A Round-up of Argyle News
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Derek Adams confirmed that Freddie Ladapo is an injury doubt ahead of Argyle's trip to Sunderland on Saturday. The manager explained: "We have got a doubt over Freddie Ladapo. He has got a thigh injury and hasn't trained Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. We obviously have to assess it before Saturday's game. He is one of the top goal-scorers in the division and everyone would like to play at the Stadium of Light and show their talents, but we will see if he is able to come through the slight injury that he has."
"Ryan Taylor was one of our best performers last season, so we have got good competition for places and he would come in and replace Freddie if he is out. Jamie Ness and Conor Grant played 45 minutes and have been training for a few days, so it has allowed them to get some game-time and some training time. They will continue to get some game-time. We have a game in the reserves at the weekend and then we've got MK Dons on Tuesday night, there is an opportunity for them to play then."
Adams also admitted that a settled eleven was to thank for Argyle's good run of form but refused to be drawn as to who would replacer the suspended Antoni Sarcevic in the side. He said: "Anderson has fitted in well and was able to make his debut against Rochdale. He came down and worked hard in training, he has got a good pedigree, played in the Championship a good number of times and fits into our system of play, and is the type of player that we were looking for going into the window.
"It didn't do Oscar Threlkeld any harm, he got a goal and he was on for about 15 minutes. He has always enjoyed coming back here and has done well for me over the last three spells he has been here. It's the same for Lloyd Jones and Oscar Threlkeld. They have got good players in front of them and are pushing to get into the starting 11. It is an opportunity for them, they have got two games where Antoni is out, and they can stake a claim."
Of Argyle's big deal out at Sunderland, Gary Sawyer said: "As a player, having Sunderland in League One is great for every team. You can't hide that, when the fixtures come out, you look to see where they are and when you're going to play them. It's going to be great for the boys to go up and play there. We're on a good run at the minute and we want to continue that. Sunderland are the next ones in the way, so we will do everything we can to beat them. That's the key thing, we're not going to go up there and just accept trying to get a draw out of them. We'll try and beat them."
"I think you can't look past Sunderland, with the stature of the club, where it's been. It's nice to have them down in League One, to get a chance to play them, but I think Luton and Barnsley at the minute, Luton especially, merit where they are. Sunderland, being who they are, would expect to be well up there. I think it's a good time to play them. The pitch should be similar to ours, which I think will help us. In the situation we're in, I don't think we're fearing anyone. It's a massive game for us, we know how good a team and how good a club they are. I think we have to go up there to play. We're not built to go up there and not try and win the game of football, so we have to try and win."
Argyle will be hosting the next Fans' Forum for the Green Army on Wednesday, March 20 in the Green Taverners Suite at Home Park. Chairman Simon Hallett will be in attendance, along with senior club officials, to answer questions on all things Argyle, including progress on the stadium redevelopment at Home Park. Doors will open at 6.30pm for a 7.30pm start.
New signing Paul Anderson is realistic about the fact that the chances of match action with Argyle may be limited with the likes of Graham Carey and Ruben Lameiras already at the club but he insists he will do what he can, when he can. The winger said: They are both very gifted players and will win a game for you. Every team needs those. From my point of view, I think I have to be realistic that I'm probably not quite match fit. I have to work as hard as I possibly can in training, and give everything I have got. At the minute, I'm probably there as support to the front three/four.Given an opportunity, I will give everything I have got. I'm here to get minutes for myself but also to help this team if they need me at any point to get to safety and, if more, then it's a bonus. I'm very fortunate. I'm small, slim and naturally fit. I never have to worry about being in the fat clubs that clubs have. I don't have to worry about my weight or anything like that. You put runs on and I will be just as fit as the other ones, but match sharpness is slightly different. Again, whatever minutes I'm given, whether it's reserve games or other ones, that's going to get me there. If you put me on the pitch I would give you a good 70 minutes now, and managers look at potentially changing it at that stage anyway. After one or two games, I will be right up there. It's just getting back into the normal routine of actually playing games."
"I think a 4-3-3 actually suits me really well, as one of the three up top. Left of the three is where I feel most comfortable, even though I'm right-footed. I prefer it that side, both going inside and out. But also on the right, I believe I have got good delivery. I can put in quite clever little crosses. I'm a hard-working player. That's what I have based my career on. I have worked extremely hard. I have played for defensive managers who have wanted me to do the nitty, gritty side of it. I'm more than happy to do that as well when the times get tough in certain games. I still believe, if I had a really good pre-season under my belt and was given game opportunity, that I have the ability to play in the Championship. That is where my aim is to be. I know it's not going to be easy because people look at 30-year-olds and think they are old, but I have still got plenty of years left."
