A Round-up of Argyle News
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Ian Holloway was very disappointed with his side after their draw with Wolves yesterday. He said: "It was unrecognizable from the team that played the other night, and it was the same team. Wolves had 15 corners in the first half, ten shots on goal and six on target. We didn't have anything. The travelling we have had over the last week did not help. All I wanted was a home draw but we had West Ham away and they didn't have game, and I felt it showed. Unless I saw off a huge chunk of England and superglue us a bit further up, we are going to have a lot more travelling than other people and we are going to have to travel right because we travelled back from West Ham and QPR on a coach. The lads looked tired. I don't like using that as an excuse but, if you start tired, you play tired, and it doesn't look right." It was a particularly difficult afternoon for Akos Buzsaky, whose mediocre display came after he was singled out for praise after the West Ham match. Holloway said: "It went to his head and he could not pass water today. We are a team at Plymouth and whoever comes off my bench is part of my team. Whoever sits on the bench is there because I think it is the right thing to do. I was criticized last Saturday for changing my two strikers. I have got four very good strikers, so I have got to make sure I get it right. We thought we were a good team. Let's be fair, we are Plymouth Argyle and we are playing Wolverhampton Wanderers. I can understand why Tony Pulis always used to blurt on about how great other people's subs were and how much everybody else is spending. That is not my style because I believe in my team. They need to do things right and realize we are Plymouth, and we have to work hard and hurt their back four. We kept messing about in front of their back four. You have to hurt them. There was space down the channels, but the timing of our runs was not right. We are Plymouth Argyle and it is all about guts and determination, and getting stuck in. We showed great character after a game in midweek when we got back at four in the morning. The lads came off the bench and changed it. It is a squad game and I also had to change shape, which I don't normally like to do during a game, but I had to do it to get us out of jail. No matter what we did in a 4-4-2, they had a bit more pace in their team, fresher legs and our boys feel like they had their hearts ripped out the other night. It was unacceptable in the first half and I think the lads know it after I had a chat with them at half time. I had to make some changes. If we already had a home win this year, I don't think people would be that upset with a draw against Wolves, so let's see what we can do against Crystal Palace on Tuesday night." The main reason Argyle had the opportunity to find a way back into the game was a string of saves from Luke McCormick. "Goalies are paid to make saves and he made some," Holloway added. "I am not very happy with the people in front of him. He had to make far too many saves for my liking." Holloway reserved praise for Nick Chadwick, and said: "He showed great guts and determination, so I have got some problems for my next team selection. Craddock probably did get pulled back, but I don't care. I thought Barry Hayles got beat up all day. I saw loads of fouls there but I am wasting my time talking about referees." Holloway finished by calling on the media to help him drum up support for his team. He also revealed an interesting phone conversation he had concerning the loss at Stoke last Saturday. He said: "I have had to pull rabbits out of a hat - Marcel Seip from nowhere. I spoke to Alex Ferguson yesterday and he said 'I was at the game and I can't believe you didn't win last Saturday'. You are going to all have to help me. We are miles from anywhere, so please help me whip up some spirit. It is amazing what you can do when you believe."
Argyle drew 1-1 with Wolverhampton Wanderers at Home Park, the goal scored by Nick Chadwick after 61 minutes. Argyle: McCormick, Connolly, Timar, Seip, Sawyer, Norris, Buzsaky, Nalis, Halmosi, Ebanks-Blake, Hayles. Subs – Chadwick, Fallon, Gosling (not used – Djordjic, Doumbe). Attendance – 13,638
Argyle's youth team won 3-2 at Swansea in today's Youth Alliance Cup game. The goals were scored by Ashley Hodgkinson, Toby Davis and Damien McCrory
Ian Holloway has paid tribute to Akos Buzsaky for his recent performances and admitted he 'would pay to watch him play'. Holloway said: "Akos is a terrific footballer when he plays how he has been playing. He has just got to get the balance right. At the moment, I would pay to watch him play. We are getting some very nice comments about how we are playing, but we need to add to that. I don't want to be a nice team. I want to win games. The higher you go the harder it is to win, but with players like Akos we will have a chance. Week in week out, I'm being entertained by my lads and what more can I ask for?
Larrys Mabiala is set to return to training next week. Ian Holloway said: "He's bedding in with the lads. We played skittles yesterday and he got to the final and was laughing and joking with the rest of them. I have brought him here to help us, and at the minute he hasn't been able to, but I think our lads have helped him settle in. They are calling him Larry Speare for goodness sake!"
Argyle's players turned up for training yesterday in expectation of a rigorous work-out, but instead found themselves playing skittles. Ian Holloway said: "They haven't done anything today, apart from a game of skittles. The lads played on Monday and on Wednesday, so I felt it was really important just to keep things ticking over. It's been a tough week. They came in to training yesterday, when my staff took the session. They told me the lads were very bright, but we all feel a bit tired. This morning, getting them playing skittles was just what I wanted. The lads were great. It was important that we had a bit of team bonding and togetherness, and that they realise how well they're doing at the moment. We've got a good set of lads, and we need to keep going." Argyle have played three home fixtures in the Championship so far this term, and have drawn all three. Nevertheless, Holloway has been fairly happy with the way his side have been playing in recent weeks. "We've done an awful lot right at home, but we haven't got what we deserve," he said. "It's all about performances, and I was very proud of the way we played the other night at West Ham. It was devastating for the lads to lose like that, but my job is to sift through it all and see it for real. Some of the performances already this season have been absolutely terrific. What we need to do is to turn them into results, but everybody is talking very nicely about the way we play and the football we play. At the end of the day, that's what it's all about, but we need to add to that. I don't want to be a nice team, I want to win." Holloway has highlighted some ways in which he thinks his team could do better. "Maybe we're chasing things too much," he added. "We need to be patient and make sure we get our shape right. When we get that right, we look like we can score goals. We also have to get our defending as a team right, which we did at West Ham." Wolves are two positions and one point better off than Argyle, and Holloway knows how big a threat Mick McCarthy's side can be. He said: "They haven't played all week, they've got a very counter-attacking side, and we've just got to be ready."
Paul Wotton has thanked Argyle fans for the good wishes as he recovers from a minor operation to clean up his knee. Paul Maxwell said: "This latest inconvenience is nothing to do with his previous injury, to the cruciate ligament, which is totally cured. Paul was progressing very well and close to being available for a first-team call-up, when, during his second comeback game for the reserves, he landed awkwardly, jarring his knee. After, three or four weeks of letting the knee settle, he returned to London yesterday to have a clean-up of the cartilage in the knee. There is no problem with the original injury, and is merely an unfortunate fluke this latest tweak happened to be in the same knee - it could easily have been the other one. Paul is grateful for the concern that everyone is showing but wants to make it clear that this has just been an unfortunate coincidence."
Peter Halmosi and Akos Buzsaky have been called up for Hungary's Euro 2008 Championship qualifier against Malta next month, and also the friendly against Poland on October 17th
Akos Buzsaky has started the new season like a man determined to finally put his talent to good use, and Ian Holloway feels the arrivals of Peter Halmosi and Krisztian Timar has been a huge factor. Holloway said: "I felt we had a very talented homesick boy on our hands and now you would have to move mountains to get him to leave here, which is one hell of a step forward. He is a terrific footballer when he plays how he is playing. He has just got to get the balance right. At the moment, I am enjoying watching him play so much that I would pay to watch him play. Gary Penrice goes places and it is very nice what people are saying about how we are playing, but we have got to add to that. I don't want to be nice - I want to win. The higher you go, the harder it is to win but, with players like Akos, we will have a chance. You only have to look at the pictures in the paper after the win at QPR to see how together we are. I can't help people admiring our players. I spoke to Mel Johnson - a Tottenham scout who used to work for me - and he said we had some good players, which is nice. I am being entertained by my lads. What more can I ask for? Akos is one those boys who does things that people up to and wish that they could do." It is the consistency of Buzsaky's performances that has pleased Holloway so much and the Hungarian is doing his defensive duties as well. "Part of my job is teaching them how to be consistent," Holloway added. "As a midfield player, you have to go forward and you have to defend. I am sick and fed up of the fashion of a 'sitting midfield player'. I played midfield all my life and I had to go forward and create, and I had to get back and defend. You have got to be able to do both. Makelele can go forward. He can pass. He can do all of it. Steven Gerrard is a proper midfield player because he goes forward and clears things off his own line. Lil still does both things and that is what midfield is all about. You are playing in the middle, so you defend and you attack. It is a modern fad with people talking about defensive midfielders. Shut your mouth. You need to be able to do both."
