A Round-up of Argyle News
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Greens on Screen's Daily Diary is a compilation of Argyle news, with help from these and other Argyle-related sites.
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Also included on the three most recent days, facts from Argyle's history.
Derek Adams warned against taking the threat of Yeovil lightly in spite of their unspectacular start to the League Two season. He said: “Darren only took over last season, but he has put his stamp on the team very early. He has let the board know his thoughts on the way the game is going to get played. He has signed a long-term contract, and I’m sure he will do well for them. It’s not far away – an hour and a half really – and it’s going to be a good atmosphere. Yeovil are going to take a number of fans with them. Darren is a Plymouth boy, so enjoys coming back here and always has his players fired up. We’ll enjoy it too, being back home after a long trip on Tuesday night. They’ve got great enthusiasm in their squad. They showed that on the Tuesday night at Yeovil. It was a quick game, a great atmosphere. It shouldn’t be any different on Saturday. We’ve had a good start to the season. We’ve played 10 games, and to have collected 22 points already is a very good start. We’ll wait and see. It looks like the league is stronger this year than last year, because the gap between the second and 15th is very small. It looks like there is going to be a lot more competition for the top seven places. We’ll have to keep on going. There are times in the season where other teams in the division will do exactly what we’re doing. It is important we keep picking up points.”
Derek Adams revealed the secret behind Argyle's strong defensive performance this season, citing shape and familiarity. Adams said: “We’ve got good defenders, a good goalkeeper,. The shape of the team when we’ve not got the ball is very good. We don’t allow teams to have too many opportunities in the game. You’ll never stop a team from having any opportunities, but we have defended well. Continuity is a good thing. Having experienced defenders, players that have played at a high level; in the case of Bulvitis, an international level. Sonny Bradley has played in this league, Gary Miller has played in Europe and Scottish Cup finals; Oscar Threlkeld has played at this level, as have Gary Sawyer and Ben Purrington, who has come through the youth system. It’s all about giving them that work on the training field, and an understanding of what we are looking for. It’s not just the defenders. It’s not just the defenders, it’s the team. Our strikers work very hard, as do the midfielders, to stop the space for the opposition. That’s going to be important as the season goes. It is important that you get goals throughout the team not relying on one or two individuals. We’ve shown that we’re not doing that. We have players that can score goals from a variety of positions and we’ll need that with 36 games to go. Having a stronger pool of players than we did last year, you look at the team photo from last season, and the squad is not much different, size-wise, but we have players that have better first-team experience than last year. That was about using the budget well during the summer, and getting the quality of player in that we have.”
Ryan Donaldson believes Argyle will be able to raise their game and bring a bit more to the table in a local derby against Yeovil as they did against Exeter. He also assessed the Pilgrims performance in their game against Orient on Tuesday, saying: “We have just got to concentrate on what we do. We have got a nice lead, but we want to make it bigger. We’re nine unbeaten, but who knows how far we can go? Every result’s big; every point’s big. We want to carry on as long as possible. We want to win every game and, like we saw a couple of weeks ago, when it’s a local derby, there’s a bit extra. We’re more than ready. We’re capable of stepping our game up even more. We’re looking forward to it. It’s always nice to get off the mark as soon as possible. I’ve waited a while, and had few half-chances which I’ve looked back on and thought I could have done better, but it’s nice to come in. Ben did brilliantly, and he has done that a few times this season; I was just right place, right time, and I managed to stick it in. It was a big weight off everyone’s shoulders when it goes to 2-0 and the game’s done. Obviously, when it involves three points, it’s a lot better. It’s the quickest red card I’ve ever seen. We did well; it was a really strange environment to play in. I’ve never seen anything like it, and I don’t think many of the lads have, either. I don’t think it will happen again for a while. Invariably, you get a lot more possession but it is what you do with that which is key. Nine people on the edge of the box is quite hard to break down. The goal just after they went down to ten was really important and I think that settled us down a bit. We would have liked to have scored a few more, but it just didn’t happen – 2-0, move on.”
Donaldson did not resent the fact that he is not currently starting games on a regular basis but instead mentioned the positive impact he could make from the subs bench. The midfielder said: “It’s come from a lot of hard work. Nine unbeaten now and we want to carry that on for as long as possible. It’s looking good, but there’s a lot more hard work ahead. Everyone’s training hard; everyone’s fighting hard; that’s probably why we’re top of the league. We must be doing something right; the results speak for themselves. Everyone would prefer to be starting, but there are only 11 who can. Everyone who is on the bench has got a job to do; mine the other night was to come on and do something, and I did that. That’s good, going forward, if subs can come on and make difference. We’re on a great run and trying to make that continue as long as possible. The manager takes all the credit for it. We had a really good pre-season – a really tough one – and that brought everyone together and you have seen the results out on the pitch: everyone’s fighting with each other, everyone’s competing. There are a lot of good players in our squad and that’s why we’re top of the league. The manger has said that if you don’t perform, you will be out. Everyone’s got to keep working hard and keep pushing each other. It only breeds better performances and better results. We reaffirmed our beliefs in what we were doing: keep working hard and keep performing, and results will happen. We have gone nine unbeaten now and everyone deserves a pat on the back for that, but it’s only ten games and there are so many more to go. It’s a big club, big expectations; a good manager; a really good squad; we’re at the top of the league, but I feel that’s where we should be.”
Derek Adams has welcomed the decision of Plymouth Argyle's board of directors to take up an option to buy-back Home Park from Plymouth City Council. The manager said: "I think it's great that the football club are going to be able to take it back.The chairman and the board of directors have shown their hand, so to speak, and anything that can reduce the amount of money that is going out of the football club, over the short term and the long term, can only benefit us. I think when you have a football stadium that is owned by an outsider – as in the council – we have then got to pay a lot of money over a number of years in rent. It's a no-brainer really that we buy it at the cost we are buying it at and have our destiny in our own hands."
