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.
On This Day:
Also included on the three most recent days, facts from Argyle's history.
As the transfer window begins to open, Ryan Lowe has said Argyle could soon be greeting a new arrival, with most of the deal done in principle. He revealed: "We're hoping to have a new one for Scunthorpe. We're just waiting on the paperwork with the parent-club. I've got strikers already in the building and do I feel one of them could go and get me 10 goals between now and the end of the season? 100% yes. They back themselves to score and sometimes you go through a bad patch of scoring, all strikers have been there. I want competition and if we can get a player we feel could score 10-15 goals who suits us, then great, but they're hard to find. We're in discussions with a couple of lads' agents, those not playing at the moment, who potentially could move on that falls down to me saying yes or no, and it's never personal. If I've got lads that want to play football and they're not playing here, I've said that they have to wait until the time is right because I've got to replace them . At the moment, we've got certain areas we want to improve but also players in areas we weren't looking to improve. From a selfish point of view as manager, I could say no-one's going anywhere. On the flip-side of that, I don't want any unhappy players. There will probably be a couple of outs and a couple of ins."
Lowe went on to speak about the working relationship he enjoys with his players, revealing that he doesn't rule with an iron fist. He said: "Everyone knows I'll have a laugh and a joke with them, I'll socialise with them. They are my team and I want them to put their bodies on the line to get three points. When it is down to business, they know I have a ruthless side to me but why wouldn't you join in with little bits of fun before we start going into the patterns of play and the work you want the lads to put in. As you can see, we have good banter and togetherness with the boys, not just me, Schuey was in there with a nutmeg, Nance is not allowed in because he's not very good in the box game. It's the character we want and all the boys respect that. There is also a fine line once we go into business mode and I'll always have that."
Niall Canavan netted his first goal of the season to complete the victory against Stevenage and he expressed his relief to getting back to his best in both boxes. He said after the win: "I try to stay up as long as I can, when I'm up there. I'm our biggest lad, so I'm probably going to take someone out, or I've got a good chance of winning it. It depends who it goes back to because some aren't going to consider putting the ball back in. For a second I thought we wouldn't, but when I saw Conor had peeled back out to the left, I thought I'm getting back in here. I told Dom Telford to make a run off the back of me because there's normally a hole behind me. It went to the 'keeper, who I think hit Joel Grant at the same time. Joel's got a whack on his eye, and it's dropped nicely. I've been saying for ages that I can sniff them out. Thankfully, I was there to put it in today."
"I did think a couple of seconds before: 'Should I go back?' But I stuck around. It came to Conor and he puts a good ball in. I think Joel's taken a smack off the 'keeper, instead of him punching the ball, and it's dropped down to me, Johnny on the spot, and I stick it in. I thought about heading it because obviously that's my first thought when I'm up there. It just bounced, and, as everyone said, time just seemed to take forever. I just thought: 'Lift it over him, hit the roof of the net, hit anything, just don't hit him', and yeah... tidy one."
Lowe said of his big defender: "Niall Canavan has been solid as a rock for us and he pops up with a last-minute winner. He's been excellent for us and for a guy who didn't play that many games last season and came in for some unfair criticism, I think he's been a breath of fresh air. Fair play to him, he's down here without his family, he puts in a shift every single day. I'm really pleased for him; he's asked for a chance and he certainly took it, so, hopefully that continues."
"Niall is different class, along with Scotty, Gaz, Will, when he's fit, and Josh has gone in at centre-half again. We know they've been a rock at the back. His versatility is good and sometimes when you're a player, you don't know where your best position is but we know he's been fantastic in the midfield role. I told him yesterday that he'd be slotting in on the left-hand side and he just said 'no problem gaffer'. That's what you want, he's a diamond and he's going to play at a high level in years to come. He's been fantastic for us, a top pro to work with, a level-headed lad and getting better every day."
"In the first-half, I thought we should have been out of sight and that's been the case for probably a large part of the season, but it was then about the resilience and character the lads showed in the second-half. We knew Stevenage would be tough to break down. They were solid and resolute, as Graham Westley's teams are, so it was tough. I'm just pleased with the character and resilience to break them down in the last minute. The flowing movements was us in a nutshell, that's our style of play. We play in flowing movements, fast and quick. The second-half wasn't as quick but we believed we would get one more chance. We believed in the patterns of play that we play, the overloads we play, that we would create chances. It's just that last little bit and it's a great win for us. We scored with 30 seconds to go and we haven't had one of them this season. It's gone against us before, so it's a big plus for us. It was a little bit different to what we're about, high ball into the box, but sometimes you have to do that. I'm so pleased for the boys and the group. We didn't play our best in the second-half and we know that, it wasn't quite as free-flowing, but these lads are putting everything into it and you can't criticise them.
"It was the second game in four days and they are a bit on the floor in terms of tiredness, so we'll make sure we put the recovery into them. They've given us everything, the lads put their bodies on the line and the resilience of the boys showed with a 96th-minute winner. The home advantage is the crowd behind us and making Home Park a fortress. If you can also keep nicking points away from home, you become a good team. The resilience and character of the boys is something they've worked hard to get."
Lowe also noted that Argyle are finally now in the League Two play-off positions for the first time since September, adding: "It's credit to the players, we've been knocking on the door. We were up there early on, then we faltered a bit, and now we're back up there. It's about staying there now. The easy part is getting up there, the hard part is staying up there. We take nothing for granted, we've got another tough game on Wednesday and we keep on building. Once you get past January and into February, if you are still in there, you give yourself a great chance."
