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.
Argyle have made a second transfer deadline-day signing, securing Ipswich Town midfielder Jamie Griffiths on loan until October 1st. Griffiths said: "I'm looking forward to going to Plymouth. It's a chance to play some first-team football and that's what I need."
Peter Reid was 'delighted' with his side's performance despite losing to Exeter City last night. He said: "I'm delighted with the team's performance. I thought we played some really good football, I thought we were the better side. Unfortunately we can't take penalties, but we go again Saturday, it's a young side and if we perform like that we'll win football matches. We just need a little break here or there and I'm sure it'll come." With the club's takeover still not finalised, despite funding apparently being in place, Reid is unsure whether he will be able to strengthen his squad. He said: "The situation is difficult, and transfer deadline's up. I'm trying to do something, but we'll have to wait and see."
Jamie Richards has joined Barnstaple Town on a month's loan.
Conor Hourihane has been called up to the Republic of Ireland under-21 squad for their UEFA European Championship qualifiers against Hungary on Thursday and away to Turkey next Tuesday, meaning he will miss the game at Burton Albion on Saturday
Peter Reid is set to boost his defensive options by signing Gillingham defender Simon King on loan until October 1st.
Luke Daley scored his first goal for Argyle at Exeter City last night and despite the penalty shoot-out defeat the performance and his superb strike were high points to take away from the game. "As soon as it left my foot, it felt like it was going in," he said. "I had a little look and it dipped over the 'keeper. It's great to get my first goal like that. I've been playing on the wing recently and have been enjoying playing there, but I feel I can go up top and do a job there, and I'm just happy to play. It's great to play in these sorts of games, and I'm sure the fans enjoy it as well." Despite the disappointment it was an encouraging performance and Daley was heartened by how the team acquitted themselves. He said: "It was a great performance by the team. It was great team-spirit. Even though we went a goal down, we stuck together. Results haven't gone our way recently but, if we take that into the league games, then I'm sure results will go our way. We can only progress now. Exeter are a league above us and, if we can play like that week in week out, we should get the results." Despite his wonder goal, Daley did not participate in the shoot-out. "I think I was about sixth or seventh on the list!" he added.
Argyle were knocked out of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy at Exeter City, losing 3-0 on penalties after a 1-1 draw, the goal scored by Luke Daley after 59 minutes. Argyle: Larrieu, Nelson, Walton, Soukouna, Gibson, Atkinson, Hourihane, Fletcher, Williams, Daley, Hitchcock. (Subs not used – Cole, Lecointe, Berry, Copp, Young). Attendance - 3,940.
Peter Reid will make changes when he selects his team for the Johnstone's Paint Trophy tie at Exeter City. "Ben Gibson is back from suspension, which gives us something different," he said, "but we have lost Warren Feeney, who is away on international duty. So there will be a change but it's an opportunity for people who play to perform well and maybe get a place in the game at Burton at the weekend." The absence of Feeney leaves Argyle perilously thin at a position which is already a weak area, as was seen most recently in the home defeat by Crewe. Reid said: "Certain things we did were really good but we had no real firepower up there. Sometimes that does cause a little bit of inhibition in your play. We were okay up until the final third. It's up to me. I've got to try to get some new bodies in. I'm not making any excuses for the players, they have been really good and are doing their best - but it's up to me to help them along with, if I can, a couple of strikers." A win against City would help lift the pressure on his side and Reid added: "If you get a result, it might be just that result that changes your season. We can't affect what has happened this season so far, we can affect the game at Exeter and the bottom line is, it's a great game to play."
Peter Reid has admitted that he is finding life at the wrong end of the Football League hard going, but has vowed to keep on fighting. He said: "There are a couple of extenuating circumstances that make it hard, but, from a personal point of view, I am finding it hard. A couple of glasses of red wine went down at the weekend, I have got to say. I've got to be honest, I've never been used to getting beaten. Anybody who knows me would say that I don't like getting beaten on the toss of a coin, never mind football matches. It is very, very difficult and it takes it out of you. My job is to get the best out of the players and try to get results and, at this moment in time, we are not getting results. I think, sometimes, you have got to be brutally honest, and there's nothing wrong with being brutally honest, it is difficult and it is hard. Six home defeats on the trot is not a record anybody wants on their CV, any player, any manager, and it hurts. You have still got to go out fighting, and you have got to do your best and, as long as you do your best, no-one can have a go at you. I've been watching the football on TV and some high-profile managers are saying they have had difficult pre-seasons, I think, if they came down here and had our pre-season, they would understand what difficult pre-seasons are all about. But you can't harp on about it, you have just got to get on with the next job in hand and our next job is a difficult game at Exeter. They had a good result at the weekend and it's going to be a hard one for us."
Peter Reid is hoping Argyle can use the Johnstone's Paint Trophy tie against Exeter as a springboard to success. He said: "We can't affect what has happened in the season so far, but we can affect the game against Exeter. The bottom line is that it's a great game to play in. From a personal point of view I have always enjoyed derby games, when I was a player and now as a manager. Tonight is a big game and it's chance for us to get our season going." Reid admitted he would take a win regardless of the quality of performance but has no worries that his young squad won't realise the importance to both sets of supporters of the derby. Reid said: "There are a lot of new players here, but there are players who have been here for a while and know what to expect. They talk about things like this between themselves. We did some teamplay yesterday and the lads were nice and bright considering the results of late. They are keeping their spirits up and what I have to do is take that into a match situation and get a good 90 minutes out of them."
Argyle dropped to the bottom of the Football League for the first time since 1995 after losing to Crewe Alexandra on Saturday and Peter Reid blamed anxiety within his young side for the latest defeat. Reid said: "If you don't win games you are going to end up at the bottom at some stage. Obviously, we knew Crewe were down there and they have come away with a win. We didn't play well. We were edgy and nervous, and it certainly showed in our play today. When we have been beaten in games here recently, I have seen good things. We passed it well and created chances. Today, I thought we were anxious. We didn't work for angles and we didn't win second balls. You can't go out there and play with fear, and I thought we did that today. The crowd were tremendous, but we gave the ball away too many times and we didn't deserve anything out of it. If you don't perform, you are going to get beaten." Reid added: "Overall, we didn't compete well enough. We lost tackles, we didn't pass the ball and we looked really edgy. It is a confidence thing, but the only way to get that back is on the football pitch. It has been difficult for the players, but you have got to go out there and do your job. Too many of our lads didn't do their jobs today." Argyle are still to keep a clean sheet this season and it was an error by Durrell Berry that led to the Crewe winner. Reid said: "It was down the side of a centre-half, we didn't stop the cross, and it was inside a full-back and a centre-half. It wasn't a great goal to concede from our point of view. I was just thinking that if we could get through to half-time I could sort a few things out, but it wasn't to be." Argyle have scored only twice all season and Reid knows that is an area of their play which they must improve on. He said: "We have just got to keep doing crossing and finishing on the training ground. That's the only way. I think it was Gary Player who said 'the more I practice the luckier I get', and it's true. So we will have to keep working on that. We have got people who can open teams up, but I haven't seen it recently in our play."
Peter Reid is hoping for a new start for Argyle if the proposed takeover of the club is completed this week. He said: "I don't know the time-scale on it being signed off, as they say. I'm just waiting, like everybody else, but if the sale goes through, hopefully, it's a new start. We need to get some players really soon. We need to stay in this league, that's for sure. That's a priority, and you don't do it if you don't win football matches."
Simon Walton has admitted the time for excuses is over now that Argyle have crashed to the bottom of the Football League. He conceded the defeat by Crewe had been a massive blow and said: "The mood in the dressing room after the game wasn't the best. It was pretty downbeat, as you would expect, and as you would hope. We have had a poor start and we have got to pull our fingers out – no more excuses, it's do or die time really. It's terrible being at the bottom. You can't explain it. To even be in League Two, I'm sure it hurts for a lot of the players. But to be bottom of it is tough to take, and it's going to be hard for us now. We have dug ourselves a hole and we have got to climb out of it. We have got to come together and do it as a team. We have got to wake up and smell the coffee, as they say." Argyle have scored only twice in their first five league games, and not at all in the last three. Walton said: "It was the same old story. It was a poor goal to concede and we didn't look like scoring. I don't think Steve Phillips in their net had a real save to make. We aren't embarrassing ourselves, but it hurts to be bottom of the league. It should hurt, and if it doesn't then we have got problems. The effort is there, and that's the first thing you need before anything else, but you don't win football games on effort alone. We have got the first block in place, but there are a few more blocks we need to add before we start climbing that table. At the minute, we are huffing and puffing and there is plenty of fight, but I think a few people need to realise that we are bottom of League Two. Maybe a few people might have expected it to come easy. I have played in League Two before at Crewe and it certainly didn't come easy, and it has definitely not come easy this season. So the sooner we all wake up, as a bunch of people, and realise where we are and where we are heading the better." Walton had one of Argyle's best chances with a 30-yard shot which went narrowly wide in the 69th minute. He said: "It was close, but not close enough. Maybe on a good day it would have flown in the top corner, but we are not having the rub of the green."
With the end of the transfer window less than a week away, Peter Reid has insisted he is doing all he can to add to his squad in an effort to revitalise the team. He has singled out the frontline as the area in need of bolstering the most and he is hoping for some success on that front in the coming days. Reid said: "I think we need a focal point to hold the ball up. It comes back too often. And we need a bit more strength in the squad. Physical strength. We do need something up front. We're working hard but you can't force people to come. I've been on the phone all summer and it's difficult, but we keep on trying. We're certainly better than we showed today."
Peter Reid is hoping that next week's Johnstone's Paint Trophy derby against Exeter City will bring out the best in his players. "I think it might be a good time to play them," he said. "We might be a bit more relaxed away from home. I'm certainly hoping so. I was at Exeter's game in midweek and they certainly acquitted themselves against Liverpool. It's a good pitch. Hopefully, we'll pass the ball a bit better."
Argyle lost 1-0 to Crewe Alexandra at Home Park. Argyle: Larrieu, Berry, Soukouna, Nelson, Williams, Daley, Walton, Fletcher, Hourihane, Atkinson, Feeney. Subs - Lecointe, Hitchcock (not used – Cole, Copp, Young). Attendance - 5,720.
Argyle are set to be rescued from the brink of extinction next week after takeover cash was secured, according to the club's administrators. As a deadline was apparently met by preferred bidder Bishop International Limited administrators stated they are expecting to finalise the deal within days, with Peter Ridsdale saying: "We can now look forward to a future for this football club. There shouldn't be any further barriers to us concreting this deal. I always said the real hurdle was: 'Is there any money in the bank?' Tonight everybody was looking to a deadline to see whether Argyle had a future. We were looking at the club not being able to play against Crewe. We are almost over the line. The hardest job, once this deal is out of the way, is making sure we have a winning team on the park."
Peter Reid believes that Argyle have discovered a 'rough diamond' in Ladjie Soukouna. He said: "He's a bit naive with ball watching and men running off him, but I think the ingredients are there for him to be a really good player. I thought he was terrific at Gillingham, with his energy and enthusiasm. He's powerful when he runs with the ball and he goes past people. He's raw, but he has got a chance." Soukouna made a couple of eye-catching runs from deep against Gillingham, which ended with him having shots on goal. However, Reid thought there had been better options open to him. "He had two shots blocked, but, if he had got his head up, he had people he could have laid it off to," he added. Meanwhile, Onismor Bhasera has stepped up his recovery from a cruciate knee ligament injury. He has returned to Plymouth from his home in South Africa, and is now working under the guidance of the Argyle medical staff. Reid said: "Bhasera has come back from South Africa and we are assessing him. He's doing straight-line running now. I think he's due to see the specialist next month at some stage."
Carl Fletcher has insisted there is no need for panic, despite Argyle making their worst start to a season in 16 years. He said: "In the financial position we're in, we have a lot of young players in the side. In an ideal world, you'd teach them in training and reserve games. But they're having to learn in League games, so it's going to take time. If we're still making the same mistakes a month, six weeks, down the line, then I'd be more worried. But we're still learning, and injuries and suspensions don't help. It's going to take a little bit of time, and we just have to be patient and not panic too much. We've got to believe in what we're doing, and believe in our squad's ability. I do, because I see the lads day in day out. If you keep focused and believe in what you're doing, it will come through." Fletcher returned to training this week after an injury lay-off and is set to lead out the team against Crewe Alexandra. Having been ruled out of the last two matches he said: "There have been a few things in and around my hip, and it has been frustrating for me. But I think it's best to miss a couple of games rather than try to play through it, and you're out for five or six games. Hopefully, it will all sort itself out." Crewe are the only team in League Two to have lost all four of their games this season, but Fletcher said: "I don't look at the League table until Christmas. It's just the way the media is today. They have tables after the first game, which is a sham. We go into every game and treat it the same, whether we're playing the team at the top of the table or the bottom. We want to get our first win under our belt and, above that, we want to put in a good performance. In the games we've had, we have played in fits and starts, and we're trying to get it for a full 90 minutes. There are going to be times when you have to defend, but we want to get more consistency over 90 minutes, and not just have it for 50 minutes and then it tails away." Robbie Williams is also set to return from injury against Crewe. He is likely to take over at left-back from the suspended Ben Gibson, with Curtis Nelson and Ladjie Soukouna in the centre of defence after the departure of Stephane Zubar. Peter Reid said: "When you look at the League table, even though only four games have gone, you don't want to be in that position, so it's important we try to get a result."