Derek Adams praised the calmness and patience of his Argyle side in waiting for the opening and seeing the game out against the nine men of Leyton Orient. Adams said, first on his two new goalscorers: “I’m delighted for them. They have worked hard over the summer and, coming to a new club, it is always good to get up and running. I thought we were in very good control of the match, possession-wise, but you never know, so it was good to get the second goal and finish the game. It was all about patience tonight. It wasn’t going to be easy because we weren’t able to counterattack because they sat so deep. They dealt well with crosses into the box – that’s what they are very strong at – and we found it difficult to get opportunities in and around the area, even though we had a good number. It was about keeping calm and moving the ball, trying to find the right space to play in. We tried to create a lot of width but, at times, that suited them because they had us out in the wide area. So we tried to go through the middle. It was just about prodding and trying to get another opportunity. Nine men were in the last third of the pitch and we tried to shift the ball from side to side, but they defended their box well. Sometimes there is nothing you can do if a team has all their bodies back in there. If you don’t find the right opportunity, then it’s going to be a long night. They were both clear sendings-off. The first one was a reckless challenge, out of control on the touchline – I was right in front of it – and the second one was the last man. Both correct decisions by the referee. Weir slid in and caught Ben Purrington high on the ankle. You can’t tackle that way; the rules state that. If you are sliding in and you are not in control of your body then it’s a sending-off, I’m afraid. Jake Jervis was going through on goal. He put the ball past; he is in on goal; he’s got a goalscoring opportunity. It’s a clear sending-off; nobody could complain. Tonight was just about freshening things up,” he said. “We have got a lot of games to play in the next two weeks so I think it is important we get a freshness in and to give other people opportunities, to take people out and put them back in again. We’ve got a bigger squad from the point of view that we’ve got better competition for places than last year. The numbers are exactly the same but, spread throughout the squad, I feel that I’ve got even substitutes that can all start the game. Last year, we had six or seven injuries around about Christmas time and we were unable to replace them with like players; this year, we should be able to do that. It’s a difficult league – you just have to look at the results tonight and look how tight it is all the way down. For us to go on the run we are on at this moment in time is an excellent start.”
Adams also revealed why Paul-Arnold Garita did not feature in the game: "He wasn't far away from being involved against Orient. He was still feeling it a wee bit so I didn't take a risk with him. I'm hopeful I can get him ready for Saturday."
Jimmy Spencer admitted that his first goal for Argyle was a long time coming but hoped that getting one could trigger a good run of goalscoring form. The striker said: “It was good to play, first, and then obviously to get my first goal. It’s been a long time coming. Competition for places in this team is very good. We have got a good group with a lot of players who are worthy of playing. We have got strength in depth and, if we can utilise that, it’s going to be better for us all. So you can’t be thinking about yourself in these situations. I came out of the team but Big Arnie came in and scored straight way. It’s always good to have competition for places; it brings out the best in you. Some people might think it as a negative, being in and out of the team, but you can’t see it like that. In this team, we are all together, we are one team – players coming off the bench are doing a job, as well. We have got a good group here. All the lads are brilliant lads. We work hard for each other. On the pitch and off the pitch, we are all good mates. That’s what you need. We have got good people at this club, good coaching staff, good players, and it’s showing on the pitch at the minute. They say you get one and they start flowing. Let’s hope so. It’s good to get off the mark, finally. I’ve had a few chances in the previous games. There have been good saves, just missing, maybe should have scored one or two, but finally it’s gone in tonight and I’m very happy with that. It was a great touch by Goodie and I’m in behind one on one with the keeper. It’s good playing up front with Goodie; he’s got such a good understanding of the game; he knows how I work and is in and around me. He’s experienced; he’s played up there a long time; he knows when to come in, when to run off me; he’s got a good footballing brain.”
Argyle have beaten Leyton Orient 2-0 and established a 5 point lead at the top of League Two in one of the most bizarre fixtures of recent times. Orient went down to nine men after just 14 minutes with red cards for serious foul play and denying of a clear goalscoring opportunity respectively. The red cards were sandwiched by Argyle's opener and Jimmy Spencer's first for the club. Another ex-Cambridge man, Ryan Donaldson, also got his first for Argyle in the last ten minutes to seal the victory. Argyle: McCormick, Miller, Bulvitis, Bradley, Purrington, Songo'o(Fox), Smith(Donaldson), Jervis(Tanner), Carey, Goodwillie, Spencer. Subs: Dorel, Threlkeld, Ijaha, Slew.
Derek Adams believes the future for Argyle forward Jake Jervis is out wide rather than as a central striker, saying: "Jake can play anywhere across the front three but mostly he has been in the wide areas. He's more of a one that likes to run in behind and take the ball in tight areas. He can play in a two up front, and has done that before, but he's more of a player that likes to run onto the ball rather than receive with his back to the goal."
Adams also revealed that Paul-Arnold Garita has travelled with the squad to Leyton for the game but still remains a doubt, saying: He's travelling with us and we will assess how he is before the game."
Derek Adams believes Argyle's 1-1 draw with Hartlepool was a fair result considering the balance of play accoriding to manager Derek Adams. He also confirmed that he did believe the penalty to be a fair decision in spite of the protestations of his opposite number Craig Hignett. Adams said: "I thought we started the game very well, for the first five or ten minutes. We had an opportunity down the right-hand side. Then Hartlepool were able to get their goal, and sat back in for the majority of the game, and we found it very difficult to break them down. It was a cross - it wasn't a shot, anyway. I think it was a misplaced cross that goes into the far post. I think it skims the bar and hits the post at the same time.
"I think that when you try and put your foot up that high, and Jimmy Spencer's going to head it towards goal, then it's always going to be a penalty. You can't be on the wrong side of the defender, turn your body round and then try and swivel and kick it. When your foot is six foot in the air, in front of somebody's face, it's a stonewall penalty kick. We probably took too long to get it to 1-1. It was always going to be difficult to get it to 2-1 after that, but we've kept our unbeaten run going. I thought that Hartlepool defended well. They came back in numbers and they worked hard. I thought they were good on the ball at times, without really creating any opportunities against us. There was a lot of stoppage time in the second half. Their players seemed to go down a number of times with injuries, and that stopped the game - it stopped the flow of the match. We were just trying to get on with the game and trying to get ourselves back into the game. In the end, we got what we deserved, which was a point. You have to sometimes say 'listen, we'll take a point and move on'. Could we have won the game? We probably could've in the end, but did we deserve to win the game? Probably no."
Adams noted room for improvement with regard to Argyle's passing and their tempo, adding: "We probably didn't use the ball well enough today in the attacking third or the defensive positions as well. We didn't move it quickly enough and we didn't create enough opportunities. We just didn't really find our men today quickly enough. Set piece delivery was poor, through balls were poor - at times, we didn't play that killer pass well enough. We probably passed the ball backwards too many times; backwards and sidewards. We didn't really go long-ball, which we probably had to today, to try and put them under pressure, because they were quite happy for us to have the ball in front. It was easier for them to defend. We do play one ball in behind, and we get the penalty. I could've made any substitution. The ones that I took off at half-time: it could've been anybody. I just had to change something to try and get a bit of momentum back into the game, and that's what happened. We did that, but I don't think we did well enough on the ball though. He's still struggling just a wee bit and we just have to be careful with that type of injury. We'll see how he is for Tuesday. He'll be in tomorrow getting treatment, and we'll just see how it is."
