A Round-up of Argyle News
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Greens on Screen's Daily Diary is a compilation of Argyle news, with help from these and other Argyle-related sites.
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Also included on the three most recent days, facts from Argyle's history.
Gary Sawyer's ankle injury is not as serious as was feared, although he will still be out of action for a few weeks. There were concerns that Sawyer had broken his ankle towards the end of the reserve's victory over Bristol Rovers yesterday, but examinations have revealed no break, and that Gary has merely sprained ligaments and tendons around the joint
Barry Hayles and Luke McCormick share one opinion this week - they are glad that Argyle do not have a midweek first-team match. "A bit of a rest will do us good," Hayles said, "so we can work on the things that let us down on Saturday." McCormick added: "We don't want to dwell on what happened at Preston. We have to think about our next game. We've got a full week to prepare for Sheffield Wednesday. It will be a help, not having a midweek game. We don't have to knock our rhythm and our training, and we can look forward to Saturday." Hayles admitted that Argyle were far from at their best last Saturday. "We didn't get started, to be honest, and we were punished," he said. "We never really created any chances, and our wide men never really got into the game. That was our downfall. We had a tough game in midweek and maybe we had heavy legs. Maybe the gaffer might have freshened up the team a bit, but we can't hide. We know we can play better. We can carry one or two players not having a decent game, but we can't carry seven or eight. That's what we were doing on Saturday." McCormick said: "We didn't really get off to the best of starts on Saturday, and we seemed a bit flat. We were up against it from the start, because we didn't really get ourselves going." Argyle let in an early goal to Preston, who then clinched the points in the second half with a long-strike which would not have beaten McCormick if it had not taken a deflection. "It was volleyed in and it came through a mass of people and took a touch on the way through," McCormick added. "If it hadn't got the deflection, I would have chucked my hat on it." McCormick also felt that the effects of what had been a tough week were evident last Saturday. "We gave so much at Charlton," he said. "I don't want to make excuses, but maybe all the travelling took its toll."
Gary Sawyer was injured during Argyle reserves' win over Bristol Rovers yesterday. Sawyer received three minutes of treatment before being stretchered off and then undergoing X-rays. "It was a good win in a game where we could have scored a few more goals," said Tim Breacker. "But it is a shame about Gary Sawyer - his injury is a massive negative and we will just have to wait and see. It is not nice to see a stretcher in any game, but hopefully Gary will be okay and there will be no problems."
Damien McCrory has been called up to the Republic of Ireland under-18s squad to play Germany on November 13th
Mathias Doumbe is concentrating on trying to win back his place in Argyle's first team rather the worrying about his long-term future. The defender, who will be out of contract in the summer, said: "I haven't thought about that yet - the contract - maybe a decision will come in the next five months. At the moment I'm just trying to keep my head right - not get angry because I'm not playing regularly or anything. I just want to stay in the group, work hard and try to force my way back into the side. I am happy here at Plymouth - although as I'm not playing I cannot be totally happy - but I have some good friends here and I am having a good time. The aim for me now is just to try and play for the first team - that's the main thing. I will continue to work hard and hope for a chance. Yet it certainly won't be easy because the players in the team are doing a good job at the moment. I just hope for the best for the team and myself."
Dan Gosling has been called up for the England Under-18 squad for the game against Ghana on November 20th
Argyle have confirmed that Akos Buzsaky is leaving for QPR, initially on loan but with a permanent move agreed for the January transfer window. The fee has not been disclosed
Argyle beat Bristol Rovers 2-1 at Home Park in this afternoon's reserve game, the goals scored by Ashley Barnes and Martin Watts. The match was to have been a friendly but was changed to a Pontins Holidays Combination fixture. Argyle: Saxton, Moult, Sawyer, Doumbe, Watts, Gosling, Summerfield, Abdou, Smith, Fallon, Barnes. Subs - Misiewicz, White, Duggan, Stevens
Akos Buzsaky was '99 per cent certain' last night that he would be joining Queens Park Rangers, and admitted he was excited by the prospect of a new challenge. Buzsaky said: "For me, Plymouth will always be in my heart before Porto. I have been here in Plymouth for three years and I've had a brilliant time. I've really enjoyed my time here, but in a football career, sometimes you need a new challenge. I think I had a good spell in Plymouth - we had some success and I had good periods and bad periods. Last week, I didn't know anything about this opportunity, but then I found out that QPR really wanted me, which is really important. I think Plymouth is happy with the deal. The choice was that I signed a new deal with Plymouth, or tried myself at a different club. It was a difficult decision to make, because I have my friends in Plymouth and I was settled there. I am looking forward to the new challenge, but I was happy down there and it was an emotional decision to have to make. I always felt really important at Plymouth - I played regularly and had more than 100 games for Plymouth at a very good level, while it wasn't the same at Porto. Some of the highlights were signing the deal to play for Plymouth, then I had seven or eight good games for Tony Pulis, then got injured, then when Ollie came along, I had six or seven good games, then I got injured. I had a good season so far this season as well and I played well at West Ham and at QPR." Buzsaky is looking forward to working with new QPR manager Luigi de Canio, and said: "It's important that I'm the first signing for the new manager. He's Italian and has managed in Italy and his teams play more my sort of game than we played in Plymouth. Footballers have a short career and probably make four or five important decisions in that time. This is one of them and hopefully it will turn out right."
Akos Buzsaky is leaving Argyle, Ian Holloway confirmed today. Buzsaky will be joining a club on loan, but Holloway said he could not speculate on which club the midfielder will join, as the player was due to have a medical for his new team today "He won't be staying here," said Holloway. "We accepted an offer his agent had managed to get because he was supposedly turning down our offer. He came in to see me this morning and he is potentially going to sign for another club - he has not done it yet. He is going up there for a medical and I think they have agreed terms. He has told me that he won't be re-signing here. I tried as hard as I can to make him feel welcome but he has been here three years, and he has got to make a decision for his future. He is someone I admire greatly because to come to a foreign country and not have your family with you, for the love of football, is a tremendous thing to do." Holloway feels however, that the loss can be compensated by the recent emergence of Dan Gosling and the acquisition of Lee Martin on loan. "I believe he will be a fantastic player and he is someone I wanted to keep," he said. "I felt he was homesick last year, so I brought in two people I felt would help us and help him - I got three players for the price of two as I solved the homesick problem. Unfortunately, someone else is now going to reap the benefit of our hard work. All you can do is offer him the love and attention, and, if he chooses to go somewhere else, then he goes with my blessing. I have got Danny Gosling, who was already here. I have brought in Lee Martin because I was fearful that this might happen." Holloway has been completely open with fans regarding probable changes to the Argyle squad over the coming months, and added: "I was open and honest that this was a big year for us and the squad might change. All I can do is my job with the team and do what the board tell me to do, and they back me when I tell them to do something. Every time I have asked them to do something for me, they have done it. Other people have seen us in this division for three or four years and we don't look like relegation fodder. We are looking at the other end and I think the people of the City are looking at the other end of the table. That is down to the way the players have played and the optimism around the place. I like to think I have helped that and we have got some quality players."
Argyle's reserve fixture against Cheltenham on Tuesday has been postponed because of the Robins' involvement in the FA Youth Cup. Instead, Argyle will be staging a friendly against Bristol Rovers at Home Park, kicking off at 2pm
Ian Holloway has rubbished speculation linking him with the vacant Norwich City job and pledged his future to Argyle. He said: "I haven't heard a word from Norwich and all this kind of speculation is both news to me and entirely unwanted. It's not a surprise, because whenever your team is doing well, as mine is, and there is a vacancy elsewhere, your name seems to be inevitably linked. Yes, it's a feather in our club's cap that my name is on somebody's list, but I'm not interested in the post. I'm fully focused on the job I have here at Plymouth Argyle."
Jermaine Easter has revealed he had been all set to sign for Bristol Rovers until Argyle came in with a late offer for him. He said: "When it didn't happen in August I thought that was the end of it. I was preparing to sign for Bristol Rovers this week so it came out of the blue. I was delighted to come here. It's good move for me and, hopefully, I can progress and become a much better player here. I think Bristol Rovers put in an offer for me on Tuesday. I don't think Plymouth put in their offer until Thursday. As far as I was concerned, I was going to speak to Rovers, but Plymouth came in at the last minute." Easter believes his step up from League Two will enhance his prospects of playing regularly at international level for Wales. He added: "John Toshack has been on my case for a long time to be playing at a higher level, and now I am. Hopefully, I can become a regular." Ian Holloway has described the player as an 'off-the-shoulder' striker and Easter agreed with that. He said: "I like to play alongside a big man. Last season, it was Tommy Mooney at Wycombe and I learned a lot from him. He made me a lot of goals. I'm sure people like Barry Hayles will be a similar kind of foil for me so, hopefully, I can learn from him and score some goals at this level. I have got great respect for Ian Holloway as a manager. He has turned some good strikers into great strikers and, hopefully, he can do the same for me. I'm really looking forward to working with him and I have no doubt he will make me a better player." Easter met his new team-mates for the first time at training on Friday morning, before the squad flew to Manchester in the afternoon, for the game at Preston. Easter added: "It's obviously disappointing we didn't get the win today because the lads have been doing really well lately. I was disappointed not to score from the chance I had, but to be fair, the keeper has pulled off a pretty decent save. It would have been nice if it had gone in because it would have been a good start for me. Now, I will have a week's training and, hopefully, I can build on it next Saturday" Easter face's competition for a first-team spot from Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, Barry Hayles and Rory Fallon, who was also a second half substitute at Preston. He said: "Baz is obviously a very experienced pro and I will learn a lot from him. I think me and Sylv are pretty similar and Rory is good in the air as a target man. "It has all been a bit rushed but I'm just pleased to be here."
Ian Holloway had no complaints about the result as Argyle's fine run came to an abrupt halt against Preston. Holloway said: "I thought their two centre-backs did really well against my two strikers. I don't think enough of my players today played well enough to get us the right result we wanted." Holloway admitted Argyle, had shown signs of tiredness from an early stage on Saturday, but said: "What can I do about that? I could have made changes to the side, but why do that when the performances have been right. We have tried to prepare properly and get it right, and we put the same team out there. But I don't want to make excuses. That's just life. Maybe we are not strong enough at the moment for me to be able to change it how I wanted to." Holloway, though, still took consolation from the progress the club has made during his 16 months as manager at Home Park. He said: "I think we almost came here today as favourites, which is unbelievable. Preston has been knocking on the door to get in the Premiership for however many years, but they haven't had as successful a start to the season as they would have wanted. My report on them the other night said their fans were baying for blood. We were hoping to keep them quiet, but they got an early goal." Trailing 2-0, Holloway sent on Rory Fallon and Dan Gosling, and went with a 4-3-3 formation for the closing stages of the game. But the manager admitted the new tactics did not work at all. He said: "When we changed shape, oh good gracious me. Their concentration had gone. We had one new player out there, but I don't think it was that. The people who were out there didn't understand it. I put three strikers on to actually leave them up front because we were already two-nil down, and two of them were defending on the edge of our box. Doh! What are you doing? I expect four at the back and three in midfield to be able to defend any situation - with a goalie. You have got to leave all three up front." Easter, who signed on an 'emergency loan' on Friday, made his debut as a 66th minute substitute for an ineffective Sylvan Ebanks-Blake. Holloway said: "I didn't think Sylv was anything like as sharp as he can be. Maybe that's because it was three games in a week for him because he does get the odd twinge in his back when he has to sleep in a different bed. To be fair, I thought Preston were sharp and they were up for it. It's an absolutely huge pitch and that takes away what I like to do - getting in your face and getting in your shorts. They moved it quite well and you have to hold your hands up and say 'well done, Preston.' They were the better team."
