A Round-up of Argyle News
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Greens on Screen's Daily Diary is a compilation of Argyle news, with help from these and other Argyle-related sites.
On This Day:
Also included on the three most recent days, facts from Argyle's history.
Argyle have agreed to sign former Rangers and Manchester United winger Bojan Djordjic. The 23-year-old Yugoslav-born Swede is due to complete the formalities of his three-year contract at Home Park when he arrives next week for a medical. Bobby Williamson said: "I am delighted that Bojan is joining us. He will add to our squad and increase competition for places."
Peter Gilbert believes he has enhanced his chances of breaking into the senior Wales set-up following a week-long training camp in San Sebastian. "I would like to think I have helped my chances of getting into the senior squad," he said. "Whether that comes sooner or later I don't know. Hopefully I impressed them while I was there. I felt my week went quite well, although you never know what is going to happen in football. But I really enjoyed it out there and I got to know some of the lads. The standard was good, and the sessions brought the best out of the senior and young lads. I think all the young lads did themselves a lot of favours. Toshack was fantastic, as he always has been when I have met him. He is very helpful and knowledgeable, especially to the young lads." Gilbert admits his main priority is winning back his Argyle left-back berth at the start of next season. He said: "It is the aim of all the lads to get back in the first team - I am no different from anybody else. But I'll be having a break now before I report back for pre-season training. I'll just be relaxing and probably going back up north."
Argyle target Izzy Iriekpen looks to have decided to stay with Swansea
Argyle may face competition if they want to sign Jason Dodd, who has admitted that he has other alternatives to ponder. "I have a few options to consider. I definitely want to continue playing, I just don't know where yet," he said. "I had a wonderful time when I was down in Plymouth. I played under a great manager, and I really enjoyed my football there. I need to speak to my family and to their manager and see what is going to happen. I would love to come down there again, but I don't know the manager's plans and it's up to him."
Michael Dunford confirmed yesterday that Argyle's pre-season schedule should be finalised soon. He said: "We're looking to bring two top European sides to Home Park. We should be playing Club Bruges on July 26th and hopefully Celta Vigo on July 30th. If Celta don't come, then we have another couple of alternatives. We'll also be going to Sweden for a pre-season training camp between July 17th and 24th. We won't be inviting supporters to travel with the team, but no doubt some of our fans will be making their own arrangements. There will be two or three low-key practice games in Sweden, and we'll let our fans know when and where they will be played when we can." Dunford also revealed how well season-tickets were selling so far. "We've sold nearly 2,500 already," he said, "and the cut-off point for members who want to guarantee their existing seats is still three weeks' away. I'm confident that, by the start of the season, we will have hit last year's target and maybe even grown on it. We did a very thorough comparative study before we made a recommendation to the board on prices, and I'm confident that, when people see the prices that other Championship clubs are charging, ours will compare favourably."
Akos Buzsaky is confident he has increased his chances of playing for Hungary at senior international level by signing permanently for Argyle. He said: "I have never been in the Hungarian first team although I have played for, and captained, the under-21s. It is a dream of mine to play for the national first team and I think I am one step closer now because I have signed a contract here with Plymouth. I want to play here and I think it is a real good option for me in the future." Although hopeful he will be selected for the senior team sometime in the future, Buzsaky is in no rush as he feels he has time on his side. He said: "We will see. I'm young and I have time. Everybody wants to play in the national team. I enjoyed being captain of the under-21s. It was a good part of my life, but it's over."
Jason Dodd would 'love' to be an Argyle player next season. He said: "I only heard officially yesterday that I was being released by Southampton - even though I knew it probably would happen - so it is only now I can start thinking about what will happen next season. I had a wonderful time when I was down in Plymouth, played under a great manager, and really enjoyed my footy there. I need to speak to my family and the manager and see what is going to happen. I would love to come down there again, but I don't know the manager's plans and it's up to him. I'll be having a chat with him in the next couple of days." Dodd admitted finding a new club was new territory for him. "I have never been in this position before so I don't really know what to do," he said. "It may not be sorted out till June or July, as most deals are done then with players. When I came to Plymouth originally, Saints coach Kevin Bond gave me Bobby's number, and I gave him my word I would play for him. I'm not one of these players who gets an offer and goes somewhere else. I'm not one to wait around for a better offer - I'm here to play football. I don't really know what is going to happen. All I know is I definitely won't be at Saints next season." Dodd goes away on holiday at the weekend, and would love to have next season's plans sorted out by then but admits that may not be possible. "It would be nice to have my future sorted in the next few days in a perfect world, but that may not happen" he said. "I just love my football and want to play on at a good level."
Argyle are believed to be lining up friendlies against Spanish Second Division side Celta Vigo and Belgian champions Club Bruges. Apart from the visit to Torquay United, Argyle's only other confirmed pre-season fixture is at Buckland Athletic on July 9th
Marc Edworthy has refused to speculate on whether he will be returning to Home Park. He said: "I have been released and the rumour mill has been going overdrive with speculation linking me with this club and that club. I will have to sit down with a number of clubs and have talks with them to see what the situation is. That all wont be sorted out until I have come back from holiday. You will find most deals are not sorted out until June/July as most players are on their holidays. And chairmen and managers have got to sit down and look at their clubs. Argyle is where I started my career and I am from that area, but I will be speaking to a lot of clubs and having a good think about things. I know Jason Dodd did extremely well last season, and I'm sure the club will be looking at a few players."
Argyle have been linked with former Manchester United left-winger Bojan Djordjic. The 23-year-old, who was born in Belgrade but has Swedish nationality, left Old Trafford to join Rangers in January this year, signing a six-month contract with an option for another two years
Graham Coughlan has urged Argyle to end the 'stand-still' over his future. The Irishman wants a new long-term deal, but still has a year left to run on his current contract and several clubs, including Bristol City, have shown an interest. Coughlan said: "As it stands me and the club are at a stand-still. There is nothing really going on and the club don't seem to want to budge. I am still a Plymouth player and I am proud of having played for the club for four years. There are one or two good offers on the table from others, but everyone is aware I want to stay at this club. If they put something on the table I would stay at this club. Me and my wife are having another baby soon and all I am trying to do now is look after my family. I have 12 months left and I just feel I have been loyal to the football club during that time. I have always been up front and open and the manager and chairman know the situation. I am looking for a bit of positive reaction, but I don't want to get into a situation at the end of next season when I am out of contract. Who knows, then there might be five clubs looking at me or there may be zero. There is a little fear I may not be at the club next season."