Jake Jervis confirmed that he is happy to take Plymouth Argyle's penalties this season after successfully converting Argyle's equaliser from 12 yards. The forward said: "If I'm on the pitch, I'm looking to take the penalties. I'm not going to back down from that, and I have gone out and scored. I just picked the ball up and I was taking the penalty. You have got to be confident you are going to score otherwise you don't step up and take it. I have done it in the past and I don't want to jinx myself, obviously, but I was confident I could score. If you look at all the penalties that have been given this season, it's a definite penalty. Obviously, their manager is going to say different because it's against them."
Jervis also joined his manager and a host of players in praising Argyle's strength in depth in aiding our performances this season, saying: “In the whole of the squad, anyone can play in the starting 11. You saw, in the cup against Newport, how good we were and that was with a totally changed side. That helps the longer the season goes on. Last year, we had a lot of injuries and that hampered us a bit. You know, if you have a bad game, you have got the threat of being dropped so, obviously, that keeps you on your toes and you have got to work even harder. Obviously you are working hard, but you have got it in your mind that you have got to do the business. We have got the players to do that and that’s what a promotion team needs. Hopefully we can kick on and go forward. I think we’ve got a winning squad as we did have last year. We’ve got players who know how to get out of this league and who are good footballers, as well as mentally strong. All that’s going to help, and obviously it’s got to be a different outcome this year. We are unbeaten in eight, so I think it’s a positive and the boys are going to take that forward and hopefully get the result on Tuesday."
Argyle's winning run has come to an end but the unbeaten run has stayed in place with a 1-1 draw against Hartlepool. A long range angled effort from former green Nathan Thomas put the visitors 1-0 up in the first half but a late penalty from Jake Jervis levelled the match. Hartlepool had a spate of late bookings late in the game, two of which went to Scott Harrison who was sent off and Craig Hignett dismissed from the dugout. Argyle: McCormick, Miller, Bulvitis, Bradley, Purrington, Songo'o(Smith), Fox, Tanner(Spencer), Carey, Slew(Jervis), Goodwillie. Subs: Dorel, Threlkeld, Ijaha, Donaldson.
In a post-match fans forum, James Brent confirmed that the club will take up the stadium purchase and further explained how the deal will be funded, saying: "Home Park will again be an asset of Plymouth Argyle. For me it's an absolute no-brainer. The question has been 'how are you raising the money? Is it going to be debt? Well the answer is, no it's not. The repurchase of the grandstand will be funded by the issue of what they call 'irredeemable shares.' It means those shares will never be repayable. In 1,000 years they will not be repayable to the investors. And they won't get any dividends or interest or anything else. It is quite simply to a free gift from the investors to the football club. If the club were to be sold then the fact that we own the grandstand will mean the club has greater value. We also have the benefit of not having to pay rent to the council."
Derek Adams is hoping to be the Argyle manager who breaks a 22 year old record this weekend and secures Argyle's 8th win in a row. He was cautious however to be wary of the threat from the visiting Hartlepool side, saying: “You always have to look at that and I look at it all the time. I think it is important that you look at statistical evidence and you move forward. You always want to break records. We were doing that last season – breaking records or equalling records – and we look, season on season, to improve and break the records that are set here. When we have got the players we have taken in, the quality we have got in the squad, I thought we’d do well. It’s vital, as the season goes on, that you have a solid spine to your team, and we have got a good number of regulars playing week in week out, and they get a good understanding. At the start of the season, when we were away from home, it was very difficult – we were on the road for a long period of time – but we have dealt with it very well and we will do so again. We have still got very good competition for places which means that the players that are in possession of the shirt just now need to be on their toes. I have always given them the licence to go and create and to move all over the pitch, not to play strictly in the same area, because we need overloads in certain areas of the pitch. But, when we lose the ball, it is important that they have a defensive quality to get back in and win the ball back as quickly as possible. They have done well away from home. They are a team that play on the counterattack; they have some direct and quick players; they have got a bit of pace in their side. That’s what we will have to look out for. Thomas is direct; he’s quick; and he’s done well for them this season so we will have to be aware of him on Saturday. They will be looking to cause an upset and we will have to play a high intensity game. We’ll have to work hard and be patient and try to stop the threats from Hartlepool, and try to get at their weaknesses. It’s after 46 games that the season is finished. Nothing happens in September. When it comes to April-May time, that is when you need to be at the right end of the table.”
Adams also gave a fitness update on Paul-Arnold Garita who went off injured in the Exeter match with a hamstring problem: “Garita is struggling with a hamstring injury. We’ll assess him to see if he is possible to play. It’s nothing serious. He wanted to come back on and play on Saturday; that tells you his body was telling his head there wasn’t too much of a problem. He worked extremely hard. He took us up the pitch; and he occupied the two central defenders. Combined with the other strikers we have got at the club, we are going to be a good attacking threat. We have got eight players who can play in that three up front. He’s only 21 years of age; he’s raw; he’s come in and played one and a half games for us and we have seen good evidence he will cause teams in this division problems. We’ll look after him and try and improve him; that’s our job, as well, when he is with us.”
Craig Tanner spoke about his dream return to Argyle in his second consecutive season on loan here and detailed the steps he had taken to improve his performance. The midfielder said: “I came back here and I knew I had to work on my end product. There’s always things to work on; hopefully my stats show that I’ve worked hard and analysed about my game. I’ve had three starts, three assists, a second assist and a goal, so I think I’ve started the season off alright, and there’s hopefully more to build on. I don’t think anyone can expect to walk into a team straight away. I have to prove myself not only to the lads, but also to the gaffer, Wottsy and Brew that I deserve to play. Hopefully I’m doing that now. The most positive thing to take is that I didn’t miss a match day squad throughout last season. For a young player to have the wear and tear of a long season, and to be available for every selection was massive for me. I didn’t miss a day of training. That’s something I can take away, knowing that my body has adapted to mens’ football. I think it’s put me in good stead for this year. I went away with some things I knew I needed to work on, and some things I tried to get better at, and I think it’s showed in my early games. More maturity, and more of an end product. My favourite position, where I think I am best, is behind the striker. I can get on the ball, turn dribble and pass. I can get more involved in the game and not drift out of it at times. It’s the position I enjoy the most. Graham and I are both capable of playing those positions. My natural position is at number 10, and that’s where I’m playing at the moment, but if he wants me to play on the right, the left, at left-back, I’ll play anywhere. I’m not really fussed.”
Louis Rooney has joined Truro City on loan. The striker, 20 next week, will be with the White Tigers for an initial 28 days, joining up with recent former Pilgrims Jamie Richards, Aaron Bentley and River Allen, as well as Truro management duo Lee Hodges and Rory Fallon. Truro are currently 16th in the Vanarama National League South
The previously advertised Argyle Fans Forum has now had a change of venue and time- it will take place at 5.15pm in the main hall of the life centre accessible from outside the Home Park facade.
