A Round-up of Argyle News
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Greens on Screen's Daily Diary is a compilation of Argyle news, with help from these and other Argyle-related sites.
On This Day:
Also included on the three most recent days, facts from Argyle's history.
Derek Adams offered words of encouragement to young striker Alex Fletcher following 'an excellent night' for him and encouraged him to push on in his development, saying: "It was an excellent night for him. He's so happy. He's been nervous throughout the day. He's got two goals to his name and I said to him before the game that they go down as first-team goals, and that's important for him. He's still got a lot to learn. It's not easy, but he's shown that, when the ball is in and around the penalty area, he can score. We are still looking to help his development. He's 18 years of age and he's got a game to develop. He's not up to speed yet we saw that for the majority of the game. He'll learn by getting the experiences he had tonight. Take nothing away from him he took his two goals very well. He got his two goals. I think he probably only had two opportunities in the game and he scored a well-timed one, the first one, off the goalkeeper he was there to pounce; and his second one was excellent, late in the game, to get his foot around it and put it in the corner."
On This Day:
1935: One of our all-time greats, Johnny Williams was born in Bristol. He moved to Plymouth at an early age when his father got a job with the Herald, and began his football at Tamar School and also Virginia House, before progressing to Co-op Welfare and then the Dockyard side, EEM Department. He made his Argyle first-team debut in 1955, still an amateur, and went on to make 448 appearances for Argyle, mostly in midfield, and score 55 goals; many were his trade-mark, long-range special.
Argyle have gained 2 points from their first group game of the Checkatrade Trophy, winning the penalty shootout under the new ABBA system following a 2-2 draw in 90 minutes. Alex Fletcher scored two late goals on his full debut to pull the game back to a draw following Chelsea going 2-0 up in the second half. Fletcher himself then converted a penalty for Argyle, as did Carey, Wylde, Fox and Ainsworth to ensure the Greens won the shoot-out 5-4.
On This Day:
2013: Subject to conditions, the application to build a new grandstand at Home Park, together with an ice rink, cinema and hotel, was unanimously approved by Plymouth City Council's Planning Commitee.
Derek Adams revealed that youngster Alex Fletcher will start the Checkatrade Trophy game against Chelsea and could then be set for a move out on loan. Adams said of Fletcher: "Alex Fletcher will start up front because he is looking to try to push his way into the first team and there is a possibility of clubs looking to get him on loan. It's a good avenue for him to be seen before he possibly goes out on loan. He will be going up against a Chelsea side that do very well in their system and it's good for him that he'll get his start alongside a lot of first-team players. Jordan Bentley is suspended he was due to take part, as well as Callum Rose, who's got a thigh strain; he felt it after the Peninsula League game on Friday;Threlkeld is injured he misses out; so does Ryan Taylor. Whoever else plays on Tuesday, the match is an opportunity to showcase their talent against some very gifted opponents."
On This Day:
1974: At the end of his first full season at Home Park (when he was voted Player of the Year), Ernie Machin left for Brighton.
1985: Gordon Staniforth left for Newport, after 24 goals in 110 appearances.
2001: The Devonport End, the spiritual home of generations of young Plymothians (including me), was demolished.
Derek Adams had praise for all areas of his team, calling the 2-0 win over Charlton 'a perfect day'. He said of his Pilgrims: "I'm delighted, obviously, to get our first win of the season to win 2-0 against an excellent Charlton team that'll do well this season. Everybody knows with my teams that we like to not give a lot of space to the opposition team, but we like to play on the counter attack and we've done that today. We have players in and around the squad that can score goals, but we've got players who have a good knowledge of the game. They work hard and they want to defend, but not only that; going forward we created a lot of good opportunities as well. The all-round performance was excellent. We sat in; we sat deep and allowed Charlton to have the ball in areas that we didn't felt they were going to trouble us. We had Luke McCormick make an outstanding save in the first half, and all in all, it was a perfect day for us. It was an unbelievable save. He's parried the first one down and the opportunity came back again for the player, and it was terrific reflexes. It was a top save. I don't know how he was able to get his hand to it and tip it onto the bar but that's what Luke McCormick is very good at. His reflexes are excellent. I think it's very important that you get up and running. It's a tough league; we've seen that by the results today. We've played against two very good teams in Charlton and Peterborough, who've both been in the Championship before, one been in the Premier League, and we've acquitted ourselves well. I haven't been disappointed with the start of the campaign, because against Peterborough we played very well and we should've won the game. Our league campaign is the most important thing, and we look forward to next week against Southend. This was the important match. We've got a long campaign and our first home league game of the season was important. I rested a lot of players for it, and they thoroughly deserve the praise they get today, because I've been able to rest them and get them ready for this match."
Jake Jervis meanwhile, called the victory a 'statement', arguing: "It's a big statement, beating a big team. We've played teams that are supposedly going for promotion both weeks; we gave a good account of ourselves at Peterborough and today I think we have done extremely well on the counter-attack, keeping a good shape we have shown how good we can play like that. Sometimes, if you play teams that are expected to be down the bottom from the start, you get a bit comfortable and when you start playing the bigger team, it's a bit of a shock. To get them early doors and do so well against them is a good thing and it gives the boys confidence to go on to the next games.
"Bliss has done excellent today, He's got a job where he's got to throw himself around sometimes it doesn't look nice but he's doing that job for us and keeping the centre-halves occupied, which gives us a chance, out wide, to get on the ball and get in behind. To be honest, I think I'm more effective out wide. I can play up front, of course, but I'm more spin in behind. Bliss can get hold of it a bit more and we need someone that can hold the ball in there, and me playing out wide has been effective."
Jervis also admitted it was particularly important to regain the feel-good feeling after Tuesday's dire showing at Bristol City: A lot of our fans weren't happy with Tuesday, so getting a win against a team who are one of the favourites or up there is good for the fans and gets the feelgood factor back again. Any time I score, I'm happy. To get two on the first home day for all the fans after Tuesday is a big thing. Our fans away, home, wherever they are bring a good support and never stop singing, so today we gave something back to them. It's something I appreciate. It's the best fans I have played in front of; they are always behind me, singing my name. Hopefully, it continues."
"Luke has set a precedent, making that save. That's kept us in the game, given everyone a boost. That's what Luke's done since I've been here and he'll continue to do that. He's kept us in it and we've done well off the back of it. He's nice and calm in the changing-room as well; he gets the boys settled down if everyone's a bit panicky or something like that. In terms of being a captain, he's been excellent since he's got it. As a goalkeeper, you don't have to question him at all; off the pitch, he's helping all the new boys, as well."
Argyle have got their first points of the season with a 2-0 home victory over Charlton Athletic. An even first half saw the teams go in goalless though the half was notable for a world class reflex save from Luke McCormick. Argyle pushed on in the second half and got two goals, both from Jake Jervis. Argyle: McCormick, Miller, Edwards, Bradley, Sawyer, Fox, Sarcevic, Carey, Jervis(Ness), Blissett(Lameiras), Grant. Subs: te Loeke, Taylor-Sinclair, Songo'o, Ainsworth, Wylde.
Derek Adams reflected on Argyle's 'tough' start to the season and looked ahead to Saturday's first home match of the season against Charlton, saying: "We've had a difficult start to the season, being away to Peterborough and away to Bristol City, so it's nice to get back home and have a home game. It's a good game for supporters to come and see, and it's a tough test for us. Charlton are a big football club in League One. They have been here for a number of seasons, and they will want to get back into the Championship, but we're at home and looking forward to it. We had a very good performance away to Peterborough in the first league game of the season we really needed to take our chances in the first half when we were really on top of the game and now we're back to business at home."