"I'm here for two months. My contract will end in May. If I have done enough, I'm sure there will be a conversation maybe for something to go on next year. But, also, I have got to be realistic that I'm focusing on what I can do today and tomorrow. Again, I will give my absolute everything. If it's enough to warrant contract talks in the summer, brilliant. If it's not, I hope that I have helped the club in the short period of time. Then, from my point of view, I have got a few games under my belt and maybe other people will be watching and someone else will have a bit of an interest in me. To get the opportunity to come to the league above as well, you never know you might get minutes against Sunderland, or whoever. From my point of view, I do have to be selfish, and there are other players that are out of contract in the summer as well. They will be thinking exactly the same, that we all need a job. I will work hard to be given an opportunity to get as good a job as I can possibly get. If that was here, it would be amazing. I have been here a week. The weather has been beautiful. I'm not used to it! I have got to take it day by day and give everything I have got for the nine weeks now and hope that something good comes of it at the end of it."
Derek Adams stated the importance of squad depth, after bringing on all three of his 2019 signings in the closing stages of Argyle's win against Rochdale: "Good finish from Oscar Threlkeld. He came on for the last five-minutes of the game. It gave him a bit of game-time. It was important to get the three of them back on the pitch. Lloyd Jones made his debut, we had Anderson and Oscar Threlkeld. I just gave them a run-out, we had obviously finished the game by that point, and it gives them an opportunity to play in front of the home fans and make their debuts. He gives us a different option. Joel Grant is obviously out, and he gives us that experience where he knows when to run forward, when to keep the ball. He's played at Championship level, so we're delighted to have him for the remainder of the season. At the start of the season, we were unfortunate with injuries, we didn't have a settled team, and we could've won games that we lost. Now we've got a consistency that we are playing to."
"He's obviously got booked for simulation, so he's going to miss the two games now .That's the way it is, somebody else gets the opportunity, and we move on. He's disappointed that he's going to miss two games, but coming off a fabulous victory, 5-1, he's delighted for his teammates. We've got two big games, we'll obviously miss him for those games, but we've got a good squad now that is looking forward to the final twelve games of the season."
Oscar Threlkeld dedicated his goal against Rochdale to the green army after waiting a long time for his return to the side. He said of the wait: "It's another debut for me and obviously a great reaction from the supporters, it felt like I had never been away. It does feel great, the fans have stuck by me even though I went away and came back, that goal was my gift to them. I'm old enough to know about being patient in football, me and the gaffer have a great relationship, if I need to talk to him I'll go and speak to him, and vice versa. Once I get on the pitch, I just have to give it my all. I did that away at Bradford and here today, so it's going to give him a headache. I just have to work hard. It was great to get on and get some minutes. Obviously, it has been a long time coming, I couldn't get in the team because they've been playing so well and winning games, so I had to wait my turn."
Threlkeld also spoke about the possibility of playing in the game at Sunderland due to Antoni Sarcevic's absence having incurred a two match ban for ten yellow cards, adding: "Rochdale are that sort of team where they look for our mistakes and play on the counter. Eddy made a mistake but he will get over it, and he scored to get everyone back on his side. I have to knuckle down in training again and say in my own head that I am playing at Sunderland. If I'm not, then that's totally up to the gaffer but it showed against Rochdale that I am ready to play. In training, everyone has to be on it to give the gaffer a headache. Once we do that in training through the week, then its up to the gaffer to make a decision. I'm sure whoever he puts in on Saturday will do a job for us. It's a possibility that I could play. I'm a versatile player and happy to play wherever, as long as I'm on the pitch."
Derek Adams expressed his delight at the dominance of the performance that saw Argyle emerge 5-1 victors. He praised the strength of his players: "The team are in fantastic form, and if you look over the years, there'll not be too many more teams that play with the excitement and technical ability that this team can. We are good going forward, we probably weren't clinical enough in the first-half, but we certainly were in the second. It was a very big win for us today, to win 5-1, we probably could have scored a lot more in the first half. We had a lot of opportunities on goal, and we were really unfortunate just to go in at 1-0 at half-time. We got the advantage in the second-half and scored the goals."
"It was a straight red card. Freddie Ladapo was right through on goal, and Ebanks-Landell flicks the ball away. We dominated possession in the first-half. The amount of opportunities we had in the 18-yard-box, the goalkeeper's had a very good game for them. Straight after half-time, we've given away a sloppy goal, Ryan Edwards' pass-back, and they've got a lift from that, but they get a player sent-off and we go on and score a further four goals."
"We were on the front-foot, we played in a way that we were always going to score goals, it was just a matter of time, and how many we were going to get today. We go to Sunderland in good form. We've sold over 1,300 tickets already, before we even get to Monday, so it's a terrific following we'll take there. They're a good side, they are the heavyweights in the division, and we've got nothing to lose. It's great, and we should really take all the staff up there and show them what this football club should aspire to. A lot of learning would be involved if that were to happen. We've got a long way to go, inside this football club, to even get out of League One. You can always aspire to do that, but you need to learn from other people as well. It's a game of football that we'll go and enjoy. We'll leave on Friday morning, travel up on the bus, play the game, and hopefully come away with a victory and move on to the next game."
Adams reserved special praise for striker Freddie Ladapo who grabbed a brace in the game: "He's one of the best strikers in the division, and I think that his goal record shows that Delighted for Freddie, his first one was outstanding, he took it with his right foot, he swiveled and hit it into the top corner. His second one as well, he runs away, which he does quite a bit, and was composed with the finish."