Craig Tanner has revealed that the pain of losing the play-off final at Wembley has spurred him and his teammates on to ensure that the same thing does not happen again. Tanner reflected on the winning run and looked ahead to the week to come, saying: “We’ve made it clear to the lads that it will not happen again. I think they are all well aware that it is not going to happen again. The Devon Derby was fantastic. Last year the ratio (losing two, winning one of the derbies played) didn’t favour us; it was important to go away from home, get a 2-0 victory, a clean sheet, and make Devon green again. We haven’t thought about the winning run. Every day we go to the gym after training, do our individual programmes, double sessions. If we let our foot off the pedal it could easily go. The longer it goes on, it becomes a bigger scalp to teams. If we win again on Saturday against Hartlepool, then Leyton Orient will think they can be the ones to stop it. If not, the team after that becomes the one. It gets bigger and bigger. When it does end, it’s not the be-all and end-all. It’s just a game of football, it’s three points on the line. We’ll just have to go back and win the next week.”
Derek Adams spoke about the good form of Luke McCormick this season since being appointed captain and spoke about the fusion of experience and competition that has seen Argyle succeed so far this season. He said: “He’s gaining in confidence. I think that’s helped by the people in front of him. We have got very good experience in front of him this season and the players are all feeding off each other. That can only help. If you look at the likes of Gary Miller, Nauris Bulvitis, Sonny Bradley and Gary Sawyer, they have all got very good experience. When he has been called upon, he’s very reliable. Last week, against Exeter, when he was called upon, he was assured; he was confident. Making him captain has helped him, as well. He is the focal point of the team; he’s the leader off the park; and the one the players look to. At his age and being a senior member of the team, all the players know he’s been here for a good number of years, and he is very good with them. We have got very good competition for places. I was adamant I was going to do that over the summer. As a player, you need to be pushed and one of the best reasons that you can be pushed is by somebody behind you that feels they should be playing in the first team.”
Argyle's top scorer Graham Carey gave his assessment of the start to the season, including an insight into his own personal preferences for where to play and the effect he feels that has on the team. Carey said: "A lot of managers don't change winning teams but with our strength in depth we can. It only motivates the players to perform even better. "Our starting eleven last season played a lot of games. I think even the Portsmouth games in the play-off semi-finals took a lot out of us, mentally and physically. This season we can hopefully go a few places better and get up automatically. But I think the freshness and the strength in depth that we have will be a positive for us. We knew we were a good team at the start of the season but it just took a bit of time to gel together and cut out the mistakes. We haven't been making them recently. We were pretty poor at Carlisle, but I think the 3-0 defeat at home flattered Luton a little bit. We are on a great run now and we just need to keep that going. I think at any level, seven wins is a great achievement and hopefully we can make it eight. If I start in the middle it's a lot easier for teams to mark me. Coming off the wing, either the left or right, it kind of opens up a bit more space for me. Obviously, we have players like Tanns in the middle. He's going to occupy people so it just gives a lot of us more freedom."
Derek Adams paid tribute to Craig Tanner and the improvement he has made since putting on the green shirt once again. Adams said: “He’s got very good creative ability He’s a strong player physically, and he has a good eye for a pass. He’s been very creative in the times he’s played since he came back. We’re trying to work on him off the ball. On the ball, he’s been very good. Off the ball, it’s important he does a job for the team when we haven’t got possession. He’s got a better maturity about him since he’s come back. He was with us last season and saw what it was about. Being with us for the whole season was very good for him. Coming back in and getting a few starts; he’s made a few since he’s been back, and got on the scoresheet as well, which is great. It does take a wee bit of time, but he’s fitted in well again with the rest of the players. That’s in his character. He wants to do well.”
James Brent meanwhile, gave the latest on Argyle's off-field developments, re-stating the intention to buy the ground for the club as well as build a new grandstand by 2020. Brent kept coy on details however, saying: "Once bitten twice shy. We had plans that were approved by planning committee that were very well advanced. They cost about £1.5million – the club did not put a penny into that – but it cost us about £1.5million to produce the plans and get them consented, and then that particular scheme couldn't go ahead. It does require cooperation from others. I'm hopeful but until we have something which is signed up and committed to I'm not going to make the same mistake by announcing something. I'm very hopeful and personally committed to it. It's absolutely right for the club, absolutely right for the city and we need to move that forward. Plymouth Argyle, Home Park, should be the centre piece for the sport and leisure activities in the city and we need to be bright and shiny and in a very good place well before that."
Yann Songo'o re-affirmed his belief that Argyle's opening two losses were a blessing in disguise and stated his admiration with how Argyle have responded to that, up to and including the win at Exeter: “We had a good pre-season and we thought, not that it would be easy, but we were ready to engage the season, and I think it was a good thing for us to get a slap in the face from Carlisle and Luton, to wake ourselves up and to get better. You have to understand that 14 new players came to the club and, for most of us, this is a new league, and it’s a really tough league. Anyone can win any game; there is not a big difference between any of the teams. You have to give 100% every game. It is a fantastic run. It hasn’t happened since 2003-04. We have to keep it going. We go now next Saturday against Hartlepool hoping to get the three points and clean sheet. Confidence is high and it is early in the season but it is good to get the results by now. All the team is really focussed. We know where we want to go. We know the objective is to get promoted. We need to take it game by game and work as hard as we can. We had a really good start. We dropped the level a little bit towards the end of the first half but obviously we defended very well and the most important thing is the win and the clean sheet. Our centre-halves had a really good game. Exeter pushed on in the second half with lots of crosses, but we defended well as a team and are happy with the clean sheet.”
Derek Adams was delighted with Argyle's 7th win in a row at Devon rivals Exeter City and had the following to say about the game: "We gave ourselves a very good start today, and to go in two goals ahead was very pleasing. They had possession in the second half; that was always going to be the case. We could've gone on to score more goals. Exeter might've scored as well, but we defended well. It could've been a different scoreline - it might've been higher for us, but a 2-0 win away from home is not easy. It's a clean sheet, and we're delighted with that. A very good performance today. I thought that we were in total control of the game, from a defensive point of view and an attacking point of view. We could've probably gone on to win by four or five, but then we had to be strong defensively, as well. We've played well today all over the pitch. It's always good to come away from home and win games, but especially in a Devon Derby, I saw a banner unveiled before the game. What I would like to say is Devon is green and white tonight - and it always will be."