Akos Buzsaky has been given the weekend to decide his immediate future. The Hungarian midfielder was omitted from Argyle's trip to Preston yesterday, with manager Ian Holloway admitting he has received "a very generous offer" from another club. Holloway said: "I've given him the weekend to contemplate what he wants to do. I had a long chat with the player and feel I've been as generous as I can. I've tried to convince him that I want him to stay, whether he's in the team or not, because I'm trying to build a squad and I'm trying to reward his good behaviour with a contract. He's talking to me about some issues that he might have, and he's going to think about it overnight. It's a big decision for any footballer. I want people who want to be with me and who want to play for my club, that's where your heart is. Mourhino talked about being in love with where you are. Fantastic."
Ian Holloway confessed to having mixed emotions after Argyle's five-game unbeaten run came to an end at Deepdale yesterday. Ollie said: "I'm very proud. We came here today as almost favourites, which is unbelievable. Preston have been knocking on the door of the Premiership for however many years and they've not had the sort of start they were looking for and the fans are baying for blood. We were hoping to keep them quiet but they scored an early goal." Asked whether his players were tired after their midweek victory at Charlton, Ollie replied: "Probably, yes, to be honest, but what can I do about that? I could make changes, but why do that when the performance at Charlton was right? We tried to prepare properly and put the same team out but I don't want to make excuses. That's just life. Maybe we're just not strong enough to change it how I want it at the moment. I felt really positive coming in. I thought they tried to give me everything, but too many had an off day." Questioned about promotion prospects for Argyle and Preston, Ollie said: "We'll either be good enough at the end of it or we won't, and I can assure you that Preston, in their time, have spent a lot more than we have and they haven't done it. It's about your quality, it's about your belief, and it's about having strength in depth. What I don't want to do is create expectation. I want to create hope. Optimism."
Argyle lost 2-0 at Preston. Argyle: McCormick, Connolly, Timar, Seip, Hodges, Martin, Norris, Nalis, Halmosi, Ebanks-Blake, Hayles. Subs Gosling, Fallon, Easter (not used Larrieu, Sawyer). Attendance 11,055.
Jermaine Easter cannot wait to get his boots laced up after finally completing his move to Home Park. He said: "I was very disappointed that it didn't happen in August. To get it done now is a big relief, and I'm delighted to be here. I just want to get back in the thick of things, get playing, and get scoring goals as soon as possible. It's a challenge, but it's a challenge I'm ready to rise to. I've come here because I want to progress. It's a great platform for me, and a great place to come and play football. I'm looking forward to the challenge thoroughly. I can't wait." When he gets the chance, Easter believes he can vindicate Ian Holloway's opinion that he brings greater variety to the Argyle front line. He said; "My pace and strength, and ability to get in behind people scored me a lot of goals last season. Obviously you have to work on your weaknesses as well, but that's what I will be focusing on and hopefully what will get me a lot of goals in the Championship." Easter believes he can follow in the footsteps of other strikers, including Barry Hayles - that have benefited from the coaching touch of Holloway and Gary Penrice. "I know about Baz, and Nathan Ellington, Bobby Zamora and Jason Roberts - I played with Jason Roberts at Wolves," he said. "I know they've turned all of those into great strikers and hopefully they can do the same to me." Easter also believes the move, will aid his international ambitions. He said: "I broke into the international team last year, which was a great honour, and I've been in the squad a couple of times this season. Obviously, playing at a higher level will give me a better chance of starting games for Wales. Hopefully, it will help me kick my career on. I'm thoroughly looking forward to the challenge, to get my boots on, and to get up and running."
Ian Holloway finally got his man today when he signed Jermaine Easter from Wycombe Wanderers. Easter has joined on loan with a view to becoming a permanent signing when the transfer-window re-opens in January. Holloway said: "He scored 17 goals last year, in a lower division than we are, but we believe he will be an addition to us and score goals at whichever level he plays. Hopefully, he can do it very quickly here. He will throw something different into the mix for us." Details of the deal that takes Easter to Home Park are confidential, but Holloway added: "I have got him for what I think is a very good price. I don't waste anybody's money. I spend it as if it was my own. Then I try to maximise who I've bought and try to get much more out of them than I'm paying them."
Ian Holloway is trying to complete the signing of a new striker before the game at Preston tomorrow. Holloway would not name the player but it is thought the deal would initially be on loan, with a view to a permanent move in January. He said: "I might be trying to do something. I can't say any more than that at this precise moment but I'm working on it as we speak." Holloway also revealed that Nick Chadwick is facing a hernia operation. He said: "Apparently he has had it over the last couple of weeks and he didn't really want to mention it to me, although he has mentioned it to Maxie. Maxie felt it was a bit of stiffness from starting back into full-time training after his last operation. There was bound to be different stresses and strains on the body having gone from being in treatment and doing limited things to actual full-blown Championship football. And he has hardly played any reserve team games either. They have had a scan done and there was some inflammation. From that, we have now had an ultrasound and there is a tiny hernia there. We all believe, with him running out of contract, that he should get it fixed right now." Holloway is hoping Chadwick could also soon be back in action. "We are going to ask the surgeon who did his groin operation in March whether he can fit it in," he added. "Obviously, Nick is very concerned about the time he has been out. He has seen Michael Owen go off, come back and then play and he thinks 'Can I have a bit of that?' So we will try to sort it out for him. I want nothing but the best for my boys. It's as simple as that. Quite rightly so. I'm very disappointed for him. He has had a tough run and has been trying to battle through it. All we want to do is see him right really." Crewe had wanted to sign Chadwick on loan, having also inquired about him before the start of the season. Holloway said: "The boy has missed a lot of football so I was considering loaning him to Crewe because I believe he needs a bit more match fitness. Obviously, this is now a blow to those plans, but we will have to wait and see."
Ian Holloway has revealed that Luke McCormick complained of a sore hamstring after training yesterday, and it is not clear yet whether it will prevent him from playing at Preston
Argyle have made a final 'take it or leave it' offer to one of their players whose contract expires at the end of the season. Ian Holloway would not reveal the identity of the player, but said: "I have got to deal with this. You either sign it or you are on the list and you won't be used. I don't know how else to deal with it. It will be obvious who they are because they won't be used in my squad. If they turn down what I'm trying to do they are not my friends anymore. I will not be considering them anymore because that's the only way I know how to deal with it. They haven't done anything wrong, but their future won't be with me. They are not committing to me so I won't commit to them." Holloway insisted he was keen to keep the un-named player who had been told to make his mind up now on a new contract offer. "I have given him what I think is a fantastic offer and I won't take kindly to it if it's turned down," he said. "There is a wrangle in amongst it concerning a third party, who is supposed to be working for the player. I don't see what that person has done. It's a player we already had so why should I pay him anything? The rules state that I haven't got to, so I'm not going to. It's as simple as that. Why should I?" Holloway claimed he had reached a verbal agreement with the player over a new contract, but then the situation changed because of the involvement of the agent. "Why should I give him X-amount of pounds for a year, on top of what I have got to pay my player?" said Holloway. "For me, I think we have made that player a fantastic offer. I'm proud of it, and so should he be. But you can only cut your cloth accordingly, and if people don't like it then go and play for someone else."
Argyle will be aiming for their fourth away win in the Championship at Preston tomorrow, and Ian Holloway promised they would continue to play an attacking brand of football. He said: "I want to try to go away and be positive. I think we have got a very attack-minded team who had to dig in and defend for their lives at Charlton, which they are learning to do I'm pleased to say. Our strengths are trying to score goals and trying to go forward and playing attack-minded football. I think our fans love it and are enjoying it. It doesn't always work, let's be fair, but I'm going to continue trying to do it. I want to try to win games. But we have also got to stop the ball going in our net. Football is a very simple game complicated by managers, journalists and fans. All we need to do is finish one goal ahead of our opponents, and try to entertain the people who pay their money to watch us. Hopefully, we will continue to do that and some of our players will produce some fantastic goals." Preston sold David Nugent in the summer, and after missing out on a play-off place last term, his departure seems to have hit them hard. Holloway said: "They are a similar club to ourselves. We haven't had the advantage of being in the Premiership and getting that great big wedge of money for failing. I think it has taken its toll on them. They had a really strong squad and then their best player leaves. The rest of the players are going to be thinking, 'Hang on a minute, what are we going to do now? Arsenal could have felt that way when Thierry Henry went to Barcelona in the summer, but Arsene Wenger had already brought in Adebayor and been working with him for a while." Holloway has warned that Argyle must not underestimate Preston because they have got some very talented players. "They are still a formidable opponent in my opinion," he said. "They won 5-1 at home to Southampton the other week so I'm expecting an unbelievably tough game. Deepdale has been a personal graveyard for me in the past and I would like to try to turn that around." Holloway's only previous visit to Preston with Argyle ended in a 3-0 defeat last December. He said: "We started quite brightly, but they scored with a ripping shot from 25 yards which screamed into the top corner. Then Tony Capaldi hit their goalie from three yards after a great cross from Barry Hayles. I haven't been looking it up. That's just my memory. If that had gone in I'm sure it would have all been very, very different."
Lee Martin is open to the idea of extending his initial three-month loan spell with Argyle until the end of the season. He said: "The boys down here are brilliant and they have made it easy for me to settle in. I knew a few of them anyway, such as Sylv, while Barry and Cherno come from the same Bromley-Croydon area in south London as me. You have got a few foreign lads who are great, and some very good players. I don't think people really recognise that. There are some decent players who can get the ball down and play. I have noticed that in the short time I have been down here. There is definitely quality here and it's looking promising if I'm being honest. I think the manager wants to play football, and so does everyone else at this club, so fair play to him. If that's the way they want to win football games then I'm all behind that." Martin's initial three-month loan will take him up until the start of January, and he added: "We will have to see what happens between now and then, but if things go well there is no reason not to extend it. I spoke to Sir Alex Ferguson before I came here and he said we would review it come December. To be honest, if I'm playing regularly and I'm enjoying myself then I wouldn't mind staying down here until the end of the season. But it depends what happens. You can't predict the future can you?" Luke McCormick has certainly been impressed by what he has seen of Martin so far. He said: "Lee has had a couple of weeks here now and he looks like he has been here for a lot longer than that. He looks so comfortable and so settled, but he's a good player playing with good players and there is just a mutual understanding between them. That's what happens when good players are together. You can see he has got a lot of talent. He's quick and, to be honest, I think he's going to give anybody who plays against him a hard time. He's a good addition to our squad and we have welcomed him with open arms. He's a very good player."
