A Round-up of Argyle News
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Argyle drew 1-1 in their friendly at QPR last night, the goal scored by Luke Summerfield after 11 minutes. Argyle: Larrieu, Zubar, Timar, Arnason, Molyneux, Summerfield, Peterlin, Johnson, Bhasera, Fallon, MacLean. Subs - Doyle, N'Gala, Manuel, Paterson, Duguid, Clark, Noone, Patterson, Bolasie (not used - Wright-Phillips, Seip).
Steve MacLean came in for praise from Peter Reid after the draw at QPR last night. Reid said: "I have set MacLean some targets, in terms of fitness and workrate, and at this moment in time, he's coming up with the goods." Reid has admitted he must move on some players to reduce the size of the wage-bill at the club, but would not welcome any approaches for MacLean. He said: "I haven't had any interest in him. He has done well, and if he keeps those standards up I don't want any interest in him." Argyle took the lead in the 11th minute with a penalty from Luke Summerfield after a foul on MacLean. Reid said: "I thought we worked very hard without the ball, which I have been impressing on the players, and the passing was a lot better. Some of the movement was good. I mixed it around a lot in the second half, but we looked half decent. Even though it was a friendly, against really good opposition, the players have set themselves standards, with and without the ball. If they maintain those standards, they will win football matches. That is spot on."
Argyle have been handed a bye in the first round of next season's Johnstone's Paint Trophy, meaning the club will not be involved in the competition until the second round in October.
Colin Doyle and Lee Molyneux will remain at Home Park during the build-up to the new season. Both played in the draw at QPR, as did French defender Stephane Zubar. Peter Reid said: "I thought both of them did well. Lee has missed a lot of pre-season training. His fitness level isn't at its best, but I was pleased with him. Doyle's with us, so that's a decision I will have to make. I'll chat with him. He's looked great, as has Romain - he's not conceded many goals this pre-season."
Last night's draw at QPR was achieved without the injured Carl Fletcher and Reda Johnson, and sick forward Joe Mason, meaning Peter Reid's starting 11 is far from settled. "In terms of the side, it's still open house," said Reid. "I've said from day one: 'I want problems'. I want problems with players who think they should be in the side by their performances and I'm getting stick because I don't play them. That's what it's about. I've got to pick 11 players. Some will be disappointed but they have still got to play at the standard that they have done. The important thing about football is consistency. It's alright having one good game every month. You need it every week. That's what I've said to the boys. Fallon's had two 45s after coming back late - tremendous. There were lots of pluses - Timar, Arnason, Johnson. I mixed it around a lot but I thought we looked half-decent. We looked a lot better than Torquay. Weight-wise and body-fat wise everyone's made vast improvements from when we started, and you can see it. We haven't got Reda here, we haven't got Fletch, we haven't got Mason, who are certainly vying for places. You look it and you think: 'That's not bad, that'."
Steve MacLean has fallen back in love with football, and that should be good news for Argyle. MacLean, who has scored twice in Argyle's pre-season, said: "I've done alright. Hopefully, if I can get a run of games, I can show everybody that I can score goals, and that I can do other things. I'm confident that I can score goals and create goals, and do whatever the manager wants me to do." It was while on loan at Aberdeen last season that MacLean was reported as saying he did not want to play for Argyle again. However, he said: "I think I got a bit misquoted in Scotland. All I said was it looked like I wasn't going to be playing at Plymouth, and it would probably be better if I moved on. All footballers would say the same thing. It wasn't a good season for me, although the last bit of the season was decent because I went up to Aberdeen and got myself a few goals, and did okay. I enjoyed my time playing football again, which I had to do, and it's got me back, loving football again, and wanting to play games and score goals. You lose the love when you're not playing." Peter Reid was critical of MacLean shortly after he arrived but the player has responded appropriately. He said: "He asked me to lose a bit of weight and a bit of fat, and I've done it. I feel a bit sharper. He seems to think it's worked, and that's the most important thing - he's the man that makes the decisions, so he's asked me to do it and I've done it. I've scored goals in League 1, and I've won promotion from League 1 with Sheffield Wednesday. It's a tough league but, if I can play, I can hopefully score goals again."
Argyle have held talks with Birmingham City about signing goalkeeper Colin Doyle on loan. Peter Reid said: "We have had a chat with Birmingham and I think we might be able to get him. Romain has done great, but you need competition for places. It's important people have got to play well, and are looking over their shoulders to see if they are going to be in the side. That's what I'm looking for." Should Doyle sign on loan for Argyle, it would not be purely as a number two to Romain Larrieu. "If he plays well, he plays," said Reid. "I was pleased with Doyley against Hereford. I thought he looked assured and his starting positions were good. We are a quiet side, and sometimes during the game his was the only voice that I could hear, which I thought was a big bonus."
Argyle will play their final full-scale pre-season friendly against QPR tonight. Karl Duguid could return to action but Carl Fletcher and centre-back Reda Johnson are still sidelined. Peter Reid said: "I'm still undecided in a couple of positions so I will have another look at it. It's important I take the opportunity. Paul and John have been brilliant with their comments but it's always best to see things with your own eyes. I'm still learning a little bit about the players, but there's a long time to go. I know the game against QPR will be a real good test for us, so I'm looking forward to it."
Argyle won 1-0 at Hereford United in last night's friendly, the goal scored by Steve MacLean after 60 minutes. Argyle: Doyle, Seip, N'Gala, Arnason, Bhasera, Clark, Peterlin, Johnson.D, Bolasie, Patterson, Fallon. Subs – Timar, Paterson, Noone, Summerfield, Wright-Phillips, Molyneux, MacLean (not used – Larrieu). Attendance - 1,333.
Peter Reid was satisfied after the 1-0 win at Hereford. "All in all, in terms of effort and work - great," he said. "The passing could be better, but we're getting there. We are looking particularly strong at the back. Any team that has a decent defence and doesn't concede has got a chance. We've got to keep working. I will be doing team shape every day, because sometimes they switch off, but we have just got to get a bit more quality on the ball and a bit more support to the front men. It's gradually improving. Hereford are a decent side and that was a good performance by us." The game saw trialist Lee Molyneux make his Argyle debut as a second-half substitute at left-back. "Lee hasn't played many games and I think he's lacking in fitness, but he showed that he's got plenty of energy," said Reid. "He made a couple of great runs into the box. He'll be down for a couple of weeks." Tony Capaldi was the Argyle left-back during the visit to Holland, but he has since had a trial with Crystal Palace. "We've offered him something," said Reid. "He's having a chat with Palace. It's a Championship club - if they offer him something, I might be struggling, but I have to say that the boy's been a credit." Another trialist, Stephane Zubar did not take part in the game as Argyle could not obtain the necessary permission from his club to play him.
Rory Patterson has been called-up to the Northern Ireland squad for the friendly against Montenegro on August 11th.
Damien Johnson has announced his retirement from international football, having earned 56 caps for Northern Ireland. He said: "I wish to formally announce my retirement from international football. It has been a huge honour for me to have represented Northern Ireland and I have enjoyed many special moments throughout my international career. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has helped me during my time with the Northern Ireland team: the managers who I have played under; the backroom staff; all of the players I've played alongside; and the incredible fans for their support. It hasn't been an easy decision for me to make but, with the help of my family, I feel it is the best decision for my career. I'd particularly like to thank Nigel Worthington for his support and understanding over the last couple of weeks. I wish Nigel and the team every success in the forthcoming European Championships."
George Donnelly has signed for Stockport on a six-month loan. Peter Reid said: "We're top heavy with strikers so we thought it was a good opportunity for George to play games. He's delighted to go there and hopefully he can get a few games and a few goals for Stockport. The boy has great physique but just needs to play football matches to get his education in the game."
Joe Mason will miss the Carling Cup first round tie against Notts County next month due to his call-up to the Republic of Ireland under-21 squad. Argyle could request the postponement of their league game with Brighton should three or more players be called up on international duty, but that rule does not apply to the Carling Cup. Football League spokesman John Nagle said: "The clubs agreed to forego the opportunity to ask for postponements in these instances, in preference to playing the first round before the league campaign kicks off."
Steve MacLean may yet have a future at Argyle, according to Peter Reid. After MacLean scored at Hereford he said: "Strikers are paid for getting goals and getting in the box. It was a good save but Steve was on the move. That's a sign of a decent striker. It was an opportunist goal, and he took it well. Last year, we didn't get enough goals, so, if he keeps on sticking them in, he's knocking on the door. I'm not ruling anybody out."
Peter Reid likes the sound of Birmingham City goalkeeper Colin Doyle. Trialist Doyle kept a clean sheet in the 1-0 win at Hereford and Reid said: "Doyle looked very assured, a good stature in there. I thought he did well. We're a quiet side and, sometimes during the game, he was the only voice I could hear, which I thought was a big bonus. It's an important position. Romain's done great, but we need competition for places. That's important. Hall has gone back and we'll be taking another look at him because I think he's one that needs work, in terms of positional sense and things like that."
Anton Peterlin passed his medical and completed his move to Argyle this morning. He will provide competition for Carl Fletcher and Damien Johnson but has proved to Peter Reid in pre-season he can also be effective on the right-side of midfield. Reid said: "It looks like he will be coming in. It's a case of dotting the i's and crossing the t's. He has done well in the games he has played and has plenty of energy. We have got experience in there with Fletcher and Johnson, but he has younger legs. When it goes through, I will be delighted to have him on board."
Rory Fallon will play his first game of pre-season against Hereford United tonight. Peter Reid said: "His basic fitness is still there, it's just about sharpening it up." Despite his late start, Reid has not ruled Fallon out of his plans for the visit to Southampton on August 7th. He said: "The first game of the season is way away, and everyone has got a chance of playing in it." Onismor Bhasera and Marcel Seip are also set to start against Hereford, after missing out on the trip to Holland. Argyle will take on Hereford without Fletcher, Karl Duguid and Reda Johnson. Fletcher injured an ankle in the defeat by AZ Alkmaar, Duguid suffered a badly bruised shin in the same match and, although he trained yesterday, will not play tonight. Johnson, meanwhile, sat out all three of the matches in the Netherlands because of a groin injury and has not resumed training.
Anton Peterlin is excited about both the prospect of signing for Argyle and their chances of success in the forthcoming campaign. He said: "I'm excited to play League One football. It would be nice to get some first-team action, to get my name out there. And I would like to help this team get up to the Championship again. There are some quality players here and if we buy into the principles of the gaffer I think we can go far." Peterlin has been on trial with Argyle since the start of pre-season and made an instant impression as he topped the charts for the players' fitness tests on day one. "It was nerve-wracking to start with, because you know you have got to play well," he said. "But once you get past the first few days and you are okay with the fitness, and you start playing football and getting into the rhythm, then it comes pretty natural. It's definitely very exciting because you are striving to be the best you can every day." Peterlin has played in all five of Argyle's pre-season games, making two starts and three appearances as a substitute. He said: "Pre-season has gone well for me. The lads have been really nice to me and we have done a lot of good work in training. The gaffer and his coaching staff haven't killed us, but we are definitely fitter than we were at the start of pre-season. We have played well in our matches and we are becoming more and more organised." Peterlin did some research on Reid before starting his trial with Argyle, and added: "I know the gaffer was an England international and was a very good midfielder. He played the position I prefer, so I will definitely be looking to him for guidance. Hopefully, he will help me out."