Finally, Lowe reserved specific praise for Byron Moore since his move to the right-wing-back role, effusing: "Byron has been terrific for us playing down the right-hand side and there are not many people that have seen him get out of second gear, which is testament to him because he is so fit. He can run all day and that's what he gives you. Let alone defensive duties, he also gives you attacking qualities as well and we're pleased with him. We're pleased with George as well, he tired a bit toward the end but he was terrific."
A late winner from Niall Canavan saw Argyle end 2019 in great style with a 2-1 win against Stevenage. The greens dominated the first half and took the lead courtesy of a Byron Moore goal. An equaliser from the visitors came against the run of play in the second half but Argyle were not to be denied their win. Canavan poked the ball home after a goalline scramble to end the decade with a bang. Argyle: Palmer, Wootton, Canavan, J Grant, Edwards, Moore, Sarcevic, Mayor, G Cooper (C Grant), Rudden (JV Grant), Clarke (Telford). Subs: M Cooper, Riley, Randell, Wilson
Ryan Lowe confirmed Argyle were keeping decisions in house regarding the future of loanees Zak Rudden and Josh Grant. Lowe did however have nothing but praise for the pair, saying "We'll keep that in-house for the moment but Zak has come in and done well to score the goal at Cheltenham. As Zak will tell you, he's had a dip in form, as everyone does. He didn't know he was playing at Cheltenham until the hotel before the game and probably a nice surprise for him. Sometimes, they're the ones where you don't tell them that they do well.Josh Grant has been fantastic and we're looking at things for both of them, but we'll keep it in-house for now. We have to respect the parent-clubs and we've been discussing with Chelsea and Rangers for the past month."
On the visit of Stevenage shortly after Argyle's Boxing Day win, Lowe added: "Cheltenham were fourth before we played them, now we're playing Stevenage, who are bottom of the league and then we've got Swindon. We don't look any further than Stevenage, we respect every team and Stevenage will be a different animal under Graham Westley because of the way he is and the way he sets his teams up. We won't take anything granted. We will look at Swindon after Stevenage but, first and foremost, we've got to make sure we do it right against Stevenage. Graham has his own way, his own approach, his own tactics and that's his style. I respect him for that and he's won promotions, so I'll never disrespect Graham Westley. Expect the unexpected from Graham Westley.
"The players have been great and I always say the teams down the bottom are the tougher ones because they've got nothing to lose. They can just be gung-ho if they need to be. The teams at the top are there for a reason, they play good football, go about their business in a different way and stick to their plans. That's not disrespecting the teams at the bottom but when you're down there, you're fighting for your lives and want to get points in any way. I've instilled into our lads not to take anything for granted and expect the unexpected because that's what football is about. You give every opponent the respect they deserve because no-one will come to Home Park and just lie down. It's up to us to put on a performance and get the three points. It's about sticking to a plan because, if you do that, you will get your rewards. It's up to us to break them down. If you get the first goal, then great, but if you don't, it doesn't matter, you just keep going. Stevenage will be solid, they will be resolute and they've got some older pros in there. We treat everyone the same, they might have a different style to Cheltenham or the way Swindon will be but as long as we focus on ourselves, we will be ok."
On the busy Christmas schedule, Lowe explained "The key is the recovery, making sure you get the recovery into the lads. We had them out yesterday, doing a bit of work on the grass and a bit of fun. We had Marjon down, a lot of sports therapists for the lads to have a massage, so a big thank-you to them. It's about rest and recovery, get plenty of fluids and food in them. We are out on the grass today, short and sharp work. We tell the lads that everyone needs to be ready over the festive period because of the amount of games. At the drop of a hat, someone could have a muscle injury, or not feel well, anything can happen. We've just got to make sure our lads are ready if called upon, hence the lads we called on at Cheltenham were on it and put in a shift for us. It doesn't necessarily mean they'll play tomorrow because we've got the squad to bring freshness. If there are changes to be made, they will be made."
Regarding Argyle's injury list, the lowdown from Lowe was: "Callum McFadzean has had some good news, we'll have him back by the end of January and we thought we were going to lose him for at least three months. We've had some good news from the specialist and Fadz is ready to go. He will be grass-based within the next week and we should hopefully have him back for the last week in January. We thought he'd had a tear in his knee and we thought it was going to be a long one. We discussed it and at Cambridge, he felt he could've played but Dave Galley said no and it's good that he did, so we could get a specialist opinion. Even Fadz said he would have played but that would have made it even worse. We made sure that he wasn't training until we saw the specialist. It's a big plus for us that he's not going to be out for three months."
"Taylor is on crutches as a precaution. He's got a slipper on as well. It was underneath his foot and he's got some inflammation around his metatarsal. We've made him wear that slipper and he'll be back with us in around ten days. If you don't wear the slipper and get on crutches, it aggravates the injury. For three days, he was ill and didn't travel with us to Macclesfield. He was laid up in bed and then his foot kept being aggravated, Tayls will just battle through it but he felt something in training, so we got it scanned and it's a tiny problem in there that we feel we've caught. Will Aimson is progressing very well. Dave Galley has got him on a good programme, he's on the right track and looking good."
Argyle showed a good winning mentality to secure a win at Cheltenham and battled hard for much of the game, according to manager Ryan Lowe. Lowe said: "It was very good, the lads were fantastic, showed application and a hunger to win. That's what my team builds, a winning mentality. We've been to Forest Green, we've been to Crewe, who are up there, and we're doing well against the top teams. We want to continue that and fantastic to come to place like this and take a well-earned three points. They are a good team, they're well organised and we knew it would be a tight game. We put crosses into the box, George played a great deep cross for Zak to be in the right place at the right time to put it in the net. Overall, I'm even more happy with the last ten minutes because they showed that resolve not to be beaten."