Peter Reid is looking to Carl Fletcher and Robbie Williams to bring a bit of experience to his side when they face Crewe today. "Carl Fletcher and Robbie Williams are experienced players who we need in the side at the moment," he said. "I think they will help us. A lot of the lads are learning their job in Football League matches, which is no excuse, and they need to learn quickly. I know that; they know that. We've got to learn that, if we do concede a goal, it is disappointing, but it's how we bounce back that matters. In the last game, I thought we got a wrong decision against us, but that's what happens in football and it's how you react. Our reaction at Gillingham wasn't very good. We do need to react better in those situations. We have got to get our shape and be very difficult to score against. The goals are going in too easy. There is a lack of goals in our side, but we have got to learn to defend as a team, because we are conceding too many goals. When we are attacking, we all need to chip in with goals, because it's not just on our front men. That comes with a little bit of lack of confidence, lack of experience, and that's not putting pressure on the players, it's just a fact of life. What I have been impressing on the players is, when the ball needs to go into the stand, there is nothing wrong with that because the opposition can't score from there. As much as we want to play good football, we have got to learn to keep a clean-sheet, Fletcher and Williams will help us do that." Defeat for Argyle on Saturday would equal the club's record of consecutive home defeats, set in 1947. Reid said: "When you look at the league table, even though there is only four games gone, you don't want to be in that position. It's important we try to get a result. Our crowd have been remarkably patient and appreciate the football we are trying to play but the bottom line is that it's all about results. As pretty as it may be and as entertaining on the eye, sooner or later, you have got to get results, and we need to do that sooner." The manager is confident his players can not only handle the pressure, but blossom, especially if he can find a little more experience before the transfer-window closes. "I know it will gel with this lot, and I know what it needs to help them gel," he said. "I need to help them by getting some other bodies in and I'm hoping one of those drops into my hands. On Thursday, I was on the 'phone all day. I didn't even get out to do the training work. That shows how much I have been trying to do something to get somebody to the football club."
Peter Reid is certain that Friday's news that everything has been agreed for the sale of Argyle will have a positive effect on the whole of the club. He said: "It will be a massive boost for everybody: supporters; players - the most important part of a football club; certainly myself and the staff; everybody involved with Plymouth Argyle. It's the fans' football club and they have shown how much it means to them. Any little bit of help or support from fans is fantastic, in my view. I think everyone has been edgy, everyone's nervous. I can understand why. Its been difficult for everybody. Everyone has been hoping and praying. The players have been okay. There is a spirit among them which is fantastic."
Argyle today released a statement regarding the future of the club. It reads: "The joint administrators of Plymouth Argyle Football Company Limited (in administration) are satisfied that Bishop International Limited has secured the necessary funding and everything is agreed between the numerous parties. Solicitors are now working to finalise the documentation and complete the sale to Bishop International Limited/Plymouth Argyle (125) Limited." Brendan Guilfoyle said: "This has been a complex deal involving a dozen stakeholders. I am very grateful for the assistance I have received from everyone involved in the sale. I can now look forward to the new club obtaining the share from the Football League and retaining their status as a Football League member club."
Peter Reid is determined not to let the sudden exit of Stephane Zubar overshadow his preparations for the visit of Crewe Alexandra to Home Park tomorrow. Reid is trying to add at least one striker to his squad before the game and is also interested in tying up a deal for French trialist Flavien Belson, who has been training with Argyle since Tuesday. Belson, who can play in midfield or at centre-back, also had a trial with Argyle in the summer of 2008. "I don't think his fitness levels are the greatest, but he has handled the training this week very well," said Reid, who was 'hopeful' a deal for Belson could be agreed before the game against Crewe. It is understood that several factors, rather than one issue, led to Zubar asking to leave. Reid said: "It's disappointing, from my point of view, but we need to move on. I would like to thank him for his service to the football club." Attempts to add to Argyle's attacking options have so far been unsuccessful. Reid admitted he had three new targets, but would not divulge any details about them. He said: "I'm juggling plates all over the place, so to speak."
Stephane Zubar has left Argyle after requesting the termination of his contract. The defender has stated personal reasons for his wish to leave Home Park. Peter Ridsdale said: "I am extremely disappointed that Stephane is unable to stay with us. Stephane will remain a friend of the club and leaves with our best wishes."
Argyle's administrators last night admitted there was still no takeover cash in place, less than 48 hours ahead of their deadline. Bishop International Limited has been given until 5pm tomorrow to come up with the estimated £6million needed to buy the club and Brendan Guilfoyle last night vowed to turn to other bids if the current deal collapses. But his firm will ask for six-figure funding by September 1st to meet a wage bill. Guilfoyle said: "Tomorrow, what we need to be able to say is we've seen the money and completion is going through, anything short of that and I think we're going to have a concern. The situation is unchanged. The funds are due to arrive on Friday and we continue to receive assurances from Mr Heaney and lawyers. I'm working extremely hard to get the deal completed and the list of things we need to achieve is getting shorter. We're all pushing very hard to get completion for tomorrow. We believe it can be done. If I need to speak to James Brent and the Contingency Group I will do, but it would be a considerable challenge to deliver their offer. I undertook to talk with the rescue group on Saturday but some of the correspondence with it suggests they don't understand the situation. Paul Buttivant has also been in correspondence. I'll talk to him if need be, too."
Argyle's youth team won 3-2 against Yeovil Town at Haye Road yesterday, the goals scored by Matt Lecointe (2) and Jared Sims. Argyle: Walton, Watson, Purrington, Hart, Bradley, Richards, Harper-Penman, Copp, Le Cointe, Sims, Vassell. Subs – Lecock (not used - Trudgian, Ramday, Clarvis).
Peter Reid continues to be frustrated in his attempts to add new strikers to his squad. He said: "I'm making phone calls and working on it, but there's nothing concrete." Manchester United's 18-year-old John Cofie is thought to have turned down the chance of a loan move to Argyle last week, and that came after earlier attempts to sign Anthony Elding and Tresor Kandol failed to come off. Reid added: "I've tried to get a few strikers in, as I think everyone knows, and it has fallen through, so I don't want to say anything until it's done. It's frustrating, but that's the way it is at the moment. Everyone knows we haven't got money to buy players, and most of the frees have been taken. We are out in the market trying to get a couple of strikers."
Carl Fletcher and Robbie Williams could both return from injury when Argyle play Crewe Alexandra at Home Park on Saturday. Peter Reid admitted he was 'fairly confident' the pair would be available for selection, and said: "Both Fletch and Robbie should train later on in the week. They are doing work in the gymnasium. I don't want to get them in too early, but we are fairly confident that both will be available for selection for the weekend." The return of Williams would be timely as Ben Gibson will be suspended for the game after being sent off against Gillingham. The dismissal of Gibson angered Reid as he thought play should have been stopped before the handball incident because of offside. He spoke to referee Rob Lewis about that after the game, and said: "I certainly still think I was right." Reid also contacted David Allison, the national group manager for Professional Game Match Officials Limited. "I think, without betraying any confidence, we have been unlucky with that decision, in terms of the penalty being given and the sending off, but it's history now," Reid added. "I didn't think we had a fair crack of the whip in certain instances last season. When it goes against you, it goes against you. You have just got to battle away and keep your discipline." Reid was also not pleased with the way his team responded to the setback of Gibson being sent-off and Gillingham taking the lead. He said: "The thing that disappointed me was that when the first goal went in you could see the body language of the team dipped. Certain things are going to go against you in football matches, and it's how you react. And I don't think it was the greatest reaction from us, as a team. Whatever happens, we have got to be stronger than that. Certainly the other two goals went in much too easily for my liking."
Warren Feeney will miss the game at Burton Albion on September 3rd as he has been named in the Northern Ireland squad for the Euro 2012 qualifiers against Serbia, on September 2nd, and Estonia on September 6th.
Ben Gibson still believes that Argyle can have a successful season, despite picking up only one point from the opening four games. He said: "We went into the season believing we could do good things, and we still believe we can do good things. We just need to get that break, that little bit of luck, to win one game. We believe firmly that as soon we get that one win we will be off and running, and the rest will fall into place. Obviously, it's a brand new team with a lot of young faces and it takes time to gel together. But we really do believe we have got the quality in the squad to do good things. We just need to keep working hard on the training pitch. We have got a bit more time to work on shape this week, not having a midweek match. Hopefully, we can put right some of our faults, and we will get a break that falls our way in the next game and we will get on the board with a win." Argyle have conceded 10 goals in the first four league games but have also struggled at the other end of the pitch, scoring only twice. Gibson said: "There is a lack of attacking options, everybody knows that, but we still feel we have got the quality to score goals. We have certainly had the chances to do it in the last couple of games. We really do still believe that when one goes in the floodgates will open." Gibson will be suspended for the game against Crewe Alexandra on Saturday after he was sent off against Gillingham. He said: "I was angry, upset, I can't really describe it. I felt like I had let the boys down. We worked our socks off in a hostile environment. It's a hard place to go and, again, we deserved something out of the game. Obviously, the red card changed everything, and I put the blame solely on myself that we got beaten. My second half performance wasn't good enough, I know that, and it's something I will have to bounce back from after my ban."
Argyle have entered the 'most important week in their history' as a deadline to save the club approches. Administrators say they will turn their backs on a deal that would give Peter Ridsdale ownership of the club, unless the estimated £6million that is needed arrives by Friday. Ridsdale said: "This is absolutely the biggest week in the history of the club. This deadline is the one that was the backstop date in the sale and purchase agreement. If the Football League board say they just have to ratify everything then we could probably go further, but I think if the funding wasn't in place then time has run out. I think the funding is there. Heaney says he's still on track for the middle of the week." A spokesman for the Football League, which has the final say on any takeover, said the governing body would only comment at 'appropriate times'. "We know what the situation is," he added. "There is no further update." Asked about the club's future if Friday's deadline is not met, Ridsdale said: "I'm not contemplating that. Everything is with the lawyers at the moment. To the best of my knowledge everything is on track." Ridsdale was due to travel to London today for a meeting with lawyers. "They sound busy but relaxed," he added. "I've done everything I can."
Romain Larrieu has given a brutally honest assessment of Argyle's dreadful start to the season. "That's not good enough," he said, after the defeat at Gillingham. Larrieu captained Argyle, in the absence of Carl Fletcher. He said: "It was nice to lead the team out. I enjoyed that. It made me even prouder, if possible, to be an Argyle player. But I would like to be proud when we come off the pitch, and that's something we need to be working on. It's not all to be done on the training ground. It's also to be done individually back home, thinking about our game and what we want to be. We need to be tougher than that, that's for sure." Gillingham's first goal came in the 74th minute from a penalty, awarded for handball by Ben Gibson. Argyle were aggrieved that an offside decision did not go their way before Gibson's handball but Larrieu was not prepared to use that as an excuse for the way the team capitulated after that. He said: "The first offence was the offside. The handball came afterwards. But, never mind, that can't hide the fact there are many points we need to sort out, and quickly. We look soft at times, and that can't happen in this league. Reputations are really quickly made, so we have got to think about our game and react in the right way. Otherwise, people are going to walk all over us, or try to." Gillingham's second goal came in the 86th minute, before another penalty in stoppage time. Larrieu added: "You felt they were going to score in the second half. It was always on the cards. It's disappointing, and everybody in the dressing room is gutted, but we live to fight another day. We have got a very young squad and they are learning in every game. But the thing is in professional football, at whatever the level, you need to learn quickly, and that's what they are going to have to do." Larrieu had not played for Argyle since he was sent off in the final match of last season, a one-game suspension meaning Jake Cole started the first game of this term. "It was a nice surprise but, obviously, I would have loved for it to be a different result," said Larrieu. "They had two penalties, and I got a good touch on the first one, but he hammered it. I don't think either goalie touched the ball in the first half, but they started to pile on the pressure in the second half, which we expected. We had talked about it, and that's when we need to react like men. When you are in the kind of spiral we are in, bad decisions don't help, but it's no excuse. We are going to have to turn the corner."
Peter Reid was clearly furious about the decision to award Gillingham a penalty on Saturday, and dismiss Ben Gibson, but he chose his words carefully after the game. "I think it might have been offside, but that's one you need to ask the referee," he said. "As you know, nowadays, it's difficult for managers to comment on referee's decisions. We haven't got a say in the game." It was the third successive match where Argyle had been drawing 0-0 at half-time, but then caved in during the second period, and Reid blamed the lack of experience in the squad. "When we go 1-0 down, I think there's a resignation that we're going to get beaten," he said. "The first goal changed the game. There was also the sending off, so we had to change our shape. It was difficult out there, but I think they got their two other goals too easily. At 0-0, I wouldn't say I was comfortable, but I was pleased with the shape of the team and the way we had gone about it. We played Ladjie in the holding role in the middle of the park and I thought he did well, to be fair, and he broke on them. But once the first goal has gone in and we've got ten men it was rather too easy for them. The first goal was always going to be important, and it has gone against us. We got in behind them once or twice in the first half, but didn't really get on the end of things. Our passing has been good all season but, today, when we did break on them, the quality wasn't good enough. The team out there was good enough for 70-odd minutes, and then we got a goal against us, and we weren't good enough."
Peter Reid admits Argyle are already fighting for their lives after the 3-0 defeat at Gillingham. "We are talking about a relegation battle already," he said. "We need to improve but I just said to the players there's no use feeling sorry for ourselves, we've got to keep going. There are no excuses. The team that went out there for 72 minutes were good enough, then we conceded. The first goal was important here and it went against us. The sending off also changed the game. We had to change our shape but I think the way they got the other two goals was a bit too easy for them. At 0-0 I wouldn't say I was comfortable but I was pleased with the way they went about the game. We haven't worked their keeper enough, though I don't think our keeper had many saves to make."
Ben Gibson was devastated after being sent off in Argyle's 3-0 defeat at Gillingham. "Angry, upset. I can't really describe it," he said. "I feel like I've let the boys down. For 60 minutes, we worked our socks off. It's a hard place to go and again we deserved something out of the game. The second half performance wasn't good enough but that's three games I've played in where the score hasn't reflected the result. But I put the blame solely on myself and it's something I'll bounce back from." Recalling the red card incident, Gibson said: "The ball came down their right hand side and I was aware that he pulled on to my shoulder. I was pretty positive he was offside, we'll have to look again, but most of the lads, and the gaffer, are pretty positive. The ball came over and he headed it and, whether it was reaction or not, I'm not sure, it happened so fast, but I put my hand up. The linesman put his flag up, and we presumed the lad was offside. The ref came to the decision it's a penalty, and I don't know why. I'll have to look on the replay, but that's the decision he's come to."