"If any fan thinks we're going to have the same season as they had last season, they are in a different world to the one I'm in. We're in a new league, a tougher league we are certainly not going to win as many games as we did last season. We've shown how well we played against Peterborough. We're delighted to be in League One and we want to try to pick up as many points as we possibly can. Our priority is to push on and not to get ahead of ourselves. The first aspect of any campaign is to have stability that's the nature of business, as a whole, and football's no different. You have to have a foundation and that's what we want to have at this football club. We don't want to get ahead of ourselves; that's happened in the past and it hasn't helped."
"Oscar Threlkeld has got a dead leg. He's missed a few games before with slight injuries and I would be disappointed if he didn't make it for Saturday. Jamie is back in full training, which is great, and I'm looking forward to giving him some game-time very soon. He will start off playing in the Peninsula League and then will work his way into the first team. Jamie is a very talented player. He will be an excellent acquisition for this football club. He has got good experience, playing at the top level in Scotland; in the Premiership, he was with Stoke; and last year, playing in the play-offs with Scunthorpe. He would like to try to be part of things as quickly as possible."
Gary Sawyer reflected on on particular unwanted blemish to his name after Argyle's opening week of the season- the fact that Peterborough's opener was (through no fault of Sawyer's own) given as an own goal. Sawyer said: "I don't know," said Gary, when asked what happened. "There's no words for it. I got texts from my friends saying: 'You scored an own goal on your first game!' When they've seen it, they can see what it is, but I can't see how I can credited for that. They should have just given it to the lad crossing it. I didn't want it! I think that was the feeling after the game," said Sawyer. "The first game is always tough, especially having gone up a league. It was good to play a team that most would say would be up there. I thought the boys did really well Saturday. We created more chances than we did in a lot of the away games last season, we just didn't get lucky enough to get a second goal when we needed it. We didn't start the second half too great, let the goal in, and then the game went a bit ragged, a bit frantic. We gained control back and deserved to get something, but it wasn't meant to be unfortunately. If we play like that every game we'll win a lot more than we lose. We have to go again on Saturday and get to the same level."
In spite of making almost 200 appearances for Argyle, Saturday's loss to Peterborough was Sawyer's first in League One- having played extensively in the Championship and League Two beforehand. Sawyer said of the season ahead: "It's what you want. We fought all last year so we could have bigger games this year. I think the club is where the club wants to be, aiming in the right direction, getting clubs like Charlton down here, and looking to get a bumper crowd. It was only the Championship when I was here before, and then League Two when I came back. I have probably played the majority of my football in League One if you were to dissect through my career. League One's a good level, and it's nice, after a successful year last year, to play in League One with this club. I'm pleased to have done the leagues with Plymouth it's just unfortunate it was never the top one! It's a big game for us. Charlton are a massive club as well. They will be geared to be up there at the end of the season. It's all about points. We'll go for the win, as we do in every game, and hope that we can get it. The fans always turn out, which is really good. It will be nice to play a home game, considering the journeys we've had in the last few weeks! It's an exciting one, and we're looking forward to it."
Derek Adams reiterated that he is still keen to add at least one new striker to the squad following Ryan Taylor's injury but added a cautionary note that Argyle must be sure to work within their budgets. He said: "You look at the amount of money that is getting spent. James Collins went to Luton for a lot of money; Swindon big transfer fees; Charlton speculation of them and big transfer fees. You have got to remember where this football club is and where it's come from we are not in a position to pay large transfer fees for players. The supporters have got to understand that. They have seen their club be in the depths of administration and you can't quickly turn that around. It has been in a difficult place, but it is now in a very good place and we are moving along nicely we don't need outside pressures to spend money that we don't have. The supporters that have followed us for so many years are happy with the progress that the football club is making, without being a club that goes bust. That's something no-one wants to see.
"Income needs to be generated. We did pay compensation very small as it is for Nathan Blissett and Ryan Edwards. The football club has to be on a sure footing. We are trying to build a new stand, which the finances are there for but we are not in a situation where we can go out and spend six figures for a striker. That will maybe come in the years to come. We've got the two of them vying for that position until we take another striker in. They have played there and scored goals; it gives them that opportunity. Nathan Blissett scored a good number of goals when he was with Torquay and was able to put a run together. It gives the two of them the opportunity to try to vie for the striking berth that we have. He has to take the ball in; he has to link the play up. He's more than capable of doing that; he's got a very good presence; he's quick; he's strong; he's excellent in the air. The other night, against Bristol City, he gave their back four when we did have possession of the ball some problems. In pre-season, Jake Jervis has played in that role up front a good number of times, and did very well at it."
Derek Adams held his hands up and accepted blame for Argyle's 5-0 loss at the hands of Bristol City, in spite of goalkeeper Robbert te Loeke coming in for criticism from some for the defeat. Adams said: "It wasn't his fault that we lost the game," said Derek, in defence of his custodian. "It was everybody's fault that we lost the game; I include myself in that because I'm the manager and I make the changes and I take responsibility for that. He should have done better for a couple of the goals but he didn't get help from around about him at times. He left himself open and he had to make a couple of good saves but, in the end, we are disappointed that we have lost so many goals. I've made too many changes and it didn't work out for us. Over the 90 minutes, Bristol City obviously deserved to win the game; they scored some really good goals and we didn't defend well enough. Making the changes that I did from Saturday's game against Peterborough hasn't made it easy but I still had enough quality in my side that I thought was capable of competing and giving Bristol City a game, but we didn't do that. After 19 minutes, we were 3-0 down and there was no way back. They players were in a wee bit of shock. To be fair to Bristol City, they pressed us very well when we had the ball they are a very good side but, in the end, we didn't do well enough when we had the ball. We didn't do well enough defending, as well. We had probably too many attacking players on the park. When you have that against a better standard of opposition, it doesn't help.
"I made nine changes because I wanted to keep my players fresh for Saturday's game. It's important we have a successful league campaign. Cup competitions are important, but they are not as the league competition. It's an important game we've got on Saturday. The league campaign is important and I didn't want to pick up injuries, but those that didn't play tonight have to perform on Saturday because I have given them a rest. It's up to the players who didn't play tonight to give us a good performance."
Argyle have excited the Carabao Cup with a whimper, going down 5-0 to Championship side Bristol City. Argyle played a weakened side and were 4-0 down going into the interval. One more was scored in the second half and to round off a miserable night, Derek Adams confirmed that Ryan Taylor will miss at least three months with a broken ankle. Argyle: te Loeke, Miller, Sokolik, Bradley, Taylor-Sinclair, Songo'o, Carey, Lameiras, Ainsworth (Threlkeld (Edwards)), Wylde(Sarcevic), Blissett. Subs: McCormick, Sawyer, Jervis, Grant.
Derek Adams said he has four pending offers on strikers that he aims to bring to Home Park and stated he is trying hard to bring in the striker that we badly need. He also went on to speak of Ryan Taylor's injury. Adams said: "We have four offers outstanding at this moment in time. It's not as easy as just finding that man, but the club that the player is at has to want to release him, under the right terms. It's difficult, but we'll hopefully get there eventually. We're always looking. We have made a number of offers over the summer for loan players or free players, but nothing has been accepted. We can't do anything other than make offers. If our offer is not good enough, we have to move to the next one."
"We're waiting to hear back about Ryan Taylor. He's damaged his ankle; we're waiting to hear the full extent of it. Until he's had an MRI scan we'll wait and see. You're always hopeful it will be a short term injury, but we'll wait and see to see if it is something other than that."