"We rely heavily on Freddie Ladapo to score goals as well, but to get different goal-scorers in the team is important, and the goal difference has certainly helped us because it's put us in a much better position. It was a terrific finish, to curl it in with his right-foot, into the far top corner. Oscar's was a good one as well because it got cut back. Edwards gets a goal as well, to make it 2-1. I think it was great for the team that were here , from the 1970s, to see the outstanding play that gets fans off their seats."
Argyle's good run of form has continued in style with an impressive 5-1 win over Peterborough. Argyle dominated the first half and went in one goal up thanks to a Freddie Ladapo strike. A slip-up from Ryan Edwards let Rochdale back into the game at 1-1 but the visitors were soon reduced to ten men for denying a clear goalscoring opportunity. Four Argyle goals followed including one off the bench from Oscar Threlkeld on his return to Home Park. Edwards also made amends with a goal, Ladapo bagged a brace and there was a first home goal for Ashley Smith-Brown. Argyle: Letheren, Smith-Brown, Edwards, Canavan(Jones), Sawyer, Songo'o, Fox(Threlkeld), Carey(Anderson), Sarcevic, Lameiras, Ladapo. Subs: Macey, Riley, Wootton, Taylor.
Winger and former trialist Paul Anderson has joined Argyle on a temporary contract until the end of the season. The Liverpool youth graduate has been recently released by Mansfield after spells with Hull, Bristol City and Ipswich. The 30 year old can play on either flank.
Anderson spoke of new beginnings and the hope he can rediscover his best form at Home Park: "It's been the whole of this season really without getting to be a part of a first-team game. For me, that's been difficult, because for the most of my career I've been in and around the first-team. That atmosphere, walking out in front of the fans, I've really missed it. Hopefully, I can just get back playing, get the minutes I want and whatever I can help Plymouth with, I'll do my best. I thought I did relatively well in the first-half in the central league game. Second-half, I found it quite a scrappy game, it was difficult for anyone to impress, really. I felt relatively sharp considering I haven't played that many games this season. I'll bring the odd bit of creativity here and there, but for me, at this moment in time, I'm just desperate to get in with the lads, get as fit as possible, and whatever time and minutes I'm given, I'll give everything I've got."
Ashley Smith-Brown looked ahead to the game against Rochdale in the hope that better conditions would bring success for the greens after the hailstorm in the away game at Spotland. Smith-Brown said: "It was a tough game away from home. I remember the weather wasn't great. Hopefully, we can get all three points. I think we've played much better at home, due to the fans and the atmosphere they create. I feel like if we can keep a clean sheet round to the 60 or 70th minute mark, then I think we're fitter than most teams. I feel like we've got a good leg to stand on and a good chance to win the game."
"I've never had any problems here, even when the weather's been in raining and hailstorm, the pitch has always been in top condition, so that's merit to the ground-staff. I always enjoy playing on it. You don't want to say it's an excuse for playing better football because, at the end of the day, both teams are playing on the same pitch, but every footballer loves playing on carpet."
Derek Adams previewed the weekend's game too, saying: "They had a game against Wimbledon, where it was end-to-end and finished 4-3," said Derek. "They are putting themselves under pressure and they have not been able to get the results that they want. That happens at some stages in the season, but we have to continue the run that we are on. It doesn't help us, it doesn't hinder us, it's a difficult one sometimes. They were at home, so they haven't had much travelling to do. We have had the chance to have a few days off to recover. We want to try and increase the gap between us and Rochdale, we want to go and win the match, catch the teams above us and open up the gap between us. At Bradford last week, we had to settle for a point because it was a tense game at times and that's what happens at this stage in the season. I think Keith Hill will enjoy coming back, he always does, he had some good times here as a player and when you do come back to your old team, you look to see the friends you had here before and enjoy managing against them,
Ashley Smith-Brown has spoken of his ease and comfort with the subject of changing flanks, having spent most of 2019 so far playing at right-back. The youngster was a left-back for most of the first part of the season. He detailed: "I don't mind either, I feel comfortable playing on both sides. As long as I'm out on the pitch, that's all that matters, really. It was a difficult start for most of us, really, because of the results. I feel like now I'm starting to slowly get a bit more consistency, and that's what I want really to get a good run of games and to finish the season strong. I have played right-back before. I played there at City, in the reserves, and played there for England as well, so I didn't feel uncomfortable in the change to right-back."
"There's loads of right-backs, and there's competition all over the place. You've always got to be at it in training. You have to play your own game, you can't go into the game being hesitant. That's when you might get a yellow card, if you start playing like that. I have to be careful for the next four games, or it's a two-match ban. Hopefully I don't get a yellow card, let's put it that way but you never know what's going happen in a game, so I just have to be careful. Hopefully, I just win the ball every time I go for a tackle."
Smith-Brown added that he has no regrets about swapping the Premier League club for the rough and tumble of League One: "It's a bit far from home," said Ash, "but it's something that I've done before and it's nothing I'm not used to. I'm enjoying my time here, and I'm enjoying the football as well. There's probably a bit more demand to win here. Obviously, the results mean a bit more to people - we're in a league - and in reserve football there's not much to play for at times. I'd probably say it's a bit more physical; you have to be strong in the tackle, that's probably the biggest difference. I've probably changed my play through experience. It's just the little things you have to cut out, like concentration; you have to be on it for the whole 90 minutes, and just probably communicate a bit more."
