A Round-up of Argyle News
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Also included on the three most recent days, facts from Argyle's history.
Ashley Smith-Brown has left Argyle. The 23 year old defender has been released from his contract at Home Park, with his existing deal scheduled to expire in the summer, midway through what was a year long loan at Oldham Athletic. Ryan Lowe reflected on Argyle's busy January: "We've been planning January since September," said the gaffer. "We knew where we were at. We knew we had Tyreeq Bakinson marked, we had Josh marked, we were obviously looking for a striker, like everybody knew, and we were glad we got Ryan Hardie. There were plenty of players thrown out there who we could've had, you want people who come in for the right things. Ryan has come to score goals and help us, some players might have wanted to come for more money, to keep their career on track, just to be a professional footballer for as long as they can but we wanted to make sure it was the right fit."
"I've seen some clubs sign six or seven players and it's just going to disturb the dressing room at some point. We've done it gradually, Josh has been with us from the start of the season, Tyreeq had known most of the lads anyway because he trained with us quite a bit. Luke is one of our own, so really when you look at it, we've only had one player who was unknown to the squad that has come in. I think it's vital when you bring those type of players in that they bed into the squad and Ryan Hardie has certainly done that. The lads who have gone have gone out because they felt that they wanted to go and play games. They felt they couldn't get in the team and their future lay elsewhere, so we allowed them to go."
"There will be no ins, certainly. There may be one or two of the youngsters going out on loan, that will be to the Conference or one below, but that can happen any time. We've got a bit of interest in Klaidi Lolos from some Conference clubs but, again, we're not just going to throw him in anywhere. We're going to make sure it's the right fit that suits us and the manager as well, he's a good bloke first and foremost, so the team's got to be good for him. We can't let him go just yet, it's got to be on our terms and no-one else's. There are about three clubs in for Lolos, so we will analyse that over the next few days, as there is no deadline in the Conference. It's having a good secretary, a good Chief Executive, a good owner and a good board of directors. Some clubs will probably be thinking 'you need to get rid of him before you can get him' and 'you need to sell him' and we weren't. The board have backed me one million percent and I'm always grateful for that. We haven't gone massively over-spending, we've done what we had to do, so I think it was a good pre-season in terms of recruitment and now it's been a good January."
Youngster Jarvis Cleal was on the bench for the first time since joining the Argyle academy in October 2018 and Ryan Lowe spoke glowingly of the 'next in the production line'. He said: "He is next in the production line," said Ryan. "We have had Rubin Wilson, who has been terrific when he has come on and we have had Jude Boyd but the wing-back positions at the moment have seen Joe Edwards playing there, Byron Moore and I know George [Coope can play over there, as well as Danny Mayor. We felt, when Danny was not fit, that Jarvis had been doing great in the youth system. I have watched him quite a bit, he's got a lot, but he needs to have that little bit more desire and a bit more commitment and I think we will get it out of him. He is a shy lad, but he has certainly got qualities. He can skip past players and he can put the ball in the box, and I play with those type of players. Hopefully, he is going to be a big asset."
"He knows now, he's had the taste, he has been around the first-team and he has been on the bench in a first-team League Two game. We are wanting to see him thrive, push on and give me a bit of a selection headache in terms of offering the boy a pro contract. I feel he's got a lot to offer, but he has got to show us that little bit more determination and hunger that he wants it. Sometimes, it is hard with the youngsters coming up with the first-team because the training and the intensity is proper hard and fast. Maybe it's that he needs to learn but he would be a good player for us. It's over to him now."