Graham Carey echoed the words of teammates Ruben Lameiras in saying that the two players can play alongside eachother- and was full of compliments for the Portugese playmaker. Carey said of Lameiras: "Ruben is great. His quality is there for everyone to see. The way he gets on the ball is probably a bit similar to me. He likes playing in little holes and creating things for other players. He's a great lad as well and I think he will have a big future at the club. You can see that Portuguese in him, in the way he plays. He just loves to get on the ball and create things for other players. Hopefully we can get a big season out of him.
I enjoyed playing with Ruben in pre-season. We are on the same wavelength and kind of think alike. As long as we are not in the same position at the same time then there is no reason why we can't play together. I think we are both clever enough to do the opposite of what each other is doing. As long as we do that we will be fine. With the amount of travelling that we do, it's important we do have a team and a squad that gels well, and I think he has done it again this season."
Adams looked ahead to tomorrow night's cup tie at Bristol City, admitting he could shake up his team a little and expecting City to do the same. He said: "They have recruited really well over the summer. They got a very good victory at home in the first game of the season, being 3-0 up very early on. It is a club moving in the right direction. They have spent heavily because they have got the football and the rugby there and made it a sporting city. That is something I think all cities are trying to do at this moment in time. I would presume they would make changes to their team from Saturday because the league campaign is important to them."
Derek Adams refused to let the 2-1 defeat to Peterborough United detract from an excellent opening-day performance from his side. He passionately defended his side's performance, saying: "We were thoroughly outstanding, from start to finish. We annihilated them in the first half. We had chance after chance and we should've been ahead by four or five goals at half time. We were totally in control of the game and didn't see much from Peterborough. We knew we could cause them problems. We certainly did that with balls down the side and good link-up play, passing play. Possession-wise, we were better than Peterborough, and we didn't allow them to start out from the back. It shows you we've moved up a level, and we were able to compete with a team who have been at this level for a few years. We haven't scored when we should've, at times. We had good, gilt-edged chances from a number of players. The chances created were excellent. To do that against a team who are trying to get into the Championship is very good from our point of view. We should've scored the goals. We had great opportunities in and around the six-yard box and we had to finish them off.
"The second goal is a clear push on the touchline on Sonny Bradley. It was about 15 yards from where I am. The linesman is three yards away. Sonny Bradley's in control of the ball; the only way an opponent can get to the ball and past Sonny Bradley is to foul him, and that's what happened. In the end, that's how we've lost the three points. We get the goal and look like we could get the equaliser. Fair play to Peterborough; they could've gone and made it three as well, because we were playing on the counter attack as well as launching bodies forward. They started the better team in the second half, then we came into it again and took control of the game. The way we played was thoroughly outstanding, from the first minute to the last minute. You look at our fitness and the way we were running compared to Peterborough; it was quite scary at times. That's a good thing as well.
"Ryan Taylor went down and twisted his ankle. One of their players went up for the ball with him. He fell awkwardly and the player fell on top of him. He's got a twisted ankle; I'd probably say he's out for Tuesday night's game at Bristol City."
Gregg Wylde detailed Argyle's nightmarish trip to Peterborough on Friday, revealing how traffic disrupted their schedule on the road. Argyle were diverted way off the usual route due to a combination of roadworks and accidents as well as being hampered by volume of traffic. Wylde said: "It was unbelievable. I looked at the map and we weren't far north of Southampton at one point. We stopped at a hotel for dinner, which was good. The boys didn't moan about it. We just get on with it. It was a short weekend, to be honest we got to bed at 2.30am and when we woke up, we had a pre-match meal and the game, and that was it! When we got the hotel, some of the keys didn't work and Graham Carey and Gary Sawyer's room only had one bed, so I think they got to bed at 2.50am. But we didn't really think about it because we knew we had a game and a job to do."
Derek Adams added: "It took us about 14-and-a-half hours. We didn't get here until half past two this morning. We left at 12 o'clock. We've had a terrible journey. We stopped around seven o'clock and had to get something to eat. We went to a restaurant and hotel. We were there for 45 minutes and then had to get on the road again. After 10 o'clock, the motorways are closed to be repaired. We just had to go on so many detours. They're not all like that, but sometimes you have to deal with it.
"I was in contact with Jon Back. Jon was very kindly able to get in contact with the hotel and the manager there looked after us. It couldn't have helped us, but it didn't show on the pitch in today's performance. We showed that the character of the player is immense. To be fair to the players, last night, they were very good. They didn't moan and we just had to get on with it."
Gregg Wylde declared mixed feelings on a bittersweet Argyle second debut- happy to get a goal but disappointed to be on the losing side. He said: "We created more chances here then we did with Millwall, but it's two different games, two different clubs. I'm happy here, on and off the field, and my family loves it. When I went to Millwall, I enjoyed it and the manager was good with me, but, unfortunately, it didn't work out for me. I'm happy here now. We did well and we looked really fit. The manager keeps us in top condition; we do double sessions every day. We'll look forward to Charlton at home next Saturday, when hopefully we can get the support behind us. The support that came here was unbelievable. Hopefully, we can pay them off next time. I came here with Millwall. Millwall is closer to here than Plymouth, and we took more here than Millwall took. It is unbelievable support we take away from home, considering the travelling.
I had a few chances when I came on. With my first touch, I had a shot and then, obviously, I scored. Ruben Lameiras picked the ball up and was driving in before cutting it back. I said to Graham Carey that I wanted it through him and I put it into the bottom corner. I was delighted the goal went in but I would rather have had the three points. After that, we had a few chances. I thought we coped with the game really well, considering that we were playing a team has been in League One for many years. The manager had a formation to match Peterborough and he got the tactics spot on. I think the boys adapted to it really well. Everybody who is involved and who is left out just need to crack on and look after each other. We have got a good changing-room. When we went to Holland, there was a good bonding. Comparing this to my first season, it is the exact same."
Argyle have lost their first game back in League One, going down 2-1 to Peterborough, In spite of countless Argyle chances, Posh went 2-0 up with goals early in each half, the second of which looked dubious at best. Argyle had two penalty appeals but neither were ultimately given. Gregg Wylde pulled one back from the bench but it was not enough. Argyle: McCormick, Threlkeld, Edwards, Bradley, Sawyer, Fox, Sarcevic, Carey, Jervis(Lameiras), Taylor(Ainsworth), Grant(Wylde). Subs: te Loeke, Miller, Taylor-Sinclair, Songo'o.
In spite of being the elder statesman of the squad, Luke McCormick admits to still getting a tingle of pre-season excitement as we gear up to Saturday's big opener at Peterborough: "We're looking forward to - not necessarily the trip to Peterborough - but certainly the start of the whistle on Saturday at 3 o'clock. You look across the fixture list and there are no easy games. Peterborough are well set up in League One, we know that they're very good going forward so we're going to have to be at our best really to come out with a result. We go there confident in ourselves, in what we can do and it should be a good opener. We've spent a long time in League Two, longer than what we wanted but now we're out of that we've got a new test in front of us. We're looking forward to getting started and I'm sure the fans are to seeing new places. We're moving in the right direction and that promotion that we got last year is a huge part of that. There are more demands from us as players and the club as a whole but it's good, it means progression. We'll see what we can do this season. We're hoping we can continue with our momentum that we had from last year and take that on and equally with the fans backing behind us it's a huge push. We're going to have to count on that again this season."
He did however on a more cautionary note, warn to be realistic about the season's expectations, adding: "I think the first season in League One will be a case of consolidation first and foremost and then anything after that will be a bonus. But, if you look at the clubs that have gone up, particularly the season before we've managed to do it, they've all done quite well. Oxford missed out on the playoffs by four points so it's there for us to go and get stuck into. It's great for the fans. It's a new season; no-one really knows what to expect so it's good that they can get excited and at times carried away. We as players, as a club, we have to be slightly more realistic. The fans have been brilliant over the last few years, they've really got behind us and we'll really need their help again this year, hopefully we give them something to shout about. You see the new teams that go into the Premier League, sides don't know what to expect. They don't know how you're going to set up necessarily or they're not familiar, they haven't come up against you so many times so we'll try and use that to our advantage. We're looking for a good season. We're confident that we're going to have a good season and be a bit of an unknown quantity as well which will certainly help us."