Argyle return to English opposition when they face Hereford United tonight and Peter Reid is looking for a different approach from his team. "The games in Holland were good for fitness because of the way they shift the ball and pass it," he said. "The games in England are a different style and it's what we expect to face during the majority of the season, and I'm sure the players are ready. We did ok in Holland. Defensively, our shape was really good in denying the opposition a lot of clear-cut chances. Our work-rate was terrific but we need to improve on the quality when we've got the ball."
Rory Fallon faces a race against time to force his way into the first team plans of Peter Reid after making a belated start to pre-season training yesterday. Fallon said: "It's going to be tough, but I have been through tougher, I believe. Hopefully, I will have a great two weeks' training and see what happens." Fallon started his preparations last week, running every morning and also boxing with Plymouth-based trainer Dave Smith. That was done with the approval of Reid. Fallon said: "I like to do my own stuff sometimes, and have a good think when I'm training. Now I'm ready to go. It feels kind of surreal, being in a situation like the World Cup, coming back and training on my own and then going into a team environment again. It's quite strange, but it's another challenge I'm looking forward to. I had a few knocks during the World Cup. My groin was hurting a bit, and I got a massive dead leg as well, but I'm feeling good now. I want to be as fit as I can, be as strong as I can and be mentally prepared for a new season. Every player wants to do well, and I'm no exception. I'm just going to give 100 per cent, like I always do, and see what happens." Fallon believes the appointment of Reid, after a seven-week recruitment process, was a good one. He said: "I heard about the new manager when I was in South Africa. I think it's a brilliant move for the club. It shows the club want to kick on and, hopefully, he can do well." Fallon is under contract to Argyle until next summer and there has already been interest in taking him away from Home Park, with Fallon revealing one foreign club wanted to sign him but that he had turned them down. For now, Fallon is focused on getting ready for the start of the season, rather than the possibility of moving to another club at some stage. "All I'm thinking about is training well," he said. "I will take it one day at a time. I don't want to kill the club and leave on a Bosman because I know they paid money for me. I don't think that would be fair. Both parties would have to be happy."
Anton Peterlin is set to join Argyle on a one-year deal, subject to passing a medical
Peter Reid is checking out two new trialists, defenders Lee Molyneux and Stephane Zubar. Molyneux left Southampton last month and Zubar has been with Romanian club SC Vaslui for the past two seasons. Molyneux was born in the same town, Huyton in Lancashire, as Reid, who said: "He's from the same road, believe it or not. I know his mum and dad, and his grandma, very well. It's a big coincidence, so we just see how Lee does." Zubar, whose older brother Ronald plays for Wolverhampton Wanderers, will not feature against Hereford. Reid said: "Mick McCarthy put me on to him and he will have a few days with us."
Argyle are still negotiating with Tony Capaldi over a possible return to Home Park. Peter Reid said: "We are speaking to Capaldi at this moment in time. He has got interest from another club, so that's ongoing." The 'other club' looks to be Crystal Palace, who Capaldi is reported to be playing for in a friendly at Bromley tonight.
Trialist goalkeeper Freddy Hall has left Argyle, for now. Peter Raid said: "Hall has done ok. He will be going back to Bermuda to finish off the season but there is a possibility we'll be getting him back towards the end of the year. He just needs a bit more coaching. He's done smashing to be fair but we're negotiating with the club to get him back. I don't think he's experienced enough to come in at this moment but he has got potential. I have got a couple of ongoing things and I will probably bring in another one or two keepers."
Joe Mason been called up to the Republic of Ireland under-21 squad for their UEFA 2011 qualifier against Estonia on August 10th.
Krisztian Timar is enjoying 'every minute' of his return to football after being out for seven months. He said: "I'm really happy to be playing football again. I have worked very hard to come back from the injury and I enjoyed every minute on the pitch against AZ." Timar was playing only his second game on loan for Oldham last season when he snapped his hamstring. He said: "It was a rare injury because the hamstring was totally torn and it needed to be operated on. Unfortunately, the recovery time is a really long one. And I also wanted to make sure when I came back that I could give the same level of performance as I did before the injury. So I had to take my time for a good recovery." Timar's return to action was further delayed at the start of pre-season by a toe injury and he had to sit out Argyle's first three friendlies before playing against AZ. Timar said: "I was really confident I would be okay against AZ because I had worked really hard over the summer to make the hamstring strong. There was a little bit of tiredness in the muscle at the start of pre-season, which isn't unusual, and I rested a few days. Then I had a problem with my toe, but now I'm fine. I didn't know I was going to play the full game, but I was really pleased. It was good for my fitness." Peter Reid had not planned to let Timar complete the 90 minutes against AZ but admitted afterwards he thought the defender 'deserved' to finish the game after his solid display. Timar said: "I was really pleased to hear that and I will just keep working hard." Timar was partnered at centre-back by Kari Arnason, who was returning from a thigh strain, and said: "Arnie worked hard to come back as well. There are a lot of good players in the defensive line so everybody must play really well. It was a good work-out for the defensive line. Apart from the really soft penalty decision from the referee we kept a clean sheet. They didn't have many big chances, apart from the last minute save from Romain." Timar should get another prolonged run-out in at least one of the two remaining pre-season games this week. "I hope as my fitness levels get higher and higher, my performances will get higher and higher," he added.
The Argyle youth team lost 3-2 at Reading yesterday, the goals scored by Curtis Nelson and Lewis Coombes. Argyle: Chenoweth, Stephens, Nelson, Sawyer, Clifford, Hart, Young, Berry, Sims, Coombes, Rickard. Subs - Ord, Copp, Golby.
Peter Reid is keen on signing trialists Tony Capaldi, Freddy Hall and Anton Peterlin. All three impressed him on the pre-season tour but it is not clear whether the club have the finances to complete deals. Reid said: "I don't really like talking about that because I think it alerts other people, but all three of them have done well. I think there are deals to be done if it's in the scope of our budget." Reid admitted he had found the tour to be very beneficial to his planning for the forthcoming campaign. He said: "I know now what the strengths and weaknesses of the squad are, and there will be some changes as we go on to the season. But it's hard work in the market, getting people in and out at the moment. I think as the season gets nearer, people will get more business done and I'm hoping to do the same. But, all in all, it has been a really good tour." The squad returned to Plymouth yesterday and they will resume training on Monday. So, too, will Rory Fallon, after his break following the World Cup. All of the players will have their fitness levels tested again, as was the case at the start of pre-season. Reid has seen Karl Duguid, Carl Fletcher, Reda Johnson and Bondz N'Gala all pick up injuries this week. None of them are thought to be serious, though. He added: "Obviously there have been knocks and bruises, but that's the nature of a physical, contact sport. But, in terms of pulls and strains, I'm really pleased with the way it has gone."
The recurrence of an ankle injury to Bondz N'Gala proved the turning point in Argyle's 3-3 draw against SC Cambuur last night. N'Gala was taken off in the 67th minute with Argyle 3-0 up, before conceding three times in only 11 minutes. Peter Reid took a lot of positives out of the final match of the pre-season tour. He said: "I think if the centre-half stays on we win the game. But he has had to come off because he has got a knock on his ankle again. It was a precaution. It's disappointing to concede three, but there are a lot of things I was delighted about. All in all, it has been a really good trip. I think Bondz got a whack on his ankle early and it just got progressively worse. We got him off to make sure he's right for next week. Mason has done well and Liam Head, a centre-forward, did fantastic at right-back. It was a fairly young side out there and they have done great." The scheduled 7pm kick-off was delayed by more than 20 minutes as Argyle did not get to the ground until 6.40pm. Reid admitted that had not been ideal preparation for his players. He said: "We got here a bit late. The bus didn't come on time, but the lads have acquitted themselves really well. We shut Cambuur down a lot earlier tonight, which I wanted us to do." Joe Mason has taken the chance to show his goalscoring potential to Reid during the trip. "He's a good young player, and he's an intelligent player," said Reid. "From that right-side of midfield, he gets in dangerous areas where he's difficult to pick up. The boy has done well, but there were a lot of plusses out there tonight. I thought Summerfield played ever so well." Trialist Freddy Hall was Argyle's goalkeeper against Cambuur and put in a decent display. Reid said: "He has done smashing. He came out for crosses, and hand on heart I don't think he had a chance with any of the goals."
The shin injury suffered by Karl Duguid against AZ Alkmaar on Wednesday night is not a serious one. He did not need crutches as he watched last nights game from the sidelines. Peter Reid said: "He's still a bit sore but we don't think there is any real damage in there. It's just soft-tissue damage, which is good."
Keith Todd has denied he and Roy Gardner are 'profiting' from a Home Park mortgage arranged via their company Mastpoint. Todd said they were receiving no 'fees or margins' from the arrangement, set up to help the football club out of a financial hole. He was responding to a story in the Guardian's sport section which ran under the headline 'Gardner still profiting from Plymouth's plight'. "The club has been losing money, that's no secret," said Todd. "What we have done, and had to do, is continue to provide the finance to the club to enable us to develop some plans we have for the club going forward. The second mortgage is a means of helping the club borrow money more cheaply. Nothing comes to us. It's cost me personally in time and effort. It's difficult for football clubs to raise finance, it's not the most attractive investment for many people. Secured lending is low-cost, it makes sense to provide that finance. We were able to reduce the cost of that financing. We made no fee, no margin, on any of that finance as shareholders of Mastpoint."
Argyle drew 3-3 with SC Cambuur in their final tour match this evening, the goals scored by Craig Noone after 21 minutes and Joe Mason (55 and 59). Argyle: Hall, Head, N'Gala, Paterson, Trott, Noone, Kinsella, Summerfield, Mason, MacLean, Wright-Phillips. Subs - Donnelly, Clark, Peterlin, Patterson, Capaldi (not used - Larrieu, Johnson.D, Bolasie).
Peter Reid was upbeat despite Argyle's loss to AZ Alkmaar last night. "All in all, in terms of fitness and the way the players have responded, I've got to be really pleased with them," he said. "For the first 15 minutes, we were still on the coach. We had an hour and a half journey and we didn't start in terms of shutting down; we were leggy; we didn't win a second ball. But after that, besides not really testing them, from a defensive point of view, the lads were really terrific. We put a bit of pressure on with corners and might have got a header last in the second half, but I've got to say I'm pleased with the way the players have done it today against a really good side. AZ have just won a tournament in Germany - they beat Anderlecht and Fenerbache - so really good for the lads. They had a lot of possession but we defended well. The way we defended, the way we got our shape, was terrific. If you look at their chances, there was the penalty...and the keeper made a save in the last minute. Timar, who has been out of the game for a long time, was terrific on his game back - he stuck at it - and Arnason did well. Both of them looked ever so solid. We got some injuries and I didn't want them to do the 90 minutes, but they did and have done fantastically well. If there was one criticism, I thought we didn't hold the ball as well as I would have liked it."