Whilst Ryan Lowe was disheatened by the late equaliser that saw Argyle surrender the lead at home to Crawley Town, he took the draw in the perspective of Argyle's good recent run of form and was insistent his team were still heading in the right direction. Lowe: "It's a point in the right direction. There are a few moans and groans because we didn't get the three points, but it's not going to be plain sailing all the way. We're disappointed that we didn't see it out and take the three points. In the first 15 minutes, we started brightly and then we had a few mistakes. We found ourselves 1-0 down, which was an error and we should do better. We had to get back in the game and I thought there was only one team that would go and win it, especially when Luke scores. It wasn't to be but how can I sit here and be
disappointed; we've got four wins in a row and if you'd told me we would have that, I'd have bitten your hand off. There are going to be ups and downs, and we've got to be patient. The whole place has got to be patient because it's not going to happen overnight. We've got to make sure we keep doing the right things, playing the style of football that has got us to where we are today and continue to show the positives."
"We have to stick to the game-plan, there is no other way," he said. "It's got us 51 points, so we're not going to change now. We've got a good brand of football, a good philosophy of where we're trying to get to, it's got us this far and why can't it take us further. Sometimes, you have to give the opposition credit because nobody will come to Home Park and roll over, it's not happening. For us, I was disappointed to not get the three points but pleased we've got four wins and a draw from the last five games.,If the chances all go in, we probably could have won the game 6-4, not that you want to concede four goals. I can't praise the boys enough, it's been a tough few weeks and games on a Saturday and Tuesday. We'll have a bit of a rest now and then look to go again against Newport," said Ryan. "We know it's a tough league but we feel, if we stick to the plan, we can generate points, which we've proved with 51 points from 28 games. We know Newport will be tough, they beat Macclesfield 1-0 last night and Michael Flynn's teams are always tough to beat and tough to play against. We'll do our work, do what we feel can get us a result and I'm sure they'll do the same."
After a stunning first month back in the team where he scored 5 goals, Lowe had extra special praise for young striker Luke Jephcott's role in the side. He enthused: "Luke is still a baby, he's played around 20 games for Truro in a tough league, a man's league, and been kicked from pillar to post but scored a lot of goals. He then came back to Argyle and played so many games in so many weeks, and scored goals, but a manager once told me that when they are on a hot streak, you have to take them out to save them. To leave him out is my selection and what I get paid for. Luke's done fantastic and we gave Ryan a opportunity because he's come off the bench and scored goals. That's what I want my strikers to do – make an impact. It was the other way round against Crawley, a great header and great positioning. Luke is a fantastic asset and he'll keep scoring goals because he gets in the right place. It was a lovely cross from Byron [Moore] and Luke was in the right place at the right time to get another goal. I was buzzing for him to get his first goal at Home Park but it would have been nice to celebrate a winner. We're chuffed for him because he's becoming a goal machine. He's like a new signing and we've signed Ryan Hardie as well. Ryan could have had two against Crawley and that would have been the two of them on five each. Jephcott has gone away, he's got fitter and stronger, he's analysed his game and analysed me as a manager to know what he's got to give me to get in the team, so all the credit goes to Luke. We've got to play him down a bit, otherwise there will be speculation about clubs wanting to sign him. He's our player and will continue to be our player for a long time, but we've got to make sure we keep him grounded."
Argyle's winning run has come to an end but. the unbeaten one has continued after an eventful 2-2 draw at home to Crawley Town. The visitors took the lead midway through the first half but Argyle took the game back to level terms with a well struck penalty by Antoni Sarcevic. Substitute Luke Jephcott put Argyle into the lead late on but a header from a free kick right at the death saw the points shared. Argyle: Palmer, Wootton, Canavan, Sawyer, J Grant, Edwards(Jephcott), Bakinson(C Grant), Sarcevic, G Cooper, B Moore, Hardie(JV Grant). Subs: M Cooper, Cleal, Randell, Lolos.
Whilst Ryan Lowe admitted Argyle needed to adapt their style slightly in order to beat Stevenage, he added that once the greens got a foothold in the game, they were largely able to outplay their hosts, arguing: "We had to earn the right to play the way we wanted. There were times when we weren't able to, they got in our faces. Once we got the ball moving around, took that extra touch and lent an extra pass, it shines through. We had to show a different side to us, and that was aggressive, determined, solid and resolute. We didn't take extra passes in the first half and we were sort of going long. For the first 30 minutes, we were ok, we weren't great, but we still felt we would get a chance to score. They had a deep block and we couldn't break them down, but I think it was around 40 minutes when we had a spell of around 40 passes, and I thought we were going to score then. In the second half, we changed one or two things around and went on to win the game."