Luke McCormick says the club will reap the rewards of having such a large squad over the course of the upcoming season. Derek Adams has made eight signings during the summer so far - and has until the end of August to add more - but has as many as two players per position. McCormick sees this depth and strength in squad numbers a bonus. "That's what he tried to do last year as well and we saw the benefits of that last year. I believe that we're stronger than we were last year. We've strengthened and we've got that good competition all over. I think it's important. Even going into the first fortnight of the season, it's busy; it's stretched over three different competitions so everyone will get a chance early on.\"The start of pre season is always the hardest part in the first week and then you're looking for the first games," said Luke. "Then once the games start coming it's almost a sort of milestone. You're trying to do things in the games to set you up ready for the start of the season and that will carry you through. The new lads who have come in have been great," he said. "It's been evident for everyone to see already. For those that have seen the games have seen the quality that's come into the squad which will help us no end. They seem to have had no trouble settling in and have done it as well as I've ever seen to be honest. We're fortunate we seem to have a good group which we'll need throughout the course of the season. A lot of work has gone into the six weeks of pre season. As players we're really glad that the season is here and are itching to get going with it."
Derek Adams admitted that he would like to see the amount that managers have available to spend publicly known to fans- so it can be judged who is doing a good and bad job with the budgetary restrictions. Adams theorised: "It's a big step and everybody knows that the competition in League One is improving. The teams that have been relegated from the Championship are all excellent we've obviously got Blackburn in there who, not long ago, were playing in the Premier League and the teams that have come up from League Two have all done very well; the standard of opposition is certainly improving. There are going to be a good number of teams that will be strong in this division; I think you could go into double-figures. At the start of any season, we should have it out in the open what managers have to spend, cheque-book wise. I'm quite happy to have that, as a manager, because I know the constraints I work under and I know the benefits some other managers get. That would then show the good coaches, the good managers, from the rest, just to give an idea to the football fan how their club is spending the money. Financially, the chairman and the board of directors have put the club in a very healthy position, being able to break even and move into profit. That is not easy in this game because, if you look at the clubs with benefactors who are spending money they don't have, it becomes a challenging operation for any club chairman. The game has gone ludicrously mad at the top end and it filters its way down to the bottom end eventually. I do think there should be a bit more clarity in the public domain."
Adams also admitted to being excited at Argyle entering into a league that they had not been in for many years and looked forward to a tough test away to Peterborough, saying: "It's been a very good two years and now we are in League One and looking forward to a league where the football club hasn't been for six seasons. The aim is to continue the progress we have already had. Game by game, we'll sit down and look at the situation; we'll see where we are come December-time; and then decide what our logic is after that. We want to achieve on a weekly basis; we want to win football matches and, with that, we will gain the points we will require at the end of the season. You have to look for consolidation first; any person will tell you that you have to go into a new division a division that you haven't been in for six years and consolidation is the first thing you have to look at. Then you have to move forward from that. Building a house, you have to put the foundations down first and move forward from there; people who get ahead of themselves are people who fail and we're ones that want to get the foundations right before getting carried away with ourselves.
"You have always got a challenge when you're the manager of this football club. The first year I was here, it was a challenge to see what it was like, managing in England and to see if we could get ourselves in the play-off places. We were able to do that. Last year, we put ourselves under pressure to try to get ourselves into the automatic promotion places and we succeeded by getting automatic promotion. We're looking forward to it. With getting promotion last year, we're in a division that we haven't been in for a number of years and we're all excited about that prospect."
Ruben Lameiras has rejected any notion that he and Graham Carey are too alike to play regularly in the same side for Argyle. He cited the extent to which he, Carey and Joel Grant gelled effectively in pre season. Lameiras said: "In football it is important to feel confident and I'm a confidence player, so it's good. I'll be looking forward to giving some of that back to the fans in my performances, in my goals, in my assists. I still feel like I can do a little bit better I still feel, fitness wise, I'm nearly there. There's still a lot more to come. "There's a lot of competition. Everyone's really at it in training and it's good because it brings out the best in everyone. When everyone's performing, everyone's confident and it gels the team together. I feel confident. With the individual quality the gaffer's added to what was already here you may not always be able to showcase it in League Two, but in League One it's better pitches, better crowds."
Derek Adams said that whilst Jamie Ness has not yet recovered from injury to the extent where he is able to play in Argyle's curtain raiser at Peterborough on Saturday, he is making good progress and will prove to be a vital member of his side when fit. Adams explained: "He's a very good player. He has performed at a high level and will be an important member of the team when he gets over the setback. We have had a good number of games in pre-season and all the players have had very good game-time."
The Pilgrims played a surprise game against Dutch champions Feyenoord at their training facility in Rotterdam today. Adjacent to Feyenoord's stadium, Argyle fought out a respectable 0-0 draw against a strong side, but unfortunately for the trevelling fans, it was behind closed doors.
The hosts fielded Danish International striker Nicolai Jorgensen, last year's top scorer in the Eredivisie, with 21 goals. Also in the Feyenoord team was experienced full-back Miquel Nelom, twice-capped for the Netherlands; recent big-money signing Sofyan Amrabat, a Moroccan international, the brother of Watford player Nordin; and numerous other players with first-team experience.
"Feyenoord had been in Austria," Derek Adams said. "We contacted a number of teams in the top division to see if we could get a game, and Feyenoord were one of the ones that got back to us. Giovanni van Bronckhorst wanted to get a number of his players some game time. We needed a game, and it was a good competitive match for us.
"It was a good day all round. We changed in the stadium, were looked after well by Giovanni van Bronckhorst, his assistant manager Jan Wouters and Bas van Noortwijk, the team manager. We went to the training ground to play the game. They have very good facilities, and the players enjoyed pitting their wits against a team that have just won their championship a couple of months ago.
"We played against a team that will play in the Champions League this season. A number of the players that played today will play in that competition. It was another step up from the Cardiff match, which is important at this stage of the season. We needed to keep possession of the ball when we had it, and create chances and we did that. We had the better opportunities in the 90 minutes; three very good opportunities that we could have scored with. Defensively, as a team, we performed very well. On both sides, I was happy with how the day panned out."
In his second trip to the Aparthotel in Delden, the Netherlands, David Fox has spoken of the contrast in visits. "It's a different feel this time," he said. "Last time, it was all about getting to know the lads and getting used to how the manager works. Now, I know how things are, and I make sure some of the newer lads coming in can settle as well as I did, and to make them feel welcome, just like the lads made me feel welcome last year. The core of the group from last year has stayed together, which is good. We all get on well together - we're a year down the line - and the new lads have taken to that, as well. It's more of a settled bunch of players this pre-season. I think there were only three or four lads from the season before.
"There's no hangover this year, like there was last year. Everyone's buoyant and the club is used to winning games. The club has won a lot of games over the last few seasons, and it's important we carry on that momentum. It's a good habit to have. Hopefully we can get a good start and see it snowball from there.
"It's a great facility here. Everyone is together, eating together. The training pitch is in good nick; there's certainly no excuses for the players."
Sonny Bradley ended Friday night's pre-season game against Cardiff City with a broken nose. He explained after the game: "I went to win a header, running full pelt, and their central midfielder just stepped inside, and I ran straight into the back of his head", before casually adding, "I've just broke my nose.