Luke McCormick was spurred into a man-of-the-match performance in last nights win at Charlton by some unkind words and the return of Romain Larrieu to the club, according to Ian Holloway. "There was something not very nice written about Luke in the programme, which I don't know if he read," said Holloway. "Hopefully, he did. 'This goalkeeper can be a bit dodgy', which I think is disgusting. There was one particularly good save where he held the ball, and a good job he did because they were - whoosh - all round him. I don't think it was a coincidence, with big Romain back on the bench. He used to be number one for us for a few years and I've said to him 'Come on - you've got to do better than you are doing.' So he went on loan to Yeovil, played very well, and now he's back on the bench for us."
Ian Holloway hailed his players' 'bulldog spirit' after the win over Charlton. "I am proud of them, proud of the club," he said. "It was bulldog spirit we showed at the end. There were bodies being thrust in, and Charlton threw everything including the kitchen sink at us. We managed to stand strong. I believe in us. I keep saying it, I keep shouting it. I love the lads' work-ethic. Never say die. I'm very proud of our football club. We had to be at our best and, for large periods of the first half, we were. We caused Charlton problems, kept them quiet, and they have been in the Premiership for however many years. This Championship is an absolute killer. We tried our best to spoil their game and get forward and I am very, very proud of some of the football we played. I felt we went in deservedly - just about - in front. We showed great character because they seemed to get a bit of a roll going just before half-time. That would have gone over a few teams, but my boys have got great character. The way we played with the ball and passed the ball in the first half...I was very, very pleased. If we try and defend things, we are not very good. I have got so many attack-minded players who want to go forward, who want to express themselves, that we're better off just 4-4-2 and having a go." Holloway also revealed that the defeat at Barnsley at the end of August had had a profound effect on him and his players. "A few weeks ago, we were 3-0 down after an hour to Barnsley and I felt our attitude was wrong," he added. "We felt we were invincible because we'd won seven league games and a couple of cup games. Sometimes you need to come back down to earth. That hurt me. The players have taken it to heart and bounced back, and I can't fault them for their effort. What can I say? We rode our luck a bit. The game-plan was to get close to Charlton, and to press, and to unsettle them in possession. We tried to do that at West Ham, and we rattled them a bit, and I thought my boys produced that type of high-energy performance. My boys are full of gusto. I'd like to think they are honest and hard-working, and, if there were any slightly late challenges, then they got there as quick as they could." Asked if people would take Argyle more seriously following Charlton's first home defeat since February, Holloway said: "People don't take me seriously. They think I tell crap jokes all the time. But I like to think I'm a football person who cares about his players with a passion, and cares about people with a passion." Holloway believes however, that Championship fans will begin to take notice of his team following the win. "They might not have known who Plymouth were before the game," he said. "But, hopefully, they'll know who some of my players are when we leave. That's all we are trying to do. As my dad told me years ago: 'Son, crash right through the front door, plant your feet and tell the world who you are. If they don't like you, you'll go back out and end up on your bum, but be proud of who you are.' Today, I am very proud of my team. It was close game and we rode our luck a bit but, to come here and win, you need to do that a bit."
Argyle won 2-1 at Charlton Athletic, the goals scored by Sylvan Ebanks-Blake after 5 minutes and Barry Hayles (38). Argyle: McCormick, Connolly, Timar, Seip, Hodges, Martin, Norris, Nalis, Halmosi, Ebanks-Blake, Hayles. Subs Sawyer, Buzsaky, Chadwick (not used Larrieu, Fallon). Attendance - 22,123
Ian Holloway has no plans to 'shut up shop' against Charlton tonight, but instead will try to take the fight to the south London club. He said: "I felt quite satisfied and very pleased with what my players showed me against Coventry at the weekend. Charlton are a passing it, moving it around type of team, so what do we do? Do we go and shut up shop, or do we go and try to out-football them? I'm of the opinion that I want to see how our wingers do and see if we can hurt them. It will be a very different game to the one at the weekend. I thought we played very well in the first half and I was expecting a resurgence from them, but we didn't get that." Charlton suffered only their second defeat in 11 league games this season when they lost at Wolves on Saturday, and Holloway added: "We are going to need to be on our game. We have had a couple of great reports about Charlton. Apparently they shouldn't have lost to Wolves. They played some fantastic football. Obviously, they were a Premiership side for quite a while so they will have lots of money and lots of big players in their squad, but what does that matter really? It's 11 versus 11, and the subs, that count tonight. And we have a chance to go above them if we beat them. What more incentive do I need?" Barry Hayles suffered a sore ankle in the defeat of Coventry but is set to continue to lead the attack with Sylvan Ebanks-Blake tonight. Holloway said: "He's okay now and he normally does well away to London clubs." Argyle are in sixth position in the Championship but Holloway insisted he was taking no notice of the table at the moment. "A few weeks ago, when we weren't very well positioned, I still felt we were playing well," he said. "As long as we are performing well and doing things right, and working hard and listening, then I don't think we will have too many surprises. But I do know that at this standard anybody can beat anybody else. This is probably the most exciting division to be a manager in, but also the worst, because you are constantly looking over your shoulder. You can't rest on your laurels from the last result because you have got a new challenge coming up in your next opponents."
Luke McCormick believes it is still too early in the season to take much notice of league positions. He said: "We are not even at Christmas yet. I think it's important we don't concentrate too much on the table. We just have to concentrate on winning matches and in a few months time then we will probably start looking at the league. We have got two tough away games coming up. That's why it was so important we got a win under our belts on Saturday. We know it's going to be tough against Charlton, but it's a game we should look forward to." McCormick believes flying to and from London for tonight's game should enable the team to be at their best for their trip to Preston. He said: "We got back at four o'clock in the morning after QPR and, to be honest, it does take it out of you for the rest of the week. I think the boys will be pleased by the way the club are trying to help us." McCormick goes into the game against Charlton having kept three consecutive clean sheets, and added: "I think we are growing in confidence all the time. We limited a side like Coventry, who were in a higher position than us, to minimal chances. Coventry have got good strikers and good players all over the park so I think it says a lot, not just for the back four but for the whole team."
Sylvan Ebanks-Blake has predicted Lee Martin will be a big hit at Home Park. He said: "It's brilliant to have him on board and I was pleased for him that he got a goal on his home debut. He showed the fans what he's about and I told him they will love him if he puts in performances like that week in week out, and I'm confident he will do." Ebanks-Blake set up Martin for his goal against Coventry and added: "Peter put it wide and I just took one touch and Lee made a good run to the near post. I tried my best to put it behind the defence and he got a good touch on it. It was a good goal. I thought we dominated the game from start to finish. We could have had more goals but they rarely threatened us, apart from a couple of shots. We can play good football but, first and foremost, we have got to earn the right to do that, and we did that on Saturday. We turned them early, we pressed them and I think Coventry will have gone away knowing we are a good side. We battled from the first minute until the last." Ebanks-Blake spoke to Martin before he signed on loan for Argyle and was thrilled when the winger agreed to the move. He said: "Lee is a good addition to the team. It's what we need down here, and we are starting to attract players like him." Ebanks-Blake is hoping he and Martin can continue to link up to telling effect when Argyle play Charlton tonight. He said: "It will be a brilliant test for all the boys, but they are the sort of tests we want. That's the pull of the Championship, and the quality that the Championship holds. We will approach it the same way we always do. We will be dogged, we will work them hard and I don't think they will like us."
Romain Larrieu has returned from his loan spell at Yeovil Town and will be in the Argyle squad for the trip to Charlton. Ian Holloway said: "He is back with us and will be in our squad tomorrow. Their manager left me a great message on my phone and I have got to speak to him. He did all of us proud. He has had four or five games after missing a lot of football last year, so it is very positive for everybody." Romain's return gives Holloway further options and he is slowly building a strong squad with competition for places. A sign of that depth was the omission of Mathias Doumbe from the squad that beat Coventry on Saturday. "It is a squad, always is and, hopefully, always will be," said Holloway. "Doumbe was not picked for that particular game. Hopefully, it will get tougher and tougher for everybody at this club, particularly me."
Lee Martin has promised not to rest on his laurels after scoring the winning goal in his first start for Argyle. Martin was not only pleased with the goal, but with his overall contribution, but insisted there was more to come from him when he gains full match fitness. "It was a tough game," he said. "I haven't played that much this season so I got a bit tired towards the end, but I enjoyed it. Obviously, it's a good way for me to start but I have got to keep it up now. You can't rest on your laurels. You have got to go out there and make sure you do it again." Martin and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake have been team-mates before, at Manchester United and on loan to Royal Antwerp, and it was clear from the way they linked up against Coventry they had a good understanding. Martin said: "I think credit has got to go Sylv. He did well. He spotted me making my run and I just got a foot on it really. When you have played with people for three or four years, or however long it was, I think you get to know what they are about and how they play. I think we have got a good partnership." Martin almost set up Ebanks-Blake for a second goal in the 66th minute, but the striker saw his shot saved by Andy Marshall. "I know Sylv is a finisher," said Martin. "He wants the ball in the box and he will moan if you don't get it to him, but that's fair play. It's my job to put it in the box. If the service isn't right then he has got every reason to moan at me." Martin thought Argyle were good value for their win, and added: "We had chances to maybe get two or three goals and kill off the game. I think we invited a bit of pressure on ourselves in the second half but we coped with it. We got into Coventry's faces and they didn't seem to like it. We got about them and we looked sharp and bright. We caused a lot of trouble with our front two." Martin was in confident mood as Argyle prepare to take on Charlton tomorrow. He said: "We are in a great position and that's where we want to be. We think we can get up there, and then who knows? The sky's the limit. The way we played against Coventry, I think we will push any team in this league. But it's going to be a hard game on Tuesday, so we need to get a lot of rest in and recuperate and, hopefully, we can put in the same sort of performance as we did today." Martin has played only twice for Manchester United at first-team level, both occasions in the Carling Cup. He said: "I think I need to get the enjoyment back into my game. I enjoyed the game today and I ended up scoring. When I'm relaxed and play football, that's when you get the best out of me. With the international break, it has helped ease me in. I have got used to the training and to the style that we play. I have had a strong week of getting used to the formation and what the manager wants me to do. It's not perfect. I'm not saying I have mastered everything he wants me to do. He will probably agree with that, but I'm trying to get back in and tuck around. We will see in future matches."
The happiest Coventry fan at Home Park on Saturday was Argyle 'keeper Luke McCormick. He said: "It was important that we started well, and we did. That set the tone for the rest of the match. It was good to get an early goal and we could have had another one, but it turned out to be a bit scrappy. We still won our individual battles really well all over the pitch, and that was the most important thing." Coventry had plenty of possession in the second half without giving McCormick much to do. "That was a credit to the lads," he said. "We worked so hard from front to back to limit their options their chances. Krisztian has to take a lot of credit. I thought he was immense, he bossed it and without him in there it could have been a different story." The closest Coventry came to an equaliser was in stoppage time, when Kevin Kyle beat McCormick to a high ball and glanced a header just wide. "It was close," McCormick added. "I'd made up my mind I was going to come. If I'd stayed on my line and it had gone in, I'd have been asked why I hadn't gone for it. When you come for it, you have to get the ball, but I didn't. I've made that mistake and I'll have to live with it, but I just made sure I got the next one."