"We can do better in certain elements of the game, where we keep the ball, don't force it and get them on the back-foot. There are loads of learning curves but overall I'm pleased after coming to one of the leading teams in the league and pitting our wits in the way we did. No game goes to bed early and we've seen a different side to an Argyle team because we were resolute, determined not to conceded and we've had a few 1-0 wins away from home now. We want to continue that. At times, we can do better in parts of the game by not giving the ball away but I'm overall pleased. Considering we've got two attacking wingers playing wing-back, they've bought into it and George is heading balls at the back post. He knows what is needed and Byron was the same down the right side, putting a shift in and we know we can make certain changes, putting Joe on and changing the two strikers, but the shape and style is always going to be there."
On the encouraging win after bringing Zak Rudden and Billy Clarke back into the starting eleven, Lowe added: "It's what we've needed and we decided to have a look at Zak and Billy. Dom and Joel have had plenty of opportunities and they've done well in certain elements, but goals win you games. Zak's been chomping at the bit, scoring goals in training, and Billy's been chomping at the bit, so it was only fair that we gave them the chance."
"We've got one more game to see out this year and then we'll crack on into 2020. I said to the boys before the game that, if they can be a little bit better than they have been in 2019, we will be alright. We've got 35 points from 21 games and two games in hand. The preparation never changes and we'll make sure we get everything spot on for another tough game at home. We've made Home Park a bit of a fortress this season and we want to continue that."
Rudden himself spoke with positive words for his teammates who helped secure the victory, taking focus away from his own winning goal. The scotsman said: "It was a great ball by Coops, flicked on by Sarce and I couldn't really miss. Sarce is always on to me and we were linking up quite well. I found out in the hotel that I was starting and I feel like I've stepped up in training. It's been hard coming back from injury and I'm now trying to work hard in training, impress the manager and it showed with the goal. I'm getting better at holding up the ball and the boys did brilliant to keep a clean sheet. If I can stay calm and composed, they are the ones that go in and I gave the manager a goal, which is what he wants. The manager talks about the strikers producing and I've been working really hard. He is very demanding, like any manager, and that's good because he's got standards."
"The back five was excellent and Josh in front of them, who I though was man of the match, and Alex in goal as well saved us a couple of times. He is commanding and brilliant for us. We showed that we can do the nitty gritty side and hopefully we can push on."
Argyle made it a Boxing Day to remember with a 1-0 victory at Cheltenham Town, with Zak Rudden, recently recalled to the starting eleven, got the only goal of the game in the first half. Argyle had to ride out some pressure but ultimately did enough to secure the win. Argyle: Palmer, Wootton, Canavan, Sawyer, J Grant, B Moore, Sarcevic, Mayor, G Cooper(Edwards), Rudden(JV Grant), Clarke(Telford). Subs: M Cooper, Riley, Randell, C Grant.
Argyle's match at Macclesfield Town, postponed from December 21, will now take place on Tuesday, February 18 (7.45pm).
Ryan Lowe has spoken of his positive relationship with playmaker George Cooper, stating that he hopes to bring him to Argyle as a permanent player at the end of the season. Lowe said: "The relationship I have with George, I brought him in and he did fantastic for four games, got a little bit fatigued so dropped out for a bit, and now he's back performing at the level we know he can do. haven't had that conversation with my owner to see if I've got money to spend. I'll have to have a look at the contract – I know there's an option to buy, but I don't think it's January 17, I think it's the end of the season. That will be a decision we make at the end of the seaso. We have to give George that decision at the end of the season, too. At the moment, he's a League One player, and has the potential to play higher – so it's where he wants to find his new home. I think he would love to stay here, he's already expressed that, but it's how much Peterborough United want for him, also. We haven't got millions of pounds to spend. If they do a deal where we can sign at the end of the season, we'd be open to that."
Argyle's home League Two match with Grimsby Town, postponed from November, will now take place on Tuesday, March 3rd at 7.45pm. The re-arranged game comes just over three weeks before the Pilgrims visit Blundell Park later in the month for their away 2019-20 league fixture with the Mariners.
Ryan Lowe has sympathy for Macclesfield Town in spite of the inconvenience caused to his Argyle side as a result of the postponement of the game at late notice. Lowe spoke of his own experience at Bury, saying: "You know, part of it brought a sadness to me on Friday night. To be fair to Daryl McMahon, he actually texted me on Saturday afternoon, saying 'apologies, it was out of our control, the last 24 hours.' He's a manager too. I said 'look, mate, it's not a problem.' They prepared, the same as us, and it's out of their hands."
"I can't comment on what Macclesfield are trying to do; I know there's potential buyers and investors, but I just think the quicker they can get out, the better for the footballing world. It's tough, isn't it? With all due respect to Macclesfield, they've been in the lower leagues for a few years, they got up to League Two, they consolidated. Sol Campbell did a great job under the circumstances to keep them up. This season, they started quite well until they got the points deduction. I just hope it gets resolved."
"There's teams now, who have had games postponed against Macclesfield, like us and Crewe, what happens there? Nobody has said whether we get the points, don't get the points, or it gets rearranged. There are teams that have played them and either won or lost, and you just don't know what's needed to be done from it. I think that's a question for the hierarchy in the EFL and the Football League. For us, we just get told what to do," he said. "If the fixture gets rearranged, then we'll turn up and play – that's no issue. I feel for the Macclesfield players, the manager and the coaching staff, because they have prepared right to play Argyle, the same way as we have."
Lowe also said that Argyle are close to securing their first summer signing as the transfer window readies itself to re-open in January. He said: "We have a list of targets, but they're not just going to come for the sake of it because, as I've said before, we've got a good squad – a squad I believe in. Do I want more goals in the squad? One hundred per cent - that's a known fact, it's there to be seen. Do I believe one of our strikers can get me those goals? Yeah. Do I believe it could be someone from outside who we are potentially looking at to come and get the goals? One hundred per cent, yeah. We know the areas that we're looking at, but that depends on potential fringe players moving on.