"Even if's miles away, the supporters still come out in their numbers. They always know how to encourage and spur us on, so they're a good bunch of fans. It's a big part of me coming here I knew what the fanbase and the support was like."
Derek Adams had a revelation of his own to make- that a trialist is currently bidding for a contract at Home Park and played in the central league game in midweek. Adams said: "We had a trialist in the central league game. We are obviously looking for a player in the forward area. We had a look at him in training, we had a look at him in the game, he has got a very good pedigree. Joel Grant will be out probably until the end of the season, so we are looking for someone in that area. We need to add strength in depth in that area. We haven't made a decision but we will wait until tomorrow to see if it goes the right way or the wrong way. If Joel was fit, we wouldn't have had to make another signing because he has done really well for us this season.
"We are judging the trialist's fitness, his technical ability, he is not right up to speed but we are looking at how quickly we can get him up to speed. That was the same with Oscar Threlkeld and Lloyd Jones, we are trying to get them as up to speed as quickly as possible, but we do need competition in the squad from now until the end of the season."
Argyle have announced that Paul Berne has joined the club Board of Directors.44 year old Berne is the Finance and Operations Director with Argyle's main sponsors Ginsters, as well as being a Director for Argyle Community Trust. Simon Hallett said: "On behalf of the Board, and all Pilgrims, I am delighted to welcome Paul as a Plymouth Argyle Director. He is already well known in and around the club and brings with him a wealth of experience and enthusiasm that will be invaluable."
In a separate development, Jo Cubbon has tendered her resignation from the Argyle Board, citing her other commitments as rendering her unable to give as much time to her role of director as she felt it deserved. Hallett added: "We understand Jo's reasons for standing down and thank her for her contribution to the Board. We wish her well for the future."
Kyle Letheren has said that after waiting so long to claim the number one jersey at Argyle, he has no plans to relinquish it any time soon. Letheren stated his intentions: "That's the plan. Matt is on fire in training every day and I have to be, too. While results are as they are, it's my jersey to lose. I'm fit and ready to go, just embracing it, loving it. You can tell, in training, that everyone wants to play and they have got to bide their time. When the team is doing as well as we are at the minute, it is tough for the boys on the bench. I have been there. I have been there a lot in my career. You have to keep mentally tough and believe in your ability. We have a great bench now and we will need everyone from now until the end of the season. Oscar Threlkeld came on at Bradford and slotted in at right-back like he had never been away. That was nice to see."
Of the Bradford game, Letheren added: "In the first half, there was nothing much in the game; G hit the post and we had a few good opportunities in and around the box. In the second half, we soaked up a lot of pressure, which you are going to do when you go away from home you are going to be under pressure at some point in the game. I thought we dealt with it well. At the end of the day, it's a good point. When we keep it tight at the back, we always have a chance going forward with the players that we have at the top of the park. A clean sheet and a point; we'll take that and move on."
"I think we have always been able to take anybody on. Earlier in the season, we were lacking a bit of confidence which showed in results, but we played Pompey last week and matched them, and could have won the game in the end. It was a good point, especially after they went 1-0 up. We have shown, in the last 10 games, that we can go foot to foot with anyone and we have the players to score goals. If we keep it tight at the back, which we have been doing we can't rest on our laurels, but we'll keep climbing that league. We just have to keep the scoreboard ticking over in the league and carry on going. There is a long way to go in the season. Staying up is the main thing and we'll just take it from there."
Derek Adams praised Argyle's battling performance in a 'stodgy' point away to Bradford after a 0-0 draw in which Argyle kept clear distance between ourselves and the relegation zone. He said: "If you had offered me a point before the game, I'd have taken it. It's a very good point for us. I think we had the better of it in the first half, and Bradford had the better of the second half. It keeps the points difference between ourselves and Bradford the same, and it also allows us to keep our position in the league. It's been a good day. The surface was a real sticking point. Flair players and most of the players on the pitch found it difficult to pass the ball. That was probably the way the game was: it was very scrappy. The ball was getting knocked back and forth a good number of times. You don't see good play on a surface like that."
Adams also praised the fantastic defensive performances put in by his side including a great stop by Kyle Letheren and a superb block from Niall Canavan. Adams: "If, earlier on in the season, we did then what we did today, we would be in a far better position. We've come away to Bradford, we take a point and move on. Letheren was going backwards, and it was an important save at that moment in time, because Bradford were in the ascendancy. It was a good header at the back post and he was able to claw it away."
"We got caught at the back post and shouldn't have allowed them in there in the first instance," said Derek, "but Niall did really well to cover his team-mates and knock the ball away for a corner. We were just on top of the game; we had a good bit of pressure. Graham hit the post; we had another couple of good opportunities; and a goal chalked off for offside. First half was more us; second half was more Bradford."