Adams cited the win as another example of how he has added both quality and quantity to his squad this season, saying: "I think that when you take good players to a football club, it's important. I've had one of the biggest rebuilding jobs that any manager has had in this league. I've had to do it quite quickly because we had the play-off final last year, and that's not easy. A month to do your business and try to get everybody in can be difficult, but we've done it well. We've done it under difficult circumstances, and we've dealt with it. We had to revamp our squad over the summer. We've taken in players that have got strength and power. Work ethic was important, and we've done that over the summer. The work ethic is the big thing; we've got a good mentality and work ethic in the squad. The football club's in great shape. We're run prudently, we use a budget that we can afford, and I think that's always important. From a manager's point of view, I think that when you're working under these constraints, it makes you a better manager than somebody getting a number of million to spend. We've used the budget extremely well. To get the players we have under the budget we're working for is phenomenal."
Adams finally noted however that, as good as the winning run was, it was all the more important to keep it going before going on to give assessments on the fitness of injured duo Paul-Arnold Garita and Graham Carey: "We had big performances throughout the team today and you have to have that when you come away from home. It's a hostile atmosphere and we dealt well with it. It was a team performance. We were outstanding from start to finish - you have to be when you come to these grounds. This is a difficult league. It's not easy to win games in this league. We've shown today that we've got mental strength, and we've got very good players in our team.
"Garita had a slight hamstring problem - we'll assess him on Monday. Graham Carey had a head knock, so hopefully we'll be okay. We just have to put our foot on the pedal now, and we have to keep going. It's a difficult league, we know that, and we haven't done anything yet. We've put ourselves in a very good position early on."
Argyle have won the 104th Devon Expressway Derby, beating Exeter 2-0 at St James's Park. Early goals from Paul-Arnold Garita and Graham Carey were the difference between the two sides, Former Pilgrim Reuben Reid was subbed on around the hour mark in the game but did not make any meaningful impact. Both Argyle goalscorers were taken off as a precautionary measure, following injuries to the hamstring and head respectively. Argyle: McCormick, Miller, Bulvitis, Bradley, Purrington, Songo'o, Fox, Carey(Threlkeld), Tanner, Slew(Jervis), Garita(Goodwillie). Subs: Dorel, Ijaha, Spencer, Donaldson.
Derek Adams re-affirmed his belief that Argyle vs Exeter was 'more than just a game' and noted that both teams played football in the right spirit. Adams said: “They have to realise what it means to the supporters. A majority of them have played in big-occasion games before – they have played in front of 50-60,000 people; they have played international football – but, when it comes to a derby match, they have to understand what it means to Plymouth Argyle fans. Derby matches are totally different: it is a one-off occasion where rivalry is fierce, on and off the pitch. It is a terrific occasion for the area and we all want to win the game. I enjoy big-occasion games; the players want to play on these stages and we have got a number of players making their derby debuts. If they don’t know now, they will know about it on Saturday, when they walk out into the stadium. It’s a hostile atmosphere; it’s a fiercely competitive occasion on and off the pitch and you want to beat your rivals. It’s an important day for the fans and it’s an important day for us because we want to go and win the derby. We have got to have good, calm heads on the day. We have shown, over the last three games (between Exeter and Argyle), that the two football clubs have played in the right way. They have been good footballing matches – very good occasions – and pleasing on the eye.”
Derek Adams prepared for the crunch derby match against Exeter City on Saturday by acknowledging that the match was not like any other game. He also waived off questioning about Reuben Reid who crossed the Devon Expressway divide to sign for Exeter this week. Adams said: “We don’t make it bigger than any other game, but we know it’s bigger than any other game. We’re on a good run of results and we’ve played very well this season. Going into a derby match, it’s important we take that momentum. It’s an important game for Argyle supporters; we know they really want to win the match. It’s not just another game. It’s an important game for our supporters, to go away from home in a derby match and try to win it. We know how important the game is. It is important on a whole host of levels. From our point of view, it’s important to us to go away from home, try to win and keep the run that we are on going. We have to keep on putting the foot on the pedal and keeping it hard to the floor. We have got a lot of good competition in and around the squad – that helps keep people on their toes. We made changes on Saturday; we made changes against Newport; they have fitted in well. It’s one of these games that everybody wants to play in or be involved in.
“There is always going to be attention when somebody signs leading up to a derby match. It’s no different this week. It always adds to the game. We’ll just look after ourselves and look to see how we can put the onus on Exeter, and we’ll obviously have to deal with the problems they can cause us. I haven’t commented on any of the players that left the football club over the summer and I’m not going to start in front of a Devon derby. We look at Plymouth Argyle Football Club. From my point of view, to try to get out of this division is important – every club in the league wants to do that. We’ll try to do that. To win a derby match is obviously important, as well, for the players and the fans, and we’ll go out with our utmost to do that on Saturday.”
David Fox admitted a personal element to the rivalry too, having previously been part of the Exeter set-up. Fox expressed his hopes that he would be in the side: "It's a massive game. It's one where everything takes care of itself. "You have just got to go out there and give everything because the form book goes out the window for derbies. We are confident at the minute. Momentum is good and it's a game we are all looking forward to. I grew up with it. I know what it means. I have been to enough of them to know how important they are to the fans, and what a big game it is. I'm on a different side of it this time. I know how important it is to both clubs. From a personal point of view, it's the one game I have been looking forward to and fingers crossed I'm in there."
Nauris Bulvitis paid tribute to his centre-defence partner, Sonny Bradley and stated that the former Crawley man was a big reason behind his successful transition to league football in England. Bulvitis said: "Sonny is a good defender and I enjoy playing with him. But the gaffer chooses the team and whether I'm on the field or on the bench, it doesn't matter. We have to get three points.With Sonny, I feel comfortable. You have to be very strong in this league. I have never been in such a tough league. Before I was playing more football. Sonny has helped me a lot to get used to that. I enjoy playing in front of the good crowd here at Home Park. It's very nice.
"A derby game is a derby game. Everywhere is the same I think. It's important for the supporters and, of course, for us, but in the end it's three points, the same as every game. The boys tell me that it's a big occasion and everyone wants to play in this game. I know that last season was not the best score so I'm looking forward to getting a good result on Saturday. We have to keep on going the same way. I hope we can do this on Saturday as well. Everyone is ready and training hard. We are looking forward to the game. The game time of one o'clock is a little bit strange for me, so it will be different, but it's good we don't have to travel too far. The league has just started and everyone is so close. We have to try to keep on winning and then we will see what happens."
Argyle have confirmed that Jake Miller has left Home Park. The midfielder, 18, had been on a month-to-month professional development contract after graduating from the apprentice ranks last season, part of a unique scheme aimed at bridging the gap between Academy football and the first-team squad. After completing two months, Jake declined to take up the club's offer of a third.
With Gary Sawyer still suspended due to injury, Ben Purrington is set for his first start against his hometown club in the Devon Derby against Exeter on Saturday. Adams said of the young defender: “Ben has come in and acquitted himself well. It’s not easy, taking over from an experienced player. Ben has played in midfield and at left-back for me; he’s come through the Academy, which is great; and has played 45 games now. He’s still got a bit to learn, but that experience of playing, week in, week out, in the first team is benefiting him. Gary has had an injection and he is probably a couple of weeks away from being fit. He has got a stomach injury, a slight strain in there. He has got to take his time and get himself back as quickly as possible – it is still a wee bit sore.”