Argyle's proposed pre-season game against Southampton at Home Park is almost certain to be cancelled after the Saints relegation
Bobby Williamson is hopeful the signing of Akos Buzsaky is just the start of his summer transfer dealings. Williamson has spoken to 20 players and 20 agents in recent weeks and while he will not name any specific players he confirmed he is looking to add to the squad. He said: "I am looking to bring more players to the club. I'm going to meet with the board to talk about the budget and to decide how many players we can bring in over the summer. I'd much rather go for quality rather than quantity. But we need a substantial squad for next season, because of the transfer window coming into force. I felt that a lack of experience was apparent this season, especially away from home, and I am looking to try to add a few experienced players to our cause. But we don't want to become a 'dad's army' - we want a natural balance and if we can do that, than I am hopeful we can give a good account of ourselves next season. I have been speaking to a lot of players and a lot of agents, just to get a feel for players, but not all of them are available for contracts. But I am confident that there are plenty of players out there who can add to the squad. The jigsaw will never be completed, that is the nature of football. But we have to try and keep adding to bring more quality to the football club. People shouldn't underestimate this division - it is a massive step-up from the previous year. We had to change it and players had to move on and players had to come in who I felt were capable of keeping us in the division. We have done that successfully and now we want to try to add to it again to go for the challenge ahead next season. It is going to be a huge challenge to try and progress in this division, but it is one I am up for. I hope that the fans will come and help us out by buying season tickets early so that we can keep adding quality players to the squad." Although he is hopeful of bringing in some new players, Williamson said it was difficult persuading potential new signings to come to Plymouth. He said: "If I can get players here, it doesn't matter who they are, I have a good chance of getting them to stay here. But it is getting them here. A lot of them have the notion that we are so far away from everybody else. It wasn't hard on my part to come here as I just love the area. And I am sure that if players came here they would feel the same way. I have got to convince them that we will be doing more travelling by air rather than these long bus journeys because it does take its toll on the players." Williamson hinted that, although new faces could be expected, current players could leave to make room for the new influx. He said: "If we bring new faces to the club, then old faces are going have to move. If the players don't want to be here and they are offered more money or a new challenge elsewhere, we will wish them all the best. But we do hope to keep our better players at the club."
Bobby Williamson is confident that the three-year contract Akos Buzsaky has signed will enable the midfielder to develop as a player. He said: "Maybe he was trying too hard to impress people when he was here on loan. Hopefully, next season, he will have learned from this season - that he doesn't have to do something special every time he receives the ball. Once he learns the game a bit more, he will become a very, very good footballer. He has been substituted a couple of times because he is still a young lad, and he is still learning to push himself through every game. Sometimes he runs out of steam sooner than most people would like and he has to be substituted. But as he develops and gets more experience, he will become stronger and know when not to chase lost causes and when to keep hold of the situation and not just run all over the park. Sometimes he lacks discipline in that department, but that is why he is a young lad and why we will be working hard with him." Buzsaky was left on the bench for the game against Derby which Argyle lost 1-0, because Williamson wanted to approach the game with a more defensive outlook. Williamson said: "I left him out at Derby because I felt we needed a different shape to the team. We needed to be a bit more defensive minded on that occasion and to be fair we were not that too far away from getting a result there. Defensively sometimes I feel he needs to learn more about the game, but that is because he is inexperienced and nothing else really. He has got the ability and the talent and we want to try and improve all the other aspects of his game to take him forward to become a top player. I am sure he will have learned from last season, and become a better player for it."
Argyle are set for a better league campaign next season if they can show more consistency, according to Bobby Williamson. He said: "We had good results against Sunderland and Wigan this season and they have moved on to the Premiership. But it is consistency which I am looking for and that let us down badly this season, especially away from home. We learned as we went along and got off to a reasonable start, which I knew we would do because if your players are coming up after winning a division, they are going to play above themselves for spells. But it is that consistency factor I am striving for and the players have got to show me that. The most successful teams are consistent and, while we are chopping and changing, it is because I am striving to get that consistency." During certain stages of this season, Williamson's team selections were questioned by some fans but the manager is adamant that he will only pick a side he believes can do a job, regardless of what the fans think. He said: "I have got to try and pick the players that I believe can trouble the opposition most and not just pick who the fans think are the best team. If the players have done well, we need to recognise that and if they are not doing well, I have to be fair to somebody else. I know a lot of fans don't agree with that and think their favourite 11 should be playing, but I can't do that and I need to be fair to everyone." This season was Williamson's first in English football and he is confident that he can use the experience to better himself and Argyle next time around. He said: "The year down the line has definitely helped and given me an insight into what other clubs have got as well. Jocky Scott was a great help on that matter as he watched a lot of Championship football last season - which was difficult for me to do - and knew most of the players who we came up against. But I am learning all the time in what other teams have got. It has been a good learning curve and I've got to put it to good use next season. Hopefully we can keep on improving."
David Worrell has praised the Argyle's fans following his departure. He said: "It was a great send-off, the fans were different class and it was a very humbling experience - I just want to say a big thank you to them all. I really didn't expect to get that sort of reception and credit goes to the manager for taking me off like he did. The way the crowd reacted was special and something I won't ever forget. I had three really tremendous end of seasons out of the last four at the club, with the two championships and then this one, which was really special to me. It was one of those things when you don't quite know what is going to happen on the day but like I said, the send-off I got from the fans - and the boys, when they all came up to me as I went off - was something that will stick with me for the rest of my days. It was truly special." As for his future, Worrell said: "I am just waiting to see what's out there. At the moment there's nothing concrete although I've had phone calls from a couple of clubs. That's as far as it has gone though."
Akos Buzsaky has described his permanent move to Argyle as a 'dream come true'. He said: "I am really happy to sign my contract here in Plymouth. It was my dream and now it is realised I am really happy. I am waiting for the start of the Championship because I want to play here. I came for only three months last season, but these three months were the best in my career - until today. I hope that the next three years will be the best years in my career too. It wasn't a difficult step to choose Plymouth. It is the best option for me at the moment because I can play in a really good Championship in a really good team." Buzsaky only played 15 times for Argyle, but made such a big impression with the fans that at the last home game against Leicester they held up signs asking the board to sign him on a permanent basis. Buzsaky said: "It is really nice that the fans cheer for me as before I have never felt that and the Plymouth fans have really bonded with me and are really nice. I feel they like me and it is wonderful to go out from the dressing room and to have thousands of people who love our team. English football is completely different to football in Portugal. It is strong and it is quick, but I think with time you can do your best. Hopefully I will do better next season. Plymouth have some really good players and we like each other which is really important, and I think we can do better than last year."