Argyle lost 3-0 at Gillingham. Argyle: Larrieu, Berry, Zubar, Soukouna, Gibson, Nelson, Daley, Walton, Hourihane, Atkinson, Feeney. Subs - Lecointe (not used – Cole, Hitchcock, Copp, Young). Attendance - 5,053.
Argyle's administrators have given Peter Ridsdale one more week to complete his takeover, or they will turn to another bid. But James Brent fears he could struggle to strike a deal under lead Brendan Guilfoyle's terms and timescale. Guilfoyle last night insisted: "I'm confident that we'll get completion. I sense I'm close to the end but, as always, things are going to the wire." Kevin Heaney said earlier this week that money is in place and is targeting the middle of the week to get the deal stamped. "He's saying he's going to produce the money," Guilfoyle said. "We want and demand completion by the 26th, but, if we don't get it, then I will contact James Brent and explain to him the difficulties we have."
Curtis Nelson is pushing for a first-team recall, Peter Reid has revealed. He said: "Curtis has been unlucky to be out of the side. He's desperate to get back in and I wouldn't have any problem with putting him in." Nelson has been strongly linked with a move to Sunderland but Reid denied he had not been playing Nelson to save him from being hurt and thus jeopardising a possible transfer. "Not at all," he said. "If I was doing that, I would tell you." Reid also stated there had been no firm offers for Nelson.
Peter Reid will have to choose from an unchanged Argyle squad for the visit to Gillingham. Carl Fletcher and Robbie Williams are still sidelined by injuries and Simon Walton had to sit out training yesterday because of illness, but he is expected to play. Reid said: "With the small squad we have got, if we have a few injuries it is a problem, but that's the way it is." Luke Young has returned to training after a knee injury but Reid admitted it was too early for him to be considered for inclusion in the team. Meanwhile, Reid is not prepared to throw Matt Lecointe into the starting line-up. He said: "We have got a lack of experience throughout the squad, and I'm trying to protect the young lads as much as I can. I think, at this moment, we are using him in the best possible way, for himself and the team."
Peter Reid wants his team to stand up and be counted when they take on Gillingham tomorrow. Reid has warned his players they can expect a physical encounter, and that they must defend solidly as a unit. He said: "The ball is going to come in early against us, and they are going to be physical, so we have got to match it. I have never gone anywhere to shut up shop, but the nature of football is that in games you sometimes have to defend, and we certainly will have to at Gillingham. We attack as a team and defend as a team, and we have just got to stand up to it, and that's all over the park. I think the first line of defence is the front man, and we have got to get that into our play. That's not to say we haven't been doing it, but we have got to do it as a unit. And we will have to do that against Gillingham to get a result. We know what their strengths are, but we have just got to look after ourselves. We have had chances in games, certainly against Wimbledon, but not taken them. We have got to start finishing them off." Andy Hessenthaler is in his second spell as the Gills' boss and always makes sure his sides are fiercely competitive. Reid said: "I know from past experiences, as a player and a manager, it's a very difficult place to go to. It's going to be a hard one for us, but we went to Shrewsbury and put up a good performance and got something out of the game. So maybe, in a contradictory sort of way, we will be a bit more relaxed away from home. I'm hoping that's the case." Argyle are 22nd in League Two, and Reid added: "We can't make excuses. We are getting beaten and we need to improve. We have got an inexperienced side and we are learning all the time but, at the moment, if we get a goal against us we look a little bit anxious. And that is after doing so well at Shrewsbury, which is another difficult place to go to. So we have proved we have got it in us, but we have got to be more professional and more disciplined as a team. We have got a really tough game against Gillingham but we have got to go out there and defend properly, and when we get our chances we have got to stick it in the back of the net."
Conor Hourihane has admitted Argyle have been 'a little bit soft' in the first two weeks of the season, but is confident they can turn around their results. He said: "Our passing and keeping possession of the ball is terrific, really. I think we are probably one of the best teams in League Two, if not the best, at that. It's just the opposite side of the game that we need to improve on, getting our shape, rolling our sleeves up and battling against other teams. When the going gets tough you need to stand up and be counted. At the moment, when that happens, we are a little bit soft. We all know that and I think in the next couple of weeks you will see a different side to us when a team wants to battle." Part of the problem for Argyle has been that their squad was not assembled until shortly before the end of pre-season. Hourihane added: "I think we are learning all the time, and there will definitely been an improvement in the next few weeks." He also insisted confidence among the inexperienced squad had not taken a knock from back-to-back defeats. He said: "We trained well yesterday and I think we are all looking forward to the next game and trying to put it right. The sooner we do that the better. I think we have had 70 per cent of the ball in all of our home games, and we just need to take our chances. When we start doing that, it will be a completely different game and teams will sit back against us, rather than coming at us when it is 0-0." Hourihane believes Argyle could benefit from playing away to Gillingham, where the onus to attack will be with the home side. He said: "It might do us well. They won't expect us to play the good football that we do. They are at home and will be under pressure from their fans. I think it might suit us." Hourihane is finally getting a chance to prove what he is capable of at first-team level, having previously been with Sunderland and Ipswich, failing to make any appearances for either team. He said: "I'm happy with the way I'm playing. I think I'm getting on the ball and passing it well, so that's great, obviously. But it's the results that we are all interested in, really. It's great to have the fans on your side. Some of them are taking to me, and that gives me more confidence to keep playing as I am. The reason I came here was to play and to get in the shop window and show everyone what I can do. I want to show the clubs that didn't give me that little chance what I can do. Hopefully, I will keep playing the way I am because I'm happy with my personal performances."
Peter Reid refuses to make excuses for Argyle's poor start to the season. He said: "We can't make excuses, we're getting beaten in football matches and we need to improve. There are some players who are learning all the time. Half-a-dozen of the side haven't played five league games. It shows sometimes, but we have got to get over that. Strikers score against you; no financial worries score against you. When you are out on the pitch, it's you, doing your job. I think it's a release, playing football, because they have to concentrate on the football." There have been mixed signs in Argyle's three opening games of the season. "We have got an inexperienced side and we're learning all the time, but it looks, at the moment, if we get a goal against us, we look a little bit anxious," said Reid. "That was after doing so well at Shrewsbury, which is a very difficult place to go, so we've proved that we've got it in us. We've just got to get more professional and more disciplined as a team. We have got to have a confidence. I think there is just a little bit of a lack of belief. We have got to get that belief. You can do everything on the training-ground, but it's the belief on match-day that you have got to get into them. It is difficult, but we have just got to get out there and defend properly and, when we get our chance, try to hit the target or stick it in the back of the net. If we struggle in games, we have to get back in our shape and be hard to break down." However, Reid is not concentrating entirely on defending at Priestfield tomorrow. "I've never gone anywhere to shut up shop," he said. "It is in the nature of football that, in games, you sometimes have to defend, we certainly will at Gillingham. We attack as a team; we defend as a team. We have got to stand up to it, and that's all over the park. The first line of defence is the front man, and we've got to get that into our play as a unit. There is no magic wand; it's just hard work."
Peter Reid has insisted that adding new recruits to his squad is not the only solution to Argyle's poor start to the season. He wants to see his young side show the same sort of composure on matchdays as they do on the training pitch, and also start to defend better. Reid said: "It is difficult, and everybody is frustrated, me more than most even though I don't show it publicly at times. What I would say is that we were like two different teams from the first half to the second half against Wimbledon, and new signings aren't going to help that. I appreciate I have got to do certain things, but I have got to sort the team out first. We have got to put together a performance over 90 minutes. And I'm not on about playing great football all the time. Some of the football we played against Wimbledon was terrific, but the bottom line is that we are getting beaten too easily. We have got what we have got at the moment and we have got to be harder to beat." Argyle should have taken the lead against Wimbledon in the first half, when Tom Hitchcock was gifted an opportunity after a poor clearance from the Dons 'keeper, but he over-ran the ball. Reid said: "Tom had a chance where if you see him in training he just gets it on the inside of his foot and curls it in. The young players have got to learn to bring that onto the big stage. The longer we go on in games and we don't score it seems a problem with the players, and we have got to try to eradicate that. It's on matchdays, when the referee blows his whistle and the ball rolls, that's when you need to show what you are like. It's alright doing it on the training pitch when there is nothing at stake. We have got to learn to do it out there on the park, when there are three points up for grabs. Wimbledon were a strong side, but we certainly weren't good enough." Jack Midson put Wimbledon 1-0 up in the 54th minute and then doubled their advantage on the hour. Reid admitted Argyle had really struggled after Midson opened the scoring. He said: "That's when you need to get your shape. You need to pull in and you need to be resilient, and we weren't. To be fair, they could have had a couple more at that stage because we were too strung out and we weren't organised. I keep harping on about this but in football matches you aren't going to get 90 per cent or 100 per cent of the play. Sometimes you have got to get your shape and you have got to defend. We didn't do that on Tuesday and paid the penalty. From our point of view, the two goals we conceded were very cheap." Reid was particularly disappointed with the first one, when Christian Jolley nodded the ball down to Midson and he shot low past Jake Cole. Reid added: "When balls go in your box you have got to win headers and pick people up. We didn't do it, and that isn't rocket science. That's just defending properly. So we have got to improve on it."
Argyle's administrators say the preferred bidder for the club may have just met its deadline for proving it has the money for a takeover. Kevin Heaney last night said: 'The funding is in place'", which was conditionally confirmed by Brendan Guilfoyle, and Heaney dismissed rumours that he had put Truro City up for sale. Guilfoyle said there was 'evidence of a funding line being provided from their solicitors subject to due diligence'. Heaney insisted the administrators had had 'confirmation from the lawyers that all funds are in place', and said: "The administrators had proof of funds. I am totally committed to getting this deal through, for the benefit of Plymouth Argyle Football Club supporters and the whole club. Everything the administrators have asked Bishop to do has been done. I personally hope we'll complete on Tuesday or Wednesday next week, we're getting closer to the Football League approval. All I want to do is make sure this deal goes through as quickly as possible."
Peter Reid believes Argyle must show more discipline in defence. Speaking after the defeat to AFC Wimbledon, he said: "Sometimes in football matches you aren't going to get 90% of the play. Sometimes you need to get back and get your shape. We didn't do that today and we paid the price for it. I think there's an anxiety in there and we've had a chat about it and it wasn't good enough. I know we've got a lot of young players and I've made excuses but I can't make excuses for that display." Reid says he has seen enough on the training pitch to suggest his team are capable of working their way out of trouble. He added: "You can go out and train but on match days, that's when you need to show what you're like. Young players have got to bring that onto the big stage."
Argyle lost 2-0 to AFC Wimbledon at Home Park. Argyle: Cole, Berry, Zubar, Soukouna, Gibson, Daley, Walton, Hourihane, Atkinson, Hitchcock, Feeney. Subs - Lecointe (not used – Larrieu, Nelson, Copp, Sims). Attendance - 5,900.
Carl Fletcher has been ruled out for at least a fortnight by a thigh injury. Stephane Zubar is set to captain the side, in the absence of Fletcher, against AFC Wimbledon tonight. Argyle will also be without Robbie Williams because of a heel injury. Peter Reid said: "Robbie is struggling for Saturday, and I think Carl Fletcher will be out for at least two weeks. We are missing two of our experienced players there, but these things happen, it's no use moaning about it. We have just got to get on with it, and it's a chance for somebody else coming into the side." Reid also revealed Onismor Bhasera could be ready to return to action in October. Bhasera has been carrying out his rehabilitation in South Africa, but is scheduled to return to the UK at the end of this month for a check-up. Reid said: "The physios are in touch with him weekly. Hopefully, the report from the specialist when he sees him will be a positive one."
Argyle entertain AFC Wimbledon tonight having lost their last four competitive matches at Home Park and Peter Reid, who admitted that was a concern for him, believes a 'back to basics' approach is required. He said: "This is a new side, but you don't want losing at home to become the norm. I always think, when things like this happen, you have got to get back to basics, defending properly and making it difficult for people, and then go and play. There is no magic wand. It's just hard work and doing the right things. Hopefully, we can get a result against Wimbledon, even though we know it's going to be hard." Reid is desperate for his side to put some smiles on the faces of Argyle's fans. He said: "I was shaking my head after the game on Saturday, wondering how we had got beaten 4-1, and they must have been as well. The support we have had has been brilliant, but we need to get results for them. Football is a results-based industry, and even though we're going through difficult times we've got to get some points on the board."
Peter Reid has insisted he does not have a first-choice goalkeeper at Argyle, and that there is an open competition between Jake Cole and Romain Larrieu. He said: "I think I can put either one of them in the team and they will do a good job for us. There is no first and second choice 'keeper. There is competition for the place." Reid was bitterly disappointed with Argyle's defending in the defeat to Rotherham United and Cole was not exempt from blame. He said: "I thought he might have done better with the first goal, if I'm going to be perfectly honest. But I don't like criticising 'keepers because they make one mistake and it goes in." Reid also pointed to the inexperience of defenders Durrell Berry, Ben Gibson and Ladji Soukouna, and the need for them to develop an understanding as a unit. "It's a learning curve, but it's professional League football and, as much as we played some good football against Rotherham, they were direct and we didn't handle it," he added. "You have got to be able to handle all aspects of football. In terms of the 'keeper, he has just got to get a relationship with the back four. I thought we were a bit deep in the box for the cross which led to Rotherham's second goal. I don't want to apportion blame, but we certainly should have been up to the 18-yard box. Then the 'keeper has got a decision to make on whether he comes for it or not. But we got deep in the box and I don't think there was a good enough challenge on the kid who scored." Gibson has started the first three matches of the season at left-back for Argyle and has shown some promise. Reid said: "I think centre-back is his best position, but he has gone in there at left-back and done us a job. We need that versatility. Stephane can play at right-back and in the centre, and Robbie Williams can play at left-back or on the left of midfield. Atkinson can play on the left side or the right. It does help when players can do that, certainly the way the squad is, because we are a bit threadbare." Reid has also backed the ability of Luke Daley, after a below-par performance against Rotherham. Reid said: "I thought his touch was off. We shifted the ball really well and got into some good wide positions, and didn't deliver. Without putting pressure on the boy, because he's better than that, I just think he had a bad day. He was fantastic against Queen's Park Rangers, and we just need those type of performances because he has got ability and he can open people up."