Letheren himself embraced the game and said that he loves nothing more than to be busy. He explained: "There is nothing worse for me than being stood there with nothing to do, so I enjoy it," said Kyle. "I like making saves, like having things to do; that's why I'm a goalkeeper. You have to thrive on it that's the way I take it. Everyone is different. I think I made them look a lot better than what they actually should have been. Doyle's headed it and I've slipped straight away, so I've had to dive from a low position. It was a bit of a camera save but I'll take it a save is a save. It doesn't matter how you keep it out the net as long as you do keep it out the net, that's the main thing. The other save the boy just got a cheeky flick and I've managed to be in the right place at the right time and defend half a goal because, when shots are flashed across you, you have to basically give up the far post and defend that area.
"That's what I've been taught and I've managed to be in the right place at the right time. The guy told me he didn't expect me to be in his face so quick, so decided to square it instead of shooting because I was there and covering the goal. That is pleasing, from an opponent's point of view, but Naz helped me out. He didn't give up on it. Some centre-halves would have conceded it, but he never gave up on me. I think that's a trait that I've got in my two centre-halves and they've got in me, as well. I managed to get myself in the team last year and I got a nasty quad injury that Joel Grant now has. He keeps asking me what it's like, but that's another story. It was disappointing to get injured when I did because I thought I hit a bit of form straight away when I came in. I take it as each day and each game comes, and just embrace it and show people what I can do, because I have been written off many times in my career. That is part and parcel of it, but, when people write me off, I just keep coming back stronger. I'm just embracing and enjoying it; if you don't enjoy playing, then there's something wrong."
Argyle racked up their second consecutive draw with a 0-0 stalemate at Valley Parade. The hosts had a flurry of chances towards the end but no goals were to be seen in the match. Argyle: Letheren, Smith-Brown(Threlkeld), Edwards, Canavan, Sawyer, Fox, Songo'o, Sarcevic, Lameiras(Taylor), Carey, Ladapo. Subs: Macey, Jones, Riley, Wootton, Jephcott.
Derek Adams revealed his plan to silence the crowd early ahead of the upcoming away fixture at Bradford. Adams spoke of the uniqueness of their ground, saying: "When you go there, you have try and silence the crowd. You have to play on the front foot and try to get that first goal, which is going to be advantageous to you. We've done well there in the past, we have won there, which was a really good experience, but it's a lovely venue to go and play at. The pitch is not in the best condition at this moment in time, just probably because of the structure of the building. Atmosphere-wise, they obviously sell a good number of season tickets before the start of the season. They've got a stadium that's 30,000 plus, with probably roughly 18,000 in it. Bury and MK Dons went down last year. This league never surprises anyone because if you can put a run together, you'll be at the top end, and if you put a bad run together, you'll be at the bottom end. Everybody's where they are at this moment in time with fourteen games to go. Bradford have got themselves into a situation where they had gotten out of the bottom zone, but dropped back in. They've done really well at home in recent times, so we've got to be at the top of our game. We've had a very good spell where we've been on the front foot and caused teams problems, and we're going to have to do exactly the same to Bradford. They lost last week against Fleetwood at home, and we'll probably have to do the same as Fleetwood did."
Derek Adams has revealed that Joe Mason will not be returning to his home-town club. Despite Adams' best attempts to lure the forward back to Home Park, Mason's agent has informed the club he'll be pursing options elsewhere. Joe won't be coming here," said Derek. "He has offers from other clubs in our division and the division below. We've obviously put an offer to him, but it's not going to happen for us. His agent has spoken to me and said that he's got very good offers, other than here, so we're not going to be able to do a deal there."
"It's not disappointing, it's just we've obviously tried to sign him and take him in, but we're never disappointed because we always just move on.
"We've got good cover in all areas, we are lacking probably one more player to come into the squad, but that would give us enough towards the end of the season. We're looking for somebody just to give us added depth in that area, we're probably one player short at this moment in time. If we are to get them, then we'll get them. We have Joel Grant out injured, and that's affected us a wee bit. We didn't think that he was going to be out towards the end of the season, but he's had to go for an operation.
"He was obviously out for a month, tried to come back and it didn't work. He got the muscle operation where they fix it back on to the tendon, and now he's at home for this moment in time. He can't do anything for a couple of weeks, he's on crutches, and then he'll come back in to try to get fit. It was a straight-forward operation, but the problem is the length of the rehabilitation. It was similar to the Kyle Letheren operation last season and it was the same surgeon who operated on them both."
Derek Adams spoke of the positive mentality around Home Park at the moment following Argyle's encouraging recent run of form. Adams: "We're trying to close the gap between ourselves and the top. We're a football club that looks forward, not a football club that looks down. The positive mentality is always involved in my managership at this football club; that's why we've had success at this football club. I'm a positive manager, not a negative manager, and look to do things on a yearly basis under the financial constraints at this football club. You've seen Portsmouth leave Vaughan on the bench, and don't even have Pitman in the 18. What a squad they have. We've always shown very good character throughout the season, and today was no different. You take Portsmouth, who are at the top of the table for a reason, they are a very accomplished football side. We had to be at it and stop them playing at times. We did that, we had 60-odd per cent possession of the game, which is not one of the things that you usually get against a Portsmouth team We took three points last week against a top-six team in Peterborough and we've taken one away from Portsmouth. They're all important games at this stage of the season. We've moved ourselves up another position in the table, to 15th, which is keeping us going in the right direction and all the rest of the results have gone with us."
