physical attributes have changed a little bit since back then, which lends to him playing as a striker. He’s a very good aerial threat and I enjoy playing with him. He has got some good attributes. I think he has had a tough start here, similar to myself I suppose. So I’m glad for him to get the goal. He took it well.
“It was an enjoyable but tiring game. It was important we got our goals when we did because we knew they (Swindon) would come on strong. The way they play, they are always going to get chances, especially after the penalty. That gave them a lift and then they got the second, so it was a good job we got the three-goal cushion. Swindon are a very good side. They are going well in League One. Everyone knows what a good footballing side they are, so it’s very pleasing to have beaten them. Even if we had been horrific, I suppose the main thing would have been going through. Obviously, you want to play well and win games but with cup competitions the be-all and end-all is to get through to the next round.
When you concede first and teams sit in, you struggle to break teams down when ten men are sat behind the ball. You’re left to pump long balls in and, if you don’t get the rub of the green, it is frustrating. Even if a team does go in front, we need to say: ‘Alright – we’ve gone behind but we are more than good enough to get back in this game and go on and win it.’ It is important to rectify the slightly poor start we have had away from home. We’ve been fairly good at Home Park, bar the Tuesday night game against Wycombe which I was disappointed to miss. It’s all about going away; grinding results out; picking points up. Alright, we know we’re not going to go away and win every week, but if we are doing well at home and picking points up away from home, I don’t think we’ll be too far away.”
Argyle have progressed to the third round of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy following a dramatic 3-2 win over League One high flyers Swindon Town at Home Park. John Sheridan made good on his promise to make several changes to the starting eleven with 5 alterations from the team that beat Shrewsbury in the league on Saturday. The team was no less successful however with Lewis Alessandra and Deane Smalley firing the greens into an early 2-0 lead. Alessandra added his second and Argyle's third shortly before half-time. Swindon pulled two goals back in the last twenty minutes and only a superb save from Luke McCormick in the last minute was enough to deny the Robins a penalty shootout. Aaron Bentley made his professional debut in the last minute of the match. The draw for the next round will be made on Saturday. Argyle: McCormick, Nelson, McHugh, Hartley, Mellor, Cox, Norburn(Bentley), Harvey, Thomas(O'Connor), Smalley(Reid), Alessandra. Subs: Bittner, Banton.
John Sheridan has partially revealed his team to face Swindon Town in the second round of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy at home park. Sheridan explained that under the rules of the competition, 6 players must play who have either started the last game, must start the next game or are in the top six for appearance totals made this season. Argyle are only allowed 5 substitutes and are playing the game on the basis of having a bye for the first round. Sheridan revealed that Lee Cox, Tyler Harvey, Nathan Thomas, Deane Smalley and Ollie Norburn would all start. Reuben Reid will be on the bench. Sheridan: “You have got to have six who have started your last game, or who are going to start your next game, or who have made the most appearances. I have got players in my squad who think they should be in the squad, and there is nothing wrong with that. Hopefully, they will go out and perform and give me a problem for my team selection on Saturday. Just because we won against Shrewsbury I’m not frightened of changing my side for Tranmere. Like I have said before, I can only pick 11 on a Saturday. They all train and work really hard to be involved. They are going to get a game tonight, and hopefully they will come through and give me a problem. Reuben didn’t train too much last week. Hopefully, he will get in a good week of training, but he will be involved against Swindon as a substitute. I’m not going into the game relaxed in any way at all. I want to go and try to win it.”
John Sheridan was not waxing lyrical about the football played in Argyle's 1-0 home victory over Shrewsbury Town but he was very complimentary indeed about the defensive performance and that of his goalkeeper Luke McCormick which between the two of them secured a clean sheet. Sheridan praised the Argyle defence in general: “Luke blamed himself for the goal last week at Accrington, so I just said that I hope he praises himself for today. I thought he was excellent. If goalkeepers make a mistake it is well documented, but I thought he made some great saves today, which obviously enabled us to fight on and grind a result out. We have let some soft goals in but, defensively, we are one of the best in the division. We are working hard not to concede goals, and when teams are trying to play through us, I think we are organised and have our shape, which is not bad. They are a good footballing side, and I knew they would come and I knew they would come and pass the ball, especially on our pitch. I expected us to be a bit more controlled in the second half, and I thought we started sloppy for the first ten or fifteen minutes, but then we really got a foothold in the game. We really defend and work hard, and that’s from the front. I said to the front three (Reid, Marvin Morgan and Lewis Alessandra) that they have got to work hard. Sometimes you can go under the pressure they put on us, but I thought we defended really well, and we had a ‘keeper who played really well.”
Argyle continue their good home record with a 1-0 win over Shrewsbury Town. The goal was scored by Reuben Reid on his return to the Argyle first team; his sixth of the season. Argyle: McCormick, Mellor, Nelson. Hartley, McHugh, O'Connor, Bobby Reid, Blizzard, Alessandra, Reuben Reid, Morgan(Smalley). Subs: Bittner, Bentley, Norburn, Cox, Harvey, Thomas.