Akos Buzsaky has joined Argyle on a permanent basis, signing a three-year contract. Bobby Williamson said: "I'm pleased to get Akos. There has been a lot of hard work going on behind the scenes to make sure we got him. It has been a great effort by the directors and the chief executive. He brings us something different. He's certainly more offensive, than defensive; he can create; he does things off the cuff; he improvises. That's great. Hopefully, next season, he will have learned from this season that he doesn't have to do something special every time he receives the ball. Once he learns the game a bit more, he will become a very, very good footballer. Maybe he was trying too hard to impress people when he was here on loan," said Williamson. "I'm sure he will have learned from last season, and become a better player for it." Paul Stapleton declined to say how much the club had paid for Buzsaky but, with media speculation as high as £700,000, he did say: "I am delighted to announce that Akos Buzsaky has signed a deal to become a Plymouth Argyle player for the next three seasons. As you know, Akos was an effective and popular player when he was here on loan and there has been a growing groundswell of opinion among our supporters that we should have made the loan permanent. But players of Akos' ability do not come cheap and there has been some hard bargaining. We have been working on this for many months. We have negotiated and we are pleased to say the deal has been affected and that Akos is with us for at least the next three years. It was the desire of the board, the manager and our fans to see Akos back at Home Park. We did everything to make sure he remained and became a full-time Argyle player. He is clearly already a quality player, the type we are keen to bring to Home Park to maintain the progress we have made over the last four years and he has great potential. We believe that he can realise that potential with us at Home Park. We are pleased that he is here for three years. He was only 23 11 days ago and he is just the sort of player we need at Plymouth. We were more than aware of the affection and regard in which the fans held Akos in, as was seen at the last game with a number of signs being held up. We are delighted that we have been able to deliver on their hopes." Stapleton heralded the club's supporters for the part they played in bringing Buzsaky to the club on a permanent basis. He said: "It is partly due to the support of the Green Army that we have been able to fund this deal. We have had fantastic support within the last year with gates over 16,000 average and we have always said that if the fans come and support us, we will provide the funds to back the manager. We are currently selling season tickets for the coming season and the more tickets we sell, the more opportunity there is to bring other players to the football club for 2005/06." Williamson added: "I've spoken to a lot of players and agents over the last few months: if I'm looking for a player in a certain position, I don't just speak to one - I speak to four or five and make a decision after that. Because I've spoken to players doesn't mean I'm actually going to offer them contracts."
Argyle have missed out on signing Wrexham winger Carlos Edwards after the Trinidadian chose to join Luton Town on a free transfer. Edwards had held talks with Argyle and Coventry as well as Luton but the winger's agent Mike Berry confirmed that Mike Newell's side have won the race to sign him. Berry said: "He will sign for Luton. Effectively it will be July 1st, but we've agreed personal terms and he's looking forward to joining the club. We turned down Plymouth and also Coventry, but he also had Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds. He had numerous Championship clubs chasing him. Mike Newell's been watching him for three years and has a good rapport with the manager and Newell made him very welcome at the meeting. And the chairman was very ambitious and they just said all the right things. But mainly Mike Newell. He won the League One Manager of the Year and there is a nice rapport between the two of them. That's the main reason he joined - Mike Newell."
Mark Rivers has joined Argyle as the new Football in the Community manager
Argyle have been linked with a move for Marc Edworthy after he was released by Norwich City
Tony Capaldi has been included in the Northern Ireland squad for the prestige 125th Anniversary International Challenge Match friendly against Germany next month
Argyle are rising to the challenge of developing Championship calibre players for the future, according to Stuart Gibson. He said: "Next year, every one of the 130 boys in our centres of excellence at Ivybridge and Bodmin will be training three times a week. That's a minimum. Ideally, they should be training four times a week but our geographical problems do not allow it, although we are making in-roads into that. Some have done three times a week, but now it's going to be a demand. One night will be a physical session, once a week everybody will come together at Ivybridge for the team sessions and every Saturday morning will be a technique session, followed by playing games on Sundays." Gibson insisted it was very important the boys had as much exposure to quality coaching as possible. He said: "The theory is 10,000 hours will produce an elite athlete. To do that takes 10 years. If you think about it, Tiger Woods started hitting golf balls as soon as he could walk. How many hours do snooker players spend potting balls before they get to the top level? Yet in the team sports we are not as good as that. In Sweden, where my background is, that's what they work on, and that's why they are in the elite of handball, ice hockey, football, skiing and cross-country skiing, because they put the hours in at a young age. By the time they come up to 16 you should have a technically developed, physically developed and mentally developed player. The mental side of it is a big part. The pressures are there all the time now, and if you have one bad game the crowd is on your back. You have got to be able to handle that and have the character to get on the ball and to want to receive passes." Although Gibson believes progress is being made within the youth set-up, there is still much to be done. He said: "You can see the difference from a few years ago. For the first reserve game this season, at Cardiff, five of the first-year apprentices played in that match. That was inconceivable even two years ago. We lost the game 2-0 but played well. This season we have had 17-year-olds play for the first team, which shows we are making progress on that front. It's just a shame Ryan's season has been spoilt through a growth spurt. He has grown two inches since last summer."
Bobby Williamson admits he is searching the world for new players to strengthen his squad, which is currently only 18-strong. "I have got a rough idea of how big I want the squad to be but I won't be telling anyone that," he said. "I will be going for quality rather than quality. I have been actively looking since I have been at the club and that will continue. I am looking all over the world, although preferably I would bring in British players. But I am not afraid to bring in players from mainland Europe." Argyle have been linked with Livingston's right-back David McNamee and West Ham United full-back Rufus Brevett. Williamson refuses to comment on specific transfer speculation, but he has revealed he hopes to conclude a deal for a young goalkeeper. "He will come in as a youth player and hopefully the young lad we will bring in will fit the bill as the third keeper," Williamson said. "We will take a look at him and decide if he is suitable to give cover for the season." Any deal for McNamee now seems unlikely as the player will be out for 'several months' after rupturing his Achilles on Saturday and under-going an operation on Sunday
Argyle have decided not to offer an apprenticeship to Wales under-16 skipper Ryan Moon. Stuart Gibson admitted the club were spoilt for choice at centre-back in Moon's age group, Paul Kendall and Scotland under-16 captain Jamie Laird being offered two-year deals instead. Gibson said: "We have had a luxury this year of having so many good centre-halves. We had four excellent centre-halves and there was only room to take on two. There wouldn't have been room for all four to play so we hedged our bets and we took Kendall and Laird."
Argyle are set to tour Sweden this summer and are also hoping to play Southampton again in a pre-season friendly at Home Park, but only if the Saints stay in the Premiership. Bobby Williamson said: "We wanted to freshen things up a bit this time as the club has been to Austria for the last two summers so there is a strong probability we will be going to Sweden this year. We just know more about Sweden than we do anywhere else, and we hope to go out there for a week. The details of it have yet to be finalised and hopefully we will be confirming that in the next few days." Williamson has pencilled in the game against Southampton for July 26th. "We will be playing them again, but only if they don't drop down to our league," he said. "It will be a good chance for me to see how far we have come in a season."
Argyle are again being strongly linked with Livingston right-back David McNamee. Reports in Scotland suggest Hearts and Hibernian are both interested in McNamee, who will be available on a free transfer this summer, but that Argyle are the favourites to sign him
Hungarian midfielder Mark Petnehazi could be offered a two-year apprentice contract by Argyle. Petnehazi was one of two players who recently had trials at Home Park after being recommended by Akos Buzsaky. Stuart Gibson will not follow up any interest in striker David Kocsis but may offer a deal to Petnehazi after visiting Buzsaky in Hungary in June to see Petnehazi in action. "Akos is going to meet me over there sometime in June and introduce me to some people," said Gibson. "When Mark was over here he impressed not only with his technical ability but also his physical strength. Because Mark is under-18 we couldn't get international clearance for him to play in any competitive match. So that's why I'm going over to Hungary to see him play, with a view to offering him an apprentice contract." Gibson could also decide to take on former Crystal Palace midfielder Scott Marshall after a trial. Gibson said: "We have still got an interest in him. He played for Palace when they played in the Duchy College tournament last summer. When I invited him down on trial he said he had heard good things about Plymouth Argyle and the youth set-up. That's the kind of things you want to hear."