Peter Reid is relishing the prospect of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy tie at Exeter City at the end of the month. He said: "Rightly so, I think, the draws are regionalised, and they throw up local derbies. It's a great game for us. It will be a decent one for the supporters, and certainly one we will look forward to at the end of the month."
Miguel Comminges, a right-back who has been on trial at Home Park, will not be offered a contract by Argyle. Peter Reid said: "I don't think that position is a priority for us at the moment. We just had a look at him." Meanwhile, a German striker is now on trial with the club.
Argyle's administrators were today hoping for proof that funds are ready to complete a takeover. Bishop International Limited was given the deadline by administrator Brendan Guilfoyle amid growing funding fears. Kevin Heaney was unavailable for comment last night, but is said to have resorted to a bridging loan after delays with a separate property deal that would have unlocked the cash. Peter Ridsdale was given until Friday to win Football League approval for the deal. The governing body, which has the power to block any takeover, has concerns over Heaney's role in the deal, as well as the club's proposed three-year business plan. Heaney already owns non-league Truro City and regulations forbid financial influence over two clubs. Ridsdale yesterday sent an 'updated' version of his business plan to the Football League. Despite the apparent deadlines, the parties are locked in a legally-binding sale and purchase agreement until Friday. The agreement allows them to extend it until August 26th if enough progress is made on the proposals. If the bid collapses then, administrators will have just three weeks to secure six-figure funding, or tie up an alternative deal. A contingency group led by James Brent is waiting in the wings, but would need time to strike deals with creditors and the council, which would buy back Home Park as part of the rescue package. On September 14th, the administrators will become liable for Argyle's monthly wage bill. Without funding, only player sales and the willingness of staff and players to waive their September salaries could avoid liquidation. Brent said: "I hope that the joint administrators deliver upon their solution. If, however, they cannot deliver upon the solution I call on the joint administrators to set aside a reasonable time period to allow the contingency plan the time to succeed. The focus should be on saving the club from liquidation in a manner which does not prejudice the city. Plymouth Argyle is an institution worth saving."
Peter Reid has called on Argyle to learn from the lessons of their 4-1 defeat by Rotherham United on Saturday. He was particularly disappointed with some sloppy defending, and said: "I think we were always pretty on the ball, and nice and neat. We got a goal ahead at the start of the second half, and obviously the place was rocking, but then we were a bit naive. I was disappointed with the goals we conceded, and that's not taking anything away from a really strong Rotherham side. The goals went in too easy, and at 3-1 down we were all over the place. I think the referee might have made a slight mistake in the lead up to their third goal. But that's not any excuse for the way we folded, and we have got to be stronger defensively. I want us to play football, but I don't want us to play suicide football. The goals we conceded were too easy from our point of view, and it's a lesson we have got to learn from. I don't think anyone who was here would say it was a 4-1 defeat game. But, in the cold light of day, that's what it is, and we need to improve on it." Reid mentioned Argyle's poor crossing from wide positions as another of the reasons why they came unstuck. He said: "Rotherham didn't play as much football as us. They got it forward early, which is their prerogative, and played to their strengths. I think we did get in certain areas and then we didn't deliver. That was the problem. There were numerous occasions when we got around the back and didn't pick people out." Reid is still trying to blend together all of his recent new recruits into a team, but did not blame that for the defeat. He said: "I think you can get into the realms of making excuses, and I don't want to do that. The goals we conceded were too easy because we didn't defend properly. If we lose the ball in the middle of the park, there is still a long way to go to get it in the net. We didn't attack a cross for their second goal, and we certainly didn't defend the first one. They went right through us. If you look at the third goal, I'm not having a go at the ref but I thought he made a mistake. A couple of people stopped, and they shouldn't have done, but you can't legislate for that. For the fourth one, we were just all over the place. That's where you need to be strong. Even though we are inexperienced, you have got to grow up quick in this game. You have got to get your shape when you haven't got the ball, and we didn't. We were too stretched out."
Carl Fletcher had to be substituted in the second half of the defeat by Rotherham United on Saturday because of a thigh injury, and Peter Reid is not sure whether he will be fit to play against AFC Wimbledon tomorrow. "We are going to assess that," he said. "I don't know whether it's a bang or it's muscular, so we will have to find out." Robbie Williams is also struggling with a persistent heel injury and Reid added: "Robbie is going to be at least a week, so I would count him out for midweek and it's 50-50 for the weekend."
Peter Reid declined to use a change of shape as a reason for the 4-1 defeat by Rotherham. He said: "Whatever shape you play, when you haven't got the ball, you have got to get compact, and we didn't. You can play 4-5-1, 4-3-3, 4-4-2 - if you are not getting back and making it hard for the opposition, it is going to be a struggle. Even though we are inexperienced, you have got to grow up quick in this game. We have got to be hard, and get our shape when we have got the ball."
Simon Walton did not make any excuses after Argyle lost 4-1 to Rotherham at Home Park yesterday. "You can say we didn't deserve it but our defending as a team was poor and we made a lot of stupid mistakes," he said. "In the last couple of games we've passed it well and done well but today was a harsh lesson." Walton suggested the young team were naive in their approach after taking the lead through Will Atkinson early in the second half. He said: "To be fair it's a team that's hardly played any first-team football before today. It was a little bit like academy football in that we kept the ball well, but once we gave it away they went up the other end and it was in the back of our net. You go 1-0 up and you have to shut up shop for 10 minutes, but we've gone gung-ho. They're a very good team and with the strikers that they've got, they're going to score goals." Walton was given the man of the match award but took no satisfaction from his own performance, instead looking ahead to improving as a team against AFC Wimbledon on Tuesday. He added: "I can't look past the 4-1 result - you win as a team, you lose as a team. But I was bitterly disappointed to be left out at Shrewsbury and been trying to prove a point. We believe in what we're doing. The younger lads have done ever so well, they're exciting players and hopefully they'll learn from this experience and it won't happen again. We've just got to work hard as a team and learn from our mistakes. That's all we can do."
Argyle's defeat by Rotherham overshadowed a promising debut by Will Atkinson. Peter Reid said: "It's always difficult when you travel down the day before the game and you don't know people, but it was a terrific finish for the goal. He needs games, but he's a good footballer and he'll improve as he gets games under his belt. Once he gets up to match speed, he'll be okay for us."
Argyle's youth team drew 2-2 at Exeter City yesterday, the goals scored by Jared Sims and Dan Hart. Argyle: Walton, Webster, Bradley, Pearce, Purrington, Vassell, Elcock, Hart, Harper-Penman, Harvey, Sims. Subs - Ramday, Allen (not used - Bentley, Gallagher, Trudgian).
Argyle lost 4-1 to Rotherham United at Home Park, the goal scored by Will Atkinson after 49 minutes. Argyle: Cole, Berry, Zubar, Soukouna, Gibson, Daley, Fletcher, Walton, Hourihane, Atkinson, Feeney. Subs - Hitchcock. (not used – Larrieu, Nelson, Lecointe, Copp). Attendance - 6,015.
The Football League released the following statement today: The Board of The Football League met yesterday to receive an update in respect to Plymouth Argyle. The Board raised several concerns with regards to the club's proposals to exit administration and will await the response to those issues before considering the matter further. Until such time as The Board approves the exit of administration, the Club can continue to participate in The League whilst in administration.
Argyle have completed the signing of Will Atkinson on a season-long loan from Hull City and Peter Reid is delighted to have landed the midfielder. Reid said: "I've been keen to have him here for a few weeks but Nigel Pearson wanted to get him involved in Hull's Carling Cup tie, which he was, but he was on the bench. He's a player who can play all across midfield and can handle a football, so he's another young player who will be good for the squad. I'm still looking in certain areas but Will was one that I'd monitored for a long time and I'm delighted he's with us. He's an intelligent player who can create and score a goal for us." Atkinson is included in the Argyle squad for Saturday's visit of Rotherham United, and Reid added: "It's a game against another side that have been there or thereabouts in this league. The front man, Adam Le Fondre, is a good player who has scored goals at this level and they are a strong side. However, we go into the game full of confidence. We have been playing some good football. Some people might say we have been overplaying but I'd rather play football and try to get passing with energy, which I think we've got."
Argyle have been drawn away to Exeter City in the first round of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy. The tie will take place in the week of August 29th.
Peter Reid and Peter Ridsdale had a simple message to Argyle fans on the eve of the first home game of the season - 'we need you'. "The supporters have been brilliant," said Reid. "They know what we are doing, and we need them. We need them again tomorrow. If we can get three points against Rotherham, it will set this season alight. The fans at this football club are a big, big influence on the players; the spirit among the players and the fans at this club is second to none." Ridsdale, who is addressing a meeting of the Argyle Trust at Plymouth Pavilions before the game, agreed. "We are nothing without our fans, who have been absolutely magnificent since I have been here," he said. "We are on the edge of a new era for Argyle, one that will be fully committed to maximising the community nature of the club, and one which will fully engage with supporters at every level. We are all in it together. Our supporters have a huge part to play in our future. We need you to pack out Home Park, to get behind Reidy and his exciting young team, and to help take us back where we all want to be."
Warren Feeney has overcome a groin injury and will be fit for Argyle's game against Rotherham United tomorrow. Carl Fletcher and Durrell Berry have also resumed training, after sitting out the defeat by Millwall on Tuesday. Feeney should have been on duty for Northern Ireland when they beat the Faroe Islands on Wednesday but was ruled out by the groin injury he suffered against Shrewsbury. Feeney travelled to Belfast on Sunday to be assessed by Northern Ireland's medical staff, and returned to Plymouth on Monday night. He said: "There was a bit of tightness in my groin after the game on Saturday and I went over to see the medical staff. I have played before for Northern Ireland maybe when I shouldn't have done because of injuries. I did everything by the book and I'm grateful to the club for letting me go over there, but I made a decision that, for me, it's about Plymouth Argyle at the moment. They are my bread and butter and I wanted to give myself every chance for tomorrow. I had a bit of treatment when I was over there, and came through training yesterday. I want to be part of as many games as I can. I thought the boys went about their business very well last Saturday because Shrewsbury are a decent side. We have got a new team, and it's going to take time to gel, but from what I have seen so far I have got a real good feeling about the place." Feeney thought there were some encouraging signs despite the defeat against Millwall. Feeney said: "I was at the game on Tuesday and I thought we played some good football, which is what you want to be a part of. Millwall had a decent season last year and it was a good test for us but, obviously, I think the gaffer does need to bring in a couple of strikers. I'm a big believer that you can't have enough strikers so, hopefully, he can wangle something, but everything else was superb. It was good experience for the boys and, hopefully, it can only get better for them in their careers." Feeney believes the younger members of the squad will benefit from playing in a team which wants to pass the ball, rather than try hit-and-hope tactics. He said: "I have been to a few clubs in my career, and you play to your strengths. But when I was at Swansea we played football under Martinez and wanted to pass the ball. The gaffer here is just the same. I think we have got enough legs in the team to run over the opposition, and the football is the way you want to play it. The young boys are getting a great education and, hopefully, they can go on and have good careers. It's an excellent starting point for them."
Peter Reid is determined not to be distracted by the continuing financial crisis at Argyle. Players and staff are again working with no guarantee they will be paid their wages, and a loan deal for Hull City midfielder Will Atkinson has also been put on hold, pending the approval of administrator Brendan Guilfoyle. Reid said: "Obviously, circumstances aren't ideal but the spirit among the players is brilliant. The one thing we can affect, which I always say, is on the football pitch, and that's what we are looking to do. Let me put it this way, the morale is better than it was last season. The spirit among the players on the training pitch, and when we had a chat yesterday, is good, I have got to say that." Reid is in regular contact with Peter Ridsdale about the state of the takeover but did not want to be drawn on how he felt about the off-the-pitch problems. He said: "I think that's a conversation we need to have once things are signed, sealed and delivered. Otherwise, we are expending energy on something that we don't need to and we can't affect. But I will certainly let people know my thoughts when it's all up and running. I think that's only fair. Peter is keeping me in the picture about things as much as he can." There has been speculation about Argyle trying to sell Curtis Nelson to raise funds, but, as yet, there have been no firm bids for him. Three of the club's apprentices made their debuts aaginst Millwall on Tuesday, Jared Sims, Matt Lecointe and Jordan Copp, with seven of the starting line-up aged 21 or under. Reid said: "All the young lads did fantastically well the other night but we have got to try to get a cutting edge up front, which I think is lacking. It's not for the wont of trying and we will just keep working at it. Some of the football is good. We might have overplayed in a couple of areas, but I would rather play football than not. We are improving all the time. I just hope we can get a couple of goals. I think we have played some good stuff but we need to be more careful in the final third of the pitch." Rotherham won 1-0 at home to Oxford United in their first game of the season and Reid added: "They had a good result in their first league game. They then had a difficult Carling Cup tie against a top team from the Championship, and acquitted themselves well. They have been there or thereabouts in this division for the last couple of seasons. And the front man Le Fondre is proven at this level. They are a good side and it's another test for us, but we will be trying to get a victory." Matt Lecointe is only aged 16, but impressed Reid after he was sent on as a substitute against Millwall. Reid said: "I think Lecointe did himself no harm. He looked strong and he worked a chance for himself." Copp and Sims are also expected to retain their places in the squad tomorrow.