Peter Reid did not think Steve MacLean deserved to be sent off in the defeat by AZ Alkmaar. MacLean saw red after a something and nothing coming together with AZ captain Kew Jaliens midway through the second half. Reid said: "I'm not going to criticise referees because it's difficult, but there were a couple of decisions that - let's just say - didn't go our way. I did have a word with the referee before the game and asked him that, if there was any trouble, just give me a nod and I'd drag the lad off, so I was a little bit disappointed. It was a good, competitive game, but I didn't think it was a sending-off." Similarly, Reid did not agree with the referee's decision to award AZ the penalty from which they scored the winning goal. "The penalty was debateable," he said. "I didn't see anything wrong, but the referee's given it." The penalty also baffled Krisztian Timar. "I couldn't see anything," he said, "but I think he was the softest referee in my career. I think the penalty and Steve MacLean's red card were an absolute joke."
The pre-season trip to Papendal has been invaluable for Rory Patterson as he settles into his new club and he admitted the trip has speeded up his acclimatisation to Argyle. Patterson said: "It's probably the best way you could think of because you are with the lads all day and night. You have breakfast and dinner together, so you get to know each other a lot easier. It's a great set-up here. There are a lot of facilities and the pitches are all decent. It's good." There has been excellent weather during Argyle's stay so far, and that suits Patterson fine. He said: "It's a nice change from back home. I would rather train and play in this sort of weather than in wind and rain. I'm just doing my best to get my fitness up to what it needs to be. The rest will just follow, so I'm plugging away at that. We have got the hard training out of the way, and now it's getting to know the lads and the way they play. With every game I play, I'm getting more of the ball. The players are starting to understand me and I'm starting to understand them. It's coming along nicely, and by the start of the season we should be alright." When Patterson joined Argyle the club had not appointed a new manager, meaning he has had to impress Peter Reid during pre-season. Patterson said: "He's a very experienced man. When he stands up and talks, everyone listens. He's well respected and, obviously, has managed some big clubs. The set-up is great. You have got Peter Reid as the manager and John Carver knows his stuff. And, obviously, it helps to have a former striker like Paul Mariner working with you. He knows when things are going right and when they aren't going right, and what to say and what to do. He helps you along and takes us on our sessions, so that can only help us score goals." Patterson only had a short summer break because he played for Northern Ireland in two friendlies against Turkey and Chile after the end of last season. He added: "I went away with them for 10 days and we did a lot of training in hot weather. We played Turkey and Chile so they were big fitness tests, but I didn't mind. I knew that was going to happen. I'm just happy to be here and getting started now."
Karl Duguid will have a leg injury assessed today after being carried off in Argyle's 1-0 defeat by AZ Alkmaar last night. He was hurt in a heavy collision with AZ's Nick Viergever in the 24th minute and was stretchered off after a few minutes of treatment. But the injury to the right leg is not thought to be too severe, and he emerged from the dressing room on crutches during the second half. Peter Reid said: "We will just see how it is overnight. It's swollen and he's having ice on it now." Carl Fletcher was substituted at half-time after turning over on an ankle when blocking a shot, but that was a precautionary move.
Krisztian Timar returned to first-team action after a seven-month absence with a solid performance in the loss to AZ Alkmaar last night. "I worked hard and I couldn't wait to play again," he said. "I am really pleased to be back in the first-team after a long time. Listen, especially after my head injury, many, many players have finished football with similar injuries. But I have got a really good attitude and I tried to push myself. I really wanted to come back so I can show I can be the same as I was before." Timar knows he faces competition for his position, and added: "That's not my problem," he said. "I will just try to do my best, to work really hard, and then it is the manager's problem."
The Argyle youth side lost 5-0 at Watford this afternoon. Argyle: Chenoweth, Stephens, Nelson, Sawyer, Clifford, Copp, Harper-Penman, Berry, Baker, Coombes, Sims. Subs - Ord, Young, Rickard, Hart, Gilby.
Peter Reid will resist the temptation to pull on his boots again when Argyle round off their Dutch trip against SC Cambuur tonight. With a growing injury-list Argyle are stretched, and Reid has already made a decision to play some of the squad's fringe players against Cambuur. "All the young lads will be playing, and Freddy will get a game in goal," he said. "We'll have a big change around. I'll have to have a look at the injuries, but I'm loathe to let some lads who've had 90 minutes against AZ go out there again because that's when you do pick up injuries." The changes will definitely not involve Reid, despite the suggestion of one of his coaching staff. "John Carver's trying to get me to play," he joked, "but I'm not going to."
Argyle lost 1-0 to Alkmaar Zaanstreek in tonight's friendly. Argyle: Larrieu, Duguid, Timar, Arnason, Capaldi, Peterlin, Johnson, Fletcher, Clark, Donnelly, Patterson. Subs - Bolasie, Summerfield, Noone, Mason, MacLean, Paterson (not used - Hall, Kinsella, Head, Trott).
Argyle will finish their pre-season visit to the Netherlands by playing back-to-back matches on Wednesday and Thursday in which all fit members of the party will see action. Peter Reid said: "I think Wednesday will be more of a test and, on the Thursday, I'll get people who haven't really played that much in the game. It's important everyone gets football time under their belts." Tonight's opponents Alkmaar have already won a pre-season tournament involving Anderlecht and Fenerbache and Reid added: "It shows you what you are up against. They will be up to speed in terms of games because you don't win a tournament like that if you're not nearing full fitness, so it's going to be a really good game for us. Reid did not name his team to face AZ yesterday, but said that Carl Fletcher and Damien Johnson will anchor midfield, while Krisztian Timar and Kari Arnason would be his centre-back pairing, and not just because Bondz N'Gala and Reda Johnson are injured. He said: "I'm not saying the injuries have come at a good time - you never want injuries but the are not bad ones - but I wanted to see Timar and Arnason play anyhow. There would have been changes and they would have been the changes. As everyone knows, Timar has a history, over the last couple of years, of terrible injuries. He's worked hard in pre-season. He's had a little niggle but he's fit now so we'll start him and monitor him because it's his first game for a bit. He looks alright; he looks solid enough in training." Reid continued: "And, of course, Arnason is back in the fold. He can play in a few positions so it will be good to see those lads on the park." Reid was 'quite open' to the idea of playing Arnason in midfield at some point. He said: "This trip has been invaluable because I have been able to do teamplay, but I'm still trying to get over what I want. I think some of the lads find it a little bit different, which is understandable. But I will keep doing my 10-20 minutes a day until they get it. I have enjoyed getting to know them. I might ask people to play in positions they haven't been used in before. I don't mind doing that. I have done it at other clubs I have been to and been quite successful. Pre-season is the time to try things. I want the players to try to express themselves, and not worry about it, especially some of the young lads. Sometimes when they get in the squad they are a bit nervous and apprehensive. It's just a matter of them relaxing, but, overall, I have been pleased with the way the trip has been going."
George Donnelly will start for Argyle in the second game of their pre-season tour tonight. Peter Reid said: "He has done all right in training and he will start tonight. He has looked sharp and he has earned a chance to show what he has got. It will be interesting to see how he goes."
The reason for the absence of Onismor Bhasera from the trip to the Netherlands this week has been explained. The Zimbabwe international has not been able to secure a visa for entry into the country and instead, he has been training at Home Park. A club spokesman said: "Unfortunately, Baz has become entangled in some red tape regarding his visa application for Holland. The club has done all it can and the matter is now in the hands of the Netherlands Embassy. While the red tape is being untangled, Baz is training at Home Park with team-mates who are not on the pre-season visit to Holland."
Kari Arnason is ready to return to action after overcoming the thigh strain he suffered early in pre-season and is set to play against AZ Alkmaar this evening. On Sunday he trained for the first time since suffering the injury at Truro, taking part in both sessions. Arnason said: "I thought about taking some shots, but I didn't feel totally secure, so fortunately my brain took over and I decided not to!" Arnason was philosophical about getting injured so early in the first pre-season friendly. He said: "It's actually better to get it now, than when the season starts. It's a case of keeping your head up and, hopefully, I will be injury free when the season starts. It was a spasm in my right thigh, and it might have been a grade one tear. It was a strange sensation really." Argyle are staying at Papendal, near Arnhem, for the first time this week and Arnason has been impressed with the set-up. He said: "It's really good here. The grass on the pitches are a bit long but, other than that, it's perfect. There are basically three things you have to have on a training camp – a decent bed, a decent pitch and decent food." AZ, tonight's opponents, include two Icelandic compatriots of Arnason, midfielder Johann Berg Gudmundsson and striker Kolbeinn Sigthorsson. Arnason said: "I think AZ are a better team than NAC. I actually know a little bit about them because they have some Icelandic boys there. They are going to play the same style of football, but I'm guessing they will probably be sharper up front." Peter Reid is already the third different manager Arnason has played under at Argyle. Arnason said: "He's working on shape, which I thought we needed, so that's really positive. He's very straight-forward and has an authority about him, which I think is a good thing."
Bradley Wright-Phillips is ready to start over following his injury disrupted first season at Home Park. He initially hurt his knee in pre-season before an aborted comeback attempt in January. "Last season like three pre-seasons, because I came back and got injured again," he said. "I did think I was ready, but it was frozen, the ground was hard, and my knee just went again." The first injury occurred at Exeter's Cat & Fiddle training-ground in a behind-closed-doors friendly. "I was playing out of position," said Wright-Phillips. "It wasn't a bad foul. I tried to turn too sharply for my ability." Now he has set his sights on getting a starting place for the season opener at his former club, Southampton. To do that, he will have to overcome serious competition for places. "You need that," he said. "As long as everyone gets a fair crack, I don't mind. I just want to play every game - it will be the same the week after. It's like starting again."
Krisztian Timar will tonight play his first game for Argyle since October last year. "I can't wait to play," he said. "I need to play games to test the strength of my hamstring." Looking back on his temporary move to Oldham, he added: "It was really frustrating. I went there, I played one game, I had three weeks' break because of the snow, and then the injury happened only ten minutes into my next game." What made it worse for Timar was the fact that he had suffered a badly fractured skull while playing for Argyle in May 2008. "My head injury was much more dangerous than the hamstring," he said. "It was much worse. You can't compare, but I have been out for a longer time because of the hamstring. It has been hard to come back." After two troubled years, Timar now feels that he deserves an injury-free season. He added: "Two really big injuries so close to each other was tough, but that's football. For eight years before then, I had no serious injuries, so I hope my luck has changed again now." The next target is regular first-team action, at Argyle preferably, but elsewhere if needs must. Timar said: "I am 30 years old, and I want to play football. My first aim is to impress the new manager, and after that we will see what happens. I am enjoying training with him, and now I just want to play football. I am really pleased to be fit, and to be able to play games again."