Nick Chadwick cannot wait for next season to start, even though the current Championship campaign has just ended. He said: "I've enjoyed it so far, but next season I think we can really move on to greater things. Being here for a few months has really helped me settle in. Next season, hopefully, I can go at it right from the off, which I think will be beneficial to both myself and Argyle. I'm not getting too anxious about not scoring. I know if I keep working, like I have, then the opportunities will come. Sure I've been disappointed when I haven't been playing, but at the same time I'm sure the other boys would argue the same when they haven't been playing." Argyle finished in 17th place with 53 points in the Championship . "To stay up is a great achievement," Chadwick added. "Some could argue it's more of an achievement than winning the lower leagues. It is OK winning the lower league – that's a great achievement in itself and let's not take anything away from that – but this division is a step up again. This is one step away from the Premiership. A lot of players who have played in that league are in this division now and there are a lot of big clubs, so to stay is fantastic." Of the Green Army, Chadwick said: "Our fans were recently voted the best in the country and you can see why. The amount of time, effort and travelling they put in is just phenomenal. Before I came down I looked into the club a bit, simply because you don't want to play for a club where there is no passion. It's not like Liverpool, Manchester, whoever, where people have a choice of teams; everyone down here supports Argyle, which is great. It's a real proper football club and anyone who argues against that should perhaps take a trip to one of our away games, that is if they can get a ticket!"
Luke Summerfields injury does not appear to be as serious as first feared. Stuart Gibson said: "Luke suffered a lot of bruising and swelling. He visited the club doctor this morning to confirm the severity of the injury and may have to go for a MRI scan, but it is hoped that it is nothing serious."
Akos Buzsaky wants to stay with Argyle. Buzsaky has returned to his home in Hungary as Argyle and Porto continue discussions over a permanent transfer and the two clubs are thought to be close to an agreement. Buzsaky said: "It's a different type of football in England from Portugal. It's more technical there. Here it's more physical and more stronger but I like that kind of football too and I would like to stay in England. I can do nothing. I will just sit back, enjoy my holiday and wait for a phone call. But, yes, I would like to stay because I think the fans like me, it's a good team and a really good championship. Everything is good, but it's not down to me. I have enjoyed my time at Plymouth. I'm really impressed because it's a really nice city and a really nice club, with really nice people as well. I came here in January and we had good results and bad results, but we stayed up and that was what we wanted to do. Next season Plymouth will enjoy the Championship again, and that was the most important thing. I think we did well."
Argyle's young reserve side lost the final of the Devon St Luke's Bowl to Exeter City 2-0 at Home Park last night. Luke Summerfield was stretchered out of game with a knee injury and has been sent home to rest for a week. He is due for a second examination next week to determine if any treatment is needed. Argyle: Stevenson, Drew, McKeever, Summerfield, Routledge, Laird.S, Smith, Bond, Mason, Reski, Watts. Subs – Kendall, Joyce (not used – Laird.J, Hopkinson)
Argyle's first pre-season friendly will be on 9th July at Buckland Athletic
Argyle play Exeter City in the final of the St Luke's Devon Bowl at Home Park tonight and the line-up will include 10 players who have appeared for the reserves this season. The sole exception is goalkeeper Daniel Stevenson. The only player with any first team experience is Luke Summerfield, who made his debut on Sunday. Bobby Williamson said: "I know what Luke's capabilities are and I think he has got a bright future ahead of him if he keeps listening and learning. He has got a football background and his dad will be telling him how to apply himself and how to look after himself. I'm sure he will do that and, hopefully, he could be knocking on the door next season." Argyle's team tonight includes left-back Tony McKeever and striker Anthony Mason, who have been recently called up for the Republic of Ireland under-17 squad, Scotland under-17 captain Scott Laird and John Routledge in central defence and Martin Watts on the left-side of midfield, who was offered an apprentice contract with Argyle last week. Watts is one of six new players for the Argyle youth team squad next season. Mason is another of the five, along with goalkeeper James Debbage, defenders Paul Kendall and Jamie Laird and midfielder Daniel Smith. Debbage also accepted an apprentice contract last week, despite interest from West Ham United. Argyle: Daniel Stevenson, Liam Drew, John Routledge, Scott Laird, Tony McKeever, Chris Reski, Luke Summerfield, Clay Bond, Martin Watts, Chris Zebroski, Anthony Mason. Subs - John Hoyles, Paul Kendall, Jamie Laird, Daniel Smith, Bobby Hutchinson, Ben Joyce
Bobby Williamson has warned Argyle's first team squad to expect a tough pre-season when they return from their summer break. He said: "It's going to be harder this year so I hope they don't think it's going to be the same routine. We are going to have step up and push everything a little bit more
Peter Gilbert has been included in the Wales first-team squad for a training camp in Spain later this month
Romain Larrieu has signed a new three-year deal with Argyle. Larrieu rejected interest from another Championship club before agreeing his extension and said: "I am really, really happy and looking forward to the next three years. They will be big years for the club. The last four that I have spent at the club have already been big, but the ones ahead will be really big. I am thrilled to be part of it." Larrieu is now set to continue his battle with Luke McCormick for the keepers jersey. He said: "You are always disappointed when you don't play and I was weighing the opportunities I had - there was a club interested - but I wanted my future to be sorted before the holidays. I have spent five years here and I wanted to be in the right frame of mind. Sometimes in your career, you need a fresh start, and I wanted to make sure I didn't need one. That's why I have signed for Plymouth. It is where I always wanted to be. I like Luke as a person, and I like him as a goalkeeper. As a goalkeeper, you need everybody else to help you, especially the one who doesn't play but who trains with you every day." Bobby Williamson said: "I'm pleased. There's not much separating both goalkeepers. I feel they are both capable and it will be the one who does his best in pre-season, and looks as sharp as he can, that will get the nod. We'll still be looking for another goalkeeper because we're not too sure about the transfer windows next season."