Ian Holloway does not believe fatigue will be a factor when Argyle play Wolves at Home Park tomorrow, following Wednesdays game at West Ham. He said: "I don't think fatigue will be a problem for us tomorrow. If our pitch was boggy then it might have been, but it's not. Barry and Lilian Nalis are our oldest players at 35 but they were running around like spring chickens the other night. I was devastated we didn't get what I felt our performance against West Ham deserved. I thought we limited them to only a few chances throughout the whole 90 minutes and they are a Premier League team who were playing at home. They had to use all of their squad to get the result in the end. I have been very encouraged by our performances against Stoke City last Saturday and West Ham but we need to turn them into wins." Wolves have had some inconsistent results this season and Mick McCarthy will be hoping they can build on their victory over Norwich when they come to Home Park. Holloway said: "Mick is a great bloke, a very good manager and he has bought well in the summer. They have got a lot of pace in their team. What we have got to do is get that win tomorrow. We are also at home to Crystal Palace next Tuesday and with a couple of wins we would move right up the table."
Gary Sawyer says Argyle need to focus on tomorrow's game against Wolves rather than dwell on Wednesday night's defeat at West Ham. He said: "We were gutted to lose against West Ham in the last minute, but they were, after all, a Premier League side. I think we can definitely take it on against Wolves, because the boys played really well. If we can focus on Wolves like we did on West Ham, we should do well. It would be good to put the result right against Wolves. We haven't got any time to feel sorry for ourselves, and I think the fact we are playing again a couple of days later helps to knock it out of you. I think everyone has got to pick themselves up, dust themselves off and prepare for the Wolves game." Sawyer enjoyed taking on the Premier League club, and was happy with his performance at Upton Park, despite the defeat. Sawyer said: "I think it went really well. They were sharp, but I think we handled it well. It was great to test yourself against players from the top league. That's what I want to do every week - that's what everyone on our team wants to do. I enjoyed the West Ham game but I would much rather win against Wolves in the league, than against West Ham in the cup. We've got no chance of winning the cup. The league is more important to us."
Ian Holloway believes Argyle can use Wednesday's Carling Cup defeat at West Ham to kick-start their Championship campaign at Home Park. Holloway said: "I told them they can hold their heads high, and that they were very unfortunate. If we play like that week in, week out, we won't have a problem. If they let it get to them, we will, because we have got to dust ourselves down. We have got to bounce back. When you keep getting punished, it's hard to keep your momentum and keep your belief, but I am sure by the time we get home in the early hours, they will realise how well they did and how good they actually are. We ran our hearts out and our socks off, and, as a manager, I can't ask for much more than that. We got tight to people; we pressed the ball; when the ball went back to the goalkeeper, we put him under pressure; we limited them to very few chances. I thought our back four today was absolutely terrific. To limit them to as few chances as they had at home with a fantastic crowd behind them? That was a good thing. We bad-rashed people. We were all over them like a bad rash. We chased everything down. Lilian Nalis is 36, Barry Hayles is 35, and they are still doing it. Fantastic. It's very disappointing for us, but I'm very proud of our club. It's a good club. We're getting a very good squad together. It's a difficult division we're in - everyone's trying to get to the dizzy heights of the Premiership, and we're no different. On the whole, I am very disappointed that we didn't get something, but I'm bursting with pride. Every single one of them acquitted themselves really well. That's how we've been over the last couple of weeks. We're not quite getting what we deserve. Is that because we're not quite good enough? I don't think so. I think we need a bit more steel about us, like we showed this evening. If we can take that into our next few performances, we will be alright. We need to win. We haven't won at home yet - we've drawn every game - and we need to get a home win under our belts and we'll be in a better league position. I believe we can hold our own and maybe do even better than last year, when we finished 11th and eight points off the play-offs."
Ian Holloway swallowed his disappointment at being knocked out of the Carling Cup to welcome Dean Ashton's return from a broken leg. He said: "To be perfectly honest, I'm an English football supporter and I'm delighted to see that fellow back fit. I know what a tough time he's had and I know how difficult, mentally, it is to come back when your career is flying. He was in and around the England squad, and he might well get back there." Marcel Seip and Krizstian Timar kept the striker quiet for most of the game, but he was still able to find space to drive the ball across Luke McCormick for the winning goal just a minute before the end of the game. "He's a quality lad and it was great to see him score - unfortunately, it was against my team," said Holloway. "The cream always rises to the top and I'm delighted for Dean. I'd like to knock him out right now, though. I think he'll have a lot less tough games than that in the Premiership this year."
Argyle lost 1-0 at West Ham United in the Carling Cup. Argyle: McCormick, Connolly, Timar, Seip, Sawyer, Norris, Buzsaky, Nalis, Halmosi, Ebanks-Blake, Hayles. Subs – Chadwick, Fallon (not used – Gosling, Hodges, Doumbe). Attendance – 25,774
Ian Holloway is expecting West Ham to be formidable opposition tonight. He said: "When you look at which players they might play, it shows the gulf we have to somehow try to bridge. I saw one of Alan Curbishley's quotes on Saturday saying he was currently missing £27m worth of players, who are out injured. It is different ends of the scale, but I am still looking forward to it because, on any given day? It will be a lovely pitch with white marking around the outside, a man in the middle with a whistle and some people cheering. We have got a third round game away to West Ham. Funnily enough it would have been my old club Bristol Rovers if they had beaten West Ham, but we've got the Hammers, blowing bubbles and all that. It is a very famous club with lots of publicity. I know their manager very well and it is all about his team. Everybody is looking forward to it and excited by it." Argyle assistant manager Tim Breacker spent almost nine years at Upton Park and Holloway added: "Tim is more excited than I am. Obviously Mr Breacker might go up there and get a decent reception after his time there as a marauding right-back. He has told me all about the chicken-run. Don't show your chicken to that lot or they'll have you, and all that." Holloway now feels that Argyle have established themselves as a competitive Championship outfit and this game gives the players a chance to really test themselves. "It is a huge test for us," he said. "We have proven ourselves at this level. We can compete; we can score goals, although we are a little bit leaky at times. That maybe because we are a tad too attack-minded. The midfield with Akos, Peter and Chuck is sometimes a bit too, 'woohoo - let's go and score'. I would still rather do that because I enjoy watching us play. I don't enjoy watching us lose but I do enjoy watching us attack. It is a bit unfair on our back four because, when I say we need to defend better, I mean every single one of them. I can see my back four getting better and better, whoever I play." Holloway was delighted with the attacking performance at Stoke last weekend, but gutted with the soft second goal that changed the game. However, he did admit the winner was onside after initially suggesting the linesman had made an error. He said: "We have had some tough games and, unfortunately, we have not always got the points we deserved from the performances. Someone like Paul Wotton would have probably barked out some orders and stopped them scoring their second goal. If we had stopped them scoring their second goal, we would have probably gone on to win the game. We had a bit of a chat about it yesterday and there was an interesting difference of opinion. Lil thinks everybody should know their jobs, so I said to him that is great, but once you know your job, you need to make sure the person next to you knows his job as well. I will hold my hand up and say their third goal was not offside. It looked like it was from my dugout, so well done to Fuller." Holloway dropped a massive hint that he will be reverting to the Sylvan Ebanks-Blake - Barry Hayles partnership at West Ham. He said: "I know what my team is going to be and I have been planning it for the last couple of weeks. I have had to stay ahead of the game and get them right. I think we are going to need some pace and power to try and exploit what they have got, instead of height and strength, which I felt we needed on Saturday. Barry has had a bit of a rest on Saturday because he is 35, but he came into the game late and I see him going on until he is 38 - look at Teddy Sheringham. It seems these strikers are going on and on now because all the youngsters are being stacked and racked in the academies, and not really getting their chance. We are going to fly up, which will be nice because the coach journey can be quite horrendous. We will be driving back though, but that's life. I am in a very buoyant mood and I can't wait to go up there. I lost 2-1 the last time I played there and we got a standing ovation for the way we played. They like there football at West ham - it's the football academy."