Lee Martin was the debut hero in Argyle's 1-0 victory over Coventry City yesterday, and Ian Holloway was understandably pleased with the result and the goalscorer. He said: "Lee has proved why we tried to get him and I was delighted to get him. It is always nice for the new kid on the block to get off to a decent start and he looked sharp coming on at Blackpool. Well done to Lee and well done to the rest of the lads because he didn't do it on his own. He has chosen us over three or four other teams, which is a bit of a coup for us. He wanted to play down here and join us. I think Sir Alex had an influence on him. I wanted the freshness Scott gave us last year. You could say I threw him in unfairly because Akos has been away on international duty and then not got back in my team, but I want competition." Martin's goal came courtesy of a cross from former team-mate Sylvan Ebanks-Blake and the pair have immediately rekindled an understanding. The favour was repaid in the second-half, but Sylvan was denied by a fine save. Holloway added: "They played together for three or four years and it looked like a Manchester United reserves goal, but with a few more people celebrating, which was nice for Lee. Martin passed it and carried on running, which is what good players do. Sylvan picked him out, and they were very unfortunate in the second-half when Lee picked out Sylv, and that was a great effort. It could have been 2-0 and I would have been a lot happier with a second goal but, to be honest with you, I have had more things to worry about over the last two weeks, so I thoroughly enjoyed the game. My team looked solid and organized, looked like they have played together an awful lot, which is quite surprising after a two-week period where two of them weren't even here. I felt we deserved it, although it got scrappy in the second-half when they came back to into it, as you would expect from an Iain Dowie team. I don't think Iain would have been too happy at half-time. We could have had one or two more goals and it was probably the nicest first-half performance I have seen from us this season. Everybody was saying what a tough game this would be and you only had to look at their bench to see how tough it was. Kevin Kyle, Dele Adebola, Arjan De Zeeuw - it was like a who's who. Marcel Seip and Krisztian Timar were the unsung heroes as Argyle secured a third consecutive clean sheet. "I thought they were both terrific," said Holloway. "Krisztian is getting better with every game and Marcel is one of the best defenders in this division, and the two of them cost us just £75,000 - beautiful. All that matters now is England winning the rugby tonight."
Argyle beat Coventry 1-0 at Home Park, the goal scored by Lee Martin after 16 minutes. Argyle: McCormick, Connolly, Timar, Seip, Hodges, Martin, Norris, Nalis, Halmosi, Ebanks-Blake, Hayles. Subs Sawyer (not used Buzsaky, Chadwick, Fallon, Gosling). Attendance 11,576
Ian Holloway has backed his squad but slammed the stop-start league programme which means Argyle must play six times in the next three weeks. He said: "We've got six games in 21 days which is quite a hectic schedule. And next week is going to be very interesting. We've got the Charlton game in midweek, which is an horrendous journey, and then we've got Preston away on Saturday. That's another horrendous journey. We've got 3,400 miles on the road to do which is more than anyone else. I think we're going to fly to Charlton and sleep over and then fly back. That's because there are no flights after the game finishes. If we left on the coach like we did after West Ham, it means a terrible journey and us not getting back until five o'clock in the morning. And then we have to get ready to travel to Preston on Friday. That's not ideal preparation, is it? We will probably fly to Preston, which next week means we'll be flying, having a rest, playing a game, and then sleeping. And then flying back at a reasonable time the following day. Sometimes the international break is good if you want a break but it stops your momentum." Holloway, though, was fulsome in his praise of his playing staff and repeated the club's ambitions to reach the Premier League. "I'm asking an awful lot of my team: Barry is 34 and Lil is 36, which is tough," he said. "It's a tough level and at a tough standard, because we're chasing a place in the Premier League. That's what we're chasing and, to be fair, no-one is running away with it. And the thing is, I don't think we're far off being a really, really good team. I don't think we're far off from challenging. When I said these words last year, you all thought I was barking mad. But last season we finished eight points off the play-offs so I don't think it was far off being true. It's where you aim your sights and I'm a very ambitious person and I believe in these lads, I really do." Holloway added: "I like the way they play for each other and how honest they are when they play. They very, very rarely let us down. If the quality isn't quite there at this level, can you really blame them? I can't. I thank them very much for everything they've done for me. They are putting a lot of overpaid players to shame, week-in, week-out."
Jake Moult has joined Tiverton Town on a month's loan
Ian Holloway is discussing with Paris Saint Germain the best course of treatment for Larrys Mabiala. PSG insist Larrys will regain fitness in time, but Holloway has been advised by his medical team that an operation is needed. He said: "It is a difficult situation and I should know more by today. They are telling us he is not injured and we are telling him that we need to do an operation. They want us to keep trying him for a couple more weeks. He is their boy, but we would rather do an operation. We would like to pin what we have found back to his knee. It is not his cartilage, it is a little flap of skin that needs to go back on his knee joint. He is a very talented player and he is very highly thought of, so we have got to make sure we get this right. I know what my medical team is telling me and I believe in my physio and our doctors. I will keep paying his wages, even though he has not played for me yet, and I'll make sure we are in agreement as to what is going to happen with the rest of his career because we have got to get that right. He is here at the moment, but we don't want him here. We want them to do what we feel they need to do. Our specialists are very good and they are telling us what he needs. If it was our player, he would be under the knife right now but he is not our player. He belongs to them and they don't agree with us. I want him to go back and they look after him for the next two weeks. I believe we have got things spot on because the kid is in a bit of discomfort, so there must be something wrong. I will have to take control of the situation and I want him to go back home for three weeks rehabilitation. We are going to send a report with him. He has not done a thing wrong. Nobody has been able to see him play apart from us and we were all very excited by him. He is big strong and willing."
Argyle today confirmed that Bojan Djordjic has had his contract terminated and has left the club
Coventry City are a different side to the one that lost twice to Argyle last season, according to Ian Holloway. He said: "They are a very different kettle of fish under Iain Dowie. He has already got one promotion at this level, which was an outstanding achievement. Iain is a fantastic manager and they are a bit of a sleeping giant at the moment, especially with that ground. If you talk to Coventry fans, I think they would be expecting to go up. They have had some problems when they went down with Gordon Strachan, but they have been there or thereabouts for years." Holloway has no fresh injuries from the international break, although he is concerned about the fatigue factor effecting Peter Halmosi and Akos Buzsaky. He said: "Everybody is fit; although I don't know about the Hungarian lads because they have been off around the world. It is a little bit annoying because Coventry play a slightly different shape. They play 4-3-3 and we have to do a bit of work on that, so I might have to start them on the bench. I don't know yet. I might play one of them and leave the other one out, but I'm not sure. We have got Lee Martin from Manchester United and I have just told him that we don't judge people here. Sometimes with the ones I have had from there think they are too good to do anything wrong. We don't judge people, we just want people to work hard and it looked like a weight had been lifted from his shoulders. I just want people to play games, enjoy themselves and work hard. Even if you get something wrong, just get on with it. Hopefully, that will spread to the crowd and onto the pitch. There were a few moans when we were 0-0 with Palace the other week. Hang on a minute - let's keep things real. We have not lost for a long while at home and we are in the Championship. I swear to you: if you keep supporting this team, we will get better and better. We have got to make it hard for people coming here. We don't want Coventry to have a nice day here, do we? Life is a funny thing and maybe we have had too many years in this division and you start to take things for granted. I don't ever want to take my life for granted. I want to wake up every day feeling fresh for a new challenge, a new bit of zest. Where I am living at the moment makes me feel like that. The other morning was outstanding - I had a bacon sarnie with my dog on Jennycliffe and what a view that is. It was absolutely magnificent and felt good to be alive."
Ashley Barnes is a developing into a genuine goal-scorer, according to Ian Holloway. "We need to get Barnes playing again," said Holloway. "Paulton wanted him back on loan, but I want to try and raise his level all the time. He is only 17 and he is a big strong boy for that age. He knows where the net is and I don't think he is a million miles away from scoring some goals at a higher level. We will have to wait and see. It is all about timing. I believe in the enthusiasm of youth, allied with the right type of experience. Anybody who has spent time with horses will understand what I am saying. If you are teaching a young horse to jump, you don't keep raising the fence because it will end up hitting one and be scared to jump. You put it down again (the fence, not the horse) and let them get used to it gradually."
Ian Holloway is hoping to continue Ryan Dickson's long-term rehabilitation by sending the winger out on loan. Holloway said: "The lad has been held back by the back injuries he has had but, hopefully, he is going forward now. It is a long road and you don't just take one step back, you take four or five. Given a chance, the kid could end up left-back or left-wing but, at the moment, I have got other options, so I need to loan him out and get him going again. I like the kid. I like his attitude and everything about him. People who have suffered seem to have more depth in what they want to do. If you have had a bit of hardship, you strive harder to get what you want." Holloway also confirmed that Scott Laird will spend another month on loan with Torquay United
Trialist Rob Fitzgerald was recommended to Ian Holloway by some old acquaintances in London. Holloway said: "He has been recommended to us by some people we worked with in London. Apparently he did very well in the second-half against Bristol City. He has got decent pedigree and a decent upbringing. We will treat him right, and see what we can get out of him because he has got a bit of promise. I only saw him for the less than five minutes in training, but I liked what I saw."
Bojan Djordjic looks set to leave Argyle. Ian Holloway said: "His future will be somewhere else. I have sat down and had a long chat with him, and it will probably be a contract settlement. It is a great disappointment to me. I don't like losing out on people and I think he is a fantastic talent that I did not get the best out of, or maybe the world has not seen the best of him yet. It is all about that little spark in your life and having it. I am not so sure he has got that with being here right now. It is all about your family, how you feel about things and being happy on and off the field. Nobody is happy with not playing. He feels I should have played him a lot more - I disagree to a point." Djordjic's imminent departure comes after a mutual agreement between both parties, although Holloway revealed he possibly could have left in the summer. "It came from both sides," he said. "I had a phone call from his agent in the summer saying that he did not want to come back. Maybe I should have listened then because he possibly could have signed for someone in Sweden, or wherever. He is got a lot of things to sort out. He has got a house here and people don't realize what is involved. We are trying to help him through that and make sure all those things take shape the way he wants. I genuinely want him to do well, but you can't have everybody and it can't work out for everybody. Given the right circumstances, he could be one hell of a player. I have got a lot of time for him as a person. Unfortunately, I may not give the time he wants as a player. That is football I'm afraid. I needed to bring other people in and then try with them. I could not have asked for anymore from him. He has tried everything I have asked. Everything I did, he responded the right way. He has come a lot further than anybody I have worked with before and there is miles more to go, with his ability level. Sometimes it is not about your ability level, it is how your heart feels and, if it is a heavy heart, you are not going to produce your best. Believe me I have tried. Maybe it was not enough for him. Hopefully, he will say some nice things but I can't control that. "
Argyle reserves lost 3-2 at Bristol City yesterday, both goals scored by Dan Smith. Argyle included a trialist in their side - 18-year-old central defender Rob Fitzgerald, who plays for Southern League club Hillingdon Borough and is spending the week at Home Park. Geoff Crudgington said: "It was a very encouraging performance, especially when you take into account the strength of the Bristol side. Michael Misiewicz made some very good saves, but I wouldn't want to single him out - we defended well from 1-11, and caused them some problems, as well. Despite the scoreline, I was very pleased. We can take a lot out of the game." Argyle: Misiewicz; King, White, Fitzgerald, Watts; Hopkinson, Moult, Summerfield, Smith; Barnes, Stevens. Subs - Davis, McCaul (not used - Hodgkinson, Gerring, Grant)
Peter Halmosi and Akos Buzsaky both came on as substitutes during Hungary's 1-0 win over Poland in yesterdays friendly
Krisztian Timar has warned that Argyle are planning to be mean hosts to Coventry City on Saturday in order maintain their play-off ambitions. "I'm looking forward to the game and playing in front of the fans," he said. "But I think it is very important that we keep a clean sheet all the time, or as often as we possibly can. We need to keep a good defensive record and in the last few games, we have shown that we can do that. We can keep a good defensive line and still get goals at the other end. Ollie always says how important it is to stop the other side scoring by keeping a strong defensive line. That way we can reach our goal, to finish higher than we did last season and even, maybe, the play-offs. Everybody in the team wants to get promotion and play in the Premier League. I know I most definitely want to play there, and maybe the play-offs is the most possible way of getting there. I am happy and confident with our fitness that we can do that, but we must keep our line tight at the back. We will be looking to keep the run going that we managed to start before the break. It is very important to stop teams scoring, especially at home, because I think the supporters like this team. And so I hope the supporters come and see us more and more. But we have to win these matches coming up, but in my view it doesn't matter how, it's just important that we win." A self-avowed fan of English football, Timar added: "I like English football which suits me, because it is a more physical game. I like the challenge of playing against teams like Charlton who were in the Premier League last season. I think when we played in London last time against West Ham in the Carling Cup, we were very, very unlucky to lose. We are not afraid and we're looking forward to the challenges coming up."