The game will notably feature Reuben Reid- but not for Argyle. The striker has shocked fans of both clubs by putting pen to paper on a contract with Exeter after leaving Argyle at the end of last season.
Yann Songo'o has revealed he is bedding in well to a new defensive midfield role for Argyle having adapted from his initial role of centre-back. He said: "It's a really new position for me. Sometimes I'm a little bit lost on the pitch. But the manager and the lads are helping me to work on that and I believe I will get better. I'm starting to feel more comfortable. I said when I signed here at Argyle I would play wherever the manager wanted me to. I can't guarantee I will play unbelievable, but I will always give 100 per cent for the team. That is a guarantee. I made my mind up when I came here that my objective would be the next season. The lads that played here last season were doing unbelievable and I don't think it would have been fair for me to be part of that because I wasn't fit physically. It was a difficult year but, at the same time, I learned a lot. Now I know how to appreciate things."
Derek Adams praised two fantastic team goals in Argyle's victory over Cambridge and gave an insight into how the condition of the pitch has allowed Argyle to utilise their technical ability to the max. Adams said: "It was a good move. We had chances in the first half to have made it more. Craig Tanner made a good cross into the box, and a fabulous finish from Slew, who looked very lively throughout the afternoon.
"We've got a lot of good technical players and that suited us today because the pitch is in fabulous condition. It allows us to pass the ball forward and around. We controlled the game for large spells of the game. Last year around December time, it tailed off, but at the start of the season, it was very good. It has allowed us to play the way we want to play, and keep possession of the ball. We've got players that are capable of doing that."
Adams also emphasised the power of positive energy in taking Argyle to the top spot of League Two, saying: "I think it was a very good performance. I think that winning the game and winning six in a row is very important - and two very good goals in that game. We just look at things as we go along, and I think that it's important as a manager to look at each game as it comes. We've done that, and we just want to continue working hard. This is a difficult league - we know that from last season. To win six games on the trot is very good, but we see by other results that it's a hugely competitive league. We don't get carried away with anything; we want to keep our feet on the ground and we want to do well each week. We've had an excellent start of the season and we want to continue that. We'll work hard and keep it going, and keep the positive vibe about the place. We'll allow other people to create a negative vibe, which happens. If you talk about the negatives, we'll talk about the positives, and we'll get moving."
David Fox praised a good team performance although admitted it was frustrating to let Cambridge into the game as much as we did. He went on to talk about the Devon Derby next week against Exeter City, a former side of his: "I am sure the fans travelling back from Carlisle probably would not have thought that we would be top now. But we always had that belief. The manager has brought us all together so there is that belief in the squad. It is great that we are there at the minute. Long may it continue because we know that ultimately that is where we want to be at the end of the season. It is pleasing the way we are winning as well. Some games where we have been completely dominant, some games where we have hung on in there, clean sheets, and the goals are getting spread around. It is important that we just keep going now. Last season I was on the other side of things and you get that losing momentum, and now it is the same, but a winning one and the momentum is growing and building and you feel confident going into every game.
"That was frustrating. How we did not ram home the advantage from the good first-half that we had? It was important in the second-half because we knew they would come out at us, so we had to weather it and get the next goal and we did that and you are thinking to yourself, let's see what we have got and hit them on the break. We could have made that last ten minutes a lot easier for ourselves. They got a goal, and they are not going to lie down and let us win, no team is going to do that, so we really had to grind it out at the end so it was pleasing to get the result.
"It was a lot more nervy then we would have liked. We are disappointed with the goal; it was one that we should have prevented. They are not going to come and roll over and you have got to be on the metal all the time. We switched off and we got punished. We made it a lot harder for ourselves then it had to be.
"It is a massive game. It is one where everything takes care of itself. You have just got to go out there and give everything because the form book goes out of the window for derbies. The one next Saturday will be no different. We have got to take it as a different game and one that will cause different problems. We are confident at the minute, momentum is good and it is a game that we are all looking forward to. I have probably got more in it then a lot of people, I grew up with it. I know what it means, I have been to enough of them to know how important they are, and how important they are to the fans, and what a big game it is. I know how big it is and I am sure I am going to let everyone know about it. I am on a different side of it this time, but I know to both clubs how important it is, and I look forward to it. From a personal point of view, it is the one game I have been looking forward to, and fingers crossed I am in there, because it is a big game."
Fox also praised Adams' squad rotation policy, citing the embarrassment of riches that Argyle had with his quality midfield partners: "The manager has got his way of playing. We can all buy into that. We all know what he wants. Different players are playing each week but you know what they are going to do now, and I am getting more of an understanding of players movement, what they want, where they want the ball. That is only going to get better in time. The signs are looking good, and we know it's only early doors but we are enjoying the run we are on at the minute. I don't think that the manager would have any problems picking a completely different 11 and expecting results. That is really healthy. There is a couple of lads injured as well, that we have got cover for. We are not down to the bare bones, and I do not think that we will be because there is such a lot of players. What is good is that everyone keeps each other on their toes. There is no one sulking, no one kicking off. It is a good healthy competition. Everyone knows that pretty much everyone at the club the manager has brought in. He would not bring you to the club if he did not like you so you know you are in with a chance of playing.
"The manager mentioned it before the game today. It's opportunities. Life throws up opportunities and you have got to take them. It is no different when you are playing football. I had the opportunity to come on last week and I had to try and do something, and it was the same again this week. Then I have got to work hard this week leading into the game to try and keep my place, because there is a lot of people that want to play here, and that is good. It is healthy for the squad. I had to bide my time. You wait for your chance, and when it comes you have got to try and take it. The result suggests it was a good performance. We know there are things to work on. There are lots of things we can improve on. At this stage of the season and the way we are going at the minute, we are just grinding out wins and that is a very good sign.
"I don't think I was up to speed when I joined. I don't think I was where I wanted to be, but the good thing here is the that training is very intense and very sharp and it gets you up to speed quickly. I had an injury that set me back a week. You are going to get fit here, just from the training, because the lads work hard. I knew my time would come. I just had to try and show it everyday. I enjoy training, I enjoy working hard in training. You just have to keep your head down and keep waiting for your chance, and when it comes you have got to take it.
"Craig is a good player and what we have got in the team is players like that who can at the critical moment can do something like that. Graham Carey can do that, Slewy has popped up with a goal, Arnie can make magic on the edge of the box. We know we have got match winners in the team. Craig is in the team to do something like that, and he's got a great assist, a great ball across and that is why he is playing.