Ian Holloway has revealed that he is close to tying up one of his players on a longer contract. He said: "There are one or two players we will be trying to tie up on a longer contract over the next few days and weeks. I have told the chairman the players I have spoken to and I am going to have to get really busy. I will have to phone other managers and see who they might want to swap if they are in a similar position. Some clubs may be in a position to re-sign all their players and add some more. Unfortunately, we are down with our crowds at the moment but I am still very upbeat. I will be meeting with Gary Penrice over the next couple of days and we will give people clarity. I might have to tell some they are on the transfer list, but I will still have to use them, which is an unbelievably unusual situation. I am sure that, with what they know of me already, they will still be able to perform for me and do what is right for them. I am not nasty or vindictive. Some managers just say, 'get out, I don't need you anymore', but that is not me. I am optimistic with one of the answers I have received from one of the players I would like to re-sign. I have asked his agent what sort of deal he might be looking for and it is not too far away from what I might be able to pay him. I can't say exactly who that it is, but I am optimistic. I knew I would have a difficult job this year and I am not blaming anybody for it. There might be some changes, but, don't be alarmed, because some of the players we have added so far have been ok."
Tim Breacker will make a nostalgic return to Upton Park tonight. Breacker made 296 appearances for the London club, and he said:: "I'm looking forward to going back there, but it has changed quite a lot since I was a player there. I still know a few of the backroom boys, including Ludo Miklosko, their goalkeeping coach. We were team-mates at West Ham and I got on really well with him. We both went to QPR at roughly the same time and used to travel over there together. I keep in touch with him and he's a great guy, so I will be looking forward to seeing him. I had a brilliant time at West Ham. The first season I was there we got promoted. We got relegated straight away, but we were promoted the following year and then stayed up there. I really enjoyed my time there, especially the way they like to play football and the way they encourage you to do that. But I do remember talking to Frank McAvennie one time. He was still there when I first signed and he was a bit of a God to the fans. He told me 'All you have got to do is if you get a chance put somebody in the stand and they will love that. I thought I would try that and he was right. They were the sort of fans who as long as you gave 100 per cent then they would be with you, which was good. I was quite lucky to play there, really." West Ham spent vast sums of money on strengthening their squad this summer and Breacker is impressed with the talent available to Alan Curbishley. He said: "They have got a massive squad with a lot of quality, but you need that in the Premier League. They will be expecting to be in the top half of the table, rather than the bottom half this season. For example, Gabbidon and Collins aren't really their first choice centre-backs at the moment, so that says everything. They have four top Premier League centre-backs because they have also got Ferdinand and Upson. They need that, though, because if somebody gets injured between the transfer windows, they can't buy anybody else or get a loan player in." Breacker admitted Argyle faced a very difficult task against the Hammers. He said: "We have got to enjoy it, and not be frightened to do what we do well. When you look at their team, they didn't all start in the Premier League. Look at Dean Ashton, Matthew Etherington, Hayden Mullins and people like that. It will be a good chance for our boys to test themselves against that sort of quality and see where they are at. I'm sure some of our players could definitely play at the highest level."
Argyle drew 1-1 with Truro City in last night's friendly, the goal scored by Ashley Barnes. Argyle: Saxton, Gosling, Hodges, White, Doumbe, Abdou, Smith, Moult, Barnes, Duggan, Djordjic. Subs - Misiewiczi, King, Hodgkinson, Davis, McCaul, McCrory, Stevens
Romain Larrieu has admitted he is excited about getting the opportunity to play first team football for Yeovil Town. He said: "Ollie rang me on Thursday. Yeovil were desperate because they didn't have any back up for their game at Brighton. With the situation at Argyle being what it is at the moment, I thought I might as well get a game with them. I felt brilliant all through pre-season, I felt good after it, and I feel great right now. I felt really sharp from the first minute of the game on Saturday." Larrieu was only beaten by a penalty in his first game for Yeovil. "It really went well and we won, which is always good when you begin with a new club," he said. "I enjoyed it. I think they are a decent side and there is a great spirit at the club. You can feel it as soon as you walk in there. It was really interesting actually because they played 4-5-1, with Owusu up front. It reminded me of quite a few years ago when we used to do it away from home. They were very professional in the way they did it and Brighton couldn't handle us. Owusu was unbelievably strong. He was a great target man for me and quite easy to find when I had to kick the ball." Larrieu played behind a solid Yeovil defence, led by Terry Skiverton. He said: "There were many, many balls into the box, which I had to deal with, but I only had one save, which was a block with another player. But I didn't have any hard saves to make. Across the back four, they are experienced players and they have been there for years. They defend their box well. The two centre-backs were dominant in the air and it was an easy game for me to start with. All the players want the ball and want to play with it. It's quite refreshing to see the way they do their business. And what they showed in training on Friday was the same in the game on Saturday. From what the manager told me, they sometimes over-play but they do it in a very positive way. They scored two goals and could easily have had more." Next up for Yeovil are games against Nottingham Forest, Luton Town and Leeds United. Larrieu added: "They have got three big games coming up. Leeds are getting 30,000 crowds right now, so I'm looking forward to going back there." Larrieu had a three-month loan spell with Gillingham last season, and during that time continued to train a lot with Argyle before travelling to Kent for the matches. It will be a little different this time, as Yeovil is a lot closer to Plymouth. Larrieu said: "I will probably train a bit more with them, but I will still spend one or two days a week here."
Wycombe Wanderers have decided not to sign Cherno Samba, who has spent the last fortnight on trial with the League Two club. Wycombe manager Paul Lambert said: "He has done fine but it's going to be tough for him here. It would be unfair to bring him in if he's not going to get past the ones we have already got."
Nick Chadwick's first starting appearance in ten months ended in disappointment, as Argyle threw away a winning position at Stoke on Saturday. "We came away from home and scored two goals and had 90 per cent of the game," Chadwick said. "We should have won the game, but we have to defend better as a team. We have to make clearances, take responsibility, and do all the things that Tony Pulis instilled into us when he was here. We now have that offensive threat and we're capable of getting goals, but we can't lose sight of the fact that we need to defend as though our lives depend on it. We've lost a bit of that. We're too easy to score against." An own goal by Marcel Seip put Stoke in front. The centre-back headed the ball into his own net after the home side caused chaos in the defence with a well-planned free-kick move. "David Kemp worked it with us last year when he was here," Chadwick said. "We've been done by something we should have known was coming." Stoke's next goal came from a long throw-in and Chadwick added: "Luke has put his hand up for the second goal. Perhaps it was a mistake by him, but even so we still had a chance to clear the ball. We were asleep at the back stick, and the lad scored. Was the third one offside? Who knows? Whether it was or not, to lose like that leaves a horrible taste because we should have won that game. We've defended a lot better in recent games than we did today." Chadwick and Rory Fallon started the game at Stoke. "It worked well," Chadwick said. "Three games in a week is a lot for the forwards, who do a fair percentage of the work. Barry and Sylvan have been doing fantastically well, but I think Rory and I showed that we're here and we want to play just as much. I think we did really well, and we were playing some fantastic stuff in attack."