Akos Buzsaky wants to sign a new contract with Argyle and hopes a deal can be agreed soon. His agent, Sam Stapleton, said: "We continue to be in negotiations with Plymouth with regards to a new contract for Akos. It's taking a while as we have been going backwards and forwards and things seem to have been held up while he is away on international duty. I wouldn't say we are far apart, but a few things need to be sorted out. Akos is keen to stay at Plymouth. He has enjoyed his time there and likes the feel about the place at the moment under the management of Ian Holloway. We want something to be resolved quickly so Akos can continue to concentrate on his performances for the club."
Argyle's reserve game at Bristol City today has been postponed due to bad weather, and will now be played at 1pm tomorrow
Liam Head has been called up by England for the Victory Shield international against Wales on November 2nd
Argyle's youth team beat Queens Park Rangers 2-1 on Saturday, the goals scored by Ashley Hodgkinson and Joe Mason. Mike Pejic said: "The lads are slowly learning the game. There was a lot going on out there today and they handled it well."
Akos Buzsaky came on in the 74th minute of Hungary's 2-0 win over Malta yesterday. Peter Halmosi was an unused substitute
Argyle's schoolboy striker Liam Head was an unused substitute when England under-16s drew 2-2 against Northern Ireland in the Victory Shield on Thursday
Ian Holloway remains optimistic about the future for Argyle, despite the prospect of wholesale changes to his squad. He said: "I think we are punching well above our weight in ninth position. I believe we can punch even harder, and I want to start knocking a few out. I might have to lose some and regroup to do that but I'm ready for that. I'm ready to make those decisions. That's what I'm paid to do." Starting against Coventry, Argyle will play six matches in 22 days before the third international break of the season. The squad trained yesterday morning, but will not be back at Home Park until Tuesday. Holloway said: "Hopefully, they will come back buzzing next week, raring to go again, because we are going to have another batch of games that are absolutely vital. We could have had a lot more points on the board, but I think the performances have been very, very good. We have made some mistakes and I can see a lot of improvement in the areas where we made those mistakes. In other words, I think the back line are looking a lot more like a unit than they were." One target for Argyle this season is to improve their final position of 11th in the Championship last term. Holloway added: "I think the lads have carried on from where they left off last year, but maybe our choices in the final third of the pitch aren't quite as crisp as they were towards the end of last year. We will keep working at it. This is a very tough division and with the success we had in the Carling Cup it's also very tiring. We have had seven games in 22 days and our travelling is much worse than everybody else's. Mick McCarthy had the audacity to moan about coming down to us the other Saturday. I said to him: 'You try doing it every week, Mick!' I'm just generally very pleased with the way the lads are. They play with pride for this football club. I knew they did and I knew they would. We are going from a defensive-type of team, which we were when I took over, to a more attack-minded one. Even though we were away from home on Saturday I put on two strikers and a winger as substitutes. And I will continue to do that. I think we are showing signs of being not a bad side and, when you have the riches of this division now and what other people are paying, I'm absolutely delighted. I'm proud to be where we are."
Argyle reserves beat Swansea City 2-0 at Home Park yesterday, the goals scored by Jake Moult and Nadjim Abdou. Geoff Crudgington was please with the performance and said: "I thought we played well and the only thing we did not do was put the ball in the back of the net, particularly in the first-half. Jake Moult had a lot of chances. He got in the box and could have had three goals from set-pieces in the first-half. It is a foreign position to him playing out wide. I am not sure he particularly likes it and he is certainly not used to playing out there, but he had a go and got his reward in the end." The other goal-scorer, Jimmy Abdou, had an excellent game in the midfield and Crudgie was delighted with his energetic performance. "He was excellent today," said Crudgington. "He covered an awful lot of ground and closed a lot of people. He can pass it as well, and people tend to forget that, and he scored a great goal." It was a comfortable game for centre-backs Mat Doumbe and Gary Sawyer, who clearly enjoyed reverting back to his main position after making a number of Championship appearances at left-back. Crudgington said: "Gary is comfortable anywhere. He is a good footballer and he can play in a number of positions. He started as a centre-back and became a left-back, so he slots in between the two quite easily. It does not do you any harm to be versatile. You have got to be good enough, but it does help if you can play left-back, centre-back and, in Gary's case, probably in midfield as well. If you are up against somebody else for a contract, who can only play in one position, it obviously helps. Squads in the lower three divisions are a lot smaller in this day and age, and I don't see that changing in the future. The Premiership is different because they have a lot more money." Dan Gosling was another to come through the game with credit after a solid performance at right-back. Crudgington said: "I thought he did ok. It was a little bit different because they pushed the lad right onto him and tried to hit him in the air. He has not played right-back that many times but, again, he is a good footballer and he can play there. Whereas Gary has played quite a few games at left-back, Gozzie has not got many games at right-back but he is getting better all the time." The only player to possibly come out of the victory with a feeling of disappointment was Ashley Barnes after an off-colour display in front of goal. Crudgie said: "Ashley will be disappointed not to have put away a couple of goals because that is what he is. Rory Fallon was dominant in the air, as he should be really, but you can only play against the team they put out. Ash also did well, apart from the finishing, but you could point that finger at a few of our lot today. We had chances that we didn't convert and that would have made life much easier. Ash keeps going, which you have to do, and he is a goal-scorer." Despite the missed chances, it was a positive way to round off a busy spell and the whole squad will now be looking forward to a weekend break. Crudgington added: "They have all got the weekend off, even the young ones. They have worked hard in every reserve game we have had. We have not necessarily always had good performances but they have all worked hard, and it is a much deserved weekend off before another reserve game at Bristol City next Tuesday." Argyle: Saxton, Gosling, Watts, Sawyer, Doumbe, Abdou, Moult, Summerfield, Smith, Fallon, Barnes. Subs Stevens (not used - Misiewicz, White, Duggan, Davis)
Tim Breacker insisted Argyle will not go off the boil despite having to cope with a stop-start Championship season. He said: "We've got another six games coming up starting with Coventry and then another break and then we'll be into the Christmas period. But between the previous international break and now we've coped alright. In each group of games we've had, we looked at it and saw that we lost one, won two and drew the others. So, we want to keep the strength that we've got and have already shown. If we can turn some of those draws into wins, then we'll be right up there. Ollie has always said that he looks at the performance and, generally, they have been good. The only match where we got something that we didn't deserve was in the (1-1) drawn Wolves match." Breacker admitted it had been pleasing that Argyle had kept clean sheets against Palace and Blackpool. "Yes, it is pleasing, but that's the balance between how much you go for the win and where you leave yourself open," he said. "I thought the Blackpool game was quite open with chances from both sides. But I thought our back four coped well and it was good they kept another clean sheet."
Ryan Dickson played at left-back for Yeovil Town reserves against Bristol City yesterday, and Argyle are hopeful that the midfielder will be taken on loan by the Somerset side. Tim Breacker said: "Ryan has been training with Yeovil this week. He came back from Chesterfield with a slight thigh injury but has got himself right and is now up there, as, of course, is Romain. If they want to take Ryan on loan they can. It's important that we get young lads like Ryan playing games week-in, week-out, as it has been difficult to judge his fitness with the lack of reserve team matches. He's been unlucky with injuries which have held him back a bit. So, hopefully, if all goes well in training with Yeovil, they might want to take him on board. But if that one doesn't work out for him, then maybe somewhere else will."
Cherno Samba will remain an Argyle player for the foreseeable future after an unsuccessful trial with Wycombe Wanderers. Ian Holloway said: "He has got a contract until the end of the season. Hopefully, he finds something in January because he did not want us to pay him up and then not have a job to come to. He is looking for some more work. He is still a good lad and he joined in training yesterday, and looked fresh and bright. I just can't believe Wycombe did not think he was good enough for them."
Jimmy Abdou has only made one appearance for Argyle since joining on a free transfer in August and Ian Holloway is now looking to work with the player during the international break. Holloway said: "I think Jimmy is going to be an exciting player, but he plays like Makelele. He sits in front of the two centre-backs but, with me, he needs to be pressing and joining the midfield line. I am sure he will get there when I have taught him that. I want him to get his foot in and break things up because he looks a fantastic athlete. I have reassured him that I really liked how he played against Cardiff. Once I get a bit of work into him, I am sure he could be exactly what I am looking for in the long-term. It is really good to get back out on the training ground and work with some of the ones I don't always focus on because I'm looking at the main first-team. It was good to get them doing what I want with Jimmy and Summers in the midfield. I put Lee Martin in with that and he knows what he is doing." It has been a difficult period for Jimmy in a physical sense because his religious beliefs prevent him from eating or drinking during Ramadan. Holloway added: "With his religious beliefs, he has not been eating correctly, which is his choice. I have noticed he has dipped a little bit in training. Obviously, it is very difficult if you are not eating or drinking in the daylight hours. Des Bulpin has experienced it when he worked abroad. Basically, they could not drink anything, so they would train in the evening and, as soon as the light went down, they would all run over and drink gallons of water." Abdou will have the chance to put Holloway's instructions to the test on Wednesday when he lines up in midfield for the reserves against Swansea. Mathias Doumbe and Gary Sawyer are also expected to start in defence with Dan Gosling at right-back. The rest of the team will be made up of youngsters, and Holloway added: "I am going to put most of the young ones in. The Martin Watts of this world have all got to have a game. I might have to play Matty Doumbe and Gary Sawyer, and put them together. Jimmy is going to play in the reserves with Summers. Gosling will play right-back because I want to bed him in there and give some competition to Mr Connolly."