"I knew from the first training session that Graham is a good player, although I did not know him before. I thought 'wow' he is a good player, lovely left foot. He is taking that into the game and he is someone that we look to for that bit of inspiration, that little bit of something different, that not a lot of teams in this league have got. We know that we are very fortunate to have a player that unlocks defences and can score goals and always wants the ball, so it makes my job a lot easier."
Argyle have gone top of League Two for the first time this season with a 2-1 victory over Cambridge at Home Park. Goals from Graham Carey and Jordan Slew fired Argyle into a 2-0 lead. A Cambridge consolation made for an uncomfortable last ten minutes but it was Argyle who held out and stayed top of the league. Argyle: McCormick, Miller(Threlkeld), Bulvitis, Bradley, Purrington, Songo'o, Fox(Goodwillie), Tanner, Carey, Slew(Smith), Garita. Subs: Dorel, Jervis, Donaldson, Spencer.
Yann Songo'o has spoken about him seamless transition from central defender to defensive midfielder under Derek Adams before going on to speak positively of the relationship he enjoys with Argyle's boss in general. Songo'o said: “In a training session in Scotland I played in midfield, and the manager liked the way I played in that training. Since then, he has said to me ‘sometimes I will use you in central midfield.’ In a pre-season game I played for half an hour in central midfield and I enjoyed it. For me, the most important thing is being in the starting 11. I have always been a centre-back. This is a new position to me. Sometimes I am bit lost on the pitch, but I am working on that, and the manager and the lads are helping me. I will get more comfortable, and I will play anywhere the manager wants me to play. Even if I don’t play unbelievable I will always give 100%.Every game I am getting used to it, and I learn every day. It will take time – although in football you never have time – but I will learn really quick. My priority is still defensive, and I help the defence keep a clean sheet. We’ve done that, and I am happy. It’s really important to have a clean sheet; so important. That’s what gets you promoted. So far, we have done well. Defensively we are doing an amazing job, starting from the strikers, to the defence, to the keeper. We are going a great job. More goals will come, but the beginning of the season is strange. We will get there.
“He’s a really good manager. He is close to his players; he knows how to talk to his players. Since he has been here he has done a really good job. The fans and the players are happy with him. He is a manager who always wants you do more and more to make you your best. I made the decision to come here because I know this manager will get the best out of me. He has done that before at Ross County and I think he will do it at Plymouth. I’m really pleased. I had a really difficult year at Blackburn, and had a year without professional football. It was difficult in the beginning, but bit by bit I’m getting more confident. At the minute I’m not playing my best football but I’m giving everything I can. Every Saturday, I will improve, and get better. I have no doubt on that.”
Songo'o also revealed how he believes that Argyle's opening day defeat to Luton could have served as a blessing in disguise- bringing Argyle back down to earth after the promising pre-season campaign: "We had a difficult first three games. I think after the amazing pre-season we had maybe we were too confident. Obviously, there is a massive difference between friendlies and the league games. It's a really difficult league and we have 16 new players so you need a little bit of time to mould and to get better. At the minute I don't think we are playing the greatest football but mentally we are really strong, and having a clean sheet in the last three league games has given us more confidence. "I just believe it's going to get better and better with time. You would rather lose 3-0 in the first game than lose three games in a row and lose nine points. You see the classification now. We are third in the league, one point behind Luton. It was a very good first half against Luton, but the rhythm dropped a little bit after that. "I think it was a wake-up call for us, to realise this league is going to be tough. No game is easy. We have lots of fans and teams come here to Home Park are doubly motivated to play against us. We just have to deal with it and I think, at the minute, we are doing well."
Derek Adams expressed cautious optimism with the way Argyle had started their season ahead of the Cambridge game, saying: "We are more than delighted with the way we have begun the campaign. When you start a season you want to get wins, home and away, and we have been able to do that. We have got good competition for places in the squad we have got and that's going to help us hopefully throughout the season. We have won five on the bounce, and we did that last season. I think the only other time the football club has done that in recent years was a good while before that. A lot of credit has got to go to the players this season."
Paul-Arnold Garita's Argyle career may only be a week old but he is already looking to the future following his debut against Cheltenham. The Cameroonian said: “It was an amazing feeling. With Bristol City I used to play in the under-21s, so this felt like my first professional game. I really enjoyed it. I wasn’t expecting to come into the team that quick. It was nice that the manager counted on me to play in this team. I want to say thanks to the gaffer and club for bringing me here. The team was doing a really good job already, on the pitch. It was easy to come in; it was a good sensation to be part of on my first game. I was surprised at how fast the rhythm is in League Two, compared to in France. You never know what can happen in the future. I hope I can impress the manager to prolong my contract until the end of the season.”
As Argyle prepared to face Cambridge, Derek Adams spoke positively of Jimmy Spencer and Ryan Donaldson respectively who formerly played for Saturday's visitors: “Jimmy’s shown, last season, that he can score goals. He’s done really well for us in the forward position by taking other players into the game and allowing them to express themselves. We tried to sign him in the January transfer window and were unable to do that. We’ve kept tabs on him for a long time. He’s a youngster and one that combines well with the rest of the players we have here.
“Ryan's settled in well. He’s a trustworthy individual. He can play in a variety of positions and you need players in your team that you can trust on a weekly basis. He’s one of these players, like James Milner, who can play in a variety of positions and give you seven out of ten every week.
"When you play against your former team, you want to do well. Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes it’s difficult, but they always want to do well. It doesn’t change my thought-process on what team we are going to play. I am going to play a team that is capable of beating Cambridge on Saturday.”
Derek Adams spoke positively of Paul-Arnold Garita who made his debut against Cheltenham. He praised both his tendency to do well of his own accord and make things easier for his strike partner, David Goodwillie. Adams said: "He's shown today that he can take the ball in. He can run in behind; he can get a shot at off; he can be that physical presence that annoys defenders. I thought that he had very good debut. He'll power into defenders and take the ball up the pitch for us. I think that he's shown already that he can have an eye for goal. He had chances today, and I think that he'll get a few goals for us. Goodwillie did really well when he came on. Especially in the second half, he worked himself into good areas. Him and Garita up front looked good and put Cheltenham under pressure, and I don't know how the two of them have not got a goal today. I think that David can play up there himself, but when there's somebody alongside him, that definitely helps him. He's shown that today."