Anton Peterlin is staking a strong claim to be offered a contract by Argyle. Having impressed in all three friendlies so far, Peterlin has also stood out in training sessions. Peter Reid said: "He has done well. I thought he did ever so well in the game against Breda. We started him at right-back and moved him to the right-side of midfield. He ended up in the centre of midfield, and he's a boy with plenty of energy who doesn't give the ball away. He has acquitted himself really well. The lad has got a chance."
Reda Johnson has not trained since the victory over NAC. He suffered a groin injury in that game, but it is not serious and should not sideline him for long. Bondz N'Gala also sat out both training sessions yesterday due to an ankle injury, and Peter Reid described the decision to rest him as a precautionary one. "The two lads have got little niggles but they aren't serious ones," he said.
Peter Reid is ready to embrace new technology to prepare his squad the best he possibly can, but he is also an advocate of some old-fashioned principles as well. "Most clubs have got sports scientists," said Reid. "Scott Russell monitors everything on a computer, such as heart-rates. But you have still got your eye as a manager and whether I think they need a bit more work, or to ease off. So that's still there. We are guided a lot more by sports science and the players are a lot more professional."
Peter Reid has been playing a full part in training while Argyle have been on their pre-season camp, and not just as a coach. The manager has participated regularly in the warm-ups, and even taken part in practice matches. "We were a man short and I drew the short straw," he said. "The old legs don't go well these days, but it's nice getting out - if I could turn that clock back, I'd pay anything. To work with these young players, and try to improve them, that's what it's all about, being a coach." Reid has been assisted by head coach Paul Mariner and assistant head coach John Carver. He said: "Paul has been, as everyone knows, a fantastic striker, in terms of knowing how to put the ball in the net, so he took the strikers for the finishing. I basically like taking the team-play; and John's done the possession. They are good coaches so you utilise everything, don't you? We have chats before we go out, and we have a weekly programme, but that can be changed, depending on what you see in games and what you see on the training-pitch."
Joe Mason made his mark early in his first pre-season tour with Argyle, scoring the winner against NAC Breda from a cross by Yannick Bolasie. Mason always relishes scoring goals, regardless of what level he is playing at, and is aiming to continue doing that this season. He said: "You want to score in every game you play. It's still a good feeling, even if it's pre-season. It gives you confidence going into the season and, hopefully, it will hold me in good stead." Bolasie was playing as the out-and-out striker for Argyle in a 4-4-1-1 formation when he created the chance for Mason. "You know Yala is always going to get a cross in, with the pace he has got," said Mason. "I just had to get in front of the first man and make good contact. Luckily enough, it went in." Mason showed his goalscoring instincts by popping up where he did when Bolasie had pulled out wide. "It's just natural, I think," he said. "If Yala is on the right I know he's going to get a ball in and I want to score goals." NAC enjoyed a lot of early possession but Argyle stuck to their task and, gradually, they showed more attacking intent themselves. "They kept the ball really well to start with, but I thought towards the end of the first half we started to break them down," said Mason. "I should have scored again in the second half, but we were happy with just the 1-0 in the end. I wasn't aware of how good they were before the game, so it was quite a good coup for us." Argyle have two more challenging matches on their tour and Mason believes playing against such strong opposition will benefit them. He said: "It's better than playing against lesser teams and winning 10-0 every game. I know that's good for confidence but it doesn't show how you are doing. We are playing AZ Alkmaar, who were in the Champions' League last season, so that's going to be a really good test." Mason was a first-year professional last season, and was not included in the squad for the pre-season training camp at the University of Stirling. "I didn't get to go last year, so this is my first one," he said. "You are together 24/7 pretty much and you get to know everyone. It's good for the young ones, especially the lads who weren't really involved last season." Mason has noticed a fundamental difference in the pre-season preparations under Reid this year compared to Paul Sturrock in 2009. He said: "Straight in, on the first day last year, we were running really hard, but this year we have been eased in. I think that's better because you don't want any injuries in the first few days. I feel like we are getting up to full fitness now. I would say we are about 60 per cent so, there is a bit more to do, but we are getting there slowly but surely." Argyle's victory over NAC was their third game of the pre-season and Mason added: "It has been a bit of a mixed bag, but we are trying to get a winning mentality for the season. Towards the end of last season we had a bit of a losing mentality. We want to go into every game thinking we can win, and get the confidence as high as we can. Everyone is feeling more comfortable on the ball now. The new manager wants us to play it on the floor, and we have got players who can do that. It will play to our advantage."
Luke Summerfield will use the experience he gained on loan at Leyton Orient last season as an incentive to win a place in the Argyle starting XI. He said: "When I was at Orient, I played in every game that it was possible for me to play in and I enjoyed, come three o'clock on a Saturday afternoon, putting my shinnies on and going out to play football. That's what I want to do. I am a footballer. That's what I enjoy. All I want to do is go and play football, enjoy myself, wear a kit. I had a great time at Orient but, here, it's been a bit stop and start. The gaffers have been changing and this and that, and I've had a stint in and stint out - as a footballer, that's not enjoyable, to be honest. I've been trying my best in training and in the games, and I'm going to do my utmost to stake my claim. My aim is play as many games as I can. It's all about games for me. I'm at the age now when I need to have a good season."
Kari Arnason has been something of a spectator in the opening days of the pre-season trip to Holland, but has been impressed with what he has seen. "The team looked good, really good actually," he said. "The shape of the team was very good. The first 15 minutes didn't look very good, I thought we were going to get pumped, because NAC are really good footballers, but we just beat them tactically. It was a good start to the trip. Let's hope the rest of it goes in the same direction. We are working on shape much more and that's the most important thing in the game. As the small teams in the World Cup proved, you can beat anybody if you have the right shape and you have the right tactics, and you work hard." Arnason has not worked with Peter Reid before, but he knows all about him from his younger days in Iceland. He said: "He was quite a big thing with Sunderland when they had Niall Quinn and Kevin Phillips, they were actually my favourite striking duo at the time. I watched Sunderland quite closely back then."
Romain Larrieu came close to leaving Argyle following last season and when asked to explain the events of the summer, he said: "I wanted to play still, and I didn't feel I was going to be given the opportunity if I stayed. That was why I didn't want to sign the contract I had been offered. I wanted to wait, to see if somebody out there wanted to give a playing contract. But May went, and I can honestly say there was not much happening in terms of me finding a club. I waited, and there was still nothing happening in June. In the end, I thought: 'I know this place'. I thought I could be a champion with this club next year for a third time, which nobody has done. I always believed there was talent in this team, even though we went down last season and I'm sure we can be a very solid team in League One. We need to believe that." When Larrieu signed his new contract last month, he knew that Paul Mariner would not be in charge, but the new manager had not been hired at that time. "I thought, given my past with Plymouth, I would be given a crack," Larrieu added.
Anton Peterlin has now come to Argyle in search of first-team action and played well in the win over NAC Breda on Saturday. "It's a great group of lads, and I've had a lot of fun," Peterlin said. "We work very hard together, we train very hard, and we got a good win today. It's gone very well so far." When Peterlin was asked what he had learned from his year with Everton, he replied: "As a person, I learned to live so far away from home, and it changed me incredibly as a player. I was training with amazing players like Pienaar, Saha, Rodwell and Phil Neville every day. They push you, and they make you much better." He is now hoping to use that experience to good effect with Argyle, and said: "I've been happy with my games so far. I've been listening to the senior players, like Carl Fletcher, and I'm learning the style of play. It's going pretty well, I think." Peterlin played at right-back, right-midfield and centre-midfield against NAC Breda on Saturday. "Centre-midfield is where I'm most at home," he said, "but I'll play wherever the team needs me to play. I'm enjoying being with this team."
Argyle's youth team beat Chelsea 2-1 at their training complex at Cobham yesterday, the goals scored by Lewis Coombes and James Golby. "We weathered the storm in the first 20 minutes and needed Ollie Chenoweth to produce three fantastic saves," said assistant youth coach, Kevin Nancekivell. "Once we got through that period, we found our feet and gradually imposed our game on Chelsea. The second-half was very even. We looked bright and threatened as much as Chelsea, and in the end, got our reward. I also have to say the attitude and application of the lads in the first two weeks of pre-season has been absolutely outstanding." Argyle: Chenoweth, Stephens, Nelson, Sawyer, Clifford, Harper-Penman, Berry, Hart, Baker, Rickard, Sims. Subs - Hurley, Copp, Coombes, Golby
Onismor Bhasera and Marcel Seip could swell the numbers on tour in Holland this week. Bhasera is expected to join his team-mates on Monday after illness. Seip's participation at the pre-season camp depends on the birth of his imminent first child. "I haven't heard from Marcel," said Peter Reid, after the win over NAC Breda. "I'm waiting for a phone call. He's going to get in touch with us when his wife gives birth. We'll play it by ear. I'll see what the boy says and see how it goes back home. The lads at home will train if they don't come out. I'm quite flexible."
Peter Reid was a picture of contentment following Saturday's 1-0 win over NAC Breda. "I commented that you learn something when you get defeated and I learned something at Torquay," he said, "but hopefully I've seen a true performance. I thought we were excellent. Our shape was good; we frustrated them when we didn't have the ball, some of the counter-attacking play was good. The plan was to frustrate them, which we did, and, as the game went on, we changed things, we got a bit more pace up front. Everyone's had a good run-out today and I'm pleased with everybody that took part. It was a good performance." Reid, though, is keen to keep the team on an even keel. "I said, after the defeat at Torquay, that my main concern was Southampton, first game of the season, and that hasn't changed and will not change," he said. "It's a good performance, a good result, and now we go to work again. We had a chat before the game about what I wanted and the players were smashing, really good. I was pleased with the way they went about it."