"I've broken it a couple of times so I knew what it was straight away. I just got back on. It hurts, but the adrenaline rush gets you through. I think if I wasn't playing football; if I was standing still and someone headbutted me in the face, it would be a different situation. I suspect tonight it will be throbbing."
Bradley is relishing his new challenges this season. He said: "I'm fully aware that I have to be on it because if I am not then I can easily lose my place, with Ryan Edwards, Yann Songo'o, Jakub Sokolik and even Jordan Bentley pushing to get into the first team. That's the way I want it. I don't want to turn up to training thinking my place is secure. If I don't perform to my best there is a quality player waiting to take my place. That's good for me and good for the squad."
Bradley has been in the wars in pre-season. A toe injury sustained in training kept him out of many of Argyle's warm-up matches, but he said: "I feel good. I was looking forward to a couple of games next week but they've been called off, which is disappointing. I came back fit and strong from the summer. Even though I missed a week, I was still fit, and managed to maintain my fitness. It's all good." As for his broken nose, he said: "We still have two weeks of training, and before we know it, we'll be at Peterborough. As long as I am 100% for that game, that's all that matters. It was frustrating, but I'd rather do it now and treat it. If it happens the week before the season that is worse."
Despite the unforeseen circumstances outside of Argyle's control, Derek Adams fully expects that his side will benefit from the club's trip to the Netherlands. The Pilgrims travel to Delden today for a schedule of rigorous training and important bonding. "I'm looking forward to it," the manager said. "It's a place I know well and the players enjoy going there. It's a fantastic facility for us to go and prepare for the season ahead. We've got two weeks now until the start of the season and we've done a lot of hard work at home. We go there to bed down what we're looking for from the team for the start of the season."
Unfortunately, both of the club's scheduled matches in the Netherlands, against FC Emmen and FC Twente, have been called off, leaving the boss rethinking his plans. Adams is as frustrated as anyone with the cancellations, but is focusing his efforts on ensuring his team and the fans have some more competitive football to enjoy before the new season begins. "There's nothing much that we can do as a football club," he said. "We've arranged the games against good opposition. There's obviously an issue with getting permission to play the games in Holland. It's difficult, but we've got to try and solve the problem. We'll try and do that in the best way we possibly can, and we'll try and benefit from the week. The fans were looking forward to going out there and see their team play on foreign soil. There's nothing that the football club can do about that. We can only apologise for the situation that we've been put in. We feel sorry that's happened and we obviously have to try and solve the problem from a first-team point of view. I'm still working on different aspects with the people I know in Holland, and we'll wait and see if I can get anything finalised. We'll probably not know until next week."
When asked if he may look to arrange a game in England after the tour, Adams said: "We'd probably try that as well, yes. That is a possibility. But it's not something that we're looking at at this stage. We're trying to concentrate on a game in Holland. We would want to have a game between now and the start of the season, and whether it's in Holland or it's in Britain, we'll have a game."
Derek Adams was pleased that his side stood up well to their stiffest test of the summer against Cardiff City last night. "It was a good workout," he said. "I was obviously able to use 20 players tonight. It was good to get the new players coming onto Home Park. I think it's very important; some players haven't played here before. They don't know what the surroundings are like. With two weeks to go, I think that's probably beneficial to us, rather than starting the following week. It was just about getting match fitness again. They gave us a test, without causing us too much trouble. Over the 90, it was a slow-paced game. It was probably played in quite a testimonial fashion at times, and probably not the way that both managers wanted the game to be played, but that's the way it panned out."
Adams also gave an update on the injury status of three players who missed the game, beginning with Ryan Taylor, who is set to rejoin the side for the trip to Holland over the weekend. "He's progressing well. He'll start training with us on Sunday," said Adams. "Jamie Ness is progressing well. He's starting to build up his progression. He won't travel with us to Holland; he'll stay back here and train with us when we get back. He'll be with the physio department back here. Gary Miller had a knock on the ankle, so we didn't risk him. He'll be fine for Sunday's trip."
Plymouth Argyle Football Club has announced the start of a process to refresh its board of directors, nearly six years after James Brent's Akkeron Group bought the club. Two of the existing directors, David Felwick and Peter Jones, will step down, to be replaced by two new directors who will each be invited to serve an initial three-year term. Simon Hallett, who joined the board in April 2016, has been appointed to the role of Vice-Chairman with immediate effect. James Brent remains Chairman, and Richard Holliday, Tony Wrathall, John Morgan stay on as non-executive directors. CEO Martyn Starnes is also a director.
The intention is to have the new board structure in place by October, with David Felwick and Peter Jones retaining their association with the club as associate directors. James Brent said: "The Board and I are incredibly grateful to David and Peter for the significant contribution they have made to our club over almost six years. They have both provided wise counsel and constructive challenge during recent good times and the really difficult first two years following the club's exit from administration. There is considerable evidence that Boards which refresh their membership regularly and are diverse are much more effective than ones which do not. Diversity is even more important as we seek to grow membership of the Green Army with a particular focus on women and families."
Supporters and the general public have a chance to see the latest plans for the Mayflower grandstand redevelopment and associated developments at Home Park this weekend. Argyle and Akkeron Group begin a public consultation today between 1pm and 4pm in the Players' Lounge, and project director Tony Hopwood and architect Richard Cord will be on hand to answer questions and talk about the plans. The consultation in support of the club's forthcoming submission of a planning application for the project reopens at 10am tomorrow and runs until 1.45pm.
The planning application will include both the new Grandstand redevelopment and wider development on sites adjacent to Home Park, including an ice-rink. Argyle chairman James Brent said: "What we're presenting over the next couple of days are full plans, not just for the grandstand but setting that in the context of Higher Home Park and an additional piece of land that we that we have agreed, subject to planning, so people will be able to see the total picture. The grandstand is clearly the core feature within it, but it also includes the proposed new ice-rink for Plymouth and an additional piece of land which runs alongside the front [side] of the Life Centre, so there is a commercial development plan for that site.
"There will be lots of plans, lots of pictures and I'm really keen to take lots of questions. I'm hoping to spend a bit of time on Saturday with the consultation, being able to answer questions myself, personally, as well. I'm very much looking forward to it."
The chairman added: "Clearly we're operating within a budget, as everyone will understand, and if we had a higher budget, we would no doubt have even better facilities. But, within the budget, I think we've got a really good solution and it does create the balance that we sought to achieve from day one of preserving the history of Argyle and respecting the history of Home Park in terms of the facade, the shape of the Leitch building, and so on. But, at the same time, providing modern facilities that families, and supporters generally, deserve in the 21st century."
Tomorrow at 2pm, following the consultation process, the Argyle Board of Directors will be staging a Fans' Forum in the Green Taverners' Suite, during which fans can quiz the Pilgrims' hierarchy on the grandstand and other club issues. For supporters who cannot make the forum, the club is planning to make it a Facebook Live event on facebook.com/plymouthargylefc.
Argyle have heard this afternoon that their pre-season match against FC Twente, scheduled for next Friday, has been cancelled. The local Mayor had previously granted permission for the game, which was to have been played at the Dutch club's training ground, but he revoked it earlier today after consulting with local police. This included a review of fans' behaviour at the Pilgrims' game against MVV Maastricht last year. The authorities also noted that some Argyle followers have, in the past, detonated smoke devices in stadiums, which has been a problem in Dutch football.
With the team scheduled to fly out on Sunday for their week-long training-camp at Delden in the Netherlands, there is no time to find an alternative venue. A similar fate recently befell Argyle's other Dutch fixture against FC Emmen, leaving the Pilgrims with no match during their pre-season trip.