Argyle are continuing to rely heavily on the youth set-up to supplement a small first team squad. The emergence of Jordan Copp, Jared Sims, Isaac Vassell and Matt Lecointe is a source of pride for Argyle's head of youth development, Gordon Bennett.He said: "All four were already in the system before Mike Pejic and I arrived in February 2007. So former coaches like Stuart Gibson, Dave Leonard, Darren Stewart and Richard Hancox, who are no longer with the club, deserve credit for the part they played in the lads' development. As, of course, so do current staff like John James, Aaron Cusack, Kevin Nancekivell, Chris Souness, Allan Evans and Kevin Hodges." Vassell and Sims come from Newquay and Truro respectively, and show that Argyle's scouting has stretched far into Cornwall. Bennett said: "As schoolboys both Isaac Vassell and Jared Sims showed a particularly high level of commitment. They would often travel unaccompanied on the trains up from Newquay and Truro, three nights a week for training, and again at the weekend for matches. Sometimes they had to stay overnight in Plymouth on a Friday evening before leaving Home Park at dawn or earlier for Saturday away games in faraway places like Swansea, Cheltenham and Oxford. Mike Pejic, like Peter Reid now, enthused about Jared's ability on the ball. Isaac used to be very slight physically, and Mike always told us to be patient as he thought Isaac would probably be a late developer, which has proved to be true." Copp also comes from Cornwall, but from just across the Tamar in Saltash. Bennett said: "Jordan Copp was a youngster whose talent immediately caught Mike Pejic's eye. Mike recommended Jordan to both England and Wales for their youth international teams. He actually attended trials with England two years ago but nothing came of it." Lecointe is a born and bred Plymothian and Bennett said: "When Mike Pejic and I arrived, Matt Lecointe, then 12, was one of four players identified by John James as being of outstanding potential. As so often happens with naturally gifted players, Matt had a spell when he didn't think he had to also work hard at his game to maximise his natural talent. However, in the last 12 months he has really applied himself, particularly in building up his strength under the guidance of our weights and conditioning coach, Lee Jago. He also did a lot of extra training away from the club, with Lloyd Jones, prior to Lloyd's transfer to Liverpool. Now he's reaping the reward for his improved work ethic."
Kevin Heaney has broken his silence over the proposed takeover of Argyle. He insisted he has the cash ready to complete the deal and that money was 'not an issue'. He maintains a consortium of Irish developers are providing the cash, and said: "There is no hold-up on that side. The lawyers for the administrators know funds are available to complete. They are coming from the consortium. The only reason the deal hasn't happened yet is issues with the Football League and one of the key creditors." The Football League has concerns about Heaney's role, as he is not allowed to have financial influence over a second club. "Peter has to do the football side," Heaney said. "My consortium and Peter are trying very hard to do the best for the staff, the club and the supporters. Let's get this deal done and get club back into the Championship as quickly as possible." Heaney admitted a new company called Plymouth Retail Park Limited would be used as a development vehicle. But he said cafes, restaurants and a cinema were being considered, not retail units that council rules for Central Park forbid.
Argyle could be forced out of business this weekend, unless players and staff agree to defer another month's pay. Administrators yesterday failed in a High Court bid to force £230,000 out of preferred bidder Bishop International and relations between administrators and the offshore company, led by Kevin Heaney, appear to have completely broken down. Heaney described the action as 'frivolous', as administrators become increasingly frustrated at a lack of funding. Administrators took the move in a bid to avoid responsibility for August's wage bill, which it will assume liability for on Sunday and the Sheffield-based practice could prefer to liquidate the club rather than pick up the wage bill. That means staff will be told: defer your wages or the club will fold. Argyle Fans' Trust chair Chris Webb said last night: "Their loyalty is being taken advantage of." But Brendan Guilfoyle said: "Without deferrals I would have some major issues. If 100 per cent were to decline then there would be no other option. The application was rejected in court and that means I've got to pursue other options to make sure Saturday's game goes ahead." Administrators went to the Manchester Civil Justice Centre to seek a mandatory order for the £230,000 bill. Their counsel, barrister David Moyhuddin, told the court there was a 'serious risk to the preservation of the club's assets' if funding was not made available before Saturday's match. Heaney, who was told about the hearing on Tuesday, did not attend. He was in London with Peter Ridsdale for talks with mortgage lender Lombard over the club's unresolved £2.1million debt. Judge Pelling QC said the application had been brought at short notice and that there was 'no obligation for the buyer to provide further funding' in the legally-binding sale and purchase agreement. Heaney last night hit out at administrators as he insisted a mystery consortium already had the funding for the deal in place. "The consortium are very disappointed with the actions of the administrators," he said. "I'm personally disappointed. It was frivolous action. Everything that has been asked of us in the agreement that's been signed has been done. The deal 100 per cent will happen." Webb added: "At this juncture we would expect Brendan Guilfoyle and the preferred bidder to be joined at the hip, so that they are taking legal action against each other is a really, really worrying sign for us." Guilfoyle, Ridsdale and council leader Vivien Pengelly are set to face fans at an open meeting at 11.30am on Saturday at the Pavilions.
Peter Reid has admitted Argyle's Carling Cup defeat highlighted the lack of firepower in his squad. He said: "We played some really good stuff but we didn't have a cutting edge. I'm not blaming anybody because I have tried to get reinforcements in that position and haven't been able to. We keep on looking, but the lads who went out there on Tuesday did a good job for us. We need a bit more strength up there. That's a fact. And I think it showed against a strong side in Millwall." Reid pointed to the influence Millwall centre-back Darren Purse had on the match. He said: "Purse is a great experienced pro and came through all the time. That's why I wanted us to pass it from the back, which we tried to do. I also wanted us to get it down the sides, but we couldn't turn them as much as I would have liked. It was a good experience for the young players and, hopefully, they will learn from it." Tom Hitchcock and Jared Sims struggled against the Millwall defence, led by Purse, while Luke Daley was not as involved as Reid had hoped. He added: "It was difficult for them. Sometimes you need a bit of strength up there, or a bit of pace to get down the sides, and we didn't really have it. I don't think Luke Daley had his best game in terms of getting the ball. I wanted him to be the threat over the top. But we kept on going and I think, even though they went through, Millwall knew they had been in a game." In addition to Jared Sims and Matt Lecointe, Jordan Copp also made his debut as a second half substitute. Reid said: "Copp looked as though he could handle the football. There are young players who are getting valuable experience, and they are not letting anybody down. I was really disappointed to go out of the competition. You want to try to win every game, but there were some major plusses out there." Warren Feeney was ruled out of Northern Ireland's Euro 2012 qualifier against the Faroe Islands last night by a groin injury, but is expected to be fit for Argyle's game against Rotherham United on Saturday. Carl Fletcher and Durrell Berry are also set to return to action then, after sitting out the defeat by Millwall. "The way it's looking, we will have a couple more players fit for the weekend, which will be a big boost for everyone," said Reid.
The administrators of Argyle are today seeking a court order in a bid to force the potential buyer to hand over £230,000. In a statement issued by P & A Partnership they said they would be in court in Manchester this afternoon. It reads: "The joint administrators of Plymouth Argyle Football Company Limited are today (August 10) seeking a court order to require Bishop International Limited to pay £230,000 immediately. The move follows a lack of response from Bishop international Limited to a request last week from the joint administrators for funds to pay August wages for players and staff and confirmation that they can complete the purchase by the middle of this month."
Matt Lecointe came within a whisker of writing his name into the Argyle record books last night, but still has five games to do so. Darren Bastow was 29 days older than Lecointe when he became the clubs youngest ever goalscorer in 1998. Lecointe forced a late save from Millwall 'keeper Steve Mildenhall, but he is already looking ahead to the weekend visit of Rotherham. He said: "It was really exciting, the crowd was buzzing but I should've scored. I've done well in pre-season and all the hard work has paid off, so I'm really happy. I've just got to work hard in training, hope the manager notices and hope to be in the squad again on Saturday. I probably first came to Home Park when I was about six or seven with my uncle. From then on I've just loved football!"
Argyle staff will be asked to defer another month's wages on Friday as takeover talks hit another hurdle. Administrators have already called on Bishop International Limited to come up with £270,000, and a sale and purchase agreement expires on Friday, but administrator Brendan Guilfoyle is planning to activate an extension clause even without the immediate arrival of cash. His firm, The P&A Partnership, will adopt liability for the wage bill on Sunday. "Mr Heaney has got the funding almost in place and he's telling us it will be ready next week," said Guilfoyle. "If he completes next week the issue disappears but, for me, D-Day is Friday. I don't feel comfortable asking for these deferrals but it's just a question of saying to people 'Give us this so we can relax until the end of August and let completion take place'. I'm under a lot of pressure from a lot of directions. All I can do is pass on the assurances we've been given." Staff and players were expected to be told today following meetings between Guilfoyle and the PFA on Monday. Administrators are also considering further player sales to raise cash. Meanwhile, key creditor Lombard is understood to have rejected a settlement offer over a £2.1million debt secured against Home Park. Heaney and Peter Ridsdale are understood to be meeting Lombard representatives in London later this week as negotiations continue. Heaney has indicated cash is unlikely to change hands until the Football League approve the takeover deal. The governing body has ongoing concerns about Heaney's involvement, as regulations prohibit financial influence over more than one football club. Guilfoyle added: "The Football League are still looking at it all and coming back with queries but we believe we have designed a situation where they are going to feel comfortable. The money is a gift, not financial support."
Hull City midfielder Will Atkinson is set to join Argyle on a season-long loan. A deal to bring Atkinson to Home Park was agreed last week but Hull wanted to delay the move until after their Carling Cup tie at home to Macclesfield Town last night because they had six players away on international duty and Atkinson was one of their substitutes for the tie.
Isaac Vassell fulfilled a dream on Saturday when he made his professional debut for Argyle. Kevin Hodges, now a Football in the Community coach at Home Park, has watched with interest Vassell's rise through the ranks. He said: "With the current situation at the club this is a fantastic opportunity for the youngsters to take their chance. Isaac is one of the players who has been given that opportunity, which doesn't surprise me. He has lots of pace, has an eye for goal and in fairness Peter Reid has given him a chance to show what he can do. He still has an awful lot to do, he's not the finished article but he has all the attributes to do well." Vassell's fellow Cornishman Jared Sims made his Argyle debut against Millwall last night, and Hodges added: "We are very active in Cornwall, where there are many excellent, young footballers. Football in the Community is working well in the county and hopefully there will be many more coming through. Watch this space."
Argyle lost 1-0 to Millwall in the Carling Cup tie at Home Park. Argyle: Cole, Zubar, Nelson, Soukouna, Gibson, Williams, Daley, Walton, Hourihane, Hitchcock, Sims. Subs - Lecointe, Copp (not used – Larrieu, Pearce, Vassell, Harper-Penman). Attendance - 4,781.
Injuries could rule Carl Fletcher and Robbie Williams out of the Carling Cup tie against Millwall tonight. They did not take part in training yesterday afternoon because of thigh and heel injuries respectively and Peter Reid rated the pair's chances of playing against Millwall as only 50-50. Warren Feeney is also on the injury list, with a groin injury which has ruled him out of Northern Ireland's game against the Faroe Islands tomorrow. Feeney's international commitments would have taken precedence over his club duties had he been fit. Fletcher has been bothered by a thigh injury recently and Reid will not take any risks on his fitness and Williams had a pain-killing injection for a heel injury before the game against Shrewsbury, but was substituted at half-time. Reid said: "As important as a cup tie is, you have got to look at the long-term side of things. I won't risk anyone who I could cause problems to, not at all." Reid hopes Feeney will be fit for the home game against Rotherham United on Saturday, and added: "It's one of those injuries that if you play on it, it could get worse." First-year professionals Jamie Richards, with a concussion, and Luke Young, a knee injury, are also ruled out at the moment. One player available tonight is Romain Larrieu, who was suspended for the trip to Shrewsbury. However, Jake Cole is expected to continue between the posts. Millwall's experienced squad are sure to pose a stern test for Reid's side. "It's going to be a real difficult game," he said. "They have done remarkably well over the last couple of seasons. Kenny Jackett has done a great job, and I know their coach, Richard Shaw, from my days at Coventry City. It will be a great experience for our young players in a competitive game."
Durrell Berry put an injury-disrupted pre-season behind him with a solid display on his debut for Argyle on Saturday. Berry admitted he was still being troubled by a hip flexor injury, but was pleased with his performance. He said: "Their lad, Mark Wright, was a good player and he gave me a tough time, but I think I did well. It was my first game and I had been injured in pre-season. It was a great experience making my league debut, and something I had been looking forward to. As it went on, my confidence grew and grew. My hip still isn't 100 per cent, but I will keep going." Berry was one of six players aged 21 or under who were selected by maager Peter Reid in the starting line-up, and he added: "We have got a young side here, but we have got experienced players like Fletch, Walts, Robbie and Jake to keep us going, which they did, to be fair." Berry thought Argyle deserved to pick up a point from their trip. He said: "The game swung one way then the other. They had us under pressure and then we had them under pressure. They took the lead and we just had to keep on going, and keep pushing for the equaliser." Berry was almost scored in the 89th minute when the ball broke to him inside the Shrewsbury penalty area. However, his drive was beaten away by goalkeeper Ben Smith. "I went for power and he made a good save," said Berry. "I thought our chance of getting an equaliser had gone, to be honest." But Carl Fletcher scored only moments later. Berry said: "It was a great strike from Fletch, and I think it was what we deserved."