"You're talking about clubs in financial situations – this club will never be in that situation. My chairman would never allow it, the CEO would never allow it, and I certainly won't allow it. I will only bring people in that I can afford to bring in. Lots of people may think that because we've got this new stand that we can go and spend £1 million on a new striker, but that's not the case. Will there be funds to be spent, if I was to ask the chairman? I don't know, we haven't had the conversation as yet, but I'm sure he'd back me like he's backed me since the start of the season."
"It's hard, isn't it, at Christmas time, there's loads of games. We've got three games in seven days, and lads who are potentially not in the team could be used. Then, all of a sudden, they play a few games, they're flying, and I'm thinking 'I don't need that position now.' So, it's a bit up in the air – but we have the targets in the positions where we feel we can strengthen. The targets will remain in house, because it's not fair on the squad that we've got. It will only be players coming in that can make us better, there won't be anyone coming in just to add numbers."
Argyle's game at Macclesfield has been postponed due to the Silkmen's stadium being given a zero capacity certificate by the local safety advisory group. Macclesfield did attempt to play the game behind closed doors but were denied permission to do so by the EFL.
Michael Cooper, fresh off the back of his new Argyle contract, looked back to the night he made his debut at Blackburn and ahead to his future career at Argyle. He said: "I'm delighted to get the deal through, very happy to be continuing my journey with Argyle. I've been here since I was nine, so to get a new deal and look to the future is all good signs. It's nice to know the gaffer backs me. It shows by the length of the deal that he backs me and that he thinks highly of me. I'd like to repay him in the future through game-time and good performances. I still remember that whole day very vividly. I don't think anyone knows this but on the pre-game walk we had, Cam Sangster said I've got a feeling you'll come on tonight, and I did. It's just gone on from there really."
"No matter how low it gets, there's always massive highs to go with it. The leap into professional football is massive and I feel like I've grasped it now. It took about a season or two to really get used to it, but I feel like I'm developing well."
"Obviously, I've tried getting myself into the team and that's also led to Alex having good performances, which is what keepers want for each other. We want to be keeping clean sheets, we want to be getting wins and Al keeps doing that, so it's brilliant to see. I just hope I can keep my training and match performances to a good standard. That will be my aim even now going into next season, the season after, I always aim to get as many games as I can," he said."
New physio Dave Galley spoke about his relationship with manager Ryan Lowe and his long history in football. Galley reflected on his career: "I know Neil through time in Liverpool and at the FA. Obviously, Neil was at the FA and Everton and asked if I knew anyone who would be interested. It started with seeing whether I could help out and the more I met Ryan and Neil, I had a good chat with them and liked what they were saying, where they were going. It was very quick from there and a no brainer for me, I liked the challenge and the people I was going to be working with. I worked at the Bristol Rovers game and then took it a bit further to where we are now. I worked with the FA from 1992 and we won the European Championships with the under-18s, with players like Gary Neville, Sol Campbell, Nicky Butt and Robbie Fowler. I went with the under-21s after that and spent 16 years with them. I had a brief time with the seniors and was at Liverpool, where we won the League Cup, FA Cup, UEFA Cup, Champions League, so I've been very lucky. I went freelance after working in Qatar with an Academy out there, moving up to their under-23s national team. I was about to start work with their senior team but made the decision to come home because my parents were unwell. A couple of weeks after that, my dad died and my mum is also very ill. I wanted to be back in this country and did some work in a clinic halfway between my home in Chester and Stoke, where my mum is based. It was a case of going to work, drive to Stoke, then back home , and the same again each day, which was no good for mum or for me. I knew that I wanted to get back into football. I had a few good offers from the Premier League, the Championship and abroad, but didn't fancy it. The Plymouth opportunity just felt right, the right people, the right setting and the right direction."
Argyle further announced that former Yeovil Town manager Darren Way will be joining Argyle in the new year. Way, 40, has accepted a role in the academy at Home Park, with a specific focus on the under-18 age group.
Ryan Lowe spoke of a dominant performance for Argyle in spite of their loss to Bristol Rovers in the second round replay. He said: "I thought every player, to a man, was different class. We dominated a League One team from start to finish, apart from their goal. There were fine margins and disappointed in not going through, but pleased with the performance. People tell me it was perhaps the best all season and when I watch it back, I may agree, just without the goal. I was pleased with the boys, the way they played football and I'm sure the chances will turn to goals very soon. If we score in the first half, I'd like to think we would go on to score more because it means they have to play a little different. They gave us massive respect and changed shape once or twice in the game. We played our football, they've potentially had a smash and grab, but take nothing away from Bristol Rovers; they got the goal, go through to the third round and we wish them luck. For us, if we keep playing our football, we can be something special."
Argyle are out of the FA Cup following a disappointing 1-0 loss to Bristol Rovers on BT Sport. Rovers scored late in the second half and a barrage of Argyle chances didn't quite find the target. Argyle: Palmer, Wootton, J Grant, Sawyer, Edwards(C Grant), B Moore, Sarcevic, Mayor, G Cooper, JV Grant (Rudden), Telford (Clarke). Subs: M Cooper, Riley, Randall, Taylor. Subs: Cooper, Riley, Randall, Taylor.
In better news for Argyle, goalkeeper Mike Cooper has signed an extended contract to keep him at Home Park until the summer of 2022. 20 year old Cooper has progressed to second choice this season and Ryan Lowe said: "We feel Coops has got big potential, he can go on and play at the highest levels. I have only come in this season, so it's been five or six months, and I've seen his qualities. When I asked the board to back me on extending his contract, it was a no brainer. We had to make sure we penned him down on a long-term contract, and he wanted to get it done; fair play to him for committing. We see Coops as being a big part of the future of Plymouth Argyle, and his chance will come if he keeps working the way he is."