Adams also offered words of encouragement to Graham Carey following his excellent goal and performance in the draw against Portsmouth, coming as it did in a slightly quieter season: "We got a free-kick on the edge of the area. Graham Carey, it was a magnificent strike from him to put it into the top corner. There's nothing the goalkeeper can do about it. It goes over the wall and the pace that was on the ball, it was always going to cause him a problem. You saw, after he scored the goal, the confidence he had after that."
"He had a bit of outrageous skill on the by-line to flick it around the defender and get it the other side. When you're in confident mood you try things that sometimes you wouldn't do. He's been the talisman for the number of seasons since I've been at the football club. Other people take over that mantle but Graham will get back to doing that. He's scored his first goal against Portsmouth on a very special occasion because it was a full-capacity crowd here. We've sent the home supporters away happy because they've seen a team with a bit of excitement, a bit of creativity, wanting to go on and win the match against a team at the top of the table."
Derek Adams spoke positively of Argyle's performance in their 1-1 draw with Pompey and explained the reversal to their typical 4-2-3-1 formation after the experiment with a diamond 4-4-2 at Peterborough. Adams said: "We felt that we were one or two passes away from getting into a good area, and we just had to get in behind their midfield. Ben Close was sitting deeper of the two in the midfield and was blocking a lot in to our striker, and our number 10 has had to come in off the side and get it and go wide. We were trying to get the space between midfield and defence to become bigger. That did happen as the game went on, but in the early stages of the game the two central midfielders from Portsmouth didn't push on to Fox or Songo'o; which enabled them to have a lot of the ball, but we couldn't find the striker. As the game went on, they started to come out of their pocket, so to speak, which allowed us to play in a better fashion."
"We couldn't go with a diamond against Portsmouth. They've got full-backs that get forward and wide players that are very dangerous. I don't think it would be the brightest idea to go with a diamond against them. We moved the ball quicker, the game then became more open and, when that happened, we were able to find our space and find the passes easier. We did get ourselves in the penalty box. I would say that Portsmouth defended very well in the later stages of the game, where they had a lot of players in the 18-yard box. They got a nick on the ball, a block, we got corner kicks from it, but they are where they are for a reason."
Adams went on to express his disappointment at receiving a yellow card in the game following an incident where a Portsmouth player appeared to kick the ball away following a foul awarded against him. Adams said: "Gareth Evans kicked the ball away after he was booked and he's launched it 50 yards out of play. The referee has not booked him. He should have been sent off from that, but he chose to give me a yellow card because I protested that he had kicked the ball away after he had blown the whistle. The referee said to me that Evans kicked the ball as the whistle went. I'll have to look at that on the video and slow it down. If that's the case, then I'll apologise to the referee. If it's not the case, I expect the referee to apologise to me."
Adams went on to reveal that Argyle had set a deadline for Joe Mason to accept or decline the offer of a contract, wanting an answer by the end of the weekend. Argyle's manager said: "Discussions just now are between myself and the agent. We'll obviously need to speak to Joe and see if he wants to come to the football club. We're not going to hang about, we move on. We'd obviously like him to come to the football club."
Graham Carey stated his relief at getting a goal after a long barren spell to cap a good performance in the game against Portsmouth, saying: "I was relieved, more than anything. What has it been? Twenty-four games since his last goal? I felt comfortable, standing over the free-kick, the wind helped; I knew I just had to get it on target and the wind would add a lot of pace to the ball. I felt like I owed the team a goal, so it was nice to see it go in. I think they were quite clever to switch and go with the wind in the first half. The wind was quite strong. We wanted to win the game, but circumstances changed in the game. When we went 1-0 down, we didn't change our mind-set and I felt we could have went on and won the game. We are on a good run at the minute and that keeps the momentum going. I think it's the way we have played in those games we looked comfortable, been on the front foot in large parts of those games. Four points out of six against two teams that are up there is a good week's work."
Argyle have drawn 1-1 with Portsmouth in the dockyard derby at Home Park thanks to a piece of magic from Graham Carey. Portsmouth opened the scoring but Carey broke his months-long goal duck with a stunning free-kick that ensured the spoils were shared. Argyle: Letheren, Smith-Brown, Edwards, Canavan, Sawyer, Songo'o, Fox, Carey, Sarcevic, Lameiras, Ladapo.
Ahead of Argyle's dockyard derby with Portsmouth, Derek Adams stated the vital role of finances in differentiating the respective positions of the clubs. He explained: "They spent well in the transfer market. They spent a lot of money transferring players into the football club, that's why they are in the position they are at this moment in time. That has come at a cost, they have taken in Vaughan and Bogle, they had Mason on loan from Wolves on big money, that shows you the financial clout that a team like Portsmouth have."