Peter Reid is working to add to the attacking options of his small squad. He said: "It's well-documented where we need strengthening, and I have actively been trying to do that, but there is nothing concrete to report at the moment. It's not easy, but it's what we have got to contend with, so you just keep on trying. We have persuaded some good young players to come here – Daley, Durrell and Conor."
Former Exeter City, Birmingham City, Watford, Crystal Palace, Barnsley, Bristol Rovers and Derby County goalkeeper Kevin Miller has volunteered to take up the role of part-time coach for Argyle, working with Jake Cole and Romain Larrieu. Falmouth-born Miller has recently lined up for Bodmin Town. Peter Reid said: "He has come in and done brilliant with the 'keepers. In an ideal world, you want a goalkeeper coach, but finances have dictated it has been difficult for the club over the last couple of years in those terms. He is just helping us out, which I'm grateful for. He gave me a call through a third party and I was delighted to accept his offer."
Defender Miguel Comminges, a Guadeloupe international colleague of Stephane Zubar, is on trial with Argyle and joined the squad for training yesterday.
Peter Reid thought perseverance paid off for Argyle as they drew at Shrewsbury Town on Saturday. He said: "All credit to the players, even though we went one down, there were a couple of spells towards the end of the game where we kept on passing it. We got our right-back in a good shooting position just before we scored. That's what I want. I want us to try to play football, and I want to try to add a bit more strength to the squad. I would be a liar if I said anything else. It's the first time that this team played together and it takes time. But in terms of effort, and spirit, and character I thought the players were great. And no-one typified that more than the skipper, who banged that one in for us. It was a fantastic strike. I'm glad he's in the side because he pushes the average age up a bit. I'm delighted about that. I just thought, in general, he was terrific." Robbie Williams played out of position on the left, after missing much of training last week because of a heel injury. The combination of those two factors limited the impact he made on the match and Williams was replaced by Simon Walton at half-time. Reid said: "Robbie is a left-back and he did us a favour by playing in midfield, and he's struggling with the heel injury. Walts came on and kept the ball for us in the middle of the park. The biggest thing for me is that we kept on going and I think we got a well deserved point." Reid described the size of the Argyle support as, 'frightening, absolutely frightening'. He said: "I tell you what, when that ball went in the back of the net, you would have thought it was the end of the season and we had won promotion. That's what it means to them, and I think you could see what it meant to the players as well. There is a spirit at this football club that we need to keep on going. We are all together trying to do the same thing. This is a great football club. It has had a great history and has great tradition. After 125 years, we have got to keep it going."
Peter Reid and Peter Ridsdale are continuing to work on strengthening the Argyle squad. A left-sided midfielder is set to be signed on a season-long loan from a Championship club later this week. Another striker is also a priority and Ridsdale said: "We know the areas we are weak in, and we are working to rectify that. I spoke to Peter twice yesterday morning about players. Strikers are always the hardest to find because they are the ones everyone wants. We are talking to some Premier League clubs about signing strikers on loan, and that is why it's taking time. We have, hopefully, got someone coming in this week to play on the left-side of midfield."
Peter Reid was pleased with the spirit of his players as they fought back from a goal down to snatch a point at Shrewsbury. "We kept on going," he said. "I thought we had good chances first half, and I thought we played well. Shrewsbury came on strong second half, they went a bit route one to the big lad. I thought we lost our way in terms of passing. I've got to give credit to Shrewsbury who pushed the two front men on so we couldn't pass it from the back. There's not many teams that will come here and get results. With our lack of strength and height up front, it was difficult for us. But we kept on going, and all credit to the players. Even though we went one down, there were a couple of spells of play towards the end of the game where we kept on passing it and got into good positions. That's what I want. I want to try and play football. I want to add a bit more strength to the squad, but, to be fair, it's the first time this team's played together. It takes time, but, in terms of effort, spirit and character, the players were great. We were trying to get our wide men involved. We did change our system once or twice, but we do encourage people to go forward, especially when we are 1-0 down. Some of it was controlled football; it wasn't just hit and hope because we haven't got any big ones to hit. I've got to say, the fans...that support we had today was outstanding. And I mean incredible. Incredible. At least we gave them something to go home with. There were wild scenes out there. You'd think it was the end of the season not the start! That just sums up our support - absolutely outstanding. That's what it means to them. And I think you've seen what it means to the players as well. There's a spirit at this football club which we need to keep on going." Although the late equaliser and point will hopefully set a tone for the season, Reid was quick to acknowledge last season's opening game, and what happened after that. He added: "We won at Southampton last year, let me remind you of that. I don't envisage this season having the problems that we did last season, in terms of off the pitch. The fans have gone home happy, the players are happy. Now we've got to take it on to Tuesday."
Carl Fletcher stepped up at a crucial moment for Argyle yesterday, scoring a last-minute equaliser to earn a draw at Shrewsbury, and Peter Reid was full of praise for his captain. "In general, he was terrific," he said. "I thought it was a great strike. I thought Conor played really well, as well. I'm not sure about his shooting, although he had a couple of chances first half where they got great blocks." Ten players made Argyle debuts, including substitute Isaac Vassell. Reid said: "I think he got a touch! I just thought we weren't getting anything in behind. It was a difficult game for Tom. They got a bit tight on him, and he'll improve for that game. I just thought 'Why not?' I remember, when I was at Sunderland, we were 2-1 down and brought on a young seventeen-year old called Michael Bridges and he got two. Sometimes it's worth the chance. And it's another young player. It was like a kindergarten on the bench!"
Carl Fletcher was delighted to help Argyle avoid getting off to a losing start yesterday. "It's always nice to score, but it's nice for the team," he said. "We kept plugging away, believing in want we were doing, trying to pass the ball and it's nice to get a reward for it. It's the first time the team has played together. Ever. There's good points and bad points. At the end of day, it's a tough place to come, they've got some very good players, I'm sure they'll be up there at the end of the season. It's a good point, and it makes the journey home a little bit easier. I don't think we deserved to lose the game. Maybe should have won it, but definitely not lose it. We had chances in the first half and started well in the second half. They came at us which is understandable, we're away from home. We have to learn from it, we can't pass every time we get the ball. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Like I say, it's pleasing to get the just rewards the team deserves. Most of the players haven't played a league game, so it's experience for them. We had three or four young lads on the bench. With everything that has gone on, it's just nice to get back out on the pitch and concentrate on the football really. It makes it easier when you get something out of it, it makes your belief stronger. It's nice to get a reward for all the hard work you put in in pre-season." Fletcher and his team-mates celebrated the leveller in front of the Green Army, who travelled in great numbers to Shropshire. Fletcher said: "It's such a good set of travelling away fans, it's just nice to give something back. Everyone talks about how bad things have been for the players and staff, but they've suffered as well. It's nice to reward them. They're paying hard-earned money to come and watch us, and it's nice to see smiles on their faces." Argyle are back in action against Millwall on Tuesday, and Fletcher is looking to try and carry some momentum back to Home Park. "It will be a tough one," he said. "They're a good side, obviously, with big, strong, quality players. It will be a good test for us. Nothing is expected of us, we can just go out there and try and play our football. It's another game that we can learn from; game where all the lads are playing together. Something to look forward to."
Argyle's youth team lost 1-0 at Cheltenham Town yesterday. Argyle: Walton, Watson, Bentley, Bradley, Purrington, Gallagher, Hart, Elcock, Harper-Penman, Lecointe, Harvey. Subs - Ramday, Allen (not used - Wheatley, Gostling, Trudgian).
A consortium which failed in its bid to buy Argyle has called for resumed talks with administrators. The group, led by Paul Buttivant, had its offer for the club blocked by administrators in April. Buttivant yesterday said the group is still interested in the club, and has the cash to complete a deal. It comes after Argyle's joint administrators this week issued a statement saying there is 'no money in the pot' to pay staff and players. Buttivant said: "In light of the recent comments by the joint administrator we would like to again reiterate our interest in saving the football club and call upon the joint administrators to meet with our consortium at the earliest opportunity to discuss our long term proposals for the club, fans and wider community." Brendan Guilfoyle said yesterday: "I have no visibility of the consortium's offer and therefore have no comment."
Argyle drew 1-1 at Shrewsbury Town, the goal scored by Carl Fletcher after 90 minutes. Argyle: Cole, Berry, Zubar, Soukouna, Gibson, Williams, Daley, Fletcher, Hourihane, Hitchcock, Feeney. Subs - Walton, Vassell (not used – Nelson, Copp, Sims). Attendance - 6,421.
Ben Gibson is confident the young crop of players at Home Park can bring success to Argyle. He said: "I think the younger boys are really hungry. None of us have proved ourselves in the game, like Fletch has, and we want to do that. Everyone is saying how young we are but, for us, we believe if you are good enough you are old enough. We will play the way the gaffer wants us to, passing the ball, and, hopefully, prove we aren't too young. A lot of the younger boys have been at top clubs, and that can only stand us in good stead. Hopefully, we can come together and make it a good season." One of Gibson's new team-mates is Curtis Nelson, and the pair played in the same England under-18 international friendly against Italy in April. Gibson said: "He was easy to get on with. He's a good communicator and a good player so, hopefully, we can repeat that partnership here. As soon as I found out I was coming here, I sent him a text. I met him the first night and he has helped me settle in with the boys and shown me about the place." Gibson first learned there was a chance of a loan move to Argyle when Middlesbrough manager Tony Mowbray told him that Reid had made an inquiry. He said: "I really fancied the opportunity to play first team football regularly, and I also wanted to be part of a club that was on the up. We hope to have a good successful season, and push for promotion. We all know it's too big a club to be sat in League Two, and I really fancied the opportunity to be part of it. Also, I thought working under a manager like Peter Reid, who has had a lot of experience and has got a good knowledge of the game, would develop me as a player. I would like to think I will be able to assist Argyle and enjoy my stay here. Hopefully, we can be successful together." Gibson insisted he had been struck by how positive the mood was among the squad, and the club in general, despite all of Argyle's recent trouble. He said: "Considering what the club has been through, I think it's very much on a high. The banter in the dressing room is good and the boys are really looking forward to the challenge. The club, as a whole, is a tight-knit group, and the mood is optimistic. I think everyone has the idea that the only way is up. Hopefully, we can achieve that this season." Gibson is open to the idea of remaining at Argyle for the whole of the season and added: "Obviously, we will take it one step at a time but, hopefully, if it's good for me and it's good for the club then we will be able to extend my stay."
Argyle officials remain mystified why Tresor Kandol did not turn up to sign a contract with the club, as expected, on Thursday. Peter Reid has now turned his attentions elsewhere.
Adam Sadler has officially left Home Park and been appointed as the under-18's coach at Manchester City. Former Argyle manager Kevin Hodges will be running the centre of excellence on an acting basis until further notice.
Argyle administrators have urged the club's potential buyers to provide £270,000 for staff wages as there is 'no money in the pot'. Brendan Guilfoyle yesterday issued a statement that said: "Quite simply we have no money in the pot for the start of the new football season this Saturday and we have to pay wages at the end of the month. We have written to Bishop International Limited asking them to come up with additional funds because they have been unable to complete the purchase of the club before the start of the new season this Saturday. Without this requested funding the administrators will have difficult decisions to make about the options they have left." Guilfoyle said Bishop International have assured him the deal will be sealed this month, but the extra cash is needed. He added that, if the company was unable to complete the purchase, administrators will look at all other viable options. Chris Webb, of the Argyle Fans' Trust, said: "We welcome Brendan Guilfoyle's statement. He's basically said what we've being saying for months: put up or shut up. Every hour that passes, the club's future is being put at risk. Staff are struggling and they've been living off promise after promise on the bid going through. Every time it isn't delivered and is extended. The question is how much further can their loyalty be pushed." Asked for comment yesterday, Kevin Heaney said: "I have a philosophy of not speaking to the media, especially when they tell lies."
Jake Cole has not come to Argyle to sit on the bench after spending six seasons doing that at his first club, QPR. He said: "I joined QPR aged nine, so I was there for 14 years, a long time, and I sat on the bench about 140-odd times, mainly in the Championship. It was quite a long period for me without games, although I went out on loan a few times. I'm a QPR supporter, and my family are all local to there, so I really enjoyed being at the club, but I didn't play much. Getting games under my belt was what I really wanted because when you train hard every week you want something at the end of it. You just have to keep your professionalism and train hard, ready for your chance. When I was called upon I felt I played well. It's a matter of being professional and doing things right – living right, eating right and training right. And that's what I did there." Cole visited Home Park regularly with QPR when they and Argyle were in the Championship. He added: "I sat on the bench quite a few times at Home Park when QPR came down. We had some good battles. I have seen crowds of 14,000 and 15,000 at Home Park so, hopefully, we can get back to those times and climb up the leagues." Cole enjoyed his time at Barnet, even though they struggled against relegation from the League. He said: "I went on loan there for 10 games at the end of the 2008/09 season, with Ian Hendon being the manager. I signed a permanent deal, a year with a year option, and Ian Hendon was excellent with me. They had Gary Breen there, who was massively experienced, and I enjoyed it. I played 52 games out of 52 that season, and it was what I needed. I ended getting player-of-the-year and, for me, it was a lovely season. Although we didn't do well as a team, and we just avoided relegation, I had a busy season. I had a medial knee ligament injury towards the end of last season, which kept me out for a while. It was another struggle. It was hard at Barnet because I think they are a club that punch a little bit above their weight. They like staying in league football, and it has been three seasons in a row they have just avoided relegation. It's a tough place to go and be a goalkeeper or defender, but you get a lot of work to do. It was a great learning curve for me, and getting nearly 100 games under my belt in League Two was excellent." Cole will share his experience of League Two with his new team-mates, many of whom will be playing at that level for the first time. He said: "There will be some rough grounds you have got to go to, where the pitches aren't too great and it will be a battle. But, obviously, at Home Park the pitch is lovely and the stadium is great. I'm sure the fans will get behind us and we will be able to play our football. It's a blend, I think. You get sides who try to play football, but you also get ones who try to bully you. It's a tough league, that's for sure, but with what I have seen here, the squad we are getting together and the way everyone is, it's very positive." Argyle's off pitch problems over recent times did not deter Cole from moving to Plymouth. He said: "No way. Plymouth is a great club and, hopefully, we can do well this season. You can't turn down opportunities like this. It's a great club, the manager is vastly experienced and everyone in the squad is blending nicely."