Derek Adams spoke about the decision to take a calculated risk in changing the formation in the match against Cheltenham...which eventually paid off and saw Argyle win the game. He said: "We were against the wind in the first half and the rain, and that was probably why we didn't play so well. It was very difficult for both teams today. There was heavy rain before the game, and that was probably the reason we saw a game as it was. We needed to put them under pressure. We thought that they were sitting in a bit and quite happy to soak it up, so we needed to go for the jugular. I might've done it at half time - I just wanted to be careful. I took a risk; obviously we had used a substitution early on in the game. It's not very easy just to throw the dice that early, but I had to. If you've used three subs with 37 minutes to go, it's a big risk. I've got a lot of hungry players in my team. The ones that didn't get on today will be disappointed as well, because they're chomping at the bit to get into the team. They proved the other night that they're more than capable. That's what I've said over a number of weeks now: I've got a very good squad here. The ones are in the team just now need to perform very well to stay there. A good victory for ourselves today. It was probably what we deserved. We had more of the ball and more chances in the game than Cheltenham. I think if we had scored a goal early in the game, we'd have gone on to dominate the game more than we did. That's the nature; the longer it goes, the harder it becomes."
Sonny Bradley had no doubts about the late goal for Argyle against Cheltenham ranking as one of the finest moments in his career. He talked through the goal and its importance against a tough Cheltenham side, saying: “Today was the best feeling I’ve had in football, by far. It was a crappy game but we dug in and I think we got what we deserved. I’m really happy.
“If we can be in the right places, we can certainly get good balls in – we’ve got Graham, Oscar; Gary, when he plays; Ben who put great ball into the box. We have got them to thank, but you have got to be in the right place at the right time. I think I could have scored in the first half, to be honest. I had a header at the back stick but I couldn’t get my full forehead on it and flicked it wide. I made up for it in the last minute. I think we can improve as a team, there is no doubt about that. We have played better this season – but conditions were terrible and they are a good team, so it was a tough-fought three points and we were delighted in the end.
“I was warming up and looking at the pitch, and it was coming down heavy. I was thinking: ‘This has got a chance of getting called off’. In the first half, it was dreadful. I think I kicked about four balls over the stand. It wasn’t pretty. We didn’t want to overplay in the first half; if you overplay, you can get caught out. The fans might have thought: ‘We’re playing Cheltenham; they were in the Conference last year; we should steamroller them.’ But that’s not how it works. They have got a great manager and we knew they were going to be well-organised and well drilled, and they showed they could handle it physically. The gaffer reminded us that the weather was going to play a big part and we had to play the conditions well. It calmed down in the second half and we got a chance to get the ball down, and the gaffer made a couple of changes that suited us against the opposition. We moved the ball better, created more chances and won the game.”
Bradley also said that he is pleased with Argyle's start to the season- but was determined to push on, saying: “Five wins in a row – any team, any division, will tell you that’s some going. We have just got to continue that now. Every game in this game is winnable; we will be looking to beat anyone who comes here. I certainly think we can push on and get to the top of the league. We are third at the minute. We don’t want to be third. That’s not good enough for us. We want to be top. Let’s do it again. Let’s come back next week; let’s get another clean sheet and a load of goals. It is important that we kicked on after the first three games. We just had a word with ourselves and pulled ourselves together a bit. Pre-season, I thought we were outstanding in every game we played; we were unbeaten and we came into the season looking really strong. Then Luton tuned up and beat us 3-0 and all of a sudden you are thinking: ‘What’s going on here?’ A couple of tough games after that – two more defeats – and that’s when it started to turn around. From then, we have five wins, three clean sheets. I’m happy with that.”
Argyle have claimed a fifth victory on the trot with a 1-0 win over Cheltenham Town at Home Park. The goal game courtesy of a 90th minute header from Sonny Bradley. Argyle: McCormick, Threlkeld, Bulvitis, Bradley, Purrington, Songo'o, Smith, Jervis(Garita), Carey, Donaldson(Fox), Spencer(Goodwillie). Subs: Dorel, Miller, Slew, Tanner.
Ben Purrington said he is grateful for the help and support of Gary Sawyer...even though he is hoping to dislodge him from the Argyle side. Purrington said: “He’s a solid left-back and he’s experienced. It can be frustrating, at times, but, when he’s playing well and he’s consistent, he’s seven or eight out of ten every weekend and there is not a lot you can do. You have just got to keep your head down; keep working hard in training; doing extra sessions, try to grind away; and hope you get an opportunity when he gets an injury, like now. We’re together every day in training; crossing and finishing; shape-drills; working together. So you learn off him. You talk to each other and he can guide you through things.”
Derek Adams warned his Argyle side to approach the upcoming match against Cheltenham with caution, saying: “They’ve done well so far in the season. They’ve got six points on the board. Gary Johnson is an experienced manager and has done very well over a good number of years. He’s been able to get Cheltenham into the league at the first time of asking having been relegated the season before. He’s changed it around and got a powerful outfit there. You look at Barnet, who came up and last year did exceptionally well. Between National League football, League Two and League One, there’s not much of a difference. The higher you go, into the Championship, there becomes a big difference, but lower down, the teams move league to league and seem to do very well. We’ve had them looked at. Greg Strong has been there and watched them. We know their strengths and weaknesses.”
Derek Adams has said that the value of having a wide-ranging Argyle squad was pertinent as they beat Newport 2-1 in the Checkatrade Trophy on Tuesday. He stated the importance of using all available players: “I’m all about team spirit and looking to get a good squad together. He has been up and down the country in the last couple of weeks and it was a wee bit of reward for him to come on in the last ten minutes and sample the atmosphere at Home Park and make his debut. It is important that we recognise everybody in the squad. The players are in confident mood. We have shown tonight what a good squad we have by changing it. Last season, I wasn’t able to do that; this season, I am. That’s something that I relish. I think it is important we have competition for places and the ones that are in the jersey will have been sitting on the bench tonight thinking ‘I need to up my game’.’”
Meanwhile, Adams gave an insight into why he signed Paul-Arnold Garita from Bristol City on loan, saying: “He’s a powerful striker. He’s been at Bristol City since January. He gives us a wee bit of presence. We’ve already got that, but he gives us help up front. We’ve got a number of very good forwards, but he gives us a different dimension to what we have here already. He likes to lead the line; makes very good runs; can take the ball in, and he’s a different striker that we can use. We’ve seen him in the under-21s at Bristol City. It’s important that you see people before you sign them. With any loan signing there’s a risk, but last year we took in a lot and 90% of them worked out well for us. Having that recruitment and seeing what type of character they are, and their pedigree, is important. He’s ready to go straight in. Looking at last year, Hiram Boateng was inexperienced and he came in and performed very well. Craig Tanner played 50 games last season. If you look at it, the younger ones want to come in and prove something.”
Adams finally spoke about the importance of Ben Purrington having a good season this year, whilst Gary Sawyer remains a doubt for the Cheltenham game. Adams said: “It’s a big year for him. He needs to hit the ground running, really push Gary Sawyer for that left-back slot. At that age, you should be pushing, and getting in there. I’ve spoken to him a number of times about that; being the best player in training, and pushing on to become a first-team regular.”
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