George Cooper has grabbed his chance in the team with both hands and has said he's happy to play virtually anywhere if it helps the team thrive. He said: "I can play there because of the way I play but I have just got to find a way to get in the team. I did play at the start, when I first come, then I came out of the team and the team were winning, which is just football. I spoke to the gaffer and I've got a close relationship with him, so I trusted what he said. Now my time has come and hopefully I can kick on. It is hard being out of the team but it is football and it happens to everyone. If the team are winning, then the team are winning. I'll play anywhere, I don't mind, as long as it is not centre-half. I honestly don't mind playing anywhere, as long as I am in the team and winning. When your chance comes, you have just got to take it with both hands."
Ryan Lowe said of Cooper: "George is a good lad and a good footballer. We threw him in at the deep end because he hadn't played many games. He played four games on the bounce in ten days and he found it tough. He was tired and John got him up to speed, but then Danny was performing well. Last week at Cambridge showed me what he's got and he gave me a selection headache. He produced again and I think the celebration was a thank-you for me putting him back in the team. It's great when that happens because it shows the unity and togetherness. At the moment, Fadz has got a niggling injury and it's George's place to lose now. He's got to do the dirty work as well because there are times when he will be penned back the other way, but he can certainly do that. He deserves man-of-the-match. He's got a goal, an assist and spanked a few shots over the bar."
He went on to praise the role of the subs in helping Argyle grind out the result, adding: "Zak has been great and another one performing well in training, scoring a lot of goals and you think 'go on then. He gets in the right places at the right times and then Conor comes on, finds himself in the box and scores a good goal. We know we've got the strength in depth in the squad and it's about patience. I've spoken to all of them about that because there are a lot of games over Christmas and there will be changes along the way. There will be tiredness and potential injuries, so, if they keep performing with a great attitude, they'll get chances, like Conor and Zak did."
George Cooper declared his pleasure at Argyle's convincing win over Morecambe but added that we could have won the game by more goals on the day. He said: "It was a pleasure," he said, after experiencing the new hospitality area. "It is unbelievable really. It's not a League Two ground and everyone knows that – it's Championship. Or more. It's bigger than Bournemouth, isn't it? But it's up to us and the staff to get us to where we belong. It was a tough game but, as everyone saw, we were on top and the goal was coming. The ten men did help us but we would have gone on to win the game anyway. It was just key for us to get the first goal. The gaffer was on about a fast start, which we did have. I think we had about six or seven corners in the first ten minutes. When the first goal came, we got the second one and it was done."
Ryan Lowe praised the persistence: "It was persistence, especially in the first half, because we obviously knew what they were going to do. They were going to sit deep with two banks of four, we knew they would try and make it difficult for us and they did. Once we got the free-kick and penalty it changed. It's hard when there is a man sent off but, for us, the way we moved the ball quick, the tempo, two wing-backs in positions high up the pitch, we knew we would cause any team problems with that line-up. Credit to the boys. Mentally, they were at it because it's tough when you're playing bottom of the league. Everyone expects you to win 3-0, or four or five. We've got three goals and a clean sheet, so I'm happy. We worked on something a little different through the week in terms of the two wing-backs, Byron and George. With all due respect to Morecambe, we knew we could get at them and nullify their weaknesses. We certainly did that with crosses into the box and shots. I would have liked a little more on target but I thought the overall play from back to front was very good. If you concede a goal, it is a sucker-punch. We knew it would be hard to break them down but, once we did, chances would come."
He added specific praise for Antoni Sarcevic who he said had nerves of steel following his penalty miss in Bristol the other week. Lowe: "Sarce has been terrific and he's actually got a bit of illness. To get through 70 minutes and have the bottle to take the penalty was great. He's big enough, man enough and brave enough. Fair play to him, he smashed right in and that's what good people and good characters can do."
"Towards the end, it was about keeping the ball. We didn't need to score again, just don't concede, and Alex has made a good save at 2-0. It's hard because you don't want to criticise and what we've done is put in a professional performance. The mentality of my lads was perfect because you could easily get carried away and think Morecambe are bottom of the league. I'd never let my team do that and the players wouldn't do it, so I'm pleased with the professionalism."
Argyle returned to winning ways in style with a 3-0 thumping of strugglers Morecambe. The shrimps went down to ten men late in the first half and George Cooper immediately opened the scoring for Argyle with his first goal for the club, directly from the free-kick. Minutes after, Joel Grant was fouled for a penalty and Antoni Sarcevic made no mistake. Argyle kept the second half comfortable and Conor Grant got in on the act with a strike in the dying embers of the game. Argyle: Palmer, Wootton, Canavan, Sawyer, J Grant, B Moore, Sarcevic(C Grant), Mayor, G Cooper, JV Grant(Rudden), Telford(Clarke). Subs: M Cooper, Riley, Randell, Taylor.
Ryan Lowe insisted that last week's loss at Cambridge should be treated as a chance to learn and improve rather than a source of frustration. The manager explained: "Consistency is the key at any level, I'm a manager in League Two, my players are playing in League Two and when you go up a notch, you fall by the wayside without consistency. We know there is work to improve and people say that when you lose a game of football, you don't really lose, you learn. If we were excellent right the way through the season, there would be nothing to work on. I want to win every game but when you lose a game and you haven't done quite as well in the game, it's not time to rip up the philosophy and start again. You learn from it and be better next time. The first 45 minutes, as I said after the game, cost us a point, potentially three. We take nothing away from Cambridge, they got an early goal, they were solid, resolute and we couldn't break them down. It hasn't knocked us, we're at home now and we've got a good record at home."