"We were on the ascendancy and trying to get another one, but our lads were terrific and did everything we asked. The lads wanted to carry on and so did they, but I'm more pleased with how the lads reacted."
"We knew they were going to put the ball in the box at every opportunity but was I concerned when they scored? No, earlier on in the season I might have been concerned but I know what my lads are capable of now. They were solid and resolute, and sometimes it's hard when balls are coming into the box, but they were terrific."
Ryan Lowe admitted Argyle did need to make a few amendments to their usual style to secure a 2-1 win at Stevenage, adapting to the argicultural style of the home side. Lowe also explained this was the reason for Danny Mayor being dropped from the side, saying: "I am delighted, Stevenage is a tough place to come, we've been saying that all week to the boys, with the way they are and the way they set up. What a performance our lads are putting on, they're fighting for each other. We conceded a late goal but to get two goals the way we did today, with our calming influence on the ball, we looked a good team. Sometimes it's tough when you're playing against a team like Stevenage because they don't allow you to pass the ball. We stuck to the plan, we kept going and we got the two goals and the rewards. We were trying to go a little too long and the pitch is not that big, so we said to them at half-time to come shorter but sometimes you have to give the opposition credit. Stevenage were excellent all the way through the game and tried to manage it the best they could, but we nullified their strengths. It's hard to get information on to the boys because there are loads of people here, our fans are screaming, and to get little tactical tweaks and transition periods is hard."
"Danny Mayor has that trickery and running with the ball but we've got to understand that sometimes they will upset the apple cart by taking the main man out of the team. I did it for them. It was a tactical change, with Tyreeq and Josh in there. Danny has been good as gold, he has been a little fatigued of late, so we felt it was a great opportunity. He probably wouldn't have had much ball and a tactical change in there, which obviously paid off."
Argyle have had a notable increase in goals from the strikers of late and Ryan Lowe took time to praise his forward options who have been finding the net. He said, first of Ryan Hardie: "His attitude and application since he came has been brilliant. He wasn't fully match-fit, although he had played some games. I said to him that when he does play, he's got to score, and he knows the situation. He's hungry, he's enthusiastic and he's probably got a point to prove that he can score goals. He is borrowed to us at the moment and he's performing when coming off the bench. There will be a time he has to play from the start and he's a good kid. He's learning every single day and he's putting the ball in the back of the net.".
"Luke Jephcott was fantastic in holding the ball up and getting headers against their big defenders. He didn't have many chances but the kid's done terrific and so has Ryan, and whoever plays in those positions. It's what we want; we're a team and we're building. It toughens him up and that's why we sent him out to play non-league. Did their centre-halves get the better of Luke? I wouldn't say they did. They are big bruising centre-halves and I though Jeph held the ball up well. He gave it away once or twice but that's going to happen. His flick-ons and headers were fantastic, he didn't have a great deal of chances but that's what happens. He did the hard work for 70 minutes and then Hardie comes on to get the goal."
"Byron has got the pace and power to run in behind and that's what he brings. He can play different positions and the last 10 or 15 minutes, he's been switching to the left wing-back and doing a defensive job for us. When he's through like that, there is only one thing that's going to happen and that's a goal. When you get that first goal, it gives you the momentum to go again.
Moore himself added: "The Gaffer knew from the start how they were going to play and how they were going to attack us. I thought we defended well throughout and obviously getting the goal on the break was good. I know what he George is capable of, he has created so many chances throughout the season. [The goal was all up to Coops, the Gaffer says to stay on the last man and try and get in between the defence, so I did, I got the goal and I'm happy with it. It was a massive goal, the defence tightened up, they were sitting deep and it was hard to get through sometimes but obviously it was good to get the breakthrough. I've not scored for a couple of games, so it's nice to get off the mark and hopefully on Tuesday, I can get another goal and keep on going. The fans have always been unbelievable, the amount they bring is tremendous. It drives us to improving and it's like having another player."