Ian Holloway felt that his side had held the upper hand for most of the game at Stoke. "It was very disappointing for us, in the end," he said. "We had 18 chances and they had six, but we let three goals in and they let two in. There were a couple of situations where we had everybody back. The free-kick - whether it was one or not - should have been dealt with better than it was. They passed it straight through the middle of us. We didn't deal with it." Marcel Seip's own-goal gave Stoke a lead at half-time. "It was frustrating, to say the least, because for the rest of the first half I thought we were the better side," Holloway added. "We struggled to get behind them or break them down, but possession-wise they scored against the run of play. In the second half I told my lads what I wanted them to do, and I thought they did it terrifically. We went and got ourselves deservedly 2-1 in front, and I was expecting us to go and win the game from there. You don't expect a long-throw situation that it looks like the goalie has got to lead to a goal being conceded. Maybe our lads thought that Luke had it. There were a lot of bodies going up for it, and I would have seen the danger myself. I would have made sure I was goal-side of my man, so if the goalie did miss it I would have hooked it clear. That knack of seeing the danger, and anticipating the worst thing that might happen and being ready to deal with it, we need to shape up and sort out. But I have to say I thought the last goal was offside. I thought my line got it right and he was offside, and I was incensed that they let it carry on. We've got to dust ourselves down and go back to work, but to come to Stoke and create 18 chances against their six was encouraging. Some of them were clear-cut, Rory was unlucky with one. That was a great move. Some of the performance I was very pleased with, and you have to give Stoke credit. They showed some character. Their fans started to moan at them in the second half, but they turned it around. Tony will be pleased, but it hasn't been the best day I've had."
Ian Holloway gave a pat on the back to Rory Fallon and Nick Chadwick after the defeat at Stoke. He said: "Stoke are a big side - we knew what to expect - and I picked the side because of that. Rory and Nick are both about a foot and half taller than the other two, who've played the last two games and who I wanted to keep fresh because games against Tony's teams open up towards the end of the second half. This game was set up for those two. One of them scored and the other one worked his socks off. Rory didn't win enough headers in the first half; Chadders tried his heart out. For the second half, we asked them to do one or two little bits and I thought the pair of them were excellent."
Ian Holloway felt robbed at the final whistle at the Britannia Stadium yesterday but worse was to follow. "We've had money stolen in the dressing-room and I'm not very happy," he said. "You come somewhere and you expect your things to be safe, and they weren't. A door needed to be locked and it wasn't. The police are involved. I'm not a happy man and it ain't about the football. I was very happy with my team, apart from the result."
Argyle lost 3-2 at Stoke City, the goals scored by Marcel Seip after 50 minutes, and Rory Fallon (58). Argyle: McCormick, Connolly, Timar, Seip, Sawyer, Norris, Buzsaky, Nalis, Halmosi, Fallon, Chadwick. Subs – Hodges, Ebanks-Blake, Hayles (not used – Gosling, Doumbe). Attendance – 12,533
Marcel Seip likes nothing better in football than keeping clean-sheets - and he has had plenty of reasons to be cheerful lately. "I'm glad we kept a clean-sheet at QPR," Seip said. "It was a bad experience when we did not keep out two-goal lead against Cardiff, but we're back on track now. I hope we can take it to Stoke and do well again." In contrast to their away form Argyle have failed to win at home so far in the Championship, all three Home Park fixtures ending in draws. "Maybe we feel more pressure when we play at home," Seip added, "and teams come here with a lot of players behind the ball and it's difficult to break them down. But we should learn how to deal with that, because we can't always rely on our away form. We have to change that, and if we do we have a good chance to do well this season." Since the loss at Barnsley, Seip has had Krisztian Timar as his partner in the centre of defence and the Hungarian's form has impressed the Dutchman. "He has done well," Seip said, "and on Saturday Stoke have got the biggest team ever, I think. We need a big lad like Krisztian in the side, because I'm not the biggest. He can go for the headers and we know, if we can keep a clean-sheet, we always have a chance of doing well. With strikers like we have, we know goals are going to come. Sylvan is in brilliant form at the moment." Stoke are managed by Tony Pulis, whom Argyle know all about. Seip said. "I don't know him, but we have talked about him and how he likes his teams to play. We'll probably face five in midfield and everyone is big, so it's difficult to reach the strikers, but we have to do our own stuff and work hard. We'll see where it leads." Seip has established himself as one of the most consistent defenders in the Championship and added: "Barnsley was a poor game for us, but I'm happy with the way I'm playing now. If you don't keep clean-sheets, as a defender you can never be happy, even if you play well, but we have been keeping clean-sheets."
Ian Holloway has insisted he is not taking a risk by letting Romain Larrieu leave on a one-month loan to Yeovil Town. He said: "We have got a 24-hour recall on Romain so there's no risk involved. If Luke were to get injured, we can get him back. It's one of those deals where everybody wins. It helps my mate Sladey and it will do Romain the world of good." Lloyd Saxton has travelled with the Argyle squad to Stoke today to provide cover for McCormick. Holloway added: "I think it's important Romain gets some more games under his belt, and he can do that with Yeovil. I have told him what he needs to do to get back into the first team and now it's up to him." Holloway has also revealed he could be ready to loan out either Nick Chadwick or Rory Fallon. Holloway said: "I have got some strikers I have got to keep fit and look at. If they aren't going to play on a regular basis for me I might have to take a bit of a gamble and loan one of them out because they need games. It's a very fine balance." Chadwick could do with more match practice after missing much of last season because of a persistent groin problem. "He's getting fitter all the time and I like his attitude," added Holloway. "I always have. At the minute, when Chadders comes off the bench he's quite bright and sharp. He almost got us the winner against Cardiff last Saturday." Another player who could be leaving Home Park on loan soon is Luke Summerfield. Holloway said: "Luke has asked to go out on loan and I have agreed to that so I will be circulating his name to other clubs." Meanwhile, Ryan Dickson trained with Yeovil yesterday with the view to a possible loan move. Dickson has also been lined up to play in a practice match for Chesterfield on Monday
Argyle will play a friendly at Truro City on Monday at 7.45pm. The game has been arranged at short notice to fill a void created by the lack of reserve team fixtures, the next of which is not until mid-October
Romain Larrieu has today signed for Yeovil Town on a one-month loan, and is expected to make his debut for the Somerset club when they travel to Brighton and Hove Albion tomorrow. The deal allows Argyle to recall Larrieu if required.
Akos Buzsaky has predicted a battle of contrasting styles when Argyle take on Tony Pulis's Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium tomorrow. Buzsaky said: "Stoke is going to be a hard game for us. We know how they will play. Everybody knows about Tony Pulis and his structure. They are going to be really up for it, but we are confident. We are going there to win the game. They have got a lot of tall players, but I'm sure we are going to be faster in movement than them when we have got the ball. Our team is really confident with the ball and we can create chances for Chuck, Peter or the strikers. They will play long balls, but if we get the ball and we keep it on the floor I think we have got a good chance to score goals. We are a good counter-attacking team and we can create a lot of chances when we are away, but it's going to be different against Stoke because they will have everybody back behind the ball and they will not let us have space." Buzsaky added: "I think I have had a good season up until now. Apart from the Barnsley game, I think I have done well, apart from not scoring any goals. I have created chances and I feel confident. I'm happy with everything in my life at the moment, and that's really important."
Argyle's schoolboy striker Liam Head has been included in the England Under-16 squad for their Victory Shield international against Northern Ireland next month. Liam, 15, who lives in Bovey Tracey, will face the Irish at Blackpool on Thursday, October 11th. The game will be shown live on Sky Sports, kick-off 7.45pm.