Ryan Dickson is set to be offered a professional contract by Argyle and Bobby Williamson is considering loaning him out next season to gain experience. "I'll gauge things when he comes back," Williamson said. "He's been maturing and growing and it's taken its toll on him. Hopefully he'll come back bigger, better and stronger after the summer. If I feel he's in contention for a first-team place, brilliant; if not, there are other options." Dickson's fellow apprentices John Hoyles and John Routledge are the only other two players from their year's intake of apprentices to have been offered third-year terms
Paul Wotton has not ruled out a return to defence at some stage even though he has starred in midfield this season. "If I'm needed to go at the back then I would do that because I have played there hundreds of times as well," he said. "I honestly wouldn't know what to say if somebody said to me 'what position do you play?' I can fill in at right-back or left-back as well. I don't like the tag utility player so I will say defender/midfielder. That will cover it. The whole season has been a buzz for me really. We have gone to some fantastic stadiums and played against proven, top-class players. But probably the outstanding highlight for me would be the two goals I got against Brighton at home, which was a crucial game. We were fortunate enough to win it 5-1 on the day and it went a long way to keeping us in the league." Wotton believes Argyle surviving in the Championship is a better achievement than winning the old Division Two title. He said: "I'm not taking anything away from the achievement we had last season. We were a double championship-winning side and we are down in the history books. But I do feel staying in this league is more of an achievement. It's what we would have settled for at the start of the season and it gives us a good platform to build on next year. We now know the league, and the league knows us, so we will be on an even keel. Nobody should underestimate how good a season we have had to stay in the Championship." Although Wotton has enjoyed the season, he cannot wait to get away on his summer holidays. He said: "I have never looked forward to a rest as much as this year. It's not just been the physical demands but the mental demands over the last couple of months as we have fought to stay up. It gets into your system and you can't just switch off and leave it at training. I struggled to sleep because it's always on your mind." Wotton also had a message for the Argyle fans, he said: "They never cease to amaze me. They are always there for us. I think it has been exciting for them, as much as us, seeing new teams and going to big stadiums. The away fans are just incredible. They always have been, ever since I have been at the club - even going away to Halifax on a Tuesday night. They came top of a poll on BBC Radio Five Live last week for being the best away supporters in the country and I can't think of anyone else who would even come close. As captain I would like to thank them for their support and just say the players really do appreciate it."
Romain Larrieu has agreed to sign a new contract with Argyle but Graham Coughlan could be set to leave over the summer. It is thought Larrieu's new contract with the club could be for as long as three years but Coughlan admitted the draw with Leicester City could have been his last game for the club. He has been in talks with Argyle since last July about a new deal but, as yet, there has been no agreement. Coughlan said: "I will tell no lies, there are one or two on the phone. I'm sure I have been up front and honest with everybody at the club and they are aware of that. I hope I can go on and play another 200 games for the club, but if it's not meant to be it's not meant to be. I'm open to offers. If the club were to put something in front of me I would certainly consider my long-term future. At the minute, with the new baby on the way, I'm anxious to get things tied down. But I do have a year left on my contract and the club have always been fair with Graham Coughlan. Football is a business and the club are not here to look after just me. They have got 18-20 other players, supporters and a lot of other people to be looking after. I can't be too greedy or too selfish because I know they are busy people." When asked if Saturday could have been his last appearance for Argyle, he said: "There is always a chance, but there could be another 200 games in front of me. God knows what's going to happen. It's obviously all up in the air at the minute so we are quite anxious to get it tied down. I love this place. It has been great for me for the last four years and if my number is up my number is up. So be it." The game against Leicester saw David Worrell play for Argyle for the last time and Coughlan thought the standing ovation he received was well deserved. He said: "Special mention has to go to Dave Worrell. He has been consistent for four years. Like the rest of us, he has had ups and downs but he has battled through it. His contribution to this football club shouldn't be overlooked. I think he has been a tremendous servant and I'm sure everybody in the dressing room and everybody on the terraces wishes him all the best. He will have no problems getting himself sorted out elsewhere and he will probably produce the same sort of performances for other clubs as well, no matter where he goes."
Bobby Williamson was upbeat after Argyle's final game of the season today. He said: "I'm delighted with the way we have gone about our business this year. There's been two or three disappointments along the way, that's understandable over the course of the season. That's why it annoys me when reporters and fans try and break the league into parts, four out of five defeats - that sort of stuff, it should be judged over the course of a season. We're definitely going to have ups and downs. It's never going to be plain sailing. It's how you react to defeats, and victories for that matter. I'm experienced enough to realise that and to keep believing that what we are doing is right. I've been proved right - we have managed to get the results we have needed to stay in this division. It's been a very tough division. We've not found it easy against anybody and we'll not find it easier next year. It will be as hard, if not harder." The match today was largely forgettable. "We didn't create as much as I would have liked," said Williamson, "but, then again, neither did Leicester. I can't remember Luke doing much, apart from coming for a couple of crosses, but, as long as it is 0-0, you are always wary. The only pleasing aspect was that Luke Summerfield got 15 minutes, he got a couple of touches on the ball. Apart from that, not much more, to be honest. It would have been nice to win, but it was a point and the target for next season is to get more points than we have got this season. That's always been the case. People can talk about play-offs and promotions but I'm certainly not going to be talking in that way, not just yet, anyway." David Worrell made his final appearance for the club and was substituted with 13 minutes to go to allow him to receive a standing ovation from a near full-house. "I think everybody at the club appreciates what David has done in the past," said Williamson, "but, as I keep saying, to get new faces to the club, we have to let old faces go, and I wish David and his family all the best for the future." Despite the season being over Williamson will be back behind his desk on Monday morning. He said: "The players deserve a break. They have worked hard all season and it will not be too long before they are back in, working, again. We will be working very hard in pre-season to make sure we are ready for the season ahead. I'm going to be concluding a lot of things in the next two weeks. Then, once things are concluded, we'll be able to tell everybody what we are doing."
Argyle drew 0-0 with Leicester City at Home Park. Argyle: McCormick, Worrell, Coughlan, Kouo-Doumbe, Gilbert, Norris, Wotton, Buzsaky, Gudjonsson, Taylor, Chadwick. Subs - Summerfield, Milne (not used - Lasley, Larrieu, Evans). Attendance - 19,199. and Ian De-Lars match report is here
Before todays game Paul Wotton was announced as Argyle's Player of the Year, winning 76% of the votes. It is the second time he has won the award in three seasons. David Norris was second in the poll and Mickey Evans came third. Wotton said: "I am thrilled. It is always extra special when you win something that has been decided by the fans. My thanks goes to them, of course. Other than the gaffer, they are important people to try and impress. It is nice that your efforts are appreciated." Luke McCormick again won the Young Player of the Year award with Paul Connolly finishing second and Akos Buzsaky third
Bobby Williamson has revelled in the challenge of his first Championship season. "I've really enjoyed it," he said. "There's been a lot of trials and tribulations, a rollercoaster ride, with ups and down, but that's all part of parcel and football, and it's all how you deal with the setbacks that matters. Hopefully, you bounce back, and I think we've done that - and we've managed to keep our championship status, which was the most important thing. This season has flown by. Lots of good football has been played and there have been a lot of highs and lows, which is to be expected. There have been disappointments along the way, but a lot of great results and great performances, and, hopefully, we have learned a lot in our first season in the Championship. It's been a difficult season because the team won the Second Division last year and most of those guys are a legend at the club because of what they have achieved over the last few years. We had to make changes along the way and it was difficult to move players on and bring other players in, but it had to be done. It wasn't done radically - I'd like to think most of the guys had a chance to prove themselves at this level and, to be honest, the players who did move on did so through their own wishes. They felt they had better opportunities of first-team football elsewhere. Other players have come in and acquitted themselves well, and we need to keep adding to it. We're still looking for more quality to complement what we already have here. That's ongoing. We have got to try to establish ourselves in this division before we can make a big push to get into the Premiership, which is a massive, massive step. We want to get the infrastructure right and, with the board's backing and your support, we can stabilize and become a good championship team before we contemplate getting in the Premiership. We've come a long way in a short space of time. We've played a lot of good teams, and we can hold our heads up with what we've achieved." A win against Leicester on Sunday would be a decent way to end the campaign and Williamson added: "I'm not expecting an easy game at all. Leicester have hit a bit of form and put a few good results together. They have still got a lot of Premiership players and we know it's going to be difficult. Our fans will be here in good numbers and good voice, I hope. We want to send them home happy. We'd also like the three points to leap up the league a bit." There is little prospect of Williamson tinkering with his team and fielding a weakened line-up as there is nothing to play for. He said: "Our fans pay good money, and I have to try and pick a team that I think will get us a result. That will always be the case. If a young player gets an opportunity, that will be because I feel he deserves to get an opportunity. I have to be as fair as I can to everybody." There should be a role today for Stevie Milne, following his first appearance since November at Burnley last week. "I was pleased for Stevie," Williamson said. "It's been a difficult season for him, and he hasn't managed to start a game. It's been hard for him to establish himself. I still believe in his ability and I still believe he's got what it takes. Hopefully he'll get the breaks he needs next season."