Tony Capaldi will talk to Peter Reid about a possible return to Home Park when the club return from their pre-season visit to Holland. The left-back, who played the first 45 minutes of the win against NAC Breda yesterday, said: "I had a phone call on Wednesday morning, asking if I fancied coming down for training on Thursday and then going off to Holland for a week. I haven't done anything for the first two weeks of pre-season because I twisted a little muscle in my back, and I have been lounging around the house, two kids crawling all over me, so it's good get out. I'll get myself fit and I'll sit down with the gaffer, and we'll have a chat and see what happens. I know he's got a big squad, and I don't know what the financial situation is, but, as I say, we'll get this week out of the way and take it from there. I've had a few offers to go to clubs, but nothing overly appealing so far. We're getting close to the start of the season and I want to get something sorted. I want to make sure I'm fit first, that's the most important thing, to make an impression, and then, after that, we'll see. I'm 28 now, I don't know how many years I've got left in the game, so I want to start playing as many games as I can. If it's Plymouth, brilliant; if not, I'll look elsewhere." Peter Reid was more than content with Capaldi's contribution to a the victory. "He did terrific," said Reid. "He showed his experience. He has been training by himself and he needs games, but he showed what he is, a good, experienced professional, and he did very, very well." Capaldi added: "It's the first pre-season game. I never look forward to them. The grass is long, the pitch is a bit bobbly. NAC weren't a bad side; you're not quite sharp, not quite on the ball; your touch isn't quite right. I had my first training session the other day and my first game today. I'm not fit or sharp yet, but it is good to get a little 45 minutes under my belt, and we'll see what happens from here."
Argyle beat NAC Breda 1-0 in this afternoon's friendly, the goal scored by Joe Mason after 74 minutes. Argyle: Larrieu, Peterlin, N'Gala, Johnson.R, Capaldi, Duguid, Johnson.D, Fletcher, Clark, Patterson, Wright-Phillips. Subs - Mason, Paterson, Summerfield, Noone, Donnelly, Bolasie.
Steve MacLean has already shown his versatility in just two games of Argyle's pre-season campaign. Having scored as an outright striker in the win at Truro City, MacLean played a deeper role in the defeat at Torquay United. He is also enjoying a full pre-season and training with the Argyle squad again after spending the second part of last season on loan at Aberdeen. "It's the first couple of weeks in pre-season, so I'm just trying to get fit," he said. "It's nice to be back and playing in the games. It is always hard coming back from your holidays but it's nice to be training again, and back to reality. The gaffer has worked on different formations. On Saturday, I played up front and I naturally try to find holes. We played a different system on Tuesday, so I was playing a different position. My job was to be deeper and I'll play where the gaffer puts me. I just want to do well for the team and help the team win, wherever I play. I want to play as many games as possible and see what happens from there."
Karl Duguid has admitted the support structure is in place for Argyle to have a successful season and has been impressed by the straight-talking approach of Peter Reid. Duguid said: "He says it how it is. I think it's great in football if you have got a bit of honesty. If you don't like it at times, so be it, but that's football. That's what it's all about. What's said is said in the changing room, and that's how he wants it. And that's how I think it should be. It's black and white. I think it's probably what a lot of players want, and that's what we have got. We are all looking forward to it. He has been there and done it. He has played at the top level and managed at the top level. He has got it all there for us to respect him. He has got his ideas, like every other manager, but the club are doing everything for us this season. You have got the manager, Paul Mariner and John Carver. We have also got a fitness coach. You can't ask for any more really. They will do their bit and then it's down to us on the Saturday, the Tuesday, or whenever it is, to play and do the business. They are going to try their hardest to make sure we are right for each game." Argyle won only seven of their 23 league games at Home Park last season, and the players, Duguid included, regularly bemoaned the dreadful state of the pitch. But the new playing surface should be a considerable improvement and Duguid is convinced that will aid the team. He said: "I think it was important for the club to get the pitch done. Last season, to be honest, I think it looked better from the stands than it actually was. But's that not an excuse this season is it? Hopefully, it's going to be all settled in by the Notts County game. It's going to be a better playing surface, and I think the pitch is going to be a little bit bigger as well." Duguid has extended his stay at Argyle for a third season, after a clause in his contract was activated, and he is relishing the prospect. He said: "I had to play 25 games last season to get another year, and that just kicked straight in. Lucky enough, I played 46. If I played double, I didn't know if I would get another year on top! I have enjoyed the two years I have been here, even though we got relegated last season. In my first season I was captain and played centre of midfield. I really enjoyed playing there. Then, last season, the manager went and Paul Mariner came in. I really enjoyed playing under Paul Mariner and John Carver. They had some great ideas in the things they wanted to do. But they are still here, and the new manager has said himself he's willing to listen them. They are not there just to be 'yes' men." Duguid added: "I played right-back towards the end of last season, which is where I was signed to play by Paul Sturrock. But I think I have probably only played around 20 games there. It's nice to get back there and start playing where I really want to play but, like I have always said, wherever the manager wants me to play I will give 100 per cent."
Anton Peterlin is fighting hard for a contract at Home Park. "My agency was talking to John Carver and Paul Mariner and they got me out here on trial," he said. "It has gone really well. Training has been great and it's been good to be involved in the games. I have always had good lungs. My mum was a semi-professional tennis player, so maybe I got my lungs from her. I'm looking for minutes on the pitch to show what I've got. My ultimate goal is to win a contract with Plymouth - it would be awesome. They are a good team and it's been a really good experience so far." Peterlin's presence at Argyle stems from a season spent with Everton, which helped him to develop his game. "I had a trial with Everton and did really well, so David Moyes took me on for a year," he said. "I trained with the first-team and played with the reserves. Ever since I was a kid, I've wanted to play in Europe. I've been blessed so far and, hopefully, I can keep that going."
Argyle may be up against it in their first two pre-season tour fixtures, but that does not bother Karl Duguid. He knows that results only matter when points or cup-tie's are at stake. "We've played two games already, against Truro and Torquay, and we're playing some good sides in Holland, but pre-season is all about getting through games with no injuries," he said. "Getting fit is the main aim, along with getting to know the new manager and his ways." Argyle did not play well last Tuesday, when they went down 3-1 at Torquay United. "We know we're better than that," Duguid said, "but Torquay were a good side. They do the basics very well." Duguid is no stranger to pre-season tours, and added: "It will be good to get away and play a few games, and to get to know the new lads."
Peter Reid has a simple philosophy for his developing squad. The new manager has enjoyed taking training sessions with his squad and at the forefront of his approach is the essential requirement of good fitness. "I like taking sessions," he said. "When I got the job I said the basics of football are what I will never stray from. When you haven't got the ball, you've got to work as hard as you can to get it and when you have got it, you've got to keep it and pass it. You can have a bad day passing. You can have a bad day in the office. Players can have a bad day on the pitch but there is nothing that stops you from giving everything on the football pitch, in terms of shutting down and energy for the shirt. Even if you've had a bad day passing it should be a pre-requisite you get that out of players. We have core sessions for 15 minutes and I can do it as well, if not better, than most of them, and that's wrong. They should be at least up to my level. It's the same with body fat. I'm not being dictatorial. It should be the norm as professional people that get paid that you should be fit. Other managers have different ideas but that's the way I want it done."
Tony Capaldi has returned to Argyle on trial. Capaldi was released by Cardiff City in May and began his trial yesterday morning when he took part in training at Marjon. Capaldi has been included in the squad for the pre-season tour to the Netherlands. Peter Reid said: "He's training with us, and he's going to come away with us. I have seen him play before and he has good energy on that left side. He's an experienced player and I asked him to come down. He's going to come away with us, so he will have a look at us and we will have a look at him. I think he can play at left-back or on the left of midfield equally well. He's a clever player." Reid believed it would be a benefit that Capaldi was so familiar with Argyle. "I don't think it harms, let's put it that way," he said. "I think it helps." Capaldi is two weeks behind the rest of the squad when it comes to pre-season training. Reid added: "He might have a bit of catch-up to do, but he looks a naturally fit boy so I don't think that will be any problem for him." Two other players who have been on trial with Argyle, Laurent Manuel and Manuel Mence, have not been included in the tour party.
Peter Reid believes he will learn a lot about his squad during their pre-season tour. He said: "I think the better opposition you play the more you find out about your players. I can understand the other argument, where you play weaker teams, you win 8-0 and you get your confidence up, but I tend to think that's a false confidence, to be perfectly honest. I would rather go in against more difficult sides. That shows your failings, and it shows some of your strengths." The tour was set up before Reid was appointed as manager, but he is all in favour of it. He said: "I have been to Holland on many occasions, both as a player and as a manager. It's a great area. When you are with the players for a week you get to know them better. And I think, on the other side of it, they get to know me. When a new manager comes in there is a bit of apprehension about. So I think it will be beneficial to the players and it will be beneficial to me as well." Marcel Seip will be part of the squad, despite his wife expecting to give birth to their first child at any time. Reid said: "I gave him the choice of whether to stay at home, but he told me he wanted to go with us. If anything happens then, obviously, he will get straight back." Seip has had his troubles with Argyle but Reid is not bothered about that. "That's history isn't it," he said. "He has done everything I have asked of him so there is no problem."
Peter Reid has sympathised with Simon Walton over the injury which has ended his season-long loan to Sheffield United. He said: "I had a similar injury to his when I was 20 and was out for a year. Thankfully, medical science has vastly improved since then, but it's still a crushing blow to the lad. We have had a chat with Sheffield United and I think he's going to have the operation and do the start of his rehab at their end. He took a six-month let on a flat up there. I have been trying to get hold him, as we speak, to have a chat with him. It's terrible for the lad because it was a real good chance for him to kick-start his career up there." Meanwhile, Kevin Blackwell has confirmed that United will continue to pay Walton's wages. He said: "It doesn't help us going back into the market and getting someone else in. We're effectively paying money on a player who cannot play for you, cannot help you, so that's a blow. I don't know yet whether it will be another loan player or not. I didn't want to have too many loans but I was prepared to take one or two, and Simon covered me in more than one position and it meant I didn't have to go looking at specific right-backs."
Chris Barker is set to leave Argyle after being told by Peter Reid that his future is away from Home Park. "Chris Barker won't be going on tour," said Reid. "We've had chat about it and I think his future is away from the club, and I've told him that. I've made the decision as the manager. You have to make those decisions because that's what I'm paid for. I have nothing against the boy; it's just a professional decision."
Peter Reid will be taking 26 players on the pre-season tour of Holland on Friday. The notable absentees include Chris Barker, and injured youngster Ryan Leonard. Krisztian Timar and Kari Arnason are still in the touring party despite minor injuries, as is Onismor Bhasera, who has been suffering from a cold. Trialists Freddy Hall, Tony Capaldi and Anton Peterlin are also included. "I have got a couple of niggles out there," said Reid. "Bhasera is bit under the weather with a cold, so the doctor has kept him in. He will travel but whether he comes out a bit later will be down to the doctor.
Peter Reid admits he might have to depart from his ideal football philosophy if he is to get the best out of the current squad. "I want to play a passing game but if we can't do it I've got to change it," he said. "We might have to go earlier up to the front man and get support up there. We lost the ball too many times in midfield areas and Torquay were at us. It wasn't great." Reid introduced two triallists during the friendly, Bermudan goalkeeper Freddy Hall and striker Manuel Mence. Reid said: "Manuel is just a French boy who's come over, who's out of contract. We're just having a look at him. And Romain had just done his groin so I didn't want it to get any worse. I thought Hall was a bit rash for the goal, but he's a young kid and one we're just having a look at." Reid admits he is constantly learning about his squad and will try to give each of them a fair chance on their pre-season tour, for which they depart tomorrow. "I'm giving everyone a look," he said. "We have got a sprinkling of experience and a lot of young players and I'm just giving everyone games and seeing how they go. I'm learning a lot about the players and sometimes you learn an awful lot in defeat. I certainly did this evening. I'm not pleased with the result or the performance, but I'm pleased I've got something out of it. It taught me a lot about the players."