Ian Holloway wants Argyle to rip up the Home Park pitch and invest in new turf in order to increase the prospects of success for the Pilgrims on their own territory. The Argyle boss said: "I think our pitch is shot away. We need a new pitch. It needs to be firmer. When you get any rain on it, it's absolutely hopeless. It won't last much longer. We need a lot of new things, but we do need a new pitch. We need to rip off 12 inches of soil, get it out, compact it all down with the right drainage and put a brand new surface down." Holloway is well aware that there has been talk within Home Park about the need for a new pitch for some time. He added: "We need to do it, not talk about it. All those words get on the wind and waft out over the Sound and out to sea." As well as a new pitch at Home Park, a proper training ground is one of Holloway's main objectives, and he is also keen to have a playing budget which is as healthy as possible. Asked yesterday if any progress had been made in talks with the players who have less than a year left on their contracts, the Holloway said: "No, not at the moment. The chairman is travelling up to Stoke with me tomorrow, and we're going to have a discussion about budgets and where we are. We've got lots and lots of things to do."
Holloway will have to wait a little while longer to reintroduce club captain Paul Wotton to his senior squad. The long-serving midfielder has not played first-team football since he sustained a serious knee ligament injury last December, and suffered a setback when he hurt his during a reserve-team friendly at Cardiff City at the end of August. He has not been able to take part in trainingsince then, but he is once again battling his way back to fitness. "He's had an injection," Holloway explained. "A specialist up in London injected him, and he thinks that will clear up the problem. It's an inflammation which sometimes hangs around in the back of the knee after a big operation like that. It's like having a little bit of dirt in the carburettor. He's doing gym work, and he might be able to join in training next week. He's very positive and optimistic."
Scott Laird has moved to Torquay on a month's loan. Gulls' manager Paul Buckle said "I would like to welcome Scott to the club and I would like to thank Ian Holloway and Plymouth Argyle for their co-operation in allowing us to rush this through so quickly at a time when we are short of bodies. I would also like to thank Scott for taking the time out from playing for a Championship side to come down the road to help us out. Scott is a strong, competitive player who can play box to box and score some goals. He can play at Centre back and left back as well as filling in the other positions where we are short at the moment. Scott trained with us this morning, I was keen for him to have a couple of sessions and he looked bright and fitted in well with the squad. We look forward to seeing him in action."
Lilian Nalis has insisted that a Championship win at Home Park is only a matter of time. The French midfielder said: "Last season, we performed well away from home and at home as well and we will try to get back to playing this way. It seems to me that everybody is scared to come to Home Park - they all seem to want to defend and don't try to win games. I really believe that if we keep playing the way we are now, we are going to win." On his recall to the side on Tuesday night he said, "I do the job because I love it and because I want to play. The manager gets paid to select the team and as a player you have to be ready when you come back. We are a good team and we should be up there in the Championship, because everybody can beat everybody else."
Reflecting on life after Loftus Road on Tuesday night, Ian Holloway said: "You have got to look at little me from a council house in Bristol - I didn't come here until I was 29 and then I played five years in the Premiership and was lucky enough to be manager for five years. People who know me, know that I care and I am so lucky I have got a new family now. I will give them all my commitment as far as I can. All relationships should be about loyalty. All I know is that I am getting closer to the day that I might not be here any more on this planet. I'm getting closer to the end, to the day that I fade out of here. Every day I am getting closer to it, I am going to put so much into that day, that I love it and can't wait for the next one. I've always been the blooming same."
Ian Holloway was a proud man last night as his current club overcame his former one at Loftus Road. "It felt good," he said. "I knew it was going to be tough, but I really enjoyed it today. I walked in and savoured the place where I worked for ten years of my life, five as a player, five as a manager. Loads of memories came back, and I can go away now very proud of two things: once I was manager here, and to bring my new lot here and play as well as we did. Terrific. We had a couple of scares, which you will get in the Championship, but that's as good an away performance as I've seen from us." Ollie added: "I got our preparation right, coming up yesterday and letting the lads have a right chill-out. They were a little bit disappointed to let in such a late goal against Cardiff, but I wasn't. I felt we needed to learn from that - that you shouldn't panic on your clearances. I thought the confidence was back and we looked like a team that believed we could win. I anticipated an exciting match tonight and it was certainly that, but I thought we looked professional, we looked sharp, and the people I put back in looked like they had had a rest." Speaking about Peter Halmosi's goal that broke the deadlock, he said, "It just shows what talent he has got. You need that to unlock a door. He feinted to hit it, and made a beautiful little turn, before he hit it - and that was with his bad foot. I am so proud how these boys play for Argyle, and some of them, if not all of them, are getting better and better. We just need to keep believing and keep the focus and I felt that was there tonight."
Holloway admitted to a mixture of emotions after inflicting a third consecutive home defeat on QPR. He said: "It's happiness and sadness, and all sorts of things. When you have been committed to a relationship it's hard when it breaks down. It really is. But I'm trying to forge a new relationship now and, hopefully, it will be an even better one for the people who are now my new family." Expressing sympathy for John Gregory, having suffered speculation about his own future when QPR boss, Ollie said, "I feel for John. I was in that position myself and I'm glad things aren't being said about me and my future now. It must be a London thing because Martin Jol is getting the same as Tottenham."
Holloway revealed he had missed Argyle's second goal. He said: "Unfortunately, I was in the toilet because of the kidney stone problem and I need to drink so much water. I heard a cheer and I thought, 'that isn't big enough to be QPR'. I hear it was a real good move and I look forward to seeing it."
Ian Holloway can't wait to take Argyle to his former club tonight. He admits that he did not enjoy the emotion of his first return to Loftus Road earlier this year, but he thinks it will be totally different tonight as Argyle bid for their first win in five Championship matches. "I can't wait, to be fair," said Holloway. "I'm really looking forward to it. This time I can assure you I'm not going to get too Whitney Houston. Remember her song? So Emotional. I shall be out there nice and early, thanking some of the wonderful people who put up with me for five years. As far as I'm concerned, I'm going to take my Green Army there with pride and see if we can get an away win, because they are difficult to come by at home at the moment." Holloway added: "My players already know what the team is, which is good. It's about slicing up the pie and giving out the pieces, not necessarily to those who deserve it but to those who I need to do things. Barry Hayles might not start all three, but we have only played one at the moment, so there we go."
French defender Larrys Mabiala is close to returning to training after a knee injury. The 19-year-old was hurt shortly after signing for Argyle on a season-long loan from Paris St Germain last month. Holloway said: "He's getting better slowly. It has been disappointing for him but at least it has given him a chance to see what Plymouth is like and settle in. Luckily, I haven't got any injuries to Paul Connolly or anybody else. I don't know when he will start training, but it won't be long."
Despite the highly competitive nature of the Championship and the huge amounts of money being thrown about, Ian Holloway is still thoroughly enjoying himself: "I have got some great lads and I am still thoroughly enjoying it. I think we are quirky and we are great. Can you imagine Manchester United turning up for training and having the Moscow State Circus in the car park? It is hilarious, but I am very proud of it. We are maximising what we are."
On-loan Argyle striker Reuben Reid scored on his debut for Wycombe Wanderers in their 2-1 win away at Macclesfield Town in League Two on Saturday. Reid put Wycombe 2-0 ahead in the 90th minute before Macclesfield grabbed a late consolation goal. The 19-year-old had been sent on as an 83rd minute substitute for Wales international Jermaine Easter, who was a transfer target for the Pilgrims last month.
David Norris has admitted he was disappointed by the continuous booing of former team-mate Tony Capaldi in the 2-2 draw against Cardiff on Saturday. Norris thought Capaldi, a promotion winner with Argyle in the 2003/04 season, did not deserve the barracking. "We have had a few texts and conversations this week, winding each other up," he said. "He's a good lad and he was a good friend of mine here. The reaction he got was a shame because he was just doing what was right for him. At the end of the day, the club didn't look after him. He has got to look after himself so he didn't actually do anything wrong. He had four good years here and he's a good lad." On the game itself, Norris added: "I think, overall, we deserved to win it. We played well, especially in the first half. We were a goal up at half-time and I thought everything was going to be fine, but when we did get the second goal it seemed to have a detrimental effect on us. We started to drop a bit too deep and invited them onto us. To be honest, I think it's just a sub-conscious thing. We were all saying on the pitch 'keep pushing up, keep going.' But we kept dropping and dropping. It wasn't anything that was said to do. It just happened. I think you see it week in week out when teams do go in the lead." Norris thought fatigue could also have been a factor. He said: "We worked so hard in the first hour of the game and we were definitely feeling the effects come the last 20 minutes."