David Worrell is poised to make his farewell appearance for Argyle tomorrow against Leicester. "I'd like to thank David for his services," Bobby Williamson said. "He's been a great servant to the club and a good professional. I hope he gets fixed up very quickly, and I'm sure he won't let anybody down wherever he ends up. He's a great pro and it's the worst part of the job, letting players know that they're not being retained, but to bring new faces in we've got to let old faces go. But it's all done with the best intentions and for the best of the club." Two possible candidates to replace Worrell in the squad are Jason Dodd and David McNamee of Livingston. Both players are out-of-contract in the summer, but Argyle will face strong competition from other clubs in England and Scotland. Williamson would not comment on whether there was a chance of Dodd returning to Argyle in a permanent move. He said: "I can't speak about Jason because he is still contracted to Southampton. We were very grateful to Southampton for letting him come here in the first place. There are plenty of players out there who I have been monitoring for a while. My work doesn't stop after the game on Sunday. It's probably just the start of it. I will be working hard on a daily basis and hopefully getting about to see if there are players out there who can come in and complement what we have already got at the club."
Bobby Williamson has revealed that Argyle have offered Romain Larrieu a new contract, thought to be for two years, but that he has not yet given the club an answer. "He's had an offer put to him, and he's not made up his mind yet," Williamson said. "He's still thinking it over. I'll try and give him as long as I can, but the offer can't sit on the table forever. I've not put any pressure on him. I don't believe that's the way to work. If you start setting deadlines, then you end up pushing players away and I'm not prepared to do that." Luke McCormick will keep his place in goal against Leicester City tomorrow, so the two 'keepers will each have made 23 Championship appearances this season. "It's difficult for the goalkeepers," Williamson added, "because only one can play at any one time. If I'm being fair to Luke, that means I'm probably being unfair to Romain and vice- versa. The two of them work well together, and have a good respect for each other as professionals." Next season Argyle will have to abide by the transfer-window - once the campaign starts, transfers will be outlawed except during January and Williamson said: "That could be a difficult situation for quite a number of clubs if they are only carrying two goalkeepers. Even if they are carrying three, you never know. A goalie can get injured at any time and you might find yourself caught short. We will deal with that once we find out what the rule is. We might need three 'keepers next season."
Akos Buzsaky has not ruled out the prospect of returning at Home Park next season. He said: "At the moment it looks like my last game, because my contract here is at an end. I don't know what is going to happen now. I am waiting. I would like to stay here in England, but it is not just up to me. It is just part of the business in football. I can do nothing, I don't know what is happening. I don't know what Porto want or what Plymouth want, so all I can do is wait." Buzsaky would be happy if the outcome of that wait proves to be a transfer to Argyle. "I have really enjoyed it here," he said. "Plymouth are a great club and it is a nice city with nice people. I have a lot of friends here now. It has been totally different to playing in Portugal for Porto's B team. It has made a big impression on me to play in such big stadiums and against big teams. It has been amazing and I hope it will not be my last game on Sunday, but you never know. I have had to learn to play a different type of football here, which has been good for me. I have had to adjust my style to do my best here, because it is not the same as in Portugal. Now I have more confidence. It is a great feeling. When I arrived I was like a little boy, it was all so new, but now I am full of happy thoughts and full of confidence. It has been great." Bobby Williamson does not want to see Buzsaky depart. He said: "Talks are still ongoing and as soon as we conclude that the better. That's the way football works. One club will be looking for as much as they can and the other club will want to pay as little as they can. That's just the nature of it. Other people deal with that situation and they will towards a figure that is affordable and worthwhile for us. I'm sure we can come to a conclusion. Hopefully this won't be his last game on Sunday. I hope he'll be back next season. Akos has done reasonably well since he's been here, but he can do even better when he gains more experience. I've enjoyed working with him - and I hope I'll work with him for a while longer."
Paul Stapleton is excited about Argyle teaming up with Puma as their new kit suppliers. He said: "It was not so long ago, I remember, that we had to go out and buy shorts and socks from a local sports shop for the first team to wear in the opening matches of the season because our suppliers then had not delivered the actual kit, never mind the replica strips for the fans. How things have changed. Now, Puma have been working overtime for us to ensure that not only are we able to launch our new kit tonight, before the season has ended, but also have it on sale to our loyal fans two months before the next campaign begins. In all our dealings with Puma quality has shone through, and rightly so. We feel we are a quality team and that our players - and supporters - deserve a quality product. I believe they have it."
Argyle players will pay tribute to the fans after Sunday's final game of the season against Leicester City. The management and players will salute the Green Army with a lap around Home Park following the final whistle. Bobby Williamson is keen to take any sense of triumphalism out of the gesture. He said: "I'd like to ask all our fans to stay back at the end of the game so we can show our appreciation for your backing throughout the season by coming out and applauding you. In no shape or form is this a lap of honour, but - win, lose or draw - we want to show our appreciation to you for your support, home and away throughout the season."