John Sheridan is keeping his faith in the Plymouth Argyle players that he has at his disposal and delivered a frank appraisal of the season so far. Whilst Sheridan admitted results so far have not been good enough and that some criticism is warranted, he does feel that the team have it in them to turn things around. Sheridan said: “When I have got everyone fit, I’m comfortable with what we have got. I think we are good enough to compete in this division, I really do. With Ben’s injury now, left-back would be a position where we are quite vulnerable, but I know Carl and Pete can play there. If I’m keeping everyone fit, I’m really happy. I think we have got a good squad and they all want to do well. I have got a really good dressing room and they want to do well. We know we are letting ourselves down a little bit. We have had meetings and we are all coming from the same page. We want to fight for each other and get results. No-one is naive enough to think any different – I don’t. If you win games you are great, and when you lose games it’s always the manager’s fault. You have just got to get on with it, but I’m strong enough. I don’t mind a bit of criticism. Sometimes you deserve it. Our results should be better so I expect some criticism. It’s up to me to stand up for myself and prove people wrong, which I’m really confident I will do.
“There are lots of good things in our game at the moment. I have got to look at them and try to build on them. I just want the players to really believe that we can do well in the league. If they get that, we will have a really good chance. I always pick a team which will hopefully go out and win the game for us. That’s all I have got on my mind. With the lads coming back from injury, it does give me a headache, but it’s a headache I don’t mind having. Hopefully, whoever I pick will do the job for us.”
Anthony O'Connor too is confident that Argyle will bounce back to winning ways at home to Shrewsbury and he is confident in his ability to deal with countryman Liam Lawrence. O'Connor: “We’re all looking forward to it. The gaffer has been happy with us, and we’ve been looking sharp. Hopefully come Saturday the fans will get behind us and push us on and we can get three points. I won’t show any nerves, and I won’t be scared to tackle. It will be a good test for the team, especially myself for someone who plays in the middle. If there’s a tackle to be made, I'll be sure to have him on my case. I’ll be like a wasp around him.”
Jason Banton is making a smooth recovery from his groin injury and could be back to face Carlisle on October the 18th, according to performance manager John Harbin. Harbin explained how Banton is currently ahead of schedule and has been doing all the exercise he can in the interim to boost his general fitness levels, including swimming and boxing. Harbin said: “Jason is in his final recovery stage before he resumes training, which probably will be late next week or early the week after. It’s slightly ahead of target. He has been doing a lot of swimming and boxing mainly, and some bike work. He has started his running this week and come through that with no problems. The life centre is a great facility. Jason did 30 lengths the other day, which for somebody who can’t swim very well, that’s a good achievement. It’s boxing cardio, so there is a lot of getting down and getting up, and punching the bag. There is slight movement of the legs as well. He’s progressing along very nicely.”
Harbin also issued a stinging rebuke to former Argyle player Danis Salman for comments the now-pundit made about Ben Purrington's injury. Salman had previously said: to the Plymouth Herald:"Times have changed since I played. I remember breaking my wrist but that did not stop me attending every training session and playing in every game. It was just strapped up. These days we are very into sports science and people are aware of the nutritional side of things, and we are possibly too over-protective now. I remember coming back from a hamstring injury after two weeks, and now it seems to keep players out for six weeks. Maybe I played when I shouldn’t have back then and whether it did me any good, probably not, but I feel we have gone too far the other way. But then you have to listen to what the doctors and physiotherapists say."
Harbin however chose to issue a defence of both the club's policy on the issue and sports science in general:“It probably upset me a little bit to read the article in the paper where it said that in days gone by you would be back training the next day when you broke your wrist. The average guy down the Barbican on a Saturday night knows there are about 20 different ways you can break your wrist. There are numerous bones in the wrist and every break is different. We have a duty of care at this club to our players. Times have changed from the past. We play with a different type of football and a different type of football boot; litigation has changed and so has sports medicine. The same article quoted hamstring injuries. Everybody knows there are different types of hamstring injuries. Quite often we have got players here who are back within two weeks, depending on the grade of the tear. Other people take six weeks, and there is a protocol that we follow. We have a duty of care to our players at this club. If the same columnist wants to talk about tough men in days gone by, then I will introduce him to a guy called John Sattler (an Australian rugby league player of the 1960s and 1970s). He broke his jaw in the first few minutes of a rugby league grand final in three places and played on. Tough men don’t mention their injuries, and how tough they were in the past. Ben has broken a number of bones in his wrist and there are decisions to be made by the medical department whether he will need an operation. But Ben has got probably one of the highest pain tolerance levels at the club, so he’s no baby. He can put up with it. If we are going to say the modern day footballer is a lot softer than the olden-days one, I would like to rephrase that and say the modern day footballer is a lot smarter than the olden-days one, and realises that his body is going to be important to him for life after football. Ben is a good kid and comes from a good family. Of course, you will know his uncle (former England flanker and Rugby World Cup winner Richard Hill) is reasonably tough. Nobody wants to go back to watching black and white TVs, do they, because things have changed for the better. So has sports medicine.”
Finally, Argyle players have sent a get well soon message to former loanee Alex Bray who is currently recovering from the ruptured anterior ligament injury that he picked up in the 1-0 win at Luton last month. Bray however made an impression on the Argyle players in the short time he was there and they have sent him the shirt he appeared in in a commemorative frame and signed by every player with a get well soon card attached. Bray was highly appreciative of the gesture, tweeting:"Want to thank @Only1Argyle and the boys for the present and card...Much appreciated and good luck for the season!"