It was a 5:30 a.m. start and a 250-mile minibus journey for Argyle's Youth team on Saturday but they still managed a 5-2 win over Luton Town in the first of their seven group games in the Puma Football League Youth Alliance Cup.
Despite having a two-goal lead yesterday, Ian Holloway felt a draw against Cardiff was a fair result. He said: "I thought we should have beaten Leicester (a fortnight ago), but that was probably a fair result, especially when you look at the stats we got. I could not have asked for much more from my boys. Cardiff are a good team and when you are two up, you need to have a bit more belief. There were a few points that I had to make and they were all delivered very calmly. It was two good teams out there. You could see there quality when they got it down and passed it, but I still felt we were going to do them on the break. If it wasn't for a wonderful tackle on Chadwick, we would have probably won 3-2."
One notable absentee yesterday afternoon was last season's Player of the Season Lilian Nalis. Holloway admitted that his French midfielder was not injured. ""I am looking at three games in a week and I am looking at Lil being 36. He is a wonderful human being and I have already told him that he will be involved somewhere along the line, as we have three games in a week." However, the manager admitted that he might have been missed yesterday: "Towards the end of that game, if I had him as a sub, he might have calmed us down a bit."
Argyle drew 2-2 at home to Cardiff City, the goals scored by Sylvan Ebanks-Blake after 30 and 58 minutes. Argyle: McCormick, Connolly, Timar, Seip, Sawyer, Norris, Gosling, Abdou, Djordjic, Ebanks-Blake, Hayles. Subs – Buzsaky, Halmosi, Chadwick (not used – Fallon, Doumbe). Attendance – 11,591.
Argyle announced today that Dan Gosling has signed a new three-year deal with the club. The England Under-17 international has accepted an improved contract that will keep him at Home Park until the summer of 2010.
Former Argyle physiotherapist Malcolm Musgrove died yesterday at the age of 74, after a long battle against Alzheimer's disease. Musgrove spent most of his playing career at West Ham United, and in a long career in professional football, coached at Aston Villa, Leicester City, Charlton Athletic and Exeter City. He was also assistant manager at Manchester Utd and manager for three years at Torquay Utd.
Northern Ireland manager Nigel Worthington had has decided not to invoke the FIFA option which would have prevented Tony Capaldi from playing for his club tomorrow, leaving the former Pilgrim free to make his first return since leaving Home Park in the summer. Ian Holloway has again urged the Green Army to give TC the reception he deserves after five years excellent service for the Pilgrims: "He has been a huge part of where Argyle ended up in the Championship. Tony Capaldi was desperately loyal to Plymouth Argyle and was so committed. He may have looked a bit easy-osey, but that is his style. I loved the way he was so calm."
Cardiff will be without the injured trio of Steven MacLean, Darren Purse and Riccardo Scimeca for their visit to Home Park, but will still boast the likes of Robbie Fowler, Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink and Trevor Sinclair. But Holloway said: "They are household names, but I don't really give a monkey's. They have been good players and they have got quality, but I have got some good players with quality as well, so let's see." Holloway insisted there was no pressure on his players to get the first home victory of the Championship campaign. He said: "We will either win, draw or lose. There are only three options. If you look at the previous two performances, basically all we didn't do was press home our advantage. Both of those games should have been wins, and if you keep getting the stats like we got, that should happen. We haven't played for two weeks and the lads have looked sharp in training. If we play well tomorrow, we will win."
Ian Holloway is set to make sweeping changes to his first team squad. The manager realises that he will be unable to keep his current squad together, so intends to issue - perhaps as early as next week - a list of players available for transfer, and he admits the list will contain the names of some players he does not want to leave Home Park. "Our squad this year will be very different to what it is going to be next year," said Ollie. "This club has done fantastically well with almost the same group of players over the last six years. A lot of those players are out of contract in the summer. There will be a whole list of who won't be staying and will be going in January, at least. Last year I had four players running out of contract and this year I have half my squad. We cannot have a gun held to our head. We can only pay certain amounts of money and we will have to cut our cloth accordingly, and some of them might not want to stay anyway. There is not a hope in hell that I can keep all of them. I need to look at it, make some decisions and put out a transfer list. That is the only way I know how to deal with what I have inherited." Holloway added: "I will do it in my own inimitable fashion. I will let people know where they stand and I will go about getting the players in that I want to keep, and getting the players out that I don't want. I will try to do it in the most humane way I possibly can and that is going to kick in over the next couple of weeks. It might even be one or two first-team regulars that I don't want to go, but they may want to go. They might not want to sign new deals because they might not get rewarded in the way their agents tell them they deserve, or they might simply have had enough of us. There is one player who has already told me that he won't be re-signing, but he does not want to go for nothing because he wants the club to benefit." The manager was at pains to stress: "What I don't want is any of our fans to start booing them because this has absolutely nothing to do with loyalty."
The start time for the Westcountry derby against Bristol City on Saturday 8th December will be 12.30pm, on police instruction. Robins' fans have been allocated up to 3,000 tickets for the match.
Peter Halmosi played in the last 10 minutes of Hungary's 3-0 defeat in Turkey last night, winning his 15th international cap. Once again, Akos Buzsaky remained on the bench.
Tony Capaldi is expecting a hot reception from fans when he visits Home Park on Saturday, but is relaxed about lining up against his former team-mates and the Pilgrims' management. Capaldi said: "I left on good terms with the players and the management, but no doubt from the crowd I'll get a few boos here and there. I might get a few cheers as well, but I think it's going to be a mixed reaction." Capaldi admitted that he had enjoyed his time at Plymouth, but felt it was time to move on. He said: "I was four years at Plymouth Argyle, but I had to follow my career. It's fair to say I enjoyed my time at Plymouth, but I'm also enjoying my time at Cardiff. I spent a third of my career at Plymouth and I hope I gave the club good service, but I felt it was time to move on. That's the way football goes - I just felt I needed a fresh challenge." Capaldi added: "I am definitely looking forward to coming back - I'd like to make a day of it and see a few old friends." Speculation was mounting that Capaldi would not be fit for the game after his absence from the Bluebirds' line up due to injury, but he says he is fit and I'm raring to go." Whether he is allowed to play, after pulling out of Northern Ireland's Euro 2008 qualifier last night, is still uncertain. The Northern Irish FA could invoke a FIFA ruling that forbids players who do not make themselves available for their country from appearing for their club side within five days of a scheduled international fixture.
Sylvan Ebanks-Blake is hoping to steal the show from Cardiff's formidable strikeforce of Robbie Fowler and Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink when they meet on Saturday. Fowler and Hasselbaink have yet to open their goalscoring accounts for the Bluebirds and Argyle want to keep it that way. Ebanks-Blake said: "I will be looking to score and we will be looking to win the game. There is a lot of respect there, obviously, for what they have done, but they won't be getting any favours from us at all, so hopefully, we will come away with the right result. You have got to admire and respect them because they have contributed so much at the highest level for so long. It will be good to be on the same pitch and to see them in action, but the most important thing for us is not to be starstruck or anything like that, but to go out and get the result."
Sylvan Ebanks-Blake has been chosen by readers of The Herald as Argyle's player-of-the-month for August. He picked up nearly 75 per cent of the votes in the www.thisisplymouth.co.uk online poll, beating off competition from David Norris and Gary Sawyer. Ebanks-Blake said: "I would like to thank the fans for voting for me. It's always nice to get these sort of awards and I hope to get many more because then it means I'm having a good season. August went really well for me. I started on the bench after I got injured in pre-season and Rory came in. I would have liked to have started in the team, but it's a squad game. I was happy to come on and contribute and now I'm back in the team. I want to try to keep my place for as long as possible because the competition is very strong. I will keep working towards that and keep my foot firmly on the pedal."