"All the lads are sticking together, the team spirit is unbelievable, we just have got to keep it going. The Gaffer loves the lads, we've been going out for food and getting together. It's good and it's obviously paying off. We've got to keep playing the way we are playing. The Gaffer always wants us to play the same way, but sometimes it's hard with the pitch and stuff like that. I think we are actually doing better this season than we were doing last season" he said. "The momentum we have is good. I can't see us losing, to be honest, with the way we've played and the momentum we have got. The current record is up there with Liverpool's, one of the lads said in the changing room that were up there, so we just have to keep on going. We've got a game on Tuesday against Crawley and then roll on Saturday, win that and its happy days."
Argyle's impressive run has continued with a 2-1 victory away to Stevenage. A gritty first half saw the scores level at half-time but goals from Byron Moore and (for the third game in a row) Ryan Hardie from the bench gave the greens an unassailable 2-0 lead. A late consolation was not enough to reverse the scores. Argyle: Palmer, Wootton, Canavan, Sawyer, J Grant, Edwards, Sarcevic, Bakinson, G Cooper(Hardie), B Moore, Jephcott (JV Grant). Subs: M Cooper, Randell, C Grant, Mayor, Lolos.
Joe Riley has left Argyle after 18 months as a green. The club agreed to release him early from his contract which was due to expire at the end of the season so he could sign for fellow league two side Mansfield Town. Ryan Lowe said of the decision to move Riley on: "Joe Riley is leaving to sign for another club," Ryan. "We would like to thank Joe for all his work; he's a terrific lad and a terrific player. He was a friend before I came here and a big influence on me taking the job, in terms of the discussions I had with him. But he's found himself out of the team, probably through no fault of his own. It was only fair that I let him move on and get a contract somewhere else because his contract was up. Me, the staff and the players would like to thank Joe for everything he has done."
Lowe also spoke about Argyle's improvement, which he put down to a consistent work ethic of improvement rather than any seismic shift. Lowe explained: "I've said from day one that we'll get better in every department and we're certainly doing that. In terms of goals scored and goals against, it's the work we do on the training pitch. I haven't become a genius overnight, it's not just me, it's me, the staff and the lads putting the work in. We're really pleased when we're scoring goals and even more pleased when we're keeping the ball out of the net. You look at the Mansfield game and we could have been a few goals down, we know that, but we'll always stick to the plan and do the right thing. We are a possession-based team, we like to get crosses in the box and create plenty of chances, which we do. At this moment in time, we're doing that and scoring goals. Sometimes, it's easy to go away from what you're trying to do and try stuff you wouldn't normally try. We like to build from the back and that's why I mentioned the character of the boys against Mansfield because it takes character to keep doing that and not get bogged down, thinking they need to get the ball up the pitch. We make sure we're calm and composed and stick to the plan."
"It's a credit to the boys that they're putting their bodies on the line," said Ryan. "We've got Josh Grant back in the building now, Will Aimson is not far from being fit and the lads playing now know that they've got to keep performing. It starts from the front as well, we have the strikers working their socks off to make sure it doesn't come through the thirds. The holding midfield role is also very important for us and the goalkeeper as well. I can't praise the boys enough, they've been outstanding so far but we know we've got to keep performing to get to where we want to be."
On the subject of the strikers, Lowe added: "We've got to keep them level-headed, especially young Luke, help keep his feet on the ground because he was a little tired on Saturday. He's been ever so good for us, working his socks off, creating chances and scoring goals. As I said before, we need to make sure we look after him because he's a youngster. He's didn't get many chances on Saturday but we know he'll get in those positions, and Ryan's the same. Whoever plays up there, we know we will create chances and it's up to them to put the ball in the back of the net."