Lowe also spoke about the appointment of new physio Dave Galley, confirming beyond doubt that he has now joined Argyle on a permanent basis. Lowe said: "First and foremost, I haven't had the chance to thank Paul Atkinson. He'd been here a long time, served the club fantastically and was great for us, a great personality and a great bloke. Sometimes, you have to move on in life and that's just the way it is. He worked with us from the start of the season and I just felt I wanted my own people around, and my own people to do the work I wanted. We had to wait and Director of Football Neil Dewsnip had to go and do some work but, once we found Dave, he came in for Bristol Rovers and Cambridge, and now he's decided to join us. We're all very pleased with that, he's a big character and a top physio. He's proven with the record of where he's been. He's won the Champions League Final and I'm more than happy. He comes with great pedigree and great experience. Once he became available, we had to get him. We've lost a good physio in Paul and when you lose a good physio, you have to get another one. It shows the strength of everything we've got around us, the Board of Directors, staff and players. Come January, we'll hopefully add a couple more and keep moving in the right direction."
Regarding Callum McFadzean's injury, Lowe added: "He's not trained and we're just waiting for the scan news. He feels fine in himself but I'm not going to question Dave Galley. Fadz had a few whacks and a few issues early in the season. We will be cautious and make sure he's not rushed back, which is the most important thing. We'll keep monitoring Fadz and the likelihood is that he'll probably miss Saturday."
One definite unavailability will be Joe Edwards who has now picked up his fifth yellow card of the season. Lowe explained: "He will miss it because of five yellow cards but that gives someone else an opportunity. I've watched training closely and looked at where we can score goals and hurt Morecambe. Whoever is training the best and wants that opportunity, putting their neck on the line for the manager to make me pick them, that's what I look for. We've got plenty of players who can play in different roles and we'll make sure we pick the right one."
After a tricky first season at the club, Scott Wootton said that he has now finally found his place in the Argyle team on the right side of a back three. He evaluated: "It's gone alright, I've been fairly pleased with my personal levels of performance. That comes when the team plays better, it's perceived that you play better personally. I feel fit, I feel confident and I feel like I'm in a good place at the moment. Playing games helps each other know what we're going to do in certain situations," he said. "I think throughout the season we've had a couple of blips, but in general, the back three have all done well together. Individually as well, and we need to continue that, so we concede as few goals as possible to help the team climb up the league. If I see a chance, I feel comfortable going forward, it's something I want to add to my game playing in the three at the back. To allow the outside centre-backs to get forward, I want to keep improving on it."
"We've not lost consecutive games for a while now, which is obviously pleasing, so we've got to bounce back this weekend. It is massively down to the spirit of the group, it's a really good atmosphere. The spirit's fantastic amongst the group the staff the players, they've recruited good lads as well as good players, so credit to the manager for that. All the new staff and the old staff who were here have really gelled well. They started in pre-season and, regardless of results, there's a very good atmosphere here, which I think is important to be able to bounce back. Games come thick and fast, you finish a game and before you know it, you've got to prepare for another, so you've just got to put one game to bed as soon as possible really. Review, reflect and move on. Physically, you've got to do the right thing because there's games every two or three days, which is obviously tough, both mentally and physically."
Wootton also spoke about the pending return of ex-manager Derek Adams, as he returns with his new side Morecambe: "There's no easy games, Morecambe are fighting for their lives at the bottom of the table, so they'll come here fighting for their lives. We've done well against the top teams in the league but had some poorer results against teams in the bottom half earlier in the season, so we won't be taking it lightly at all. I've come up against previous managers teams before, you tend to know how they play, but it's not about Derek Adams, it's about Morecambe and Plymouth. I think he always tried to nullify the oppositions strengths, I'm sure he'll have his players fired up to nullify our strengths too."
"It feels like a different club, everything about it, the changing room, training pitch, different players. Derek Adams will know some players, their strengths and weaknesses. I'm sure he'll watch the games and know how we play, but it's one thing to know how we play but if we play well, we're confident that we can win and they've got to try and stop that. It's amazing, the changes in the club, credit to the manager for bringing in great staff and players and bringing in a good vibe, credit to the people behind the scenes for the facilities. It feels like a different club almost in certain aspects. They're completely different characters. Derek kept a lot more to his chest, the new manager has been fantastic, you can come to him about anything, football or non-football, he's very approachable and knows exactly what he wants. Training's different, but there's no right or wrong way to play football."
Lowe added on the return of his predecessor: "Derek did a good job here, he won promotion and maybe his time was up at the right time, but it's not about me or Derek Adams. He's professional about his job and he'll be coming here to get some points, the same as we're looking to get points. He is a respected manager, he did a fantastic job here and maybe his time was up, but I don't know whether he feels aggrieved. When you get a promotion on your CV with a football club, I am sure there is some generosity to say thanks. I don't think the fans will be overly concerned about Derek, they'll be concerned about helping us to get three points. It's what happens in football, managers come and go. If you have a 15-year career, you will probably work under 10 – 12 managers, maybe even 15 these days. There might be one or two who weren't playing under him and now are playing, so they might want to prove a point and show they were good enough, but I don't think Derek will be worried about that and my players won't be either. There is always going to be change when a new manager comes into a football club."
Ryan Lowe shrugged off personal praise following nominations for himself and Antoni Sarcevic for manager and player of the month awards for November, instead stating the importance of a team effort. Lowe said of the recognition: "It's recognition for everyone involved and, as I've said before, if you can find that consistent balance, accolades and nominations come along. I'm with a lot of good managers who are doing the same things. They are all doing the right things, trying to get up the top of the table, trying to win games of football. It's good recognition for the work we're doing but the big reward comes at the end of the season. It's good for Sarce to be nominated and a boost of confidence for him, along with the other players on that list. Any nomination, award or personal accolade is always nice."