Argyle's youth team will take on Exeter City in the St Luke's Devon Bowl final at Home Park on Tuesday. Exeter will be sending a team of similar age and experience for the match, which kicks off at 7pm. Argyle: Stevenson, Drew, Routledge, Laird.S, McKeever, Reski, Summerfield, Bond, Watts, Zebroski, Mason. Subs - Kendall, Smith, Laird, Joyce, Hopkinson
Argyle reserves won their final fixture of the season, beating Yeovil Town 1-0 at Home Park, the goal scored by Keith Lasley. Final reserve standings can be found here. Argyle: Larrieu, Drew, Routledge, Laird.S, McKeever, Gudjonsson, Lasley, Summerfield, Capaldi, Zebroski, Reski. Subs - Kendall, Bond, Mason. Stuart Gibson said: "It was a good team performance by players who were fully committed to the cause. In the first-half we didn't pass the ball well enough despite scoring, but we played much better in an improved second-half performance. The back-four and Romain, in particular, were excellent against a Yeovil side who were also fully committed and who worked hard throughout the match." The three points picked up last night ensured Argyle moved above Cheltenham Town to clinch the runners-up spot and Gibson said: "It is good to finish second in the league with such a young side, but it is really all about developing the players. It has been a hard season, but they have performed fantastically well, and it all bodes well for next season when some of the youngsters could be challenging for a first-team place." Final standings and results for Argyle's under-18's can be found here
Bobby Williamson was back at work at Home Park yesterday after a scouting trip up country on Tuesday evening. "I'll be watching games and getting reports from all over Europe from now until the end of the season," he said. "That's ongoing. The players we've got have proved that they can play at Championship level. They've stayed in this division comfortably, I feel, but you can't get complacent. I'm always looking to add quality to the squad, players who can complement what we have, and that will continue." Argyle have not yet given up hope of signing Akos Buzsaky - even though Porto have raised the fee from £270,000 to £350,000. However, it is thought that such an outlay would use up a large percentage of Argyle's transfer budget this summer, and that they are more likely to pursue free-transfers.
Paul Stapleton believes Argyle can improve on last years season ticket sales following the announcement of next seasons prices. He said: "I think the prices are still reasonable. We need to make a small rise in tickets to help towards the running costs of the football club and so we are able to pay players higher wages. I would be pleased to sell at least the same number of season tickets as this season, if not perhaps a little more. I know at other clubs, for instance Burnley, they have struggled after a good first year in this division. Burnley had a good first year and even second year, but by the third they struggled a bit - but hopefully our fans will stay with us. I am positive that our fans enjoyed this season, and they have showed that by coming along in such numbers to the Coventry game." Stapleton said around 19,000 tickets had already been sold for the final game of the season on Sunday. "I hope it is going to be a sell-out and it should be a great crowd and atmosphere," he said. "Getting so many fans for an end of season game where there is nothing to play for is fantastic."
David Worrell has spoken of his four-and-a-half 'wonderful' years at Argyle. "I was disappointed I didn't get a new contract but I have spent some wonderful years at the club," he said. "I have known for a few weeks I would not get a new contract and, although I was a little surprised, it was not that unexpected. I have no problems with anybody at the club and have spent some of the best times of my life here. The highlight was probably the Division Three championship winning season as I played all but three games in that campaign. I wish everyone at the club well in the future." Worrell has had to share the right-back berth with Paul Connolly since last season and believes Connolly can go on and make the position his own next year. "'Shelly' is a really good player and a top lad, but he has been a bit unlucky this season with injuries," he said. "The lads have done fantastically well this season to stay in this division and I think the club can establish themselves more next season. I have no problems with anybody at the club, and Bobby Williamson has been very fair with me. My form this season has been a bit inconsistent, but I'm sure a lot of lads this season would say that." Worrell admits his future is up in the air. "I will probably be sitting by the phone, with my mother saying a few prayers for me!" he said. "I'm not ruling anything out at this stage. I'll see what happens during the summer."
Bobby Williamson has confirmed that Marcus Martin, Gary Sawyer and Matt Villis are likely to be awarded new contracts by the club - but will again play elsewhere next season. "It has yet to be concluded, but we would like to have them back here, with a view to loaning them out again," he said. "Exeter should get first option on Martin and Sawyer, and if they are happy learning and plying their trade there then I'm all for that, but we will see what happens. It is the same for Matt Villis, who has been at Torquay. He has not established himself there yet and it would be difficult for him to come into the Championship. But he is still young, and he is someone we want to keep hold of and see progression."
Puma have been confirmed as Argyle's new kit suppliers for the next four years. The new home and away strips for the next season were unveiled last night and photo's of the shirts and the event can be seen here and here. Michael Dunford confirmed Ginsters would continue as shirt sponsors for another two seasons. Dunford also revealed that both the home and away kits would change annually, and not every two years as before. Paul Stapleton said: "It's another measure of how far we have come as a club that we are shoulder-to-shoulder with a giant of the sportswear market."
Argyle have released David Worrell. The right-back has been told he will not have his contract renewed when it expires in the summer. Bobby Williamson said: "We would like to wish David every success. He has been a tremendous servant for Argyle and leaves with our best wishes. A lot of guys are rightly legends at this club because of what they have achieved and it is difficult to move players on and bring others in, but it has to be done."
Tony McKeever and Anthony Mason have been called up for the Republic of Ireland Under-17 squad to play France in two friendlies in Paris on May 17th and 19th
Bobby Williamson has warned fans not to expect a push for a play-off spot next season. He said: "I will wait to get this season out of the way and then I will take stock, and see who we can bring in and what we are trying to achieve - but I don't think people should get carried away. I don't know what the expectations will be next year. But if you look at the likes of Preston, Derby and West Ham, they have been in this division a long time and have established themselves. We can't expect to be competing for a play-off spot. I'm not saying we can't do it, but it is not something we should expect. We most definitely need to improve our away form, and the home form too for that matter. But only on three occasions this season do I feel we have let ourselves down - at Millwall, Sunderland and West Ham. Performance-wise, during the season, we played a lot of good football. We have made it difficult for a lot of teams in this division - but obviously it could have been better." Williamson admitted it was a relief to finally be sure of Championship safety. "I am pleased for everybody at the club, and especially the fans," he added. "Everybody wanted us to stay in this division, and you don't want to be responsible for taking this club back down to a division they did so well to get out of. There is so much pressure around in football these days that it is difficult to actually enjoy it. But I love being part of football and part of this football club, and I am doing my best not to let anybody down. We will get bad results and bad matches but I am doing this job to the best of my ability." Williamson refused tp comment about what areas of his squad he would like to strengthen next season. "I wont be telling anyone where we need to strengthen as that would be worrying people here," he said. "If we bring a player in and somebody feels disappointed then that's tough - they should have belief in their own ability. That's what happened at the start of this season when I brought five lads in, and the guys here rose to the challenge. That could be the case again for next season."