Argyle suffered their first and last defeat of the pre-season tonight, by the only goal of a very close game against Championship side Cardiff City. The visitors' winner came just four minutes after Argyle's five substitutions at the start of the second half. Argyle: Luke McCormick (Robbert te Loeke 82); Oscar Threlkeld, Ryan Edwards (Jakub Sokolik HT), Sonny Bradley (Jordan Bentley 82), Aaron Taylor-Sinclair; Yann Songo'o (Cameron Sangster 82), David Fox (Antoni Sarcevic HT); Lionel Ainsworth (Gregg Wylde HT), Graham Carey (Alex Fletcher 82), Joel Grant (Ruben Lameiras HT), Jake Jervis (Nathan Blissett HT). Attendance: 5,021 (495 away).
Derek Adams emphasised the importance of the experience gained by the young Pilgrims who assisted some of his senior players last night. Argyle recorded their biggest win of the pre-season campaign so far - a 7-0 win over a Devon FA squad - and ended the game with 11 teenagers on the pitch, with nine academy players getting game time during the evening. In a further plus, injured duo Sonny Bradley and Jakub Sokolik returned to the fold, the latter getting his first pre-season minutes, in an evening full of positives for the Argyle boss.
"I was delighted tonight," Adams said. "We had a mix of senior and younger players and they all acquitted themselves very well. It's important that the younger players get the benefit of playing with the senior players. Tonight it's about sharing a dressing room with them, it's about sharing a pitch with them, getting to know what the game is about. It is important, as a first-team manager, that we understand and younger players coming through, and coach them as well. We've been able to help them the way that we coach them at first-team level.
"There was a lot of good movement and good play. They all came into the first team environment, and it is important that they play faster than they do in under-18 football, and they did that tonight. Every one of them showed a terrific attitude. Cameron Sangster, who has been with us for the majority of pre-season, from the under-18s, has done really well again. He's one that, if he keeps on developing, will do well."
The game served not only as a build-up match for the new season, but as an exhibition and fundraiser for the Devon FA's chosen charity of Childrens' Hospice South West.
Derek Adams was happy man after his team's sixth win inside 12 days last night in their hardest test yet, against National League opposition. "It was a good performance from us," he said. "We're delighted because we have stepped up the opposition. We scored a couple of goals and probably could have scored a couple more and kept a clean sheet, so we have got to be happy. I don't think Luke had any saves to make in the game, which is good. The back four did well and the two in front."
Nearly 1,800 supporters attended the game, including over 800 Greens, and Argyle had to overcome stubborn opposition from the Gulls' players and local conditions in an otherwise hospitable environment. Adams said: "It's a brilliant stadium. I always like coming here. The pitch is always in immaculate condition, so is the stadium itself. It's well equipped and they probably should be in a higher division.
"It's difficult because the pace of the pitch is quick, and the ball is different and it slides across the surface. They use a different ball; it's a slicker ball in this division than we use. It has got a bit more gloss on it than the ones we use. It's totally different to play with, compared to the one that we use in our league."
Argyle continued their successful pre-season run this evening with a thumping 7-0 win over a Devon FA representative side at County HQ in Newton Abbot. Argyle fielded a mixture of old and new, senior pros and aspiring juniors, with the goal tally shared by Lionel Ainsworth (2), first-season professional Alex Fletcher (2), development player Alex Battle and apprentice substitute Sam Ryan (2). Argyle: Michael Cooper (Max Childs 80); Jordan Bentley (Harry Hodges 80), Jakub Sokolik (Harry Downing HT), Sonny Bradley (capt, Elliott Crawford 65), Aaron Taylor-Sinclair (Ryan Law 65); Cameron Sangster (Luke Jephcott HT), Dan Rooney; Lionel Ainsworth (Sam Ryan 58), Alex Battle, Joel Grant (Billy Craske 58); Alex Fletcher. Attendance: 391.
Argyle's 100% start to pre-season continued with a 2-0 victory against Torquay United at Plainmoor this evening. The goals came from Graham Carey, a fine strike in the 34th minute, and Joel Grant near the end. Argyle: Luke McCormick; Gary Miller, Ryan Edwards, Yann Songo'o, Gary Sawyer; Antoni Sarcevic, David Fox; Gregg Wylde (Joel Grant 74), Ruben Lameiras, Graham Carey; Jake Jervis (Lionel Ainsworth 74). Attendance: 1,780 (815 away).
Following Argyle's training ground renovation, captain Luke McCormick gave credit to the board of directors for funding the project has he feels has given the team an advantage. He said: "The training ground is in fantastic condition. It's something that really deserves a mention and will help us this season. It makes a huge difference. All of a sudden now we are walking out to the training ground and it's like 'right, we are here to work.' Those little percentages count, so I think the management, as well as the chairman and the directors, deserve a huge amount of credit for putting the funds in to be able to give us that as players. We appreciate it. We work so hard Monday to Friday, preparing for Saturday. That really is where all the work goes on so for that investment to go into it helps us no end. And it's only right for a club of our size. It will give us platform, I think, to really push on now."
Marc McCallum has rejected a contract offer with Plymouth Argyle in favour of a return to his hometown club Forfar Athletic. The 24-year-old was offered a new deal by manager Derek Adams at the end of last season, but after a campaign which yielded just two substitute appearances McCallum has returned home.
Derek Adams was delighted with his side's latest victory, a 4-0 win at Weston Super-Mare. Adams said of his squad: "I thought it was an excellent performance for us today we maybe should have scored a few more goals but it's about upping the level and we did that. We have got a lot of good attacking players. That came, not only from the midfield, it came from the full-backs, as well, and defenders coming out with the ball. Overall, we were happy to control the game and do as well as we have. The better opposition you play, you have got to be careful how far your full-backs go forward. You saw that with Weston their full-backs went too high and allowed us to nick the ball and play through them. I'm delighted. We have got a lot of good competition for places; I think that is going to be important as the season comes to a start.
Gary Sawyer has welcomed the fact that every player will need to fight for their position at Argyle this season and nothing is taken for granted: "It's exactly what you want. I think it's going to help everyone. If you are in the team you need someone to push you, and if you are not in the team you need to try to push someone out. It's a massive bonus for the football club to have two people in every position. Obviously, we are all together as a group of boys, but you want to put the shirt on in that first game of the season and you want to keep it from there. Everyone has got to work hard, which they are, and it will be fight for every position to make sure you are starting come the first game."
Argyle's 100% start to pre-season has continued with a 4-0 victory over Weston-super-mare. An early goal from Ruben Lameiras fired Argyle into an early lead and a Jake Jervis brace saw us 3-0 up at half-time. Argyle had to wait late for a fourth but it came in the end from an unlikely source- right-back Gary Miller with a cross-come-shot that nestled into the corner. Argyle: te Loeke(McCormick), Threlkeld, Edwards(Bentley), Songo'o, Sawyer, Sarcevic, Fox(Miller), Ainsworth(Carey), Lameiras(Blissett), Grant(Wylde), Jervis(Fletcher).
Argyle are in talks with FC Emmen after their pre-season friendly against the Dutch side was unexpectedly called off by the town's officials. Emmen Mayor Eric van Oosterhout decreed on Wednesday that the game, long scheduled for Tuesday, July 25, could no longer take place as arranged. Mayor Van Oosterhout told FC Emmen, after consultation with local authorities, that local police would have their hands full that day with a butterfly market and cycling race in the town. A club spokesman said: "While we understand the mayor's decision, we are disappointed to have to revise the detail of our visit to Holland at this late stage. We are working with officials at FC Emmen, who share our disappointment, to see if an alternative venue or date can be accommodated. We will keep supporters appraised of the situation as it develops."