Lowe also rejected any suggestion he was closely following other results at this early stage in the season, suggesting Argyle focus purely on their own performances: "I can't sit there and jump for joy because Macclesfield were beating Crewe 1-0. Look what happened, Crewe scored in the last minute. I just try and be calm and collected with it. They have all still got 20 players to go, so have we, and we've just got to keep doing our work. Northampton were winning at one point and then ended up drawing. I looked at the scores when they finished but it is what it is. Teams will get help from others and we'll be the same, but we focus on us. We're in a good position at the moment but the easy part was getting there; the hardest part is staying there."
Niall Canavan was Argyle's hero in the home game against Stevenage and he spoke about adding more goals back into his game, something that had gone a little lacking in the early part of the season. Canavan said: "It's getting back to how I started out when I first started playing. I had quite a good record then. Sadly for me, it's been a long time between the first goal this year and the previous one on Saturday. It's nice to have a couple close together and hopefully there is a few more to come. It's something that I wanted to address and something that the gaffer and the staff have been on at me about. It's taken a while for me to get to what I feel is a rhythm and a return to confidence of going and attacking it. I'd always back myself if I know where the ball is going. If you put me one-on-one with pretty much anyone, I'd have a good chance of scoring. It's something that I've looked to bring back to my game, five goals per season is always a minimum I set myself if I'm playing regularly in the team – I'd back myself to pass that though. It was one of those where we were pushing and pushing, heads start to drop at other times, but I felt, in that game, that we would get one more chance," he said. "I didn't really think it would come to me, but like I said at the time, I was there on the spot and when it comes to you, you have to stick it away."
Ryan Lowe confirmed that Dom Telford is nearing full fitness again as Argyle's trip to Stevenage looms. He also gave a general fitness update on other players on the sidelines, saying: "He is fit and ready, and he will be available for Saturday. Tayls is probably a week away, he's out running on the grass. McFadzean is working with John and Will Aimson is grass-based as well. We won't rush them at all. We're lucky enough to have Dom back and up for selection on Saturday. He's the only one out of the group, we've just got to make sure we're doing the right things with them and I'm sure Dave and John will do that."
Lowe recently spent two days away from Home Park studying for his UEFA Pro License and spoke about the insight he received from listening to England boss Gareth Southgate talk about his own journey in coaching. Lowe said:"It was good, hard work and intense," said Ryan. "It was all about leadership and decision-making. It's great to meet the people and, when they're talking, you can't help but listen. Chris Hughton, a Premier League manager, talked about the decisions they had to make. On your course, there are a lot of managers and coaches from up and down the country. There are some big names and, on these courses, everyone is striving for excellence and I'm no different. I want to be the best I can be and the same goes for everyone on the course. Southgate spoke about where he has come from as a coach and how he failed in the past, to now become the England manager. He said he wouldn't change his time on anything. He was thrust into the job at Middlesbrough, then went away and learned. I think he did the Pro License in 2006 and he was brilliant. He was there for anyone on the course and said that if anyone needs any guidance, just pick up the phone. For me, as a manager at Plymouth Argyle, to know that you can pick up the phone to someone like Gareth Southgate is special."
Lowe also said that he will not let his enthusiastic approach allow him to take his foot off the gas as Argyle seek to constantly make the small changes they need to get themselves out of this league. Lowe said: "I enjoy the wins, don't enjoy the losses, but you can't get too high or too low because the next one is around the corner. We are always looking for the next one. An old Bury mate of mine text me to say 'is it just the next one', and I'll stick to that. There are 20 games left and we will keep level-headed. We are in good form and we have to make sure we keep pushing. It's harder when you're on form because you have to keep pushing and you can't get complacent. Even with the staff, we want to make sure we're striving for excellence, as well as the players. We've got to make sure we're all on the same page, tweaking little things here and there. You have to be on it every single day, so that when our lads see us, we're always enthusiastic and they can bring that to the table as well."
"When we're recruiting players, and talking about people like Joe Edwards, Byron Moore and George Cooper to an extent, they can play different positions. I remember when we signed Byron Moore, he asked where he was going to play, and I told him 'you'll play anywhere'. Joe Edwards mentioned in one of his press conferences that he can play in most positions, which is a good thing to have. I've said about the recruitment policy and when we're signing players, those are the things we're looking for."