Neil Warnock has revealed he might return to Home Park, but only on a voluntary basis. Warnock, who has a home near Plymouth, admitted he had thought about returning to the South West before joining QPR, and said: "I did, as I always intend to live here permanently. But the QPR offer came out of the blue at a time when I felt I really had to go. I was really pleased, as the Rangers people and the fans were superb with me as they knew I had put up with so much in the previous 18 months. Some of the Argyle fans have said that they'd wish I'd come back but, in a way, because I want to to live down here, I'm not sure that it would be the right thing for me. I'd like to help Argyle in some voluntary capacity when I retire from the game as I love the people and Devon and Cornwall." He added: "Peter Reid has a tough task on his hands but he has a decent squad there and I hope he gets it together, as I have always had a soft spot for Argyle."
Argyle lost 3-1 in last night's pre-season friendly at Torquay United, the goal scored by Craig Noone. After the match Peter Reid said: "I thought the better team won. I thought Torquay were better; I thought they were hungrier and wanted it more than us. We started off well, passed the ball well, and got a really good goal. But, after that, our passing went and our shape went and, to be fair, Torquay looked a lot stronger and fitter than us. It's a friendly and I made so many changes that you are not going to get any continuity, but we worked on shape and the shape completely went. Whether that's tiredness or not understanding it, we'll get it right on the training-ground." Among the changes made by Reid during the game were the introductions of trialists Freddy Hall, and striker Manuel Mence, formerly of Martinique side RC Riviere-Pilote. Reid admitted that the defeat may have long-term benefits. "I'm learning," he said. "I'm learning about the players. Sometimes you learn an awful lot in defeat, and I certainly did this evening. It's been invaluable for me. I'm not pleased with the result and the performance, but I am pleased I have got something out of it. There's plenty of time to go before the first game of the season. One of the good things about today is that it is today, and it is not the first game of the season. We have got plenty of things to work on. I was very disappointed with certain aspects of our play. There's no excuse. It was just basics. I don't think we passed the ball. I want to play a passing game but, if we can't do it, I've got to change it. I might have to go a bit earlier up to the front man and get support up there, because we lost the ball too many times in midfield areas and Torquay were at us and it wasn't great. Even though it's a friendly, I don't like getting beaten in games." Argyle: Larrieu, Duguid, Ngala, Johnson.R, Barker, Noone, Johnson.D, Fletcher, Bolasie, Patterson, MacLean. Subs – Hall, Seip, Paterson, Clark, Summerfield, Peterlin, Mason, Mence (not used - Wright-Phillips, Kinsella, Head, Trott, Manuel). Attendance - 1,794.
Simon Walton looks set to return from his loan at Sheffield United as he has been ruled out for the rest of the season after rupturing cruciate knee ligaments during a friendly against Mansfield Town on Monday.
Rory Patterson is looking to improve his game as he battles for a first-team place with Argyle. Peter Reid gave Patterson the thumbs-up for his contribution to the team effort in the win at Truro. He said: "I thought he created a chance, worked the channels very well, but I thought he could be a bit fitter." Patterson, himself, said he was happy to be at Argyle. He said: "I've come back and I've been doing all the training and I was just happy to get out on Saturday and see what it was like playing with the other lads. Yes, I can improve, but it was our first game, and there was a bit of rustiness there, although I thought we deserved to win." Patterson said he saw no reason why he shouldn't score goals for Argyle. He added: "I always try to bring people into the game and, if I get a run of games and service from the wide men, I don't see why I shouldn't score a few goals for Argyle. I've just broken into the national team and got my move over here and into the fold with Plymouth, having played non-League football in the north. This season, I've just got to get as many goals as I can and stay in and around the first team. There wasn't very much striking options for the team I played in the north, but here, there's a lot more strikers. Now I'm here, I want to crack on. I want to get into the Argyle first team and stay in the international side."
Romain Larrieu insists Argyle have got to get the winning habit before the League One season starts and shrugged off suggestions that getting good results in pre-season friendly games didn't matter. He admitted the team had shown some understandable rustiness against Truro, and said: "It was good. We showed some rustiness, but it's about getting the legs going again. Losing a pre-season game doesn't mean the end, but it's important to win all your games to try to get a winning habit. It's a habit which is easy to lose, but difficult to get back." Larrieu made it clear that the squad should put being relegated last season behind them. He said: "We've got a big job on our hands this season. Last season, when we were relegated, that's gone now. We are professional players and no matter how disappointing last season, most of the players who were involved are still here and they've got the opportunity to put it right."
Peter Reid has told two of his strikers they've got to work harder. Bradley Wright-Phillips and Steve MacLean were told to step it up after their performances in Argyle's first pre-season match. Reid said: "I was delighted with the squad on Saturday, I thought it was a good test. Bradley Wright-Phillips is fit, but what I would say is that I spoke to him after the game and I told him that to play for me, he needs to work harder. He's been lively in training, but whether he didn't fancy the pitch on Saturday, I don't know, but I certainly expect more." Reid said he also felt MacLean did not work hard enough during the game. He said: "He got a good goal, but I would expect more from my strikers. I'm not being harsh on the players here, I've only told you what I've told them. They either buy into it, or they don't. I was pleased with MacLean's finishing and I was pleased with the positions he got into. But I thought he could have held the ball up more and that he could have worked harder. This isn't me being miserable, or picking players out, I honestly think they can improve. I know their capabilities. It's not good enough for me at the moment and I don't think it's good enough for them."
Rory Fallon will not be rejoining the Argyle squad until they return from the tour of Holland. Peter Reid said he had taken advice from the club's sports scientist, who had concurred that the striker needed a decent break before returning to action. He said Fallon had visited Home Park after returning from the World Cup and Reid had talked to him. He said: "I've told him I don't expect to see him until after we come back from Holland. I've been in a World Cup myself and I know what it's like."
Argyle have arranged a pre-season friendly at QPR on July 30th, with a 7.30kick-off.
Argyle are giving a trial to Bermudan international goalkeeper Freddy Hall, who has been recommended by former West Ham and Portsmouth 'keeper Shaka Hislop. Hislop is a coach at Quinnipiac University in the US, where Hall has made quite a reputation for himself in college soccer. He may get an opportunity to impress when Argyle play Torquay United tomorrow. When Peter Reid was asked whether Hall would play during the friendly, he replied: "I'm not sure yet, but I'd like to get a look at him. Shaka Hislop recommended him to Paul, so we've got him over and are having a look at him." Reid was less reticent to comment about speculation linking Argyle to Japanese forward Shinji Okazaki and Gillingham's Canadian striker Simeon Jackson. "I don't know anything about them," he said. "Nothing at all."
Peter Reid was joined on the training-ground today by his brother Shaun and former Newcastle United coach Adam Sadler. Shaun Reid does not look like he will be staying long, but Sadler may have a future at Home Park. "Shaun has come down to see me," said Reid. "He's just having a look. The lad doing the goalkeeping session, Adam Sadler, has come down from Newcastle to be with the team for a few weeks and we'll take it form there." Asked whether any future role for Sadler might include working with the goalkeepers, Reid said: "It would be mixture of things. He's got a good CV." Geoff Crudgington was given responsibility for the club's scouting at the end of last season, although Reid will be looking at the entire operation afresh. "I might be updating the scouting system," he said. "I think the scouting system for finding players is very important. It's something I'm having a look at. I will be updating it over the next couple of weeks. Geoff will be involved in some way - he knows the area and has got a good knowledge of goalkeepers, so we will be tapping into that."
Argyle's contingent of trialists has shrunk following the release of Cody Arnoux. Anton Peterlin and Laurent Manuel remain at Home Park and when asked if either or both had a future at Argyle, Peter Reid said: "I'm monitoring it. I'm chatting to someone I know in America about the situation. I thought the midfield player, Peterlin, did particularly well at Truro. He had plenty of energy and I liked the look of him. I'll make my mind up, within the next couple of days, on both of them." Reid has delayed naming the squad for the pre-season training-camp in Holland, and added: "I'll do it after the game at Torquay on Tuesday. Knowing me, I'll announce it and then get about four injuries. I'll wait to assess things on Wednesday or Thursday and make my mind up."
Peter Reid has hinted that more players may be on their way out of Home Park in the near future. Reid did not give away any details about who might be the next player to leave but, speaking after Argyle's win at Truro City, he said: "There are three players gone out and I wouldn't be at all surprised if there were a few more going out." Reid said of the Truro game: "I thought it was a very good work-out and it was a good experience for the players. Truro were well organised and it was a difficult pitch – a bit lumpy."
Argyle won their first pre-season friendly yesterday, beating Truro City 2-0 at Treyew Road. The goals were scored by Yannick Bolasie after 34 minutes and Steve MacLean (64). Argyle: First-half - Larrieu, Duguid, Arnason, Johnson, Bhasera, Bolasie, Johnson, Summerfield, Paterson, Patterson, Mason. Subs - Trott, Head. Second-half - Larrieu, Manuel, N'Gala, Seip, Barker, Clark, Fletcher, Peterlin, Noone, Wright-Phillips, MacLean. Attendance - 1,700.
Peter Reid declared himself 'delighted' after he kicked off his Argyle managerial career with a comfortable victory over Truro City yesterday. Reid fielded separate 11's in each half and, despite minor injuries to Kari Arnason and Jim Paterson, was content with what he saw. "I'm delighted," he said. "We got a couple of knocks, which isn't ideal, but I said, before we went out, 'if anyone feels anything, come off' so it's just precautionary. The knocks aren't bad ones and they should be training with us in the next few days. All in all, everyone's got 45 minutes and I thought it was a very good work-out, a good test for us against good opposition. Truro were very well organised and it was a difficult game for us. I've got to pay compliments to Lee Hodges and his coaching staff. It's only a start and it's early, but I'm very pleased with the way it went. At the end of the day, you can do all the training in the world on training pitches but two 45 minutes tell you a lot so I've got plenty out of that." Argyle now have a another friendly at Torquay on Tuesday night before the tour of Holland. "I think we'll announce the squad on Monday," Reid said. "We'll check on the injuries and go from there. There'll be a lot of hard work. I'll have the players there, solidly, for a week, and we'll hopefully iron out a few faults."