The academy side of Chelsea will visit Argyle in the group stage of the newly devised Checkatrade Trophy, joining Yeovil and Exeter in our group. Fixtures times and date will follow in due course. All Academy Under-21 sides will play all their group phase games away from home, meaning Chelsea will meet Argyle at Home Park.
Argyle's winning tart to pre-season has continued with a 5-1 victory at Buckland Athletic in the fourth game of the week. Two goals apiece from Nathan Blissett and Ruben Lameiras were complimented by Joel Grant with Buckland getting a goal sandwiched between Argyle's third and fourth. Argyle: Te Loeke, Miller(Edwards), Bentley, Taylor-Sinclair(Songo'o), Jervis(Grant), Sangster(Sawyer), Fox(Threlkeld), Carey(Lameiras), Wylde(Ainsworth), Blissett(Sarcevic), Fletcher. Sub: McCormick.
Derek Adams said of the players who got a run out during the game: "Nathan Blissett did well for us last year he scored a number of important goals for us after coming in January and he's taken his goals well, even though he was only on for a half. He's been through the pre-season and trained every day, which is important. He's done really well. From my point of view, he's fitted in really well with the group, as have all the new players. It's good to see. Ruben Lameiras is 22 years of age and he's got a long career ahead of him. For me, we've got a very good player on our hands a talented individual, he can go both ways. We also had the likes of Lionel Ainsworth and Joel Grant, when they came on, and we had Jake Jervis and Gregg Wylde on the wings, as well. It's a lot of pace and creativity in those areas. Jordan Bentley and Alex Fletcher got 90 minutes, which is good for them, and Sangster has come in and performed well for a 17-year-old. I was happy with him, the way that he played; he was just getting a bit tired towards the end. He's had a hard period of time, so we just need to assess him and see where he goes from here but he has done exceptionally well, being in and around the first-team. We got most of the players a good bit of the game and it was just about getting the legs turned over. As we go on, it's going to get more difficult for us and that's what we want. Weston's a step up from what we have been playing just now."
Argyle's pre-season schedule has continued with a 2-1 win over Tiverton Town at Ladysmead. Argyle went behind early on in the game after Oscar Threlkeld gave away a penalty but goals from Sarcevic and (from the bench) Blissett saw Argyle go home with a win. Argyle: McCormick(Te Loeke), Threlkeld(Miller), Edwards(Bentley), Songo'o(Taylor-Sinclair), Sawyer, Sarcevic(Fox), Carey(Sangster), Ainsworth(Jervis), Lameiras(Fletcher), Grant(Wylde), Taylor(Blissett).
Derek Adams said of the game, first of Tiverton's goal: I didn't think it was a penalty, to be fair. I thought it was a good tackle from Oscar. It was a good run-out. We obviously got a lot of game time for the players tonight, so it's just about getting the legs going again. Overall, it's another 90 minutes on the road. It was difficult at times because the challenges were flying in, and that's what happens sometimes when you come against opposition like this.
"They trained this morning and they played tonight. We had a lot of good movement and passing, but we're not up to speed as yet. I thought we might've done 45, but they didn't quite exert themselves enough in the first 45. They were at half-tilt in the first half, so we just gave them a wee extra 15 minutes. We've got another game tomorrow night, so we used everybody tonight."
Adams said of the notable absence of Sonny Bradley: "He had a toe injury after this morning, so that's why he was out today. It happened this morning; he went in for a tackle and it was blocked. Hopefully he'll be available by the weekend."
Luke McCormick spoke about the 'huge' significance of talismanic midfielder Graham Carey opting to sign a new contract with Argyle, citing the impact his presence has around the club. He said: "It's huge for us. Absolutely massive. He's been a fantastic player for us. Over the last two seasons, he's been our go-to guy. He's the one, as we know, who can turn a game. We always felt there was a chance he wouldn't go, but for him to say 'I want to do it with you this season, lads' says a lot for what he thinks of the club, the place and his loyalty to the manager. We want to build on what we've done last season. Keeping Graham Carey is a big part of that. The new players who come in will be lifted by that. The players who were here last season are lifted by that."
Derek Adams has confirmed that Argyle are looking for another striker to compliment their squad for the coming season- but said that he did not see one arriving within the next week, explaining: "I don't see it happening any time in the next week. We are looking for another striker. We are looking for two more players. We have got three strikers on our books just now, with Ryan Taylor, Nathan Blissett and Alex Fletcher. We need one more just to give us that extra competition."
On the pitch and off it, Luke McCormick believes Argyle have positioned themselves well to be a serious contender in the 2017/18 League One season. The skipper said: "The boys are coming together nicely. A good load of boys have come in who have really added to the group, off the field as well as on the field. I think, so far, it's been a good start to the campaign. I think you're already looking around the place and thinking 'yeah, we've got a really good group again', which is a huge thing. It's important to have a good group and we've been fortunate in recent years; we've always had one. It looks we're going to have a good group again. The boys have come in they've added to us in terms of their quality on a football field, but also their characters and stuff like that. It gives us a good base to start the season off, and things like that help you through. The gaffer's clever. He does his homework on players; not just their footballing ability, but how they're going to fit into us as a group. From the first day we were in, everyone was starting on the same page. No-one's playing catch-up, so that's good. The fitness levels have been good. The attitude's been really good, from the first day up until today. There's plenty of positives going on and we're looking forward to a good campaign in League One.
"The training ground's in fantastic condition. That's something that really deserves a mention and will really help us this season. It makes a huge difference. All of a sudden, we're walking out to the training ground and it's like 'right, we're here to train.' Those little percentages count, so I think the management, and obviously the chairman and directors, the people who've funded it, deserve a huge amount of credit for putting the funds in to give us that as players. We really appreciate it. We work so hard Monday to Friday, preparing for Saturday. That's really where it all goes on. So for that investment to go into it helps us no end and it's only right, really, for a club of our size. It'll give us a platform, I think, to really push on."
Derek Adams gave his lowdown of the two Saturday games, explaining why he gave a full 90 minutes to second year apprentice Cameron Sangster: "We're only back just over a week into pre-season and the quicker we can get going, the better it is going to be for us; today, we've got a majority of them 90 minutes so we're already ahead of the game now. We have done a lot of good work for Saltash and Plymouth Parkway, and it's been a beautiful hot day. It's very important that we remember where we come from. We've had a busy day getting about and we've seen a lot of supporters today, and helped two clubs that are looking to progress. The first game of the season is always difficult because of the temperatures but, from my point of view, I was delighted with the way it went."
"They are looking good and have combined well with each other, which is the main aspect to start with; then, it's about bedding into the squad and getting to know each other on the field. They have shown, today, that they have got very good ability. At this early stage, it is just about getting a touch of the ball, getting back into action. As we get closer to the time, we'll try to bed things down and that will probably be round about the Cardiff game."
"We'll have two goalkeepers. Michael Cooper will be the third-choice. Cameron's done really well in the training we have had so I had no qualms about putting him into the first team today," said the gaffer. "He's very good on the ball; he's only a youngster but very composed. There are players who are ahead of him age-wise and experience-wise, but he's showing good attributes to do well."
Antoni Sarcevic spoke of his pride at being handed the Argyle captain's armband for the game at Plymouth Parkway, being selected for the honour ahead of Graham Carey or Sonny Bradley. Sarcevic said: "It was a big surprise when I walked in the changing room. It's a massive honour and one I'm proud of, even in pre-season, to captain the boys and a club like Plymouth Argyle. They're a good bunch of lads and they've settled in. They're a good bunch to be around and I'm sure they'll help us to a good year this year. We've been back a week now and it's been a really tough, gruelling week. The lads were feeling it, but there's nothing compared to match fitness. A good 90 minutes is what we all needed."