With Argyle now moving more towards the business end of the season, Ryan Lowe re-affirmed his message of taking things one step at a time as they look towards the eventual aim of promotion. Lowe said: "We will keep ticking them off and more tough games coming up now against Stevenage, Crawley and Newport. They will be different types of games, they'll pose a different type of threat to us and we've got to be ready. We've got to do the work, which we will, and the lads will keep taking on instruction. We'll knock another ten out of the way and then we'll see where we are. With ten left, we'll see a bit of light at the end of the tunnel and that should make up our mind as to where we could possibly finish. Home form is going to be massive. The fans are with us, there was a bit of frustration at some points, but they're sticking by us and singing the songs. I think they're seeing now that when they stick with us, and it wasn't pretty for the first 15, 20, possibly minutes, we are better than that."
George Cooper added: "We've all got one aim, and that's to get promoted. Everyone knows that. We're up there now; we've got to stay there; and it's down to us to stay there. If we do, we'll have a good season. We had a good Christmas and, if we keep it going, a few teams will drop off and you can try and get away a bit. It's the best time to do it, then carry on and try to go on to the end of the season. In this league, on any day, anyone can beat anyone. It doesn't matter where you are in the table. It's just down to you to perform on the day and get the win. There are still loads of games left. We have just got to keep turning them over and getting the three points and then we'll see what happens. We are going into every game confident. If we play how we know we can play, which we didn't in the first half an hour, we know we'll be there or thereabouts."
Argyle may have beaten Mansfield 3-1 at Home Park but Ryan Lowe admitted he didn't enjoy the start to the game where Argyle were very far from their best. He said: "I didn't enjoy the first 30 minutes or so, especially the first 15, and then we sort of got a foothold. They have got one of the best strike-forces in the league, all quality players. We knew they were going to cause us a problem and they certainly did, but that's why we've got one of the best 'keepers in the league because he's kept them at bay. When we get the ball down and play the patterns of play, we're a good team, and we showed that in the second half. They will probably feel hard done by that they haven't gone in two or three goals up at half-time but I've been in that same situation as well, when we couldn't hit a barn door."
"The character and attitude was different class. We played too many long balls in the first half and Jeps doesn't want to be fighting with three centre-halves for aerial balls. I said to the lads that you've got to keep playing passing football. They pushed three lads up against us and sometimes you think 'shall I just play it in behind' but no, we've got the quality to play and that shone through in the end. If they believe they can do that at every opportunity, they will succeed. We've got to make sure we stick to the plan and we tried to do that in the first 10 or 15 minutes, but you have to give Mansfield credit. They got in a couple of times and one of the only teams that has tried to stop us playing. When you play a Graham Coughlan team five times, you obviously understand a little bit of how he can nullify us but it was the character of our lads to keep doing what we asked and persevering to get the goals."
Keeper Alex Palmer made several match saving stops, which naturally drew praise from Lowe personally. The manager added: "He is certainly one of them, the best in League Two. I think he's got the most clean sheets or certainly up there with the Crawley 'keeper as well. He's been terrific and he was just in two minds for their goal. He is learning all the time and will know next time whether to tip it over or catch it. He was disappointed with that but we're not. I said to him 'well done' at half-time and he was probably the only one I could say that too. The lads have possibly bailed him out and he's bailed them out as well. That's what he gets paid for and he's doing a good job."
On scoring centre-back Niall Canavan, Lowe added: "It was a great block on the line as well and he has been instrumental. I've been getting on his case to score more goals because of the size of him. We've worked on stuff in training to get Naz free and he's certainly done that of late. He has been solid as a rock, he makes us tick, he gets on the ball and makes us play. In the first 15 minutes when we couldn't get on the ball, he was probably going a little bit long because we didn't have many options but a little bit of tactical stuff at half-time allowed us to get on the ball. He's on the ball, people are rotating and moving, hence he can make that pass. He didn't have that pass in the first 15 minutes but the character of the boys was different class, along with Naz."