Jermaine Easter's apparent attempts to talk his way into a move to Argyle look to have backfired. Wycombe rejected a bid of £300,000 at the end of August, and the striker made some rash remarks which resulted in his banishment from Wanderers first-team plans. Despite his lack of club activity, Easter has retained his place in the Wales squad and speculation about an imminent transfer was fuelled by some comments made by Welsh manager John Toshack. He said: "I gather there could be some sort of move pending to Plymouth." That was news to Argyle boss Ian Holloway, who said: "Where all this has come from, I'm not quite sure. I've never spoken to John Toshack. What he's doing talking about my team, I just don't know. We made some offers to Wycombe for their player. They turned them down and they made it totally clear to us that we'd have to up that by a certain amount. I didn't think for one minute that was going to be value for money for my football club, and as far as I'm concerned we're looking elsewhere - and maybe even in other positions now Nick Chadwick is fit." Holloway also suggested that Easter might be wise to be more careful with his public comments and added: "I don't know why he's telling people what he wants to do. When I was a player, I just got on with doing my job. I would suggest he should shut up and get picked for his team and score some goals. You have to do it on the park, and you have to keep doing it when people are sniffing around you, because they keep looking. If your head turns and you're not reliable, then people might not want to know."
Argyle are trying to negotiate a new contract with Akos Buzsaky. The talks are at an early stage and the indications are that the two parties are some way apart at the moment. Buzsaky and Peter Halmosi are currently away with the Hungarian national squad, and Ian Holloway said: "Akos doesn't need to be swanning around the world at the minute. He needs to get his mind back on playing well for us because his last two performances haven't been good enough. It's his concentration that he has to sort out, but sometimes when you are in contract negotiations - which he is in - they can affect you. Sometimes when you get the first offer, you can take that personally and you can be hurt. I would rather just go straight for the jugular and get the deal done and sorted but, obviously, it's not my money. That's why I don't want to get involved in the negotiations. It's nothing to do with me." Buzsaky is one of several first-team players who will be out of contract with Argyle at the end of the season, so unless new contracts can be agreed, those players are likely to be sold during the January transfer window. Holloway said: "We have been very, very good at negotiating in the past and that's causing us problems for the future, because we have got players to sign for very, very good money on our part, not on theirs. That will not continue, I can assure you. And if our gates stay the way they are then something is going to give eventually. Hopefully, it won't be the wages because these players will go somewhere else, and that will be very harsh on me. But I'm always the optimist. I always have been, always will be. My glass is always half full, never half empty. I always work very well with people when they know how committed I am and how much I believe in something. As long as my dream is still strong, I can normally persuade other people to believe the same things as me. If I have some non-believers in my congregation I'm going to have to deal with them because everybody has to be singing my song."
Ian Holloway has revealed that Lee Martin decided to sign for Argyle in preference to Championship rivals Ipswich Town, Norwich City and Stoke City. He said: "It's all about your reputation, and we have had a reputation for being so far away from anywhere that no-one wanted to come here. So far, Sylvan has proved that wrong, Barry Hayles has proved wrong, Scott Sinclair has proved that wrong and now Lee Martin has proved that wrong. I have got to be honest, it takes a long old 'come on, come on' but, hopefully, if Lee now does well other people might want to join us. Lee has chosen us over some really powerful teams - Stoke, Norwich and Ipswich. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, that's how I feel. I don't think there is anything wrong with us." Holloway believes Martin will be a valuable and versatile member of the squad during his three-month loan. He said: "Lee Martin coming in has given me options down the right, options down the left and even options up the middle as a centre-forward, because he can do that as well. He's more of a winger than Scott Sinclair was."
Ian Holloway admitted yesterday that two members of his first-team squad have told him that they want to leave Home Park. "There are going to be some changes here, I have to say that," Holloway said. "I don't think they will be changes that I particularly want, but they are changes that I'm going to have to deal with because I don't think people are going to be able to give me the commitment that I want. I don't blame Tony Capaldi for what he did, but he certainly hasn't helped me. I inherited a squad with so many players running out of contract now, and when I should have dealt with it last year we didn't have the money to do so. We have some players who have been very successful here but you can end up with a scenario in which they'll demand better money, and if you can't pay it you'll lose your best players. Ours is one of the smallest budgets in this division and yet we can compete, but the fact is that we're likely to have a very different squad this time next year. That's just a fact. I might have to do some things that, in an ideal world, I wouldn't want to do. A couple of weeks ago there were signs that I could have had a bit of a mutiny on my hands. There were other people trying to gatecrash our party and nick some of my better players." Holloway has now discovered that two of his players are keen to move on. "There are two players who don't want to be here," he said. "There's one who is out of contract who doesn't want to be offered a new contract, because he believes he'll get a lot more money somewhere else. He wants us to sell him in January rather than see him go for nothing in the summer, but no one is interested in him. What his agent has been telling him and who wants him are two different things, so I've rung the clubs that are supposed to be interested in him. I can guarantee you that they're no longer interested in him. What he's going to do, I don't know. The other one I'm aware of, and I might have to consider doing something with him, but the interest that was there might not be there any more. It's out of my hands. At the end of the day, I can only deal the cards that I've been given. A huge card for me has always been commitment. I believe Tony Capaldi and my players who are still here have been totally committed to this football club, which I'm very proud of, but they've taken themselves into a realm in which they're playing against teams who are better equipped and have bigger gates and with richer people who own them. It's only a matter of time before my players either get that themselves or they want to move. You know what I'm about and, if I chose here and if I believe in this place, then they're insulting me a little bit, but it's all about a balance." Holloway remains optimistic that the future for the club is not bleak. "Hopefully, Plymouth Argyle will not suffer," he said. "They will still have a committed and talented team out there who are trying to better themselves and to get towards the top of this division. We're already ninth and we haven't been firing on all cylinders yet, but we're still playing some very decent football at a level which is unbelievably difficult. We should be very proud, but can I convince my players that we can be sixth, fifth or fourth or higher? I'm a realist, and I believe we'll be good enough, if I can attract the likes of Lee Martin. If some people have fallen out of love with us, I'm not going to worry about it. I'll just get on with it. I know what I need to do. As a manager, you cannot be undermined. I've got Lee Martin, who can play on the right side or the left. I've got Dan Gosling back. If that knocks some others out of the side because I can't afford them, then that's great. We've got a lot of players who are out of contract and, if some of them want a bit of what Tony Capaldi has got, then they can go. I'll have people here who want to be here for the right reasons." Holloway believes that, considering what his players are paid, taking the team to ninth position is a very commendable achievement - although Argyle could be higher still. "I'm happy with the performances," he said. "We could have had more points on the board, but the performances have been very pleasing. We've made some mistakes, but I can see a lot of improvement in the areas where we've made mistakes. The back four are looking a lot more like a unit than they were. The lads have carried on from where they left off last year, but maybe our choices in the final third of the pitch aren't quite as crisp as they were towards the end of last year. But we'll keep working at it. After ten games, you normally know whereabouts you are. This is a very tough division. It's very tiring, especially as our travelling is much worse than everybody else's, but I'm generally very pleased with the way the lads are. They play with pride for this football club. I knew they did, and I knew they would. I think they're showing signs of being a not bad side, and when you look at the riches of this division and at what other people are paying, I'm absolutely delighted. I'm proud to be where we are."
Argyle's youth team beat Barnet 7-1 on Saturday, the goals scored by Toby Davis (3), Shane Duggan (2), Shane White and an own goal. Mike Pejic said: "The results mean more to the boys than they do to me. Well though they played at times, there were other times when there were too many bouncing balls, when they weren't composed, and when they didn't take enough care of the ball. But they are a good group to work with, and they train very hard every day each week."
Larrys Mabiala has returned to Paris Saint-Germain for further checks on his troublesome knee. Ian Holloway said: "He has gone back to France because we found something on the scan. There was nothing on the first scan but Maxi was not happy. The lad kept complaining about it, so we sent him for another scan and it has turned up something. He is not fit, so we have sent him back with the new scan for them to look at because he is their player. He will probably be out for another four or five weeks and they will need to snip a little bit off. We have got the fresh scan and we have sent him back with our recommendations. It is very disappointing. He is a very shy and quiet lad, but, by all accounts he has really settled in and he is a huge prospect over there. I felt for him the first day when we had the race between our chef and the security man. It was hilarious and he did not know what to make of it. He has come from PSG to Plymouth Argyle, which is a bit different, but he has settled in and broken every record we've had in the gym. Wottsy has set a few but this kid is frightening on the arm machine. He has the potential to be one hell of an athlete. Hopefully, it is not over yet. We have him for the full season but he does not belong to us. You have to get it right when you are borrowing someone else's player. He belongs to them, so they have got to sanction what we can do to him. It can be a bit complicated when you borrow someone."
Ian Holloway took a lot of positives away from the draw with Blackpool. "I think it is the performance that is pleasing," he said. "Before the game, we had five reports on Blackpool and I have to say that I was very impressed. My scouts got it right - they are a bright, footballing side; very upbeat; try to get the ball down and pass it through you; real tricky players. They would have done a lot more damage to other teams, the way they played today, and some of my lads weren't quite as sharp as they can be. Our two strikers made some decent movements but we didn't find them well enough, which is unlike us. The moves broke down. We just needed that little bit of sharpness. But the discipline was right, the back-line was better - I thought the two centre-halves were absolutely terrific, and Hodgy deserves a lot of credit, although I thought he looked more tired as the game went on because he has missed a lot of football, as has Chadders. One or two looked a little lacking in sharpness. It takes it out of you, this Championship level, when you haven't been used to playing it. I was delighted to have had the options I had on the bench. Too many games are crammed in. I felt we looked a little bit jaded with our choices, particularly in the first half. On the whole, I felt fairly comfortable throughout the game. It was a little bit 'to-me-to-you', it could have gone either way, and I'm surprised there were no goals in the game. I can't thank my players enough for how hard they work for each other. We had a new bloke with us today, who hasn't even trained with us, and he's slotted in like a dream. He gives me all sorts of other options. I felt we started brightly. Akos, back on there, nearly got us a goal in the first couple of minutes. We were a tad too open, but I still felt that one of my exciting players might have got us the win. We're coming here, looking an accomplished side and we needed to be because 'well done to Blackpool'."
The structure of the football season has got Ian Holloway twitchy and delighted in equal measure. He said: "We're going to go from no game next weekend to another barrage of matches Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday, Tuesday, and, before you know it, I'm going to get a nervous twitch. I've got some decent work to do now, with Jimmy, with Summs, with Lee Martin, and it's great because there's no pressure of any matches. So I can do what I need to do to teach them what Ian Holloway wants them to do."
Ian Holloway has cautioned Argyle fans against comparing Lee Martin with Scott Sinclair. Martin made his debut in the draw at Blackpool, and Holloway said: "He isn't Scott Sinclair - he's Lee Martin. I think he's of the same ilk, although I think he's more of a winger than Scott. He loves to run with the ball. Unfortunately, my lads don't know that yet but, when he starts running at them on the training-ground on Monday, they won't really like it. Hopefully our reputation - how we work with people and the club we've got - is growing. I'm delighted to beat three other clubs who wanted to sign him. I hope I can help him and he can help us."