After a successful November for Argyle, Ryan Lowe and Antoni Sarcevic have both been nominated for individual awards. Lowe led his team to a 100% record with three wins, one in the FA Cup and Sarcevic rounded off a good individual month with a long range strike to win the game away to Forest Green Rovers.
Ryan Lowe has called upon his side to make the improvements that are needed to turn themselves from a good side into a great one and put the kind of winning run together that makes promotion a probability. He said of his side: "It's alright winning two, three, four games but you need to win seven, eight, nine, and that's what we'll be looking to do. I'm disappointed and they are aware of it. You can't come to Cambridge and put in a performance like that in the first-half. In saying that, we gave them the goal, we haven't tracked our runner, given the ball away and not closed our man down. At worst, we should have been coming off the pitch with a 0-0. If you give the ball away in certain areas, it's not going to help. The possession stats say we were on top but it doesn't matter if you give the ball away in cheap areas because you'll get punished. We didn't quite get the rub of the green. Coops' free-kick has gone a yard wide, we've had shots and made them work, but it should have been a 0-0. It didn't quite work in the 18-yard box, we didn't have that clinical edge someone has to give. We've got some fantastic attacking players but it didn't happen. The first-half performance has cost us a point. We've got to keep working hard, keep listening and learning. We make sure when we've lost a game of football that we get on the training pitch to put it right. The players have been told in the right way and if you want to be a mid-table team, you're not going to achieve anything. If you want to be progressive, get into the play-off positions and push on from there, you've got to roll your sleeves up and do the right things."
Ryan Lowe admitted that Argyle's first half display was nowhere near good enough as Argyle went down to a tepid 1-0 defeat at Cambridge United. He decried the performance, moaning: "The first-half was nowhere near good enough and we expressed that at half-time, hence the second-half was a lot better. You can't have too many of your big players off their game and fair play to Cambridge, they go about their business in the right way, they were aggressive, move the ball quick and we couldn't live with it. Second-ball, we were nowhere near, and the first-half performance doesn't epitomise me, doesn't epitomise my staff, doesn't epitomise the football club, and the players were made aware of that. I don't want to be giving out a rollicking at half-time to get them to play. We were the better team in the second-half but didn't quite have that quality to score. We were feeling confident and in good spirits, but I'll always say that we are work in progress. At times, you look a very good team, then you falter a bit, then look a good team again. It is the inconsistency of the league but we need to find that balance and, once we do, there will be a smoother ride."
Argyle's unbeaten run has come to an end following a drab 1-0 loss at Cambridge United. An early Ambers goal proceeded an uncharacteristically slow 45 minutes and a second half improvement was not enough to stall the loss. Argyle: Palmer, Wootton, Canavan, Sawyer, J Grant, Edwards (G Cooper), Sarcevic, Mayor, C Grant (JV Grant), Telford (Clarke), B Moore. Subs: M Cooper, Riley, Taylor, Rudden.
Assistant manager Steven Schumacher has said that Argyle are in a good place at the moment, following a good run of recent form going into Saturday's trip to Cambridge. He said: "The lads have been great in putting the Rovers game to bed and focussing on Cambridge, so the mood in the camp is good. We feel like we're in a good place at the moment and we're getting better with each game. It took a bit of time but we were under no illusions about that. We knew we couldn't be right at it from minute one but the players are improving, they're understanding the messages a bit more and the performances are showing. It's important we don't just rest now and think we're ok because we're playing well. We've got to keep going every single day in training, giving the same information, getting better at it and tweaking the finer details. Bristol Rovers was exciting at the end, we were disappointed not to get through at the first tine of asking but it was a good game, and two good sides went at it. It was entertaining for the fans to watch and we were in the hat for the draw on Monday, which is what we wanted. We played well, created a few good chances, as did Bristol Rovers, and a hard-fought FA Cup tie."
"You've got to show character to get up and take a penalty in the first place. He was gutted after the game, as anyone would be, but he came back in for training and all forgotten about. He's a good penalty-taker, he strikes them well and practises them in training. I could see what he was trying to do with the second one and I probably would have done the same, gone straight down the middle, but he didn't quite get it off the floor enough."
Schumacher remains hopeful of Callum McFadzean being involved in the game after being riddled with injury of late, adding: "Fadz is training with us, he took a nasty whack on his knee but he's going to come out and give it a go. Credit to him, he's still a bit sore but that's the type of lad he is, because he knows if he comes out of the team, there are people behind him, ready to take his spot. Conor Grant did great when he came on at Bristol Rovers and helped us going forward. Apart from that, we're fit and healthy and we'll see how we go."
Argyle defender Michael Peck and striker Alex Fletcher have added to the supplement of Argyle players out on loan, both joining Tiverton Town on loan for one month. They have already had loan spells this season at Dorchester and Aldershot respectively.
Alex Palmer has looked ahead with anticipation to Argyle's game against Cambridge, hoping that it could see the greens continue to build on the connections they've made in recent weeks. He said: "We know that Cambridge away from home will be a tough game, but we also know that if we play as well as we can, we can get a result. I played them last year when I made my debut for Oldham. They are a good team and have good players, but it is about us. It the defence has been really good in the last couple of weeks. We have been putting in some good displays and defensively we've been pretty solid, that is testament to how well we've been playing. This is the kind of football we play and we were always going to take time to gel and make connections with each other as well. It was only a matter of time before we would gel."