Ian Holloway has hinted that he might rest Akos Buzsaky and Peter Halmosi after their recent international commitments, and that could pave the way for Dan Gosling this weekend. He said: "I'm delighted Gozzie is back,it's like signing a new player. I'm pleased he got in the England team and he established himself in it by the end of it. I was worried he was going to go all the way out there and not get a game but, thankfully, that wasn't the case. I think he gave a good account of himself and it's another notch on his belt for him. He will be competing for a starting place on Saturday. I don't know if I'm going to play Akos and Peter this time. The last time they came back from international duty they were really tired, and they are probably not going to be back until Friday either. I might have to rest them, so Gozzie could go straight into the side. We will see."
Argyle reserves crashed to a 4-1 defeat by Yeovil in a Pontins League fixture at Home Park this afternoon. A goal from Nick Chadwick with 15 minutes remaining was little consolation; two late strikes for the visitors rounded off a a dismal second-half performance from the young Pilgrims. Argyle team: Saxton, Moult, Kouo-Doumbe, Hodges (Kendall), Watts (Duggan), Smith, Summerfield, Laird, Dickson, Chadwick, Fallon (Barnes).
Krisztian Timar has set his sights on becoming a regular in the first team after coming to terms with the style of football in England. He said: "I learned a lot more about English football in the pre-season and I have got good fitness now. I think I had a good game against Leicester, but I can be much better. If I play more games I will improve, so that's what I'm hoping for." The 6ft 2in defender relished his battle against Dutch striker Mark De Vries in the goal-less draw with the Foxes. He said: "I like it that way. It was my type of game. It doesn't matter how big the other players are, I can head the ball and I always want a clean sheet. I hope I can keep doing this all the time." He added that it was not a problem when Akos Buzsaky and Peter Halmosi were away on international duty. He said: "I have a very good friendship with everybody here so it's okay for me."
The youth team remain unbeaten in the Puma Youth Alliance South West Division after a 2-2 draw at Swindon Town on Saturday (Argyle's goals from Jarred Stevens and Damien McCrory). Robins' manager Paul Sturrock, assistant boss Kevin Summerfield, defensive coach John Blackley and youth coach Dave Byrne all watched from the sidelines.
Argyle Ladies maintained their 100% record with a hard-fought single goal victory over Queens Park Rangers Ladies at Bolitho Park yesterday.
Peter Halmosi won his 14th international cap yesterday, coming on as an added-time substitute in Hungary's 1-0 win at home to Bosnia-Herzegovina. Team-mate Akos Buzsaki wasn't so fortunate; he started on the bench too, but that's where he stayed.
No game today because of the international break, but the Plymouth Argyle Ladies team have a South West Combination League match against Queens Park Rangers Ladies tomorrow at Bolitho Park, Manadon (2pm). The Pilgrims Ladies will be looking for their third win in three, having trounced Frome Town 9-1, followed by a 3-1 victory over Southampton Saints last weekend.
Tim Breacker believes it's important that the players take it easy this weekend before embarking on a hectic schedule of 7 games in 22 days. He said: "The players have been in all week. We had a fitness testing session at Marjons on Tuesday, which went very well. The results were very good but you can see which players have played all of the games and the players that haven't. There is a little bit of fatigue that creeps in, so they need a few days off. We have given them the weekend off and told them to go and relax and put their feet up because we have got a busy period coming up." Breacker added: "I think the midweek matches are the killer. Playing three times in a week is hard on anybody, especially with the tempo of the games now. By the end of the period we have got coming up you will visibly see people tiring if they have played every game. That's where you need your squad and, so far, we have been fairly lucky with injuries. But, in an ideal world, you would play one game every Saturday and keep on like that. It would be a lot easier for us. The players need to rest now because we are playing Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday, Wednesday and it's a case of when do you train, because in between they are resting. When do you get into them the things you need to get into them? But it's the same for everybody else and we feel we have started okay, so it's a good time for the players to get some rest and then go again."
Akos Buzsaky and Peter Halmosi are currently away on international duty with Hungary, who have Euro 2008 qualifiers at home to Bosnia-Herzegovina on Saturday and away to Turkey next Wednesday. The Argyle pair will not return to Home Park until the day before the Sky-televised clash against Cardiff. Breacker said: "We love them to represent their country but they have played most of the games for us so you can understand how they very quickly get tired. We will keep that in mind."
Dan Gosling played five times for England at the Under-17 World Cup and started three of the matches, including the 4-1 defeat by Germany in the quarter-finals last Sunday. Breacker commented: "Dan trained with us yesterday. He was tired from the travelling but told me he really enjoyed playing in the tournament. It was a great experience for him and we are glad to have him back now. He's still learning the game and it's another part of his education. I'm sure he will take it all on board. He's a good, level-headed lad and has got a good character and attitude. He will be fine."
After his World Cup exploits with England, Dan Gosling's target now is to re-establish himself in Ian Holloway's starting line-up. He said: "It was a brilliant experience for me to be part of a tournament like the Under-17 World Cup finals. I had a few games and played the whole 90 minutes in two, so I'm very pleased to have accomplished that. But now my aim is to try and get in as many matches under my belt as I can this season. My goal is to play as much as I can and also to help Argyle get into the play-offs - I think that's a realistic ambition for us. The lads have already had a good start to the season and by all accounts should have won more than just two matches. But fingers crossed, I've no injuries and if I can get my head down in training, I can hopefully impress the gaffer." Commenting on his recent experiences, he added: "It's a learning curve for me and I've got great memories of the World Cup finals, but now I just want to improve on those appearances for Argyle."
Tony Capaldi seems set to miss a Home Park return after withdrawing from the Northern Irealnd international squad. The Cardiff left-back pulled out of his country's party for their European Championship qualifiers on Saturday and Wednesday because of a strain. The Northern Irish FA are almost certain to invoke a FIFA ruling that forbids players who do not make themselves available for their country from appearing for their club side within five days of a scheduled international fixture.
Former Pilgrims Steve Davey, Mike Green, John Hore and John Uzzell are on the organising committee for a new group which will honour Plymouth Argyle's past players and the club's rich history. 'Argyle Legends' aims to build on the success of previous player reunions and the 2004 'Parade of Pilgrims', when almost 100 former players were invited to Home Park. Membership will be restricted to former players and managers who have represented the club at first team level. However, fans and local businesses will be able to be involved at events such as dinners, golf days and charity matches involving an ex-Pilgrims side. It is hoped that Argyle Legends will be able to soon achieve charitable status and all funds raised will be donated to various good causes. Chief executive Michael Dunford said: "As a club, we felt we did not do enough to honour former players. Argyle Legends ensures our former players will feel a valued part of Plymouth Argyle Football Club for the whole of their lives, after their playing days are over. Being an Argyle player is a memorable part of anyone's life and it is important that we do not lose that link between our players and the club." As many former players as possible are being contacted to let them know about Argyle Legends.
Season-ticket holders can watch the Carling Cup third round tie against West Ham United at Upton Park later this month for no more than £12. West Ham have slashed admission prices from their Premier League high of £45 for the cup clash with the Pilgrims on Wednesday, September 26 (7.45pm). All of Argyle's Green members will receive a discount for the match, with an adult ticket costing £12. Non-members will be charged £15. Senior citizens, 16 to 21-year-olds and under 16s will also receive discounts. Ticket sale dates will be announced shortly.
Argyle manager Ian Holloway will take part in nine book-signing sessions, including four in Plymouth, to promote his new autobiography, 'Ollie'. The latest addition to the list will see Holloway visit Morrisons store in Outland Road on Thursday, September 20 from 2.30-4pm. The other book signing sessions in Plymouth are: Thursday, September 13 at the Argyle Centre Spot in Drake Circus (1-2pm), Friday, September 14 at Waterstones in New George Street (12noon-2pm) and Thursday, October 18 at WH Smith in New George Street (12noon-2pm). There will also be one in London, at WH Smith, 16 Kings Mall, King Street W6 0PZ on Tuesday, September 18 (12noon-2pm), before Argyle's away game against Queens Park Rangers. There will also be four book signing sessions in Bristol, starting on Tuesday, September 11 at the Bristol Rovers club shop. 'Ollie' will be on sale from all leading bookshops from Monday, September 17, priced at £16.99.