Carl Fletcher was one of the first names on the Argyle team-sheet last season but knows he has to prove himself all over again to Peter Reid. "Even if it's a manager you know, you have got to prove yourself every day in training and every time you play," said Fletcher. "I'm no different. There are 27 players that are going for 11 spots. It's pressure, and that's the way football is, but you have to deal with it, get your head down, and hopefully that will be enough. It's going to take time to adjust to what he wants us to do, but he's spelled that out to us, so we have got to get it done." Fletcher played the second 45 minutes of the win at Truro and admitted: "It's nice to get out there, instead of training all the time.
Argyle's youth team won 2-1 against West Bromwich Albion at the Baggies' Birmingham Road training ground yesterday, the goals scored by Matt Rickard and Isaac Vassell. Allan Evans said: "The boys played some good football and fully deserved the win. Our two full-backs, Jack Stephens and Connor Clifford, played very well and, considering it was the first pre-season friendly, the boys all looked fit and sharp." Argyle: Ord, Stephens, Clifford, Sawyer, Nelson, Pearce, Harper-Penman, Hart, Rickard, Sims, Baker. Subs – Berry, Palmer, Copp, Golby, Vassell
Carl Fletcher insists Argyle have the ability to win promotion this season. He said: "For me, anything other than promotion would be disappointing. That's just my personal view and some people might say something different. There are a lot of big clubs in League One, but anything other than promotion would mean it would be a disappointing season." Asked about the change of management at the club, Fletcher said: "I think it was a bit of a shock, to find out at the end of the season that the board didn't give Paul and John the chance to continue. I think a lot of things last season weren't down to them, and perhaps they didn't have a chance to do it their way. From that point of view, they'd have probably liked more time. But once the decision had been taken, and the board have obviously taken their time, they have found the right man. I was pleasantly surprised. You can't find anyone better and with more experience than Peter Reid. At the end of the day, the people upstairs have made the decision and we'll just go along with whatever decision they have made." Fletcher said despite the pain of dropping down a division he had no regrets at joining Argyle and living in Plymouth. "You can look at it two ways with Plymouth," he said. "Some people will think of it as being a long way from everywhere, and I don't want to be stuck there. Or you can look at it and say it's got great potential with a good, solid fan base. It's a club you can push on with and achieve things with in the future. That's possibly what Peter Reid thinks. We're glad he's here. The main focus at the minute is pre-season. We'll perhaps study the opposition closer to the time. Southampton is our first game and everyone here is looking to try and get in the side. You've got to go out there and prove yourself every day in training, so that you're in the XI on Saturday, August 7. Southampton are a big club. They spent a bit of money last year and have again, I think, this season. Without the 10 points deduction they'd have been in the play-offs at least last season. Obviously they're going to be contenders this season. And you've got to play a lot of matches throughout the season, so you may as well start with the big one. We're all looking forward to it — there's nothing to fear as long as everyone does the right things and works hard. You should go into each game without fear."
Peter Reid and Carl Fletcher are both looking forward to kicking off the pre-season programme at Truro City today. "I'm looking forward to the match — it's our first competitive game after all," said Reid. "It's about fitness, so I'll be using two teams, who will get 45 minutes each. We've got to go in there looking to win every game — that's just part of my make-up. But, like I say, the match is mainly about the fitness. Speaking to people about Truro, they've got some good ex-pros in their line-up, so it'll be a difficult game." Fletcher echoed his manager's thoughts on the opposition and can't wait to get cracking after almost two months of inaction. "It's the first game, so you've got to try and get as much as you can out of it," said Fletcher. "It's no good peaking now — you have to do that on the August 7 in the first league match. And, as far as today's match is concerned, I'm sure it's going to be hot."
Argyle confirmed today that Alan Gow has been released from his contract
Argyle have confirmed a third fixture for their pre-season visit to Holland, a game against AZ Alkmaar on Wednesday July 21st, 24 hours before an already scheduled game against SC Cambuur. The game against Alkmaar will take place at Sportpark Kleine Sluis in the town of Anna Paulowna, at 7pm.
Bradley Wright-Phillips and George Donnelly are both rated doubtful for Argyle's friendly at Truro City tomorrow. Another doubt for the trip is Ryan Leonard. Peter Reid said: "Donnelly and Wright-Phillips are just feeling their hamstrings, while Leonard is feeling his patella tendon. They're not full blown, just tightness. If there were to be a problem I wouldn't risk it. I'm always careful with muscle injuries and you have to be careful with the young boy's patella." Reid intends to field two sides at Treyew Road, but said he is undecided whether to give all three of the trialists an outing. One of the trio, Cody Arnoux, has already come a cropper, although Reid felt the striker's injury wasn't serious. "He has just got a slight problem and didn't train today, but it's nothing to worry about," he said.
Ashley Barnes has completed his move to Brighton, for an undisclosed fee.
Peter Reid is seeking competition at the goalkeeper position. With Romain Larrieu the only senior 'keeper Reid is looking to challenge him. He said: "I want one in and I would like one as soon as possible, but sometimes you can't get have what you want. There is a list and it's just a matter of getting someone in. I don't want anyone comfortable. I need competition all over because that's part and parcel of it. The kid Chenoweth has done alright. He lacks experience and a bit of strength, but he's only a young lad, and that's why I need another one."
Peter Reid has challenged his players to pick the team for him. He said: "I pick the team but the players are the ones that really do that with their performances. If any player does well, they're in the team. If any player doesn't do it right from a discipline point of view, they will be treated the same way. I've said to the players that they can come and see me. I have said from day one that anybody that wants to come and see me, just knock on the door. Players win football matches. I might seem hard on players but I'm not - I just want things done right, and I think players like that. If any player wants to see me and they're not happy, I can sort it out. If I had a player with a problem and they didn't want to see me, I would find it ridiculous if you can't come and see your manager. I am not an ogre. I've already had players coming to see me and asking certain things, and it's not a big deal. I tell them what I think and we get on with it."
Alan Gow looks set to become the next player to leave Home Park with a return to Scotland expected soon. Peter Reid, who admitted a deal was 'close' said: "There is a deal which is close to conclusion and should be done within the next 24 hours, hopefully. But I don't like speaking about it if the deal is not done. And it is a Scottish club, Notts County was just the press who, and I won't say as usual, got it wrong." Asked about Marcel Seip's status Reid claimed he was operating a clean-slate policy. "I'm a new manager and he's one of the players at the club," said Reid. "As I've said before, I pick the team but the players are ones who really do. If he does well as with any player who does well, he gets in the team. If any player doesn't do it right from a disciplinary point of view, then they'll get treated the same way. Like I've said to all the players, if they've got a problem then come and see me. But he hasn't done that."
Ashley Barnes is set to join Brighton & Hove Albion. He should complete the move today, subject to a medical and the usual formalities. Peter Reid said: "I have got a lot of strikers at the club, and want to trim the squad. Brighton were keen to have Ashley back, and Ashley enjoyed a successful spell there last season. So this move makes a lot of sense for everyone involved. We wish Ash all the best for the next stage in his career."
Argyle may have lost out on up to £1million following Dan Gosling's decision to walk out on Everton. Gosling took the club to a Premier League inquiry to prove he is a free agent after claiming Everton failed to offer him an extension to his initial contract in writing, meaning he could expose a legal loophole. Gosling's decision to leave Everton means Argyle will miss out on money they were expecting as part of the deal that took him from Home Park to Goodison in January 2008. The initial fee was £1million but that figure could have risen to £2million depending on appearances and international honours. Gosling was just three games away from netting Argyle an extra £250,000 and Argyle, like Everton, are believed to be unhappy about the situation. Players under 20 cannot sign five-year deals, which is the length of the contract Everton wanted to offer him when he joined them from Argyle. But the initial agreement he did sign came with a verbal understanding to extend it by another two years on improved terms. Everton are considering appealing the Premier League's decision to allow him to leave without compensation.
Peter Reid described Simon Walton's move to Sheffield United as the player's last chance to prove his doubters wrong. Reid said: "He's joining a good club, but I think it's his last chance, even though he's still only 22. It is in the boy's hands, he's got to decide whether he wants to play football or not. Walton looked a very good player as a youngster, but he's lost his way. Hopefully, he'll find his way up there. I had the boy at Leeds and he looked like he had a bright future. But to be perfectly honest, when he trained here, I thought he was sloppy and I'm not telling you anything I haven't told him. So he did have massive potential. But at 22 and being at Crewe Alexandra last season, his reports weren't that clever. And he's got to get it on track, but he didn't want to do it here. And like I've said before anyone who doesn't want to play here, it's no use me keeping them, they've got to go. I want players who want to play for us."
Argyle look set to add former Newcastle United and Gateshead coach Adam Sadler to their backroom staff. Sadler quit his job as first-team coach at Gateshead with the club's manager Ian Bogie stating, 'Adam has been offered an opportunity to join Plymouth'. Argyle have vacancies for both a youth and goalkeeping coach.
Peter Reid has insisted he has had no other 'firm offers' for his players following the loan of Simon Walton to Sheffield United. Reid is under pressure to trim his squad, but only two other than Walton, Alan Gow and Rory Fallon, were absent from pre-season training yesterday. Reid said Gow had a hamstring injury but did hint that he could be returning to Scotland sooner rather than later. Reid said: "There hasn't been anything concrete, just a wee bit of interest in him. Gow came back with a hamstring problem and he's been with the physio, who will give us the go-ahead when he can come back in. He will try and catch up as much as possible, but sometimes when you're injured you'll work harder which is the way I like it as a manager. I think anybody who is injured should work harder. He's got a hamstring which means he can't do running, but he can do body work and use the weights. And Fallon's away getting his rest, obviously I'll need to chat with him when he comes back. But there has been no interest in anybody else at the moment — there's always inquiries, but nothing concrete."
Peter Reid is settling into his task as Argyle's new manager. After a week assessing the players on the training ground, he is pleased with the blend of youth and experience, and the general fitness levels of his squad. "There is a nice blend of younger players and experience, which is not bad to have at this level," he said. "Early on, it was conditioning work but we got into a little bit of football, seven-a-side and 11-a-side. They've taught me one or two things and it's always good seeing the lads involved in a game with your own eyes. It hasn't been a quick tempo but it's been really beneficial to me. When you talk about feedback, last year, I think there were seven or eight strains, or little niggles. We haven't got any, so that's really good from our point of view because in terms of the fitness testing we did on Friday, the results have been very positive. A few of the lads need to get their body fat and weight sorted out, but we're dealing with that on the nutrition side. On the fitness side and the conditioning side, we're really pleased. It's about building them up and getting the work into them. There is still room for improvement but it has been better than I expected. You have got to keep raising the bar but the players have done everything we've asked of them, and you can't ask for more than that."
Peter Reid will only take players on the pre-season tour of Holland that he feels are worthy of a place and made it plain that any player not pulling their weight in pre-season training will be left at home. "I should imagine about 25 will go and it won't be a problem in whittling that down," he said. "I will just decide and that will be it. It will be based on training and how it goes on Saturday in the friendly at Truro - that's the best way to do it. If I think someone doesn't deserve to go, they won't go."