Argyle today released details of their 2005-06 season-tickets prices, which will again be available as Green, White and Pilgrim memberships. Full details of the prices can be found here, on the official website. Michael Dunford said: "Whilst we cannot be specific as to when Phase Two will start, we hope to make an announcement in the coming months. It might just be that season-ticket holders in the Mayflower and Grandstand areas may have only another 12 months before the redevelopment programme recommences. Season-ticket holders in those areas for next season would have the opportunity of being rehoused during 2006-07 in other areas of the ground on a temporary basis, eventually moving back - if they want to - to the new Main Stand when the building works are complete. During Phase Two, our overall capacity will reduce to less than 13,000 and so it will only be season-ticket holders and members who will be able to guarantee a place during the construction period. As we reach the end of what has been a very challenging season, we have achieved our first goal in remaining in the Coca-Cola Championship. I am certain that all members of the Green Army would have readily settled for that outcome prior to the start of the 2004-05 campaign. Adjusting to a higher division is never easy but, whilst there have been some disappointments along the way, we can all look back on the current season with a high degree of satisfaction. Your Board of Directors is ambitious and remains optimistic about the future. Whilst strengthening the first-team squad must be our first priority, we are not prepared to take unrealistic financial gambles, as some clubs have done to their peril in recent years. Strong financial management and astute transfer dealings are all part of our rebuilding process and we hope that progress continues. Our budgets are heavily reliant on retaining as high a level as possible of season-ticket support. Some 9,500 supporters purchased season-tickets last summer and we hope to maintain, and maybe even increase, this figure by August. All match-ticket prices, with the exception of our juniors, will increase by £1, which will bring us in line with average Coca-Cola Championship prices. Season-ticket prices will, in turn, increase but will still represent fantastic value when compared to other clubs - and, don't forget, season-ticket holders will enjoy the equivalent of five free games in their guaranteed favoured position at Home Park". Dunford underlined that the club held the same aspirations as the fans. "It would be an unwise person to make rash predictions as to when we would hope to play in the Premiership, but that must be our ultimate aim," he said. "As supporters, you have brought considerable credit to the club during this season. Home and away, your behaviour has been exemplary and we have received numerous commendations on the level of away support Argyle has enjoyed - well done. All we can ask of you is that you continue your tremendous support for Argyle. On behalf of the Board, and, indeed, everyone at Home Park, we wish you a restful and enjoyable summer, and we hope to see you back when the new campaign starts on August 6."
Gary Sawyer is set to sign a new contract at Argyle but hopes to return on loan to Exeter City next season. He said: "I am hoping to sign for Plymouth and then go back out on loan to Exeter. I am pretty sure it's going to happen, we have just got to sort out the financial part. I can't say for definite because you can never say that. But Plymouth want me to go back to Exeter and it just has to be ironed out between the clubs." Exeter have already been rebuffed in their efforts to sign Sawyer on a permanent basis and the youngster returned to Home Park this week to spend a week training with Argyle. He added: "I have gone back training to be part of the squad again. Bobby came down to watch us a couple of times and we have been offered a further year. I want to stay with Plymouth in the longer-term but my football has definitely improved at Exeter. It was class this season and I played quite a few games which was great for me. Playing first-team football was something I needed to do and I think Exeter will get promoted next season. We outplayed teams like Carlisle and Hereford and we should be where they are now - in the play-offs."
The chances of Argyle signing Akos Buzsaky from Porto seem to be slim. Paul Stapleton revealed that Porto have upped the transfer fee they want for the midfielder. He said: "The difficulty with Akos is that Porto are holding out for quite a large transfer fee and I have got to weigh up all the facts and figures. I like Akos as a player and I like him as a person but I have got to be sensible about the economics of it." Stapleton revealed Argyle had already made one unsuccessful offer for Buzsaky, whose impressive performances over the last three months have caught the attention of other Championship clubs. West Ham United are believed to have sent a scout to watch him at Home Park last Saturday. Stapleton said: "We had a call from the agent on Saturday saying 'what's going on?' We have made an offer and Porto have said 'no'. They want much more and we have said 'well, can we talk?' It's at that stage at the minute. I might know a lot more in June when the season ticket sales have gone through and I see where the levels are. If they are as high as this year, or even higher, then I might be able to do a bit more, but I have got to base it on budgetary facts. I was always led to believe the transfer fee would be nearer to the figure we have offered than the figure they are asking for. It's unfortunate. We will just have to wait and see but if we don't get Akos - and I hope we do - then I'm very hopeful that there would be someone equally as good. At the end of the day, you have got to look around and say 'where are we, what areas of the team need strengthening and how can we do it?' I'm sure the manager has got his own ideas and I'm sure he's looking now. Presumably next Saturday when we haven't got a game he and his coaching staff will be out and about."
Paul Wotton thinks that avoiding relegation this season has been a more commendable feat than winning the Second Division title a year ago. "Staying up this year has been a better achievement," he said. "It's been a huge step-up into the Championship. The jump from the Third to the Second Division wasn't that big but the jump from the Second to the Championship has been massive. We've coped admirably with it in certain games. In other games we've taken a beating, but that wasn't through lack of effort. We've learned from this season, and we'll be a better side for it. It's important we kick on. We don't want to keep being involved in relegation fights. It was inevitable this season that we were going to get involved in it at some stage, but don't let anybody under-estimate what an achievement it is to stay up this year. The gaffer has had to work to a budget which I would say is one of the lowest in the Championship, and great credit to him. Great credit to the players too. It's been a bit of a slog this season, but we've come through it. I've enjoyed the challenge of playing in the Championship and trying to prove myself as a Championship player and I'd like to think I've done OK. I've enjoyed the transition to midfield and I've enjoyed playing almost every game. I can't wait until next season." Wotton knows that Argyle need to take more of their chances, something they failed to do at Turf Moor. "We're not happy," he said. "It was the same old story. We controlled the game for long periods but we've conceded goals again. It's happened too often. We created chances, but if you don't take them you don't win football games. It's as simple as that."
Bobby Williamson knows Argyle will have to improve their away form if they are to make a bigger impact in the Championship next season. "It shows you how difficult it is for us to travel," he said. "I'm sure the fans are knackered by the time they get to the games - you can imagine how the players are, and they have still got to go out and perform. We're exploring every avenue, trying to make it better for us next season. We can improve it, and I'm hoping we can improve our away form next year." Williamson was not happy with referee Tony Bates or with Luke McCormick, after the penalty award. He said: "The referee called it. He's the one who makes the decisions. I think he got a lot wrong today. He acknowledged that at half-time. He said he'd made a mistake when the linesman gave us a free-kick on the edge of the box, he decided to play on, and we lost possession immediately. In my book, you can always take it back and change your mind because there is no advantage gained. On the edge of the box, we want those decisions. Luke McCormick was silly, pushing Akinbiyi, and the boy was just as stupid, falling over. I don't understand players who do these stupid things. It can be very costly at times. I don't think it is violent, pushing somebody, and, to be fair, I think the boy went down very easily - he's a big lad and I've seen him stand up under provocation before. Players do these things and I don't necessarily agree with them. It would have been 0-0 if the penalty hadn't come along, but we defended that situation poorly - that's the annoying thing. There are lessons to be learned. I thought it was a good game. I think both teams had a go. We certainly had a go. We attacked them, and the goalkeeper's had a good save, putting the ball on to the post from Chadwick, and a good save from Stevie Milne's header late on. We caught them on the break a couple times and made the wrong decisions, played the wrong passes: that's the disappointing aspect of it. Defenders were well on top. I don't think either team allowed the other team a lot of chances." Williamson promised that his players would not let up in the final game of the season against Leicester. "We'd like to thank our fans for all their help at home - they make all the difference," he said. "It's a long season, it's not over yet, and it would be nice if we could finish with a victory next week. You want to win football matches - our fans pay good money and we've not rewarded them with a victory today."
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