Back in Plymouth after his adventures with the England under-17 team in Korea, Dan Gosling is glad to be home and wants to get back into the club routine, and play as much as possible.
Ian Holloway has challenged Romain Larrieu and Luke McCormick to prove which one of them should be Plymouth Argyle's regular first choice goalkeeper. Holloway said: "I went with Luke on Saturday because he kept a clean sheet against Doncaster in the week. If those two don't keep clean sheets and they don't boss the back line I will change the both of them and bring someone in who, when we aren't defensively right, will make saves. I'm not here to muck about and I'm not here to be nice. I'm here to win matches, and you don't win matches by letting three in." McCormick did not have any saves to make against Leicester and, apart from a couple of crosses and the occasional back pass, he was rarely called into action. However, Holloway has warned that should the 24-year-old make any slip-ups, Larrieu will be back in the team. He added: "I have got two good keepers and, do you know what, I don't really care which one of them I play as long as they do what I want. Now what Romain has got to do is train and practice better than Luke. And if Luke makes one mistake, he's going to be out. I'm not going to give them a run of games. I think that's rubbish." Larrieu and McCormick have provided Argyle with one of the best goalkeeping tandems in the Championship since the club's promotion in 2004. The pair are good friends and consummate professionals, but the pressure is now on them to prove who is best.
With three goals already to his name, Sylvan Ebanks-Blake now intends to keep his place in the starting line-up. He said: "When you are part of the squad, you have got to stay focused, whether you are on the bench or on the pitch, and that's what I have done. I have remained professional and been positive when I have come on and I felt I earned my start. Hopefully, I can stay in the team."
Argyle goalkeeper Luke McCormick admitted he had been surprised to be recalled for the 0-0 draw against Leicester City at Home Park on Saturday. McCormick was not seriously tested by Leicester on his return to league duty, but it was still Argyle's first clean sheet this term. McCormick said: "Being totally honest, I didn't think I would get back into the team so quickly. I have had experiences before where it has taken all season and I didn't know if that was going to be the case again, so it was a difficult time for me. I think it was quite a brave decision from the manager after so few games but, at the end of the day, that's not my concern. My concern is just to do my job."
Paul Wotton is expected to return to training early this week. The club's captain was substituted early in the reserves' 1-0 defeat away to Cardiff City last Wednesday, which was only the second match of his comeback from a cruciate knee ligament injury. It was thought the 30-year-old might have suffered a slight cartilage tear in the same knee, but scans were taken at Derriford Hospital on Friday and they showed no damage to the cartilage, or the knee itself. Argyle physio Paul Maxwell said: "The knee looks fantastic. Wottsie must have just jarred it last week. He's over the moon about it and it just shows how stable the knee is. Hopefully, he will be back training in the early part of this week."
Dan Gosling will return home later this week following England's 4-1 defeat by Germany in the quarter-finals of the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in South Korea yesterday.
Argyle's Carling Cup third round tie away to Premier League club West Ham United has been set for Wednesday 26th September (7.45pm). Ian Holloway described the tie as 'a treat' for the Green Army. He said: "It's nice to be through to the third round and nice to play West Ham. They only just beat my old team, Bristol Rovers, and we are at Upton Park, which is a treat for the lads and for the fans, but I'm not really too concerned about it. The chairman will be pleased because it's a decent draw and could mean a few quid, but, as far as I'm concerned, it's another game where we are risking more injuries and all that matters to me is our league position. If we beat West Ham, that will be fantastic and I will say something then, but that's a big 'if' isn't it?"
Goals from Bobby Hopkinson, Shane White, Ashley Hodgkinson, Tom King and an own goal gave Argyle's youth team a 5-0 victory over Exeter City in the South-West division of the Puma Youth Alliance League at Bull Point on Saturday.
Argyle Ladies beat Southampton Saints 3-1 at Bolitho Park yesterday, giving the Pilgrims a 100% start in the South West Combination League.
Ian Holloway feels his team looked the more likely winners in the draw with Leicester City. He said: "If there was going to be a goal, I expected it to be from one of our talented boys. Akos almost did it with a fantastic strike. When you see how high the rebound came out and bounced, poor old Barry Hayles could not get it down. On another day that might have been the strike. We needed one of those things to go for us. We didn't quite get our head on some good deliveries. Nalis was close in the second half. It petered out into a disappointing drop of two points because it looked like we were going to be the side that would win it. I felt that we limited them to not one shot on goal all afternoon. They went to five across the midfield and only one up front halfway through the second half and that speaks volumes for the type of side we are." The positive side for Holloway was a faultless defensive performance from his team with Krisztian Timar shining in his first Championship game of the season. Holloway said: "We had some very positive defending. We forgot to do that last week. That was the best game Timar has played for me. He was in the right position all the time. His concentration was good and so was Seip's. We were solid and organized, and we handled everything they threw at us. That is two clean sheets in our last two games. After last Saturday, all you can do is get a reaction. All we can do is go onwards and upwards. Unfortunately, we are two points worse off than we were this time last year, but we are two cup wins better off."
Argyle drew 0-0 with Leicester City at Home Park. Argyle: McCormick, Connolly, Timar, Seip, Sawyer, Norris, Buzsaky, Nalis, Halmosi, Ebanks-Blake, Hayles. Subs – Hodges, Abdou, Fallon (not used – Chadwick, Kouo-Doumbe). Attendance – 11,850
Argyle have been drawn away to West Ham United in the third round of the Carling Cup. The tie will be played in the week commencing September 24th
Akos Buzsaky and Peter Halmosi have been included in Hungary's squad for their Euro 2008 qualifiers against Bosnia-Herzegovina and Turkey this month
Ian Holloway is excited by Argyle's capture of Larrys Mabiala but has warned fans not to expect too much too soon. Holloway said: "He will have some reserve games, we will have a look at him and we will get him used to it. He's going to have to settle in this country, but he speaks good English, he's a very intelligent lad, and he's focussed on where he wants to get and what he wants to do. And you don't play for Paris St Germain if you aren't very good." Mabiala becomes the fifth French player at Home Park, joining Mathias Doumbe, Romain Larrieu, Lilian Nalis and Nadjim Abdou. Holloway said: "The people that they are, they will help him settle down, but I don't care where my players come from. I have also got three Hungarians and if I can get some Spanish, I will. It doesn't bother me. I would like some young English players but the Premier League people are stacking and racking them. It will take Larrys week or so for him to bed in but I'm just delighted Paul Le Guen let us have him. He's only a young fella. We haven't signed Marcel Desailly or something. He's just a young kid, but he has got some potential. When you see the size of him and the way he can run, that's something for us to work with. He's a right-sided defender and these French lads are taught to play both centre-back and right-back. I put him at centre-back in training yesterday morning, and I will have a look at him at right-back."
Wycombe Wanderers striker Jermaine Easter has lashed out at his club for refusing to let him join Argyle, who made a bid of £300,000 for the 25-year-old this week. "I wanted to go," Easter said. "I've always said I want to play in the Championship - and this was my big chance. I'm very disappointed. I think it was a very reasonable offer for someone who is out of contract in the summer and has only really had one good season, but the club obviously think differently. I only cost Wycombe £80,000 from Stockport County, and now they have turned down an offer more than three times that. I told the club that I wanted to go to Plymouth. I'm not happy, but there's no point dwelling on it or sulking about it because that would only be to my detriment. Instead of being part of the Plymouth squad playing against Leicester this weekend, it looks as though I'm going to be going to Chesterfield. Plymouth was a good opportunity for me. All I can do is get my head down and keep working for that chance again."
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