The reputation of Ian Holloway and the recommendation of a former team-mate persuaded Lee Martin to move to Home Park. Martin said: "I spoke to Sir Alex and we decided the best thing was to go out on loan and get some games before Christmas. He's said there are a few things that I need to work on, which I agree with, and he said this was the best place to come to. He likes Ian as a manager and he says this is a place where I am going to learn things. I knew Ian Holloway was interested in me last season and has been watching me for the last couple of years. Then Ian came in for me this week and, to be honest, I made my decision early in the week and it was just a matter of speaking to our manager and getting the move down here. Ian spoke to me a few times and told me what his ambitions were and where he wants the club to be, and I share the same ambition: I wanted to come to a manger who wants to play football and who enjoys his football." Martin played reserve-team football with Sylvan Ebanks-Blake at Manchester United, and added: "I know Sylv well. We know what our strengths are; we know what each other's weaknesses are. I was on loan with him over in Belgium and we got a good relationship. Sylv phoned me up and said 'I believe you want to come here and I believe you can play football down here.' I want to hook up with him and hopefully get the partnership we had at reserve level. I've had three loans prior to this one and only one's really worked out for me - the other two were dampened by injury and, under Pulis, I didn't really play much - but I spoke to Ian and he wants to play me. That's what I want to do, I want to play football, and hopefully I can do it. I played nine games of the 13 at Antwerp. I got man-of-the-match awards and it was a great spell. I got injured at Rangers; and, in the second part of the season, I went to Stoke and couldn't get a game. I'm here to prove myself. My confidence has been dented from the back end of last season. I'm here to try to get my confidence back and get a few games under my belt." Martin was born in Taunton but does not really consider himself a Westcountryman. He said: "I was born there and I moved to London, the Croydon area, when I was about three or four? I can't remember much, but I spent most of my holidays down in Cornwall" Martin though, knows a lot about Argyle. "There's ability here," he said. "It's quite a tight group of players and certainly a team I'm looking forward to playing for. I played for Stoke last year down there and I liked the fans, I liked the whole set-up. I like the way they play - they try and play football. I wanted to go to a club where there's enjoyment, and the gaffer is all about enjoyment. The manager at Old Trafford tends to sit at back and let his assistants and other coaches do the talking, but Ian seems like quite and up-front bloke and he's used to the football banter. Compared to the gaffer, he is a totally different person." Martin's debut yesterday came after around an hour, and he played wide right, although he is equally happy on either wing. He said: "I prefer playing left and cutting in, that's the way I've been playing for the last two or three years, but, as long as I'm playing, that's all that matters." Although his first Argyle experience was not a winning one, he took some satisfaction from the result. "I thought Blackpool played well," he said. "They made it difficult for us. They are a good footballing side and they try to play football. It's always hard to play against a team that wants to get it down and play quickly. I thought we did well. We battled well. A few of the lads were tired after seven games in 21 days. It's not always easy with that amount of games."
Argyle drew 0-0 at Blackpool. Argyle: McCormick, Connolly, Timar, Seip, Hodges, Norris, Nalis, Buzsaky, Halmosi, Ebanks-Blake, Chadwick. Subs Hayles, Martin, Fallon (not used Doumbe, Sawyer). Attendance 8,784
Argyle are hoping to arrange a loan deal so Luke Summerfield can gain more first team experience away from Home Park. Tim Breacker said: "Luke is one who we have tried to get on loan. We want him to go somewhere that is going to be good for him, and we are actively trying to do that for him at the moment."
Lee Martin today joined Argyle from Manchester United on an initial three-month loan deal. Ian Holloway said: "I think he brings something we haven't got. He likes to run with it; he likes to take people on, right side or left side or even up front. This is another step. This is making a bigger statement than that - he's chosen us over other Championship sides, supposedly bigger and better than us, so this myth about coming to Plymouth - we're gradually smashing that with a mallet. Martin has been pursued by Holloway since United's exit from the Carling Cup two weeks ago, and a bit longer. "We've been following him for about three years," he said. "Gary Penrice and I have wanted to take him because we believe in him. I don't want to hype him up too much. He's a fresh, young talent who wants to learn and wants to get some first-team experience, and he chose us over three other Championship sides where, in the past, I'm sure he would have gone."
Argyle end a hectic period of seven games in the space of 21 days with a trip to Blackpool and Tim Breacker is expecting a stern test. "It is going to be very difficult," he said. "As with all the teams that come up, they have got that bit of impetus. They finished last season very well and they have carried it in to this division. You get the sort of scenario where every game is like a Cup Final, so it will be a very difficult game for us. I have seen a couple of videos on them and I saw them play at Northampton early on last season, and you could tell then they were going to have a good season. They have got a few names that we know and some young ones, although they have got a few injuries we know about. One of their lads was sent off the other day as well, so he may be suspended. They have played 4-5-1 away from home and got a good result at Watford, but not so good at Coventry, although they still did well by all accounts. I would expect them to be 4-4-2 at home." A victory over Blackpool would be the perfect way to go into the international break and Breacker added: "From the start of the season, we have sections of games and this is the second section. We lost the league game at Stoke that we were disappointed to lose and we felt we could have got something out of the game. We have drawn other games at home, so getting the three points on Tuesday was great. If we could round off this section with another win, that would be fantastic. We all realize that the Wolves game was a point gained. We have not had that scenario too often. We got away with a point there, but that is how it happens. If you can get a draw when you are not playing well and then grind out a win, it is all good signs." Breaker praised Lee Hodges, who made his first Championship start of the season against Palace and performed superbly. "He is a good pro and a good lad, and that is what you need from him," said Breacker. "You can't look after them all the time. We have said to the younger ones that it is a harsh reality - they have got to take the chance when it comes and make sure they are as fit as they can be and ready to go. It is hard for them to get to that level and pace, even with reserve games. I was talking about it while watching Peter Crouch for Liverpool - it is difficult to not be playing and then go in under pressure to perform. You get these periods of games and you would like for them all to come in and play, and do well. We have been lucky in terms of injuries because we have not lost any bodies."
Peter Halmosi is proving to be an excellent buy for Argyle, even at a club record transfer fee. Tim Breacker said: "Peter is looking bright. He's a good footballer, a good lad and we are pleased to have him here. Sometimes it takes foreign boys a little bit longer to settle at clubs, and I think that has been shown with him. You have got to be more patient with them, but the way he trained last season and with the things we saw from him we were confident he would come through. Six goals in 15 games is brilliant, and he creates for others as well. To be fair, he's the sort of player that you don't have to talk to too much. You tell him one thing and it's there. You don't have to go over it again with him. He's a very good lad to have around."
Lee Hodges is set to make his 200th appearance for Argyle when they take on Blackpool tomorrow. Hodges enjoyed his return to the starting line up against Crystal Palace and is hoping he has done enough to retain his place at Blackpool. He said: "It had been a while since I had started a game, and I didn't know I would be playing until the manager named the team that night. I just went out there, played my game and enjoyed being a part of a winning team. I think we looked quite comfortable, really. We played the ball a little bit longer than usual, and it wasn't fantastic I suppose for the fans to watch, but it's about winning games. We want to make Home Park into a fortress and not get beaten there, but on our travels this season we have done okay and, hopefully, that will continue tomorrow." Hodges was reasonably satisfied with his performance against Palace, but thought there was still room for improvement. He added: "Whenever I'm needed I will go out and just give it my best. I was happy with how I played on Tuesday. I think it took me about 10-15 minutes to get into it. I was giving the ball away a bit too much for my liking. But as the game wore on I started to get into it and I enjoyed it by the end of the night." Argyle have not played Blackpool at Bloomfield Road since February 2004, when Hodges was a second-half substitute. "It's always a tough place to go," he said. "We have done okay the last couple of times we have been there, but they have come up into the Championship and done really well. They haven't been frightened of anyone and they have been getting some good results. We will have to be on our game. It would be brilliant to go into the international break after a win. You don't want to finish on a defeat because there is nothing you can do about putting it right for two weeks." Hodges is not taking it for granted he will play his 200th game for the club against Blackpool and added: "We still don't know the team but, if selected, that would be a nice honour."
Ian Holloway is in no doubt that all the hours his players have spent travelling in the past fortnight has had an adverse affect on performances, and he is pondering a change of policy which if adopted, could see him make maximum use of his squad to cope with such demanding fixture sequences. He said: "I'm going to have to seriously consider picking a squad for the first match and then some don't travel, and another squad for the second match and some don't travel, and then another squad for the third match. The travelling is absolutely murder for us, even for the ones who don't play, and that's a fact." Argyle have been making occasional use of air travel, but the size of Plymouth airport means that, even when they do fly, they cannot avoid road transport. The squad flew to Stansted for the match at West Ham, but they had to drive to Newquay airport to do so. Then they travelled back by coach from east London overnight. Holloway added: "We flew up and we got the coach back, and I'm not sure that's right. Maybe we should sleep and then fly back the following day, but it all adds up." The manager though is mindful of financial reality. He said: "I can't have everything. I also want to add some new players, and I've got to be really careful. There's only a certain-sized pot."
Nick Chadwick is confident Argyle can go on a winning streak at Home Park after the win against Crystal Palace on Tuesday. He said: "There wasn't really a sense of pressure building up, it was more frustration, because it's always good to win at home. We've certainly been playing well enough to win games and I've always had the belief that it would come. I don't see why we shouldn't take this on and put a bit of a run together. I think chances are definitely coming, because of the type of football we're playing. It was a great result and I felt we held them comfortably and killed the game off. To everyone's credit, Palace didn't look like that they were going to get back into it. The team have been playing well and we've been picking up points on the road. But it's nice to win at home because the fans go home feeling upbeat and everyone's happy. Other teams should - and do - find it difficult to come down here." Chadwick said he believed that teams now visited Home Park with the intention of stopping Argyle from playing. He added: "We're not the new boys in the Championship any more and perhaps we have got more respect. Before, maybe teams thought they could come here and get the three points. But now they're probably going home happy with a point. We've got to break teams down and I think we are doing that. As long as we keep playing the way we are playing, I don't see why we shouldn't go on a good run at home."
Ian Holloway was a very happy man following last nights win. He said: "I want to get one thing straight - we have had seven home games this season in all competitions with three victories and four draws, making us unbeaten at home. All I will say to our fans is that you have got to dig in. This division is so tight it is frightening and you need a regular performance to get a regular result. That was very workmanlike, not the prettiest, but it done the job. Everybody showed me they wanted to do it. I was more pleased with the people I did not pick because it is very important how they take it. They were professional and we have gone about our work. I felt my two centre-backs were absolutely excellent. Hodgey stepped in and you'd think he had played all season. Connolly's concentration was like it should be and Luke looked accomplished. We dropped a bit deep in the second half, which is quite understandable when they bring on Morrison, who is quite lively. They also had Dickov and then threw Leon Cort forward at the end." Holloway threw on Mathias Doumbe towards the end and felt it was the right move to have an extra defender on the pitch. "I have learnt that I needed to put an extra man in the backline," he said. "Maybe I should have done that in the Cardiff game. I also think you should stop the ball being delivered but, sometimes, you can't do that late in the game. Matty was terrific and there was an incident when, if he was not there, Dickov might have had a shot. There was also the professionalism of Akos at the end when he took the ball into the corner." Peter Halmosi's goal was the moment of real attacking quality in the game, as the winger rifled a dipping ball on the volley into the bottom corner. "It was a high quality goal," said Holloway. "Dropping out of the sky like that from a tight angle is a high quality goal. I am very pleased for the lads because they feel relieved. Sometimes life can be cruel and unfair, and I am delighted with the character and the spirit."