Warren Feeney admitted he was 'over the moon' after signing for Argyle yesterday. He said: "It's quite funny, to be honest, because I have always enjoyed playing at Home Park with other teams. It's a great club, it's a great catchment area and they have a good fanbase, no matter what league they are in. I know it's a step down a league but, at the end of the day, you have just got to look at the size of this club, and I'm a big believer in playing football. I'm really looking forward to this. My family are based in Newport, in south Wales, so it's not too far away either," added the former Cardiff City striker. Obviously, I will be moving down here permanently as well, and I have just got a feeling for the place." Feeney was initially set to sign for Argyle on a season-long loan. Instead, there was a hitch which threatened to scupper the deal. Feeney said: "I got a call from the manager at Oldham last Tuesday and he told me Plymouth wanted to take me on loan. I jumped at it really because I have wanted this for a while. A loan deal was agreed between the two clubs and I came down on Sunday night and trained with the boys the next morning, ready to play in the game that night. Then at half-past three Oldham told me they wanted to cancel the loan and make it a permanent one. That surprised me because the two clubs had agreed everything, so I had to get pulled out of the game and went back up to Oldham." It proved only to be a delay to his move, as Feeney and Oldham reached an agreement to terminate his contract. Feeney added: "Eventually, everything got sorted and I was just buzzing to come down. I didn't want anything to break this deal. I'm really looking forward to this challenge and it's something I have wanted for a while. I'm just over the moon." Argyle have had a disastrous couple of seasons, on and off the pitch, and Feeney said: "It's sad because I remember playing against Plymouth in the Championship a couple of years ago, and you look at them now. But they are still a massive club with a nice stadium. Whatever league they are in, if they are doing well they will still bring the fans in. You want to play at big clubs with lots of fans, and that's something that appealed to me every time I have come here."
The non-appearance of Tresor Kandol was an unwanted distraction for Peter Reid yesterday. He said: "We were expecting him at the railway station and he didn't turn up. I think we would have struggled getting his international clearance from the Spanish FA for the weekend but it does help if he signs before you get it. He hasn't turned up when he was expected to turn up. I would have thought I would have got a message, but you don't know what has happened. It's difficult for me to comment on the situation. Anything might have happened, so we will just have to wait and see. But we had a car ready at the railway station and he wasn't there."
Shrewsbury missed out on automatic promotion last season by only one point and were then beaten by Torquay United in the play-off semi-finals. Peter Reid saw them in action in one of their pre-season friendlies, a 2-1 win at home to a young Manchester United side. "They were neat and tidy that day," said Reid. "They had a real good season last year and the manager there, Graham Turner, has done a fantastic job. It's a good test for us at this level. I have been pleased with the way the lads have gone in pre-season. It's a young squad, but we have got some experienced players. It will be interesting to see how we go. You can look at games in pre-season and say, 'We passed it well, we had energy' but the acid test is in a league game." Reid is set to include several debutants in his starting line-up, such as Durrell Berry, Robbie Williams, Luke Daley, Conor Hourihane, Warren Feeney and Tom Hitchcock. And making his first appearance for Argyle will be Jake Cole, replacing the suspended Romain Larrieu. Reid has been pleased with what he as seen from Cole so far. He said: "I think it takes time for a 'keeper to get an understanding with the defence, and we have got a couple of French lads in the back four. But in terms of shot-stopping, he was absolutely outstanding in training yesterday morning. I hope he doesn't have to work that hard tomorrow. He has acquitted himself well. He's a bubbly character, he talks well, and I think he will handle the situation really well. We have got two decent 'keepers." Argyle do not have any other 'keepers on their books, so there will be no cover for Cole among the five substitutes. Reid added: "It's going to be a youthful bench to tell you the truth."
Durrell Berry has taken a positive approach to being released by Aston Villa in May and is determined to put that disappointment behind him by making a success of his move to Argyle. Berry said: "That's how I'm looking at it. I want to get some games under my belt here and take it from there. I played for the reserves at Villa for the first half of last season, but after that I was on the bench a lot. I wasn't really getting as many games as I would have liked. Hopefully, I will get the chance to play football at Plymouth."
Tom Hitchcock is already keen on extending his loan spell at Argyle for longer than the initial three-month period. He said: "I want to score some goals and if I do that then, hopefully, they will want to extend the loan, which I'm happy to do. I think that would be really good for me." League Two is far removed from Hitchcock's past experience of Premier League academy football but he is excited, not daunted, by the prospect. "I'm up for the challenge," he said. "Whatever comes to me, I will deal with it. I will be fine." Argyle played three of their pre-season friendlies at Home Park, and Hitchcock enjoyed the experience. He said: "It's a nice stadium and a lovely pitch as well so, hopefully, we will get the ball down and pass it. I was told they were looking and wanted to take me on a three-month loan. I was buzzing really. I just wanted to get down here and play. I knew they were a big club, especially for League Two." Hitchcock thought the pre-season games against Bristol City and QPR were a good test for Argyle, and for him personally. He said: "It was a really good experience, and a good work-out for us. I also got the goal against Bristol City, which I was happy about, so it has gone well in pre-season."
Robbie Williams has spent his entire career as a professional footballer in the north of England but believes a change of scenery will benefit his football, so he has no qualms about being so far from home. He said: "It's a fresh start for me. It's a chance for me to get away from everything and concentrate on my football. Hopefully, I can rebuild my career again and try to get Plymouth back to where they belong, first in League One and then the Championship. The gaffer has brought me in to add a bit of strength to the team, and we will see what happens. I knew it was a long trek to Plymouth because I played here last season for Rochdale. And I knew there was going to be a lot of travelling to away games, but I'm looking forward to it. I can't wait to get the season started." Williams started at left-back for Rochdale when they beat Argyle at Home Park on March 19th. He said: "When we came down to play them I knew they were struggling and I knew people weren't getting paid. But I didn't realise how bad it was. Hopefully, everything can get sorted now and we can start rebuilding. It's a big club and it's a good chance for me to prove myself. It's going to be tough this season but, hopefully, with the additions we have made we will do well." Williams has limited experience of playing at League Two level, when he spent the first six months of last season at Stockport. He said: "My spell at Stockport didn't go to plan. It's a tough division to get promoted from because it's a scrap week in, week out. You have got to have players with a bit of quality, and you have got to have players who are going to work hard for you." Williams is primarily a left-back, but versatility will be important this season as Argyle will be operating with a small squad, and he can provide that. He said: "I have been known to play a few positions in my career – left-back, left centre-half, left wing, centre midfield. Wherever the gaffer plays me, I will do a job for him." Overall, Williams' first impressions of his new life in the South West have been good ones. He added: "The lads are terrific and the city looks a great place. I'm just looking forward to it all."
Peter Reid has been involved in football for a long time but retains the same enthusiasm he has always had for the game. He said: "I have won league championships, I have played in FA Cup finals and I have got England caps, but it's always about tomorrow. The most important football club in the world is Plymouth Argyle, because I'm working here. It's my football club, and that's why I'm enthusiastic. That will never, ever change." Reid admitted there were a couple of occasions last season when he considered his own future with the club. "But the thing that spurred, I think, everybody on was that the football club had to survive," he said. "If I had left, would it have helped the situation? I don't think it would have helped the situation at all. I'm not being big-headed about that. I think we have all kept it going, including the fans, who have been terrific. People like Neil the kit man are the unsung heroes. He has been brilliant. He works until midnight. These are people who care about the football club, and there are a lot more like Neil. That's why we have got to keep it going. And that's why there is an enthusiasm, and a will and a desire to do well." This season sees Argyle celebrate their 125th anniversary, and Reid hopes they can mark it in some style. He said: "This club has got tradition and history. It is, and has been, a great club and we need to keep it going. That's all the drive you need. I think we are over the worst. The financial side of it is always difficult for me because I don't know the ins and outs of it. I try to find out as much as I can, but I'm not privy to certain things." Reid admitted his aim for this season was promotion, despite all of Argyle's recent problems. He said: "People ask me what is a realistic target and I tell them I want us to go up. They then say is that realistic, which I can understand, but if I don't believe it, the players I'm working with don't believe it, and the players I'm asking to sign here don't believe it, then you might as well pack in. It's going to be hard, but we want to get out of this league." Reid has made a series of signings over the past month and has been pleased with the outcome of his endeavours, although it has not always gone according to plan. He said: "There are some targets I haven't been able to get. But I think if you spoke to any manager in the Football League, or the Premier League, that is part and parcel of the job. I have been in football a long time so I'm very pragmatic about those things and just get on with it. Once one door shuts another one opens. And everything that happened at the club last season, with people getting made redundant or not being paid, puts everything in perspective when you start again." Reid has also been pleased with the way his squad has developed during the course of pre-season. He said: "I do feel there is a good spirit here, I have got to say that. The players have been terrific. The attitude of Carl Fletcher, Simon Walton and Romain has been fantastic, and that transmits to the younger ones. What I do in training, I want us to do on matchdays, which is everything short and sharp, getting the ball down and passing it. Whether we can put that into the hard world of League Two, that's another question. But we will soon find out the answer. I think Chesterfield proved you can do it that way. Listen, I'm not knocking anybody who gets the ball forward and plays to their strengths, because that's the nature of football. I particularly like to play what I call attractive football, but that has got to be allied to winning football. There is no use playing attractive football and you get beaten every week. So I'm trying to marry the two things, but it's easier said than done." Life in League Two is a new experience for Reid, but that does not concern him. He said: "If you put the BBC or Sky on, you see all the games and all the goals, and you know football clubs anyway. It's new, but Crawley, who are the favourites, and AFC Wimbledon are new to this league. It's exciting."
Conor Hourihane learned a lot about playing football when he was at Sunderland and later Ipswich Town, without playing any first team matches for either of them and now wants to start putting his grounding in the game into practice with Argyle. He said: "I love Sunderland. They are a great club and I haven't got a bad word to say about them. The same with Ipswich. Paul Jewell was terrific with me. He let me come down here and sign for two years. I'm looking forward to playing. I didn't get close to playing for the first team at Sunderland. I was on the bench quite a few times for Ipswich but never came on. I really improved as a player when I went there. At Sunderland, there are so many young lads you barely play in the reserves. But at Ipswich I started playing quite regularly for the reserves. The gaffer was good with me and taught me some new things. So I'm coming down here now to try to use all of that." Hourihane received a recommendation to sign for Argyle from Joe Mason, his team-mate for the Republic of Ireland at under-19 level. Hourihane said: "I texted Joe on my way down to see what it was like, and he told me the gaffer was great and all the lads were good." Hourihane admitted it had been an easy decision to commit his future to Argyle. He said: "I had six months left at Ipswich and wanted to play some first team football. Peter Reid was interested, I came down and loved it. The set-up at the club is good and we have got a lot of young lads who all like to play football, so I reckon we will have a good go of it this season."
Carl Fletcher is desperate to repay the tremendous support of the Green Army during Argyle's recent troubled times, on and off the pitch. He said: "I think it's important for everyone at the club to give something back to the fans, who have been great going through all this. They have had two relegations in the last two years, and it has been hard on them. Some of them have been watching Plymouth Argyle for years and years, a lot longer than I have been here, so it would be nice to give something back to them. It's unbelievable what the Green Taverners, and all the other people who have raised money, have done. They have been helping the office staff out when they have not been getting paid. I can't speak highly enough of them, to be honest. People have got medals, and MBEs, for doing less than what they have done." Fletcher believes there is now a greater sense of unity at Home Park than he has witnessed before at the club. He said: "Through all the bad stuff that has happened, the good thing that has come out of it is there has been a real bond between the fans and the players. That definitely wasn't here when I first came to the club, and we want to keep it. From the players' point of view, we just want to put in 100 per cent and try to win every game we can. And I think the fans understand we are not just here to pick up our money, so there is a mutual respect here that is pleasing to see in football these days. You see it on the TV every day. There are clubs all around the country where fans are booing their team and the players are not happy. So it's pleasing we are all together and pushing in the right direction."