"Fans are the same as managers, we all want to bring success. The supporter has to understand that, financially, it has to be right for the football club. Some supporters don't understand the financial restrictions we have at this football club but the supporters you are talking about are only a handful. The vast majority understand the football club. It is where we are as a football club. Finance is vital and they [Portsmouth] have been able to recruit some big names. That's why the top six are the top six at this moment in time. If you look throughout the league, I don't think there are many teams that have spent less in the transfer market than we have over the last three years."
Incidentally, Argyle's game against Portsmouth will be the 200th that Derek Adams has managed for the club. Adams said of marking a milestone against such a regular opponent: "I always enjoy these games because they are full houses. We beat them in the play-off semi-final here, they are always big games and we love playing against them. To manage this football club for 200 games has been really exciting, we have come a long way in that time. I have had a very good relationship with the chairmen. We try to look after the football club as best we can and move it in the right direction."
Meanwhile, Lloyd Jones admitted that a nudge in the right direction from former Argyle star Sonny Bradley was pivotal in his decision to return to his hometown side, saying: "I talked to him loads about Argyle. When it came about, I did have a word with him, and he said 'go and smash it, play how I know you can play.' Sonny has been unbelievable actually. I get on really well with him, he's the heart of the defence at the moment. If he's not playing, then I think the results may have been different for Luton."
"I know of him, I know players who've worked with him, and they've all given glowing reports on the gaffer. I was really keen to come here. I've been here three training days, so I'm still getting used to it, but there's 15 games left in the season and I just want to hit the ground running."
"I thought we were really good against Peterborough. Even when it was 11-men we looked comfortable, and it was a solid performance. The best result in football is a 1-0 away win. It's a winning team. It's not me that picks the team at the end of the day, but we're winning and getting points, getting further away from the relegation. Like I said, though, I came here to play and hopefully that'll shine through."
First-year professional Harry Hodges has seen his loan at Gloucester City extended until the end of the season, after having initially joined on a 30 day loan.
Derek Adams confirmed on Thursday that the club have offered a deal to bring striker Joe Mason back to Home Park. He said of the academy graduate: "We have made an offer to take in Joe Mason. The offer is with him and his agent, so we will wait to see if that is acceptable. He has got vast experience of playing in the Championship. He has not had much game-time during his loan spell at Portsmouth but we will see where the negotiations go."
Derek Adams and Ruben Lameiras have both been nominated for the player and manager of the month awards in January after a good month in which Argyle pulled themselves away from relegation trouble and Lameiras scored five goals in five appearances.
Ruben Lameiras spoke of a buzz that comes from his current run of goalscoring form as well as detailing the dilemma faced by manager Derek Adams in keeping one of Ryan Taylor or Freddie Ladapo out of the side. The Portugese said: "You sort of know as soon as you've hit it that it's got a chance, and when you see it hit the net it's a great feeling. It came off Sarce's back-side, I think. When I'm in the box I just try to get it on my left foot and thankfully it went in. For me, it's just about playing games. I get more confident as I play more games, which I'm doing at the moment. I'm just trying to do whatever I can to help the team. We keep picking up points, which is good. That's the main thing. I'm happy for Tayls, he's been training really well. There's a competition for places, it's healthy, and I'm just glad he got an opportunity to start the game. I'm happy to play anywhere", you know, when you've got quality like Tayls and Freddie Ladapo, it's hard to keep one of them out of the side."
Derek Adams felt vindicated in picking a diamond midfield to match Peterborough up following the victory at London Road. He spoke of his tactical decision: "We obviously matched their formation, we had a diamond midfield with two up top and we stopped them playing. From our point of view, it was good that we didn't allow them too many opportunities. It was their new manager's first game at home, and it was probably the story of the afternoon that we didn't allow them many opportunities, and we controlled possession once they had the sending off. We've played against Darren a good number of times now and won against him in different ways. Today, we went up against them, because we didn't want the home crowd to get excited, and we quietened them down and gave them a difficult 45 minutes. He had to go, the referee has no choice. It was petulant, and the correct decision was made. He'd already been booked, and he was probably lucky it wasn't a straight sending off at the time. The second half becomes one where we've had a lot of the ball and created a number of good opportunities but don't take them, until a fabulous bit of play from Ruben Lameiras. We didn't think they were going to sit in as much as they did after the red card. They played with three across the back, four in midfield and one up top. They just tried to stop us getting in behind. We used the width of the park well, we had a good number of crosses into the box but unfortunately they had a good number of bodies in the box. We knew we were 15 points off of Peterborough before the game, and now we're 12 points behind them,. We knew we could close the gap between ourselves and them, but we've also closed the gap between ourselves and the teams above. We've done our job today, we spoke about that before the game, and the players were reminded of that after the game."
Of the sending off decision that turned the game, Adams added: "He had already been booked. He was probably lucky it wasn't a straight sending-off. He goes off and the second half becomes a half where we have a lot of the ball, and create a number of good opportunities, but don't take them until a fabulous bit of play from Ruben Lameiras. He had to go. There was no choice. He had another incident in the first half that he took Graham Carey out the game. "It was petulant and the correct decision was made. We had a lot of opportunities across the face of the goal. We put a number wide. They defended exceptionally well. They had nine behind the ball with Toney up front and tried to defend deep and not leave too much space. That is always difficult to break down. We probably had 70 per cent of the ball in the second half and we eventually score with a magnificent goal. It's a clean sheet for us and another three points."