Derek Adams spoke positively on the fitness of Graham Carey in spite of the latter missing part of the beginning to pre-season due to becoming a father again to a baby girl. Adams also confirmed Jamie Ness and Jakub Sokolik did not play in either game due to injuries keeping them out. He said: Graham Carey was on the track on Friday afternoon. We have been on the running track Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of last week, so we have had a busy schedule. It has all been endurance work. We do the ball work in the morning and we run in the afternoons."
Carey himself said, of his return to action: I found it quite tough. I trained the first few days then I've been off. I did a bit up the road, some fitness work, but it's still not the same as training. I was blowing a bit in the second half, but I'll catch up and I'll do some extra sessions. It was tough, it was hot. For the first game of pre-season the weather didn't really suit us," he said. We were getting tired quite quickly with the heat and the pitch was a bit sticky, but all in all it was a good run-out for the boys and valuable minutes under our belts. Parkway played really well. There was some nice phases of play from them, give them credit, they deserved their 1-0 lead. In the end we had a bit of quality to score goals."
Argyle's first pre-season friendly of the summer (and indeed the day) was won by two returning faces. After the Greens secured the contract of Graham Carey last week, it was he who scored two goals to turn the game around after hosts Plymouth Parkway took a 1-0 lead. A rare right-footed effort from Gregg Wylde saw the game put beyond doubt: a 3-1 win for Argyle. Argyle: te Loeke, Miller, Edwards, Bradley, Taylor-Sinclair, Sarcevic, Sangster, Ainsworth, Carey(Jephcott), Wylde, Taylor. Subs: Ryan, Battle, Crawford, Cooper, Law.
Argyle's later game also was won by a two goal margin- this time a 2-0 victory over Saltash United. Argyle were unable to break down the hosts in the first half but goals from newbies Joel Grant and Ruben Lameiras made things comfortable by the end. Argyle: McCormick, Threlkeld, Rose(Hodges), Bentley, Sawyer, Songo'o, Fox, Jervis, Lameiras, Grant, Blissett(Fletcher). Subs: Cooper, Craske, Purrington, Downing.
Two of Argyle's Checkatrade Trophy group stage opponents have been revealed. but we will have to wait until Wednesday, July 12, to learn the final Academy Club, to be added. Exeter City and Yeovil Town are the clubs confirmed to be joining Argyle in Group D, but we must hang on to see which of Brighton, Chelsea, Fulham, Reading, Southampton, Swansea, Tottenham or West Ham will be joining us when we will see the order of fixtures also.
Graham Carey explained to fans why he decided to stay at Argyle following the promotion to League One rather than move further afield. The Irishman said: "It's great to be back," said Graham, "The way the club was communicating with me over the summer: they weren't too pushy; they gave me time to think; gave me time with my family, because they knew that my partner was expecting. They weren't overly pushy, I am very thankful for the way they handled it over the summer, and I am delighted to be back. In my career, I've usually moved on after two years or so but I thought it was the right time for me and my family to get a bit of stability. It wasn't really a tough decision at the end of the day. I went to watch Carl McHugh play at Motherwell and I see that made it into the papers! I was laughing. To be honest, for the first three or four weeks, I didn't really think about football or offers or anything like that.
"It was more the last two weeks it all came together; the gaffer and the club put forward an offer that I couldn't refuse and I'm really grateful for them for doing it. I think back to Grimsby away at the end of the season, the way the fans were towards me at the end of the game and stuff like that. They're the kind of things that you keep with you through your whole career and hopefully I can repay them again this year and have a successful season.
"Pre-season really starts when you get the first game under your belt and you can just look forward to playing games and getting your fitness. The first week and a half is always tough on the track and doing all the tests, but it served us well the last couple of seasons. No-one would doubt that we have been one of the fittest teams in the league over the last couple of years. It's just the way we train and work hard.
"The way the manager's brought in players this season has added to that togetherness. He recruits players on ability, but he also does recruit them on how they are; their demeanour. Being where we are in the country, you need to have a good group of players, and you've got to get them to gel because we do travel a lot. I think his recruitment this season has been great. It keeps everyone on their toes, but I think the main thing is he kept pretty much the starting 11 from last year, which not a lot of teams do when you get promoted. Players move on for whatever reason, but I think it was important to keep the core group together and add a good bit of quality - and I think he's done it."
New goalkeeper Robbert te Loeke has revealed he is determined to force his way into the Argyle first team and has not signed to merely be a number two, saying: "My aim is to play. Of course, it's always difficult when the number one goalkeeper is the captain as well. I didn't see a lot of videos from him but knowing the results from last year he must have done a really good job. We are professionals so you have to compete. The best will play. If it's Luke, it's Luke and if it's me, it's me. I will do my best and try and do everything. It's all I can do. Everybody really gets behind the team here in Plymouth. My first team in Holland had about 10,000 fans. After that I played for FC Dordrecht which is a bit smaller. Maybe 4,000 fans there. Last year I played for one even smaller. So when I saw the pictures of the stadium here I thought 'Wow that's really cool. I have to play there'."
Argyle's League One fixture against Southend United will now take place on Good Friday, March 30. It was previously scheduled for the following day. The game, which will take place at Home Park, will kick-off at 3pm.
Ryan Edwards may be only 23 years of age but he has said that that will not prevent him being one of the loudest leadership voices from the heart of Argyle's defence next season. The defender drew upon his previous experiences with Morecambe, explaining: "You've got to help your team-mates out and at centre-half that's vital. You've got to be a leader no matter how young you are and no matter how little I know people. At that position, if you do anything wrong it's a goal, so you've got to talk and stand up to be counted. There is no guarantees in football. Once you get the shirt you've got to do everything you can to keep it, so that's what I'll be doing when I get my chance. I'll do everything I can to keep that place because everyone wants to play.
"There's going to be disappointments, but you've got to do what you've got to do to look after yourself and the lads around you. It's a big move. It'll help me a lot. It's the next level, which I'm ready for. The fan base is huge compared to where I've been playing. I've got loads of great messages on social media and there was too many to reply to. I just had to like them all."
Derek Adams is not getting carried away by Argyle's encouraging close season period but instead insisted his primary League One objective was to simply remain in the division next season. He said: "My aspirations is to stay in the division first and for most. We have been out of the division for six seasons now. If you look at those who got promoted last year, they were all able to stay in the division. None of them were able to make the play off positions and that shows you what a good league it is. League One will be tougher this year. Look at the teams that have been relegated from the Championship and look at the teams that have been promoted from League Two. It's a strong, strong division. There will be more football played in League One. I think that there are more teams which are football orientated and in League Two there were a number of teams who were more direct and that is my opinion from my point of view. It's going to be a competitive division. One that we're going to enjoy. We've got a very good fixture to begin with, away at Peterborough and the players will be ready for that."
Argyle have so far signed 8 players in the close season and Adams has said that two more will be necessary before Argyle complete their summer business. He said: "I think that's important. Not just for the football club but for the players as well. The new players coming into the football club and being able to get a preseason under their belt and to really progress from there. We've probably got a maximum of two more to come in. That was always the project at the end of the season. We've been able to get ourselves a very good squad. Taking freshness into the squad is always important. We have the nucleus of the squad from last year with us and it's about adding players to that squad and taking in players that have competed at a good level. You always look to where you can strengthen. We've done that particularly well. We've got strength and depth in the squad; we've got competition for places all over the team and that's important because we need to push everyone on."
"It's important to have freshness within your squad to prevent becoming stagnant. We've been able to add fresh new players who have played at a very good level, they are hungry and they want to do well. They are able to challenge the players that were already here last season. The new players are all staying together, which I think is important at the start; and then they will go and find their own properties. We will then go to Holland and have a training camp there and that's when it will all get bedded in."
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