Steven Schumacher has spoke about the elevation of Neil Dewsnip to the Director of Football role, explaining the benefits he thinks he will bring to the club. Schumacher said: "I met Ryan in 2007 when I signed for Crewe but I knew of him before that, obviously being from the same city. I played with him at Crewe for a couple of years and at Bury for a couple of years after that. It does get a bit feisty. Apart from the fact he's Liverpool and I'm Everton, it does get feisty because we're both passionate people and strong-willed with our ideas. We bounce off each other really well and Neil does sometimes get in the middle to referee. It's important to have that senior figure, helping out and giving us bits of advice, so we hopefully come to the right decision. Ryan is probably a bit more impulsive, that's his strength, he feels a lot of things in his gut. I'm probably a little more thoughtful and do things slightly differently. As long as we come to the right decision at the end, that's all that matters. It's brilliant to have Neil here. We've known each other for a long time and he's fantastic, with all the experience in the world. He helped me and Ryan last season at Bury and we asked him to come and do the same sort of thing for us down here. His role has evolved and developed. He's now fully part of the Green Army, the Board of Directors are pleased to be working him and we're made up to have someone of his calibre on board, except for my missus, because he stays with us quite often and we have the odd glass of red wine."
Following the departure of long standing stalwart Paul Atkinson, Argyle have taken on former Liverpool and England Under-21 physio Dave Galley to fill the role. Galley has worked extensively in football, including stints as Nottingham Forest's Head of Medicine and Sports Science and Head Physio at Sunderland.
Argyle's FA Cup second round replay against Bristol Rovers will take place on Tuesday, December 17, kick-off 7.30pm. The game will receive live broadcast coverage by BT Sport.
Ryan Lowe spoke positively of a good performance that saw Argyle take Bristol Rovers to a replay, even though the chance to win the game was squandered late on. Lowe: "The last 15 minutes were a proper cup tie. Our lads played some good football and created a few opportunities to score, especially in the first half, but it wasn't to be. Overall, I'm happy because, with 15 minutes to go, we were potentially out of the FA Cup and then with 60 seconds to go, we were potentially through to the next round. I can't fault the boys, they've been terrific. I don't know what the possession stats were but we will always try to dominate possession stats, with our flow and the way we want to play our football, from the back and through the thirds. We're getting better, keep learning, keep improving and I think we proved that today. We've got a great set of lads, playing the right style of football and we're getting better. We had an attacking bench because, in the cup competitions, you may want to throw on three strikers to try and lift it. In terms of selection, the team picked itself. The lads are on a good run of form and they've all been terrific in training as well. Today, was a result we will take because we are in the hat."
"I'm always proud of them and want them to do the right things. I think everyone can see we're getting better with every game we play. We're looking forward to it [the replay] but we first turn our attention to Cambridge. We're all look forward to the FA Cup and we have to get back to Home Park, where it will be nice to have the incentive of a big-hitter, but it's the same for them."
"Sarce hit it well but the 'keeper made a good save. The first one was a great penalty by Sarce and the second one he's gone down the middle, but it was a great save from the 'keeper because he gambled. Sarce has been terrific, he's been top drawer. He was a bit disappointed but I said to him that you can't be disappointed because you got us level, and we had the chance to win it, but it is what it is."
Gary Sawyer echoed the words of his manager regarding a positive performance in the game. He praised: "I think, especially in the first half, we played really well. We probably just needed to be a bit more clinical up top and just put one or two of those chances away, it could have been a different game then. Credit to the boys, we fight back, and we nearly got ourselves to the win that we wanted, in the end, but unfortunately it wasn't meant to be. It was a good move from them," Gaz said. "It was a good goal and, if you watch it back, it was well played. We couldn't get anything on it to try and block it or anything which we had done throughout the whole game, we just couldn't get that one and that added to a frantic end, for the last 15 minutes or so. I think potentially there was another penalty or two in the game for us but unfortunately it was one of those things, that's a hard thing to take.
"I thought the foul on Danny Mayor before was more of a penalty, from where I was standing, than the one when he got brought down. He drives into players, Danny's great at that, so it's just unfortunate that we couldn't get the win."
"It's always a little bit feisty, it's a derby game for us as such and it was a good game but finished in a mad way. We've got a replay now and, for both teams, we can look at the draw on Monday and we'll know the incentive for the next game. I would never have a grudge against anyone if you are willing to take them, especially in those circumstances. Sarce is a strong character, so he wanted to take it. He got the first one and unfortunately it didn't come off for him for the second, but there will be no blame put on him by anyone. If anything, he has been our stand-out player recently, he had a fantastic game and that second penalty would've capped an unbelievable performance for him, just to get those two goals, and the winning goal, but unfortunately it wasn't to be. Sarce is a strong bloke, and he will be able to hold his hand up and take another one if it comes up in the replay. To take two penalties against the same 'keeper in one game, especially with one in the 95th minute, is not an easy thing to do, so fair play to Sarce who stepped up to do it, it's not something I would like to do."
Should Argyle progress into the third round, they will play either Coventry City or Ipswich at Home Park. It will take place in the first weekend of the New Year.
Argyle are in the hat for the FA Cup third round following an eventful 1-1 draw at Westcountry rivals Bristol Rovers. An end to end game saw Rovers take the lead with 12 minutes left before a good Argyle response saw Antoni Sarcevic level things up from the spot. A Byron Moore break nearly saw Argyle get a winner, before he was brought down giving Sarcevic the opportunity to score from the spot again. Sadly a weak penalty was saved. Argyle: Palmer, Wootton, Canavan, Sawyer, J Grant(G Cooper), Edwards, Sarcevic, Mayor, McFadzean (C Grant), JV Grant(Telford), B Moore. Subs: M Cooper, Taylor, Clarke, Rudden.
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