Lowe of course had further positive words for Ryan Hardie who scored his second in two games off the bench: "We've got to monitor him and make sure he is getting up to speed, but that what he gives you," said manager Ryan Lowe. "He gambles, he's fast and a galloper. Once he was in there and it came on to his left foot, he's got that composure, which we obviously want in front of goal. We knew when we signed him what he was going to give us and, at the moment, he's given us two goals in two games."
"George Cooper is playing in a false position, he's not a wing-back but he's doing ever so well for us and we appreciate that. He was a little bit tired toward the end and the last time we played against Mansfield, George ended up with a broken face and he's been terrific for us. He's got that quality where he can put the ball in and he's certainly doing that. All the players have been different class.
"Lads I am asking to make an impact from the bench have got to do it because there are others waiting. It's like with the starting 11 and if they're not performing, there is someone next in line waiting to take the shirt and they're all chomping at the bit. When you turn round and look at the bench, it looks a lot better."
Creative midfielder George Cooper has gained a reputation as Argyle's 'assist king' and the playmaker spoke about his unique role in this Argyle side, saying: "It's probably different for strikers but, for me, I'm there to create goals and, if I don't, I'm not doing my job. That's what I'm there to do – cross the ball and create chances. We should be scoring a few more, to be honest. They started off well; we didn't play our game but, as the game went on, we got well on top. They gave it their all for half an hour, then we controlled the game. We practice set-pieces and stuff in training to look for Naz around the back, and it paid off today. That could have changed the half-time team-talk a little bit, with a goal just before half-time. We were getting on top towards the end of the half, so we probably didn't want it to stop but, with getting the goal, it was good to get in and regroup. The amount of times we have played well and not won – it's all swings and roundabouts. Towards the end of the game, we deserved to win; we were comfortable; and we saw it through. We just play football. That's the way the gaffer wants us to play. If we keep playing the way he says, we are going to create chances, which we do a lot."
"The way we play, you do have to defend, but we're always on the attack and I don't mind playing there because I can get 1 v 1 and get crosses into the box and hopefully create chances. For the last year and a half, I haven't really played – I've probably started 15 games. When I had the chance to come here, I thought 'it's an unbelievable chance'. Now, I feel great. I'm loving it. I played a few games when I first came. Then I had a few weeks off, didn't really play, but the gaffer told me why and I just had to wait for my chance again. Now, I have just got to keep my shirt. In training, it's competitive. If you don't train well, you won't play on the Saturday."
Argyle youngsters Ryan Law and Tom Purrington have extended their loan deals at Truro and Dorchester respectively. Both have been at their loan clubs since August and are currently playing in the seventh tier of English football.
Argyle have wrapped up another League Two win, confirming the double over Mansfield with a 3-1 victory against Graham Coughlan's stags. After a tight first half, Naill Canavan put the greens into the lead shortly before half-time. An Antoni Sarcevic penalty doubled the lead. Mansfield reduced the deficit to one to make it a nervy finish but Ryan Hardie made it his second goal in two games from the bench in stoppage time to ensure the three points stayed in Devon. Argyle: Palmere, Wootton, Canavan, Sawyer, Bakinson, Edwards, Sarcevic, Mayor (J Grant), G Cooper(JV Grant), B Moore, Jephcott(Hardie). Subs: M Cooper, Riley, C Grant, Randell.
Meanwhile, Tafari Moore has almost certainly played his last game for Argyle following a loan move to Colchester that takes him up to the expiration of his contract at the end of this season. Moore has been unable to find any first team action for Argyle this season.