Goalscoring hero Ruben Lameiras said of the game: "I haven't looked at the table, no-one's talking about it. We're just taking every game as it comes, and if we keep picking up points, we'll slowly but surely climb up the table. As long as we can keep picking up points, that's the main thing. The fans have been great, I think they made more noise today than the home side. They always come in numbers, they always support the team, and I know it's a bit clichι but it's almost like we've got another body on the pitch. We just need to repay that with good performances, and, most importantly, points.
"We knew that we just had to stay in the game. They had a man sent off, we knew that they would try and make it hard for us, get one of us booked, and frustrate us. We just knew that we had to stay in the game, keep clear heads, and execute the game plan, which was to get the ball forward as quickly as we could, get our danger men on the ball and create chances. I don't think the gaffer would let complacency happen. We're back in training, they're hard, hard weeks, and we take no prisoners. We're still not happy with the position that we're in. We didn't really start off well and we're still paying the price for that. It's done, it is what it is, but I think now we just need to keep this train going. No-one lets anyone get away with not training as hard as we can. There's no letting up. It's working for us, so why would we stop?"
Argyle returned to winning ways with a thrilling late victory away to Peterborough. The hosts were reduced to ten men shortly before half-time when Lee Tomlin was sent off for the hosts following an altercation with Ryan Edwards. Argyle chipped away at the defence and it was eventually Ruben Lameiras who found the net with a curling shot to win the game. Argyle: Letheren, Smith-Brown(Riley), Edwards, Canavan, Sawyer, Fox, Sarcevic, Carey, Lameiras(Songo'o), Taylor(Jephcott), Ladapo. Subs: Macey, Jones, Wootton, Threlkeld.
Upon his return to Home Park after many years of absence, defender Lloyd Jones hopes his next appearance on the Home Park turf is better than his first (on a brief appearance for the under-18 side). Jones said: "It was for the Under-18s. I came on as sub when I was about 14 for about 10 minutes. I had a shocker. I did train with the first-team a couple of times. I remember taking time off school when I was 14. I got kicked everywhere and that is putting it politely but I'm really looking forward to getting back there. I don't think it's really sunk in yet. I'm home now. I'm just looking forward to getting started. I wanted to come here more than go on loan to any other club in League One. I've wanted to come here for a while and I'm glad it's finally happened. It's been long overdue. I was young and didn't really understand it at the time that much but every little helps. Everything I dreamed of, when I went to Liverpool, became reality. I didn't expect to do as well as I did at Liverpool, but that's the type of person I am I just try to do as well as I can, given an opportunity. In the last couple of years, I think I have been quite unlucky with opportunities and thankfully the manager and the staff have brought me to Plymouth. I've had a couple of loan spells where I've had a few big injuries, so it was difficult to get games after that and Luton obviously are doing really well at the moment. I have been on the bench every game but you need to be playing, I'm still fairly young but I'm not a kid anymore, so I need to play and show what I can do. I like to think I'm aggressive, but composed on the ball. I've been taught quite well in my youth. I haven't played in a while but I don't think that matters. Composure and aggressiveness is what I'll try to bring. It is my home town, so it means a lot more. I always look at the results and they have done really well over the last four or five games. If we keep that run going, I'm sure we will be fine."
Derek Adams spoke of his anticipation for a game against new Peterborough manager Darren Ferguson, somebody who he counts as a close personal friend. He said:: "It's always nice to see Darren and Gavin Strachan. I played with Gavin at Motherwell, and they're nice people. They want to win football matches and they want to do well. He's looking well, he's lost a lot of weight, so he's obviously been looking after himself while he's been out. It was nice to go and witness both teams, as well, because we've got them coming up, and it gives you an idea of how they're playing. Formation-wise, both teams played in a similar manner. Peterborough played in a diamond formation, which Darren has always played in his time at Doncaster and Peterborough.
"Darren will obviously say that he's got a bit of work to do to get them to play the way he wants his teams to play. It was an entertaining game, 2-2. Peterborough came into it in the second half and got a point away from home, so they'll be happy with that as they didn't start the game very well. It's always a shock, but in football nowadays you look at certain situations and you realise that something's going to transpire at some point. They want to be back in the Championship, they spent a lot of money on players to try and do that, and they're outside of the top two at this moment in time. Their chairman has done exceptionally well for the football club, he's taken in over £20 million in transfer fees, and spent it on the team. They're looking to obviously be in the top two, I think that the chairman is looking at it that way. It's extremely tight at the top end of the table, there's a lot of good teams - six very good sides that are looking to get into the Championship. There's always the aspect that there is more pressure on them now,. They have changed manager, and that brings added pressure to the whole stadium and we've got to try and play on that. We want to continue the good form that we're on I think we're the third best team in form over the last six games, and over the last ten games we're quite high up as well, so we want to continue that."
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