Peter Reid is continuing to assess the two trialists at Home Park, Cody Arnoux and Anton Peterlin and the pair will probably be given a chance in Saturday's friendly at Truro City. Reid said: "I've just had a look at them in a football match and they've done ok. It's early yet. I'd like to assess them and I might try to get them involved at the weekend in some sort of way to see in a fairly competitive game. On Saturday, I'll probably play two sides for 45 minutes. I should know better by next Monday. I would hate to say something on them after just two days of football. I will have a better picture on Monday." Argyle have also taken American defender Laurent Manuel on trial. Manuel has recently been playing in the US league after a youth career with Marseille and Hapoel Tel Aviv.
Simon Walton today joined Sheffield United on a season-long loan. Peter Reid said: "For one reason or another it has not worked out for Simon at Argyle. This is a good opportunity for him to make his mark elsewhere. We hope it goes well for him."
Joe Mason and Yannick Bolasie have been given a vote of confidence by Argyle's new management team. Paul Mariner admits the pair are some way from being the finished article but both have been given boosts by Mariner and Peter Reid. Mariner said: "There's no doubt he's got ability and he could be a very good young player, but he's a young player and he's inexperienced. Peter said that he could be anything. Bolasie came on against Barnsley last season and completely changed the game. As young players do, they go and go and go, and then they go back, so we have to keep working with them." Reid added: "We've got to teach Bolasie the game. He does go at people all the time, but that's not what you should be doing, sometimes. You've got to learn to use your brain." Reid said it was possible Bolasie could be used across the entire forward line, instead of being employed solely on the flanks. He said: "He can't half run with the ball and he may be one of those who can play in a couple of positions." Mariner added that he felt both Mason and Bolasie were 'a long way away' from being pitched into the first team on a regular basis. But he said: "Their potential is boundless, but you don't know what is going to happen in football, so you have got to be careful with young players. You've got to put an arm around their shoulders or you've got to give them a rocket." Reid added that young players had got to have the desire to succeed. He said: "We can help them with certain things, but they have to have desire to be a player and a winner."
Bondz N'Gala is looking forward to a pre-season campaign with an achievable objective at the end, gritting his teeth through the fitness work in the hope of a starting berth on the opening day of the season. "The bleep test is a long process but we got there in the end, and got it all done," he said. "None of the boys like the bleep test - it is a bit of a grind. It works you hard and pushes you to your max. It certainly tests your lungs and legs. It is early days in pre-season and we've still got six weeks to get much fitter for the start of the season. There has been a lot of ball-work so far, as there was at West Ham, so it's been quite enjoyable. My aims and ambitions are, firstly, to get in the starting line-up for the Southampton game, and push on from there. It's exciting. This is the first time I've come back for pre-season looking to get in a starting line-up. I hope to push on and, hopefully, we can win promotion."
Argyle fitness coach Scott Russell is busy preparing the players for pre-season. Along with the sports scientists at Marjon, Russell has been assessing the fitness of the squad after the long summer break. "We do the obvious tests of height and weight, plus the fat test with callipers, sit and reach, football-related stuff and also the strength test," he said. "We also do the yo-yo test for endurance. It is quite competitive. The players don't enjoy it when they hear it's a fitness test but once they get going, they enjoy a little competition amongst themselves. For me, it's an individual thing because we build up a profile of each player. When someone is out of the team or injured, we can go back to that information and, as the season goes on, we can look at the stats and make comparisons. It's a brand new facility at Marjon and I wish we could have something like this for ourselves. Marjon have been really helpful, not just this season. They have been doing it for a number of years now. They will put together the reports and we'll get that information next week, so it will make interesting reading, but the players do come back quite fit. It's not like the old days when they do nothing in the close-season. They were given a programme at the end of last season but there will be differences because some people had injuries toward the end of the season."
Peter Reid is insisting on his squad being fit before they kick-off the new season. Most of the 29-strong squad took part in their second day of training yesterday, the exceptions being Rory Fallon, who is taking two weeks off after the World Cup and Onismor Bhasera, who had been suffering from a cyst which was removed by his doctor in South Africa. The defender has fully recovered and is expected to join the squad today. "It is only fair that Rory gets another two-and-a-half weeks because he is going to be shattered," said Reid. "Bhasera had to see his doctor and we thought it would be wise for him to have the check-up first. He had a little cyst, which has been removed." Reid stated that the squad would be undergoing fitness assessments today, paying particular attention to the players' weight and the amount of fat in their bodies. He said: "That will be interesting once I find out about that, because I feel that if you are paid as a professional athlete, forget about playing football, there shouldn't be any body-fat or excess weight. If anyone is overweight, they will have a nutritional programme, a diet and they will have a strict regime to get it off and we will see how we go from there." One player who saw limited training action was Alan Gow, and Reid said: "Alan Gow was doing some work by himself and he tweaked a hamstring, so he will be with the physio". But he said the squad had been working well since they had all got together at the beginning of the week. Reid added: "We have had two days and I'm getting to know the lads. They have done everything they have been asked to do and they have done it well."
Peter Reid has given the impression that he, Paul Mariner and John Carver were melding into a good partnership. Carver was not present at yesterday's pre-season media call, but Reid and Mariner seemed to be at ease with each other. Reid admitted the players seemed a 'bit wary' of him, but said: "Considering it was relegation last season, there doesn't seem to be any aftershock or despondency among the players. They seemed bubbly and they seem all right. Obviously Paul's been laughing and joking, so it's been OK." Reid said the players had been eased back into training. He said: "In my day and in Paul's day, we would have done about 600 miles in two days. But nowadays it's sort of charted out."
Paul Mariner has revealed he was delighted when Peter Reid was appointed Argyle manager and made it totally clear that he was happy to be part of the new backroom team. He said: "It's been interesting, to say the least. When I heard Peter was possibly getting the job, I was delighted. I enjoy my role and in football, you have got to be flexible and move onto the next thing. Whatever needs to be done, you just get on and do it." Reid made it clear that he was boss, but said Mariner and Carver's help in getting to know the players had been 'terrific'. He added he and Mariner had known each other for a long time. Reid said: "We go back a long, long way, we were just having a laugh about it. Maybe we're having too much of a laugh. We have known each other for so long and seen each other in the north-west and we know what type we are. Obviously, at the end of the day I'm the manager and it's down to me, but if he wants to say something and tell me that I'm wrong, then I'll listen — and that goes for John as well."
Peter Reid has insisted he has plenty of time to get his squad sorted out. He said: "Our real football starts on Monday, when we will start some pre-season work. We'll be doing seven-a-side and three-a-side just to get the legs going. I know the Truro game isn't far away, but we've got plenty of time." Reid made it clear that the game in Cornwall would be used to give as many players as possible some game time. He said: "What I hope with that game is possibly that I can give everybody 45 minutes and do it that way."
Peter Reid has already identified a couple of specific areas in his squad that he would like to strengthen. Although reducing the size of his squad remains a priority, Reid is keen to bolster certain positions and pre-season training has already seen a few trialists dropping in. "There are a couple of areas we have identified that we would like to get a couple of players in," said Reid. "We are just having a look," added Paul Mariner. "There is no harm in having a look at players. There are a couple of lads who were at Everton last year. Also, one lad from Europe." The two former Everton players are Anton Peterlin, a defensive midfielder, and Cody Arnoux, a striker. Reid continued: "I've spoken to one or two of the squad. At the initial meeting we had yesterday, I told them that if anybody wants to come and see me, they can. No-one has been to see me up to now but I'm sure I'll get a knock on the office door. If you know what agents are like, then you know they'll be working on behalf of their players. That doesn't bother me because that's the way football is nowadays, and you're not going to change that. If deals should be done, it's good for all concerned but while they're here, they're Argyle players. We pay their wages, so they've got to do their jobs."
Argyle are in talks with another club over a possible move for Simon Walton. Peter Reid confirmed that the story may well develop toward a conclusion. "There might be something for Walton in the next day or two," he said.
Rory Patterson could be the answer to Argyle's goal-scoring problems and Peter Reid has been impressed by the glowing reports he has been given by Paul Mariner and contacts in Ireland. "I have spoken to Paul about him and I've got contacts in Ireland, who have said he hits the back of the net," said Reid. It will be interesting to see him. If you have got people who can score goals, who knows. If you get the spine of the side really solid, you can then build round that."
Joe Mason has already impressed Peter Reid with his enthusiasm in the opening days of pre-season training. Reid also gave the club a ringing endorsement for nurturing young talent all the way to first-team duty. "Mason has shown loads of enthusiasm," said Reid. "You can see that in training and you have got to give the club credit for that. Bringing young players through is what everyone wants. If you can bring young players through at a football club, it's a massive bonus for everyone. The fans like home-grown players as well. He looks a good athlete and Paul says he has got a football brain as well, so we've got to nurture that. Players have got to have the desire to be a player and be a winner." Mariner added: "You have to be very careful with young players. You can put an arm round them or give them a rocket. All you can do is give them information."
Peter Reid and Paul Mariner were both full of praise for the wonderful training facilities Argyle having been using at Marjon. "The facilities are unbelievable and the sports science department here allows us to do rehab with the lads, so I'm delighted," said Reid. "It is a really nice liaison we have Marjon and something we need to develop," added Mariner. "You know what the weather is like in the autumn, so we're always looking for different sites. In previous years, we have been all over the shop."
Argyle's two remaining out-of-contract players agreed new deals yesterday. Karl Duguid signed a contract extension that will keep him at Home Park until the end of next season, and Yannick Bolasie agreed a new two-year deal. Duguid said the appointment of Peter Reid was instrumental in his decision to stay. He said: "The manager's been named now and I think it's a great appointment. It is a good coup for the club." 21-year-old Bolasie was delighted with his new deal. "I want to be in the 11 on the first day of the season, but not just that, all season, and show some consistency," he said. Both players would have been out of contract today, but guided by Paul Mariner and John Carver, new manager Peter Reid said he is delighted to have ended speculation about the pair's future. ""Obviously, with the players only just back for pre-season training, and me new to the position of manager of this football club, I am relying a lot on Paul and John for help. They've filled me in on the two players and their qualities, and that's good enough for me. John and Paul's help has been invaluable, but from now it will be me assessing the players, which I have already done on our first day of light training."
Peter Reid has confirmed that all but Rory Fallon and Onismor Bhasera were at UCP Marjon for assessment yesterday. Zimbabwe international defender Bhasera was due back from South Africa yesterday, while Fallon has been allowed 'a couple of weeks off' to recover from his exploits in this summer's World Cup for New Zealand. Reid said: "It's only been a bit of light training — getting the boys' legs working again — nothing too tough to start with. They'll have another work-out today with games and ball-work included and then be assessed tomorrow to see if they've stayed in shape. When I was a player, I couldn't wait to get back to the training ground. As far as I'm concerned, being as fit as you can be is a core part of being a successful player."
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