Carl Fletcher believes it is important to focus on the future of Argyle, and not continue to dwell on the past. He said: "It's disappointing, but it is what it is. I don't think you can look back too much in life, otherwise you will just get stuck where you are. You have got to look to the future, and sometimes things have got to get bad to get better. We are just waiting for it to turn around now. This will be a fresh start for the club really and, hopefully, once everything gets sorted, it will be a clean slate. Obviously, we are starting lower than where we want to be, but you have got to start somewhere. The last thing I wanted when I came here was two relegations. I try to do things in a professional way, and it has been disappointing, but you can't look back. It's all about this season now, and the first game on Saturday at Shrewsbury. There are some good teams in the league, and we have got a new, if small, squad. It's going to be exciting. I think if you don't get too carried away by the highs, and not too down about the lows, and keep a level head then anything is possible. I just know we will go out there and give 100 per cent every game and I think it will work out for the best. Even this week, we have still been trying to get new players in, so no-one knows what the team is going to be on Saturday. Everyone is working hard for one another and it's pleasing to see." When Argyle started pre-season training, Fletcher was one of a small group of players who attended. Now, although the squad is still small, he believes there is cause for optimism after what has been a successful pre-season. He said: "Every day has been different. When we started we didn't have a lot of players and it was literally bare bones. But new players and new trialists have been coming in and I suppose it keeps it fresh. I think we have got the nucleus of a good little side at the minute, but obviously we are going to have to steer clear of injuries and suspensions because of the size of the squad." There has been a stark contrast between Argyle's pre-season preparations this year compared to last. Fletcher said: "For me, personally, going away on tours is a waste of time. You are still running around on grass wherever you are. So I don't think that has made a difference in any way. As for the size of the squad, everyone has bonded really well because you have to, that's all that's here. It has been enjoyable and it has been fun. It has been nice to get to know some new people. We have still got a couple of players who were here before, but there are some new faces to freshen the place up." As someone who has played in the Premier League and at international level, Fletcher has a lot of advice and experience he can pass and he is more than ready to do that. He said: "We have got a lot of young people. They are full of energy and want to do well. Maybe the one downside is they haven't got a lot of league experience, but you only get that by playing games. They have come in, they are hungry and they want to do well. And I think the most important thing is they want to be here. If you have got people in your squad, your place of work, or wherever, who don't want to be there then it's the best thing for everyone to get rid of them. But everyone here wants to try hard and play hard, and learn, and enjoy their football. It's nice the young lads have got that no fear mentality and they just go out and play football, which is pleasing to see really. It's their livelihoods. Like all of us, we are playing and training for our next contract, so to speak. They have got things to prove, and just want to come out and play games. They are getting to that age where playing reserve team football isn't enough for them any more. It will be great for them to come here and express themselves. They are all working hard and have got a good attitude. If they stay the way they are at the minute then they are going to have good futures." Fletcher started all four of Argyle's first team pre-season friendlies, and he added: "I got a little niggle in my thigh in the first couple of weeks, but that's all right now. The games we have had have been enjoyable to play in. The gaffer wants us to get the ball down and pass it, and we have got a squad of players here who are all capable of doing that. Whenever you are given the freedom to go out and play and pass, it's definitely enjoyable. We had tough tests against Bristol City and Queens Park Rangers, and I think we did okay in both. It was something to build on. You just use the games against Truro and Saltash for your fitness really, and try to do as much as you can for the start of the season. It has been interesting and different in pre-season, but it has been fun. We are all gearing up for Saturday now." Fletcher admitted he and his wife, and their three young children, were settled in Plymouth, so it was a simple decision to stay with Argyle, despite all the recent difficulties. He said: "It's great to bring up the kids down here. There are so many things to do, and it's a nice part of the country. Unless I got told otherwise, I was always going to be here. Like I said before, if you have got people in your workplace who don't want to be there it's the worse thing you can have. Everyone we have got here wants to be here and do well for the club. That's a massive start for us already."
Argyle completed the signing of Warren Feeney, on a one-year deal, this afternoon. Peter Reid said: "Warren's an experienced player with plenty of energy. I'm delighted to have him on board, he's fit and ready to play on Saturday before going away with Northern Ireland next week. He's a good one for us because he brings something to the dressing room as well as ability on the pitch." Feeney believes that the fans make the club what it is. He said: "It's a good challenge for me and a good challenge for the club. It's a great club to be at, you've just got look at the fan base. I'm fit and ready and looking forward to the season starting." Meanwhile, the transfer of Tresor Kandol has stalled after the player failed to arrive in Plymouth. He had been expected to meet Peter Reid at Marjon this afternoon but never reported. Reid was obviously disappointed and said: "He hasn't turned up so we're trying to find him. It's not good news."
Peter Reid wants to add one more striker to his squad even with Warren Feeney and Tresor Kandol set to sign. He admitted he was excited about the capture of Feeney and Kandol, both on one-year contracts, and said: "Deals have been struck with them, but I want another one up there as well. The boy Hitchcock is a good player, but their little bit of strength and experience will help us. I spoke to Warren Feeney yesterday morning and he was tying up some loose ends at Oldham. He has got experience, but he has got energy as well. I think he can play all across the top. Kandol is a big, strong boy and has got goals in him."
Jake Cole is preparing to make his debut for Argyle. He will be between the posts at Shrewsbury on Saturday, because Romain Larrieu will be serving a one-match suspension after being sent off in the final game of last season. "Shrewsbury away will be tough. They have been a good team the last few seasons," he said. "They've got a nice new stadium, and it will be a decent game. I'm looking forward to it." Cole hopes to put in a good performance so that he can have a chance of retaining his place. He said: "You train all week and you want to play a game at the end of it." Cole has settled in well with Argyle and added: "They are a good bunch of lads here and they were very welcoming. Everyone is grafting away, and I'm enjoying it."
Warren Feeney is set to become Argyle's ninth summer signing on a one-year contract. A deal has been struck which will see him move from Oldham Athletic on a free transfer. Peter Ridsdale said: "The deal is sorted. There were some hitches but they were all at the other end. I had the lad at Leeds United, when he was a youngster, and also at Cardiff City. He wants to come and play for Argyle." Ridsdale confirmed that talks were at an advanced stage for two more recruits. One is a midfielder from a Championship club who would move on a season-long loan, although that deal could take until next week to complete. The other target is, in Ridsdale's words, 'a big, strong striker' who has played at a high level before. Discussions over a one-year contract have already taken place with him.
Argyle yesterday completed the signing of Ben Gibson on a three-month loan from Middlesbrough. Peter Reid was impressed with Gibson's performance against Saltash United on Monday and thanked his parent club for allowing him to leave on loan. He said: "I thought Ben did really well, so I was delighted with him. You can see he's a good player. He can play in the centre of defence, he can play at left-back and, at a pinch, he can go in the middle of the park. Middlesbrough think a lot of him but they have kindly let us have him. I think he will be a big asset to us." Gibson was recommended to Reid by his chief scout Bob Shaw, and the manager also spoke to Middlesbrough coach Steve Agnew about him. Agnew used to play for Reid at Sunderland. Reid said: "Steve is a big pal of mine who works up at Middlesbrough and I had chats with him about Ben. He is the nephew of Steve Gibson, the chairman up there, and I know him really well. Tony Mowbray has kindly let us have him so I'm delighted." Reid admitted that as he would be operating with a small squad this season it was important he had versatile players. He added: "I think there are one or two of the lads who can do that job for us. Stephane Zubar can go at right-back and centre-half. Robbie Williams can play on the left-side of midfield as well as at left-back. When it's a small squad you need people who can go in different positions and we have got that at the moment." Gibson admitted that it was Reid himself that had tempted him to Home Park the most. He said: "I played a game yesterday and met the gaffer on Sunday and really enjoyed myself. I already knew about the club, it's too big to be in League Two and obviously the gaffer was a big selling point for me. He's got great experience and a great knowledge of the game so I jumped at the chance to come. I'm here for three months and I look forward to hopefully playing, and playing well for Argyle, and hopefully being up towards the top of the league. Then, after three months, hopefully we can extend the stay but we'll take it one step at a time for now."
Peter Reid has decided not offer Argentinean winger Andres Gurrieri a permanent contract. The decision not to sign Gurrieri comes as a surprise because Peter Ridsdale admitted on Monday that personal terms had been agreed with the player. However, issues over obtaining international clearance and the possibility of having to pay 'training compensation' to his previous club were causes of concern.
Argyle's hopes of increasing their striking options in time for Saturday's game with Shrewsbury could see Warren Feeney and Tresor Kandol both heading to Home Park today. Feeney is hoping to reach a settlement with current club Oldham Athletic to allow him to join Argyle. He trained with the squad at Marjon on Monday and, afterwards, looked set to join Peter Reid's squad. "Everything was agreed for me to join Plymouth on a season-long loan and I was really looking forward to it," Feeney said. However, Oldham want to reach a contract settlement which would see him sign for us on a permanent basis. "Hopefully, we can get things sorted and I can join Plymouth permanently because it is a club that ticks so many boxes for me," Feeney added. Tresor is a free agent following his release from Spanish side Albacete.
Argyle won 1-0 in last night's friendly at Saltash United, the goal scored by Tom Hitchcock. Durrell Berry played at right-back, having been sidelined for much of pre-season by a hip problem. Also in the starting line-up was newest recruit Ben Gibson, a loan signing from Middlesbrough. With Argyle still short of attacking options, Peter Reid also decided to take a third look at trialist Joseph Mendes. Reid said: "We had a training session this morning which we ended with a shooting session which was the worst I've ever seen, and we just carried it on because we couldn't finish. Their 'keeper made a few good saves, and we didn't hit the target enough in good situations. But, overall, in terms of fitness and passing the ball, it was another good game for us. I was pleased with us off the ball in terms of shutting people down. If you work hard and shut people down, it's difficult to play against you." Goal-creator Luke Daley caught the eye again with another impressive display. "He's a good footballer and he's got that ability to go past people," said Reid. "He's just got to learn the final ball. He put a lot of quality in there and I think his relationship with Durrell Berry down the right-hand side will be a big plus for us. It's a young side, like a youth team, but there's plenty of energy in the side and I thought we passed the ball well. I would have liked to have converted a few more chances, but you can't have everything. There's a lot of pace in the side, and a lot of energy in the side. I do think we lack a bit of experience, and possibly a bit of strength, up front, but we're working on trying to bring that in. I'm still looking for a front man up there to help young Tom, but there were a lot of pluses this evening. There's a couple of things I need to sort out before the weekend." Argyle: Cole, Berry, Zubar, Gibson, Williams, Daley, Walton, Fletcher, Gurrieri, Hourihane, Hitchcock. Subs – Larrieu, Pearce, Nelson, Soukouna, Sims, Mendes (not used – Copp).
Peter Ridsdale's proposed takeover of Argyle hinges on the successful outcome of a separate property deal, reports revealed yesterday. The local newspaper reports suggest that a deal unrelated to the club must be completed to generate the £5million-plus needed for the takeover. Kevin Heaney's lawyers have written to administrators saying completion of that is 'imminent', but the figures at the centre of the takeover have already taken steps towards extending their deadline, in case that should become necessary. Heaney is understood to be working on a lucrative deal linked to an expanding development firm and Brendan Guilfoyle admitted: "We're told there is a deal he's completing at the moment that requires completion to complete our deal. Nothing he says causes me any concern. We continue to look him in the eyes and we continue to ask him whether he'll complete. He is quite calm about it so we are just pushing forward. All I'm told is there is an enabling deal still to complete; he's got something coming to the table which enables him to move on to this." Heaney's solicitors have confirmed in writing that alternative funding avenues remain open, Ridsdale added. "He's got a deal going on that is nothing to do with Argyle and we've been given assurances it should be completed in a week or so," he said. "That's how he'd prefer to fund it but, if not, he has other routes to which he can fund to the level required. In all the conversations we've had, we've had no indication that the preferred funding route is the only funding route. I'm relaxed about it. You don't get to this stage, put in all this work and then not complete."
Ben Gibson has joined Argyle on a three-month loan deal from Middlesbrough. Peter Ridsdale said: "We have agreed a deal for Gibson, initially on a three-month youth loan. It is with a view to extending it further, should he like us and we like him." A deal for Argentine winger Andres Gurrieri is also close to completion. Gurrieri has agreed personal terms and securing a work permit for him will not be a problem as has dual Argentine and Italian nationality. But there is still one issue to be sorted out. Ridsdale said: "We have agreed terms with the player, but we are in dialogue with his former club in Uruguay and his agent about whether there is any 'training compensation' owed to anyone. I hope it will be resolved in the next 24 hours."
Trialists Joe Holt, Joseph Mendes and Nikolaj Misiuk will not be offered contracts by Argyle. Peter Reid decided over the weekend against signing the trio permanently and is continuing the search to add to his squad, with the new season only five days away. A couple of new trialists could play in the friendly at Saltash United tonight and Reid is close to completing a loan deal for a teenage defender from a Championship club.
Peter Ridsdale has described his attempts to save Argyle from folding as the toughest challenge he has faced in football. Ridsdale has had extensive past experience in football, with a series of highs and lows at Leeds United, Barnsley and Cardiff City. He has become used to criticism from fans during that time but admitted he was surprised by widespread scepticism about the takeover deal for Argyle. He said: "I would have thought everybody in this locality would be interested in there being a Plymouth Argyle Football Club. They seem to have forgotten why we are where we are, because of the mismanagement of the past. They have almost allowed that just to drift into the background, and appear to be questioning people's motives in trying to get the club into safe hands. I have decided to crack on and do what I need to do, and not get deflected, because it can get you down, frankly. It has been the hardest job I have ever done in football. If you allow yourself to be dragged down by it, it would be easy to get into the depths of despair. So you have just to believe in what you are doing, and hope that at the end of it, we have got a financially sound and solid football club we are proud to watch once again." Ridsdale has spent a lot of time in talks with the Football League and the Professional Footballers' Association, as a solution has been sought to save Argyle. Ridsdale added: "Both the league and the PFA feel this club is lucky to be alive. I think they feel if they had known at the start of administration it was going to take this long, they probably wouldn't have been happy for it to continue for all this time. But we are where we are, the new season is just around the corner and we are close to a deal being done. So they are being very supportive of us, but professional. I don't think they are leaning over in any particular direction. They recognise we are doing the right things, and we are working together to solve the problem for the sake of this football club."
Shaun Reid has been added to the Argyle coaching staff as Adam Sadler is set to take up a post within Manchester City's youth academy. Reid has been helping out his brother Peter at Marjon since the players returned for pre-season training, and that arrangement has now been formalised.
Peter Reid's search for an experienced forward to lead the Argyle attack has seen him turn his attentions to Northern Ireland international Warren Feeney. Feeney has been allowed by his club, Oldham Athletic, to come to Argyle on trial and will link up with the squad today, along with Middlesbrough youngster Ben Gibson. The club are pursuing a loan deal for defender Gibson, 18, who has progressed through Middlesbrough's youth academy to the Championship side's first team, making his league debut in April.
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