Ian Holloway hopes to hear today whether his attempts to lure Lee Martin to Home Park have been successful. Holloway said: "There is loads of speculation and I am hoping I have made an impression on the boy. I have spoken to his manager; I have spoken to him; I have spoken to his Mum, his Dad and anybody who knows him: only joking - I have spoken to his manager and him. I truly believe in my heart of hearts that this is the best place for him to come. If I could, I would drive up there now and tell him this is the place for him to come because of our lads and what he will give us - everything. I can't say it with any more enthusiasm, and I am just hoping that he chooses us out of the four clubs that want him. This will be the proverbial rabbit-out-of-a-hat if it happens, and I am forever the optimist, no matter what happens to me. You could run me down with a council truck and I would get up and still believe in us, and still believe I could get there. I might feel like I've been hit with a council truck if he chooses someone else, but I will dust myself off and see what happens."
Argyle beat Crystal Palace 1-0 at Home Park, the goal scored by Peter Halmosi after 50 minutes. Argyle: McCormick, Connolly, Timar, Seip, Hodges, Gosling, Norris, Nalis, Halmosi, Chadwick, Hayles. Subs Ebanks-Blake, Doumbe, Buzsaky (not used Fallon, Sawyer). Attendance 10,451
Argyle beat Torquay United 3-2 in a reserve-team friendly at Plainmoor yesterday afternoon, the goals scored by Ashley Barnes, Shane Duggan and Luke Summerfield
Ian Holloway feels his team suffered from a combination of fatigue and boosted egos in the draw with Wolves. He said: "I don't know whether it was the tiredness. I did say I did not want to use that as an excuse, but it did show. I also believe getting a bit of praise the way we did against West Ham was also something to do with it. It happened last year when people gave us praise for the Watford game when we lost 1-0 to a higher division team. We lost the next home game quite heavily. It was a tremendous comeback that needed some fresh people off the bench and a change of shape, but that was against a very good team. To get bombarded in the fashion we were in the first half, I have got to be delighted that we came back and won the second half 1-0. It showed great character to come back. Wolves did to us what we do to a lot of people. They closed, they pressed, and they put it in behind us, and got a few chances from it. I bumped in to loads of Argyle fans who said, 'great result'. It was probably not a great result because we have not won at home in the league yet. We have had six home games this year; two wins and four draws. It is not that bad, but we do need some more points at home. We have now got Palace at home so let's see what we can do. Even Colchester's wheels have come off a bit because they lost at home, whereas that was their fortress last year."
Ian Holloway has admitted Nick Chadwick is putting a strong case for a first team recall. Holloway said: "I watch them in training and, to be honest, there isn't much difference between all of them really. I know what people think, and who has got the goals, but it's all about the team. The team gets us goals and the team lets in goals. It's not about one or two players it's about having the right balance." When asked about Chadwick's chances of starting against Crystal Palace, Holloway replied: "He's definitely making the right sort of noises to try to get in the team. He missed a lot of last season and he does need some games, but he's obviously trying to tell me he wants to play." Rory Fallon also came off the bench against Wolves, and set up Chadwick's goal with an excellent flick on. Holloway added: "Rory won some headers for us on Saturday. He has been used to doing other things, rather than being a big number nine. He has got a decent touch for a big man and he does like bringing things down. He has just got to learn the right time to flick things on and then go and get in the box. He's a young man who has got a fair bit to learn about it all, but I quite like what we have got here. I think they all realise they have got a bit to learn and they are trying to show me they want to do it. As long as that carries on, I haven't really got a problem." Palace arrive at Home Park with a record of one win, one draw and two defeats from their four away games this season. Holloway said: "We have spoken about who's in their team, who isn't and who's on the bench, but I think it's about us. We beat them twice last season, both times 1-0, and they were very close games. So we have got to try to emulate that again. I think it's a nice game for us. Palace are 4-4-2 and I know what they will be trying to do. James Scowcroft has done well for them so far, and it's who plays up front with him. I have got to look at what we have got in our ranks that can hurt them. If we can get the win we want, I think we are still on course for being where we want to get."
Paul Wotton could be ready to return to first team action within 'six to eight weeks', according to Paul Maxwell, who said: "The surgeon just trimmed around the edge of the cartilage and tidied it up. We will rest Wottsy up for 10 to 14 days now and then progress him through. Hopefully, within six to eight weeks he should be challenging for a first team spot. Obviously, we will take it steady but it's being treated as a separate incident. I think Wottsie is grateful for everybody's concern but he wants to make it clear the ACL operation was a complete success. He was back in training in six months and nearly playing in seven. Everything has gone well with that and this is just an unfortunate coincidence." Wotton was playing in the second match of his comeback from the ACL operation when he was injured against Cardiff. Maxwell said: "He went into the game thinking it was going to be his last one before he was ready to challenge for a first team spot, but he jarred it when he stopped from a sprint. He picked up this niggle and we thought it would settle down. There was some soft tissue damage in the back of the knee and he had an injection for that, which settled it down for a couple of days. But obviously this was still there and, hopefully, we have got to the bottom of it now." Dr Williams is a specialist in sports-related knee injuries and Maxwell has been very impressed with his work. He added: "We thought we would go through him again this time because, obviously, he knows the knee and we didn't want anything disrupted in there that didn't need to be." Ian Holloway added: "It is not really a setback. It was always going to happen. They have repaired it in the original operation. Maybe we should have trimmed it all off to start with. The surgeon has no doubt that there is absolutely nothing wrong. This will clean it up and in five or six weeks we will have the real Paul Wotton back." Holloway admitted that his team has missed Wottsy's vocal influence on the field, and he called on the rest of the squad to follow his passionate example. He said: "We have left things down to him for too long with his shouting. When you have got someone that vocal who makes sense, it makes it easy for the rest. We have relied on his talking far too long. I don't need one captain; I need 11 captains out there. Manchester United had Roy Keane and too many of their players relied on him, but they are learning and they overcame that last year. He does sometimes lose it when he screams and, hopefully, he will have a bit more composure when he comes back because I need encouragement. I think he will be a better player when he comes back."
Paul Maxwell believes Larrys Mabiala should be back training by the end of this week. He said: "He just landed straight-legged and jarred his knee. He had some bruising on the bone. We had the scans done and he went back to Paris, but they were happy for him to do his rehab here. It has taken a little bit of time to settle but bone bruising does that. He started some proper running on Thursday so, hopefully, by the end of this week he should be joining in training again."
Luke McCormick has predicted a much-improved performance from Argyle when they take on Crystal Palace tonight. He said: "I expect to see a lively Plymouth Argyle tonight, not the one we saw in the first half on Saturday. When we are at our best, we are an up-and-at-you, in your face type of team. Palace have got a bit of pressure on them to get results because they haven't started particularly well, so it's a game we should relish. It's another opportunity to go out and get this first home win that we have been after." McCormick was pleased with his own performance against Wolves and added: "I was quite busy, probably the busiest I have been for a long while. But to be honest I prefer it when it's a lot quieter. It means we are all doing something right. It's just the way it goes. I was just glad I was able to make the saves." McCormick has kept two clean sheets in the last five games, but has also come in for criticism for some of his displays. He said: "Criticism is something you are always going to get, no matter what. It's too fickle to take notice of anything like that. One week you get criticism, the next week everyone wants to be your friend. Let people say what they want to say, it's up to them. It doesn't bother me. I will just get on and do my best. It has been a little bit hot and cold for myself at the start of this season. I want to bring the consistency back into my game which I felt I had last year. Hopefully, starting from now." McCormick is determined not to let the standard of his performances drop, even though Romain Larrieu is not around at the moment. He said: "I try not to think about it, to be honest. If you start thinking about it, that's when you are going to come unstuck. Whether Romain is here or not, I do everything the same. I try to set my standards as high as possible and those are the ones you have got to keep to, regardless of who's here and who's not. I know I have got to work my hardest to keep what I have got at the moment."
Argyle are being linked with a loan move for Manchester United's Taunton-born winger Lee Martin
Argyle's reserve fixture against Swindon Town next Tuesday has been postponed due to the Robins Johnstone's Paint Trophy game with Cheltenham on the same day. No new date has been scheduled. However, the reserve game against Swansea at Home Park, which was due to played in January, has been moved forward and will now take place on October 10th at 2pm
Nick Chadwick was Argyle's saviour on Saturday, but was quick to admit that it had not been a good day's work by the team as a whole. He said: "It's a disappointed dressing-room in there. We can hold our hands up and say we weren't very good in the first half, but it shows the character of the lads that we haven't lost. For some reason it's just not happening for us at home at the moment, but we didn't lose. That was important." The poor performance came three days after a fine display in the defeat to West Ham United, and Chadwick added: "It was a case of after the Lord Mayor's Show, because we were brilliant at West Ham. Perhaps too many of the lads were told how well they did. I don't know, it's hard to say, but we've got to be happy to come away with a draw from a game like that." Asked if tiredness had played a part in the showing against Wolves, Chadwick said: "I'm not sure. We looked tired, but then again when we got the goal we were playing with more energy towards the end. It was a funny game in the first half. It did look like we were tired, and it looked like there was a lack of fight and will to win, which is what we're all about. That's unlike us, and that's what the manager said to us at half-time. I don't think he was very pleased with how the first half went, and I think we did better the longer the game went on." Along with fellow substitute Rory Fallon, Chadwick was sent into battle ten minutes after half-time. Six minutes later, Fallon set up Chadwick for Argyle's goal. "Rory did really well," Chadwick said. "He got a great header on it. I said to him when we went on that we had to be really aggressive and we had to cause Breen and Craddock some problems. Fair play to Rory. He knocked Breen over and won the ball, and I've tried to put a bit of pressure and physical presence on Craddock. He gave way to that, and I knew if I kept the shot hard and low it had a chance of going in. To say I was delighted would a bit of an understatement." It was Chadwick's first Championship goal at Home Park since he scored against Southampton in January 2006. He added: "All the frustration with the way things have gone for me over the last ten months came out after that goal. That's two goals for me this season, so I'm pleased with that." The two strikers who came off the bench made their case for a recall to the starting line-up. "That's what we've got to do," Chadwick said. "I'm not going to lie. I've been disappointed since that Stoke game not to feature. I didn't get very long at all on Wednesday, and it's disappointing when you come in and you do well but you don't appear after that. The only thing you can do is keep making life difficult for the manager. Hopefully we've done that again, but it's not just about me and Rory. It's about Plymouth Argyle, and everyone has to remember that. Whoever is playing, we have to do what is best for the club. We have to go out there and perform well."
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