Ryan Lowe admitted that Argyle have turned down loanees from top quality Premier League clubs in order to further the development of Luke Jephcott in the Argyle side. Lowe did continue however to urge caution to Jephcott to keep both feet on the ground, saying: "We've said all along, when you're creating chances like we create, you just have to be in the right place and you will score goals. It's no coincidence Luke has done that but he's had to take those chances. He's been very confident and composed when they've come his way. We're very pleased with his attitude and he is like a new signing. Potentially, where we were looking at two new strikers, we've only got one because Luke has come back from Truro. That's what we want him to do and the credit has to go to Luke for his desire and commitment to get back in the team. He asked me a few weeks ago what else he needed to do and I just told him to keep doing what he was doing. He's in the team and the easy part is getting in the team. The hard part is staying in the team and he knows that, so he will keep his feet firmly on the ground because he's a level-headed kid and we won't put any distractions his way. He knows what is expected, so do all the players. There is only ever a couple who need an arm round them when things are not going so well but Luke is fine, there's no need to speak to him about anything. If he keeps getting in the right place at the right, keeping the ball for us and linking up play, he'll continue to score goals. We get offered 19, 20, 21 year-old kids every single day, but we want to use our own first. Just because they're from Liverpool or Chelsea, Man United or Arsenal, it doesn't mean they're better than what we've got."
Joe Edwards has added his take on Argyle's good run of recent form, adding that he thinks Argyle are now finally playing the kind of football they need to to win on a regular basis in League Two. Edwards said: "I feel like we started really well at the start of the season, playing good football and everyone was enjoying themselves, then we had a bit of a sticky patch in the middle where we didn't get the results we wanted. We probably weren't playing as well as we knew we could in that period, but I feel we're coming towards the other side of that now. Everyone's really enjoying it at the minute and we're playing some good stuff."
"It was difficult to play in the conditions we did. It can be a tough one when your travelling eight or so hours up to Carlisle, and it's pouring with rain and wind, and you could easily have an excuse almost, to maybe not put in the performance. Where we are as a team and with the management staff at the moment, that wasn't an option. The best way to play in the wind is to keep the ball on the floor, play out from the back through the thirds and I think we did that really well. It was one of our better performances of the season, so that was really pleasing. I think we've got a little bit of both at the moment. We've had games where we have won 1-0 away from home and had to dig deep, defend for our lives and show that side of the game. Then, there are games like the one against Carlisle, where I think we dominated and played our type of football in tough conditions to come away with a really good result."
Tyreeq Bakinson and Ryan Hardie's arrivals at Argyle have gone down a storm with manager Ryan Lowe, with the manager stating a general feeling of squad satisfaction. Lowe: "We knew Tyreeq would hit the ground running because he'd been with us a couple of weeks before, he'd trained a couple of times and he knew what type of football we wanted. We've worked with him and that was no luck. He has listened and learned about what we want. Ryan joined up with the team on the Thursday night [before Carlisle], had a training session on the Friday and we know what he can give us. He is rapid, he's got good ball-retention and he can sniff a goal out. We know what he's about and with those two players, and Josh coming back into the fold, we're very solid as a team at the moment. We've got no plans to make any more signings before the window closes but it does depend on whether people go out. We won't be looking to bring anyone in unless someone goes out. There are possibly some going out but we just have to wait on them, their agents and possibly finding another club."
As Argyle went on to prepare for their first home match in a few weeks, Lowe added: "We've been away on the road and it will be nice to get back to Home Park with the fans behind us. Everyone knows now our brand of football and what we're trying to do. We can't change, we can't go from back to front because that's not us, and we haven't recruited the players to do that. We need to get the ball on the floor and play good football, which we are doing. It was no coincidence we played the right way at Carlisle. The conditions were tough but it is what it is. It's a ball, it's grass, it's 11v11 and, as long as we're the better team, then I fancy us to beat most teams."
"I've said before that you become a good team, then a very good team and hopefully you become an excellent team. When you become an excellent team, you should then see light at the end of the tunnel. We're not getting too carried away. We're playing the right brand of football, the right style of football, we're creating chances and keeping the ball out of our net. We're scoring goals and we want to be hard to beat all over the country, wherever we go. Whether it's at home or at Carlisle, we want to make sure we're hard to beat and we're certainly doing that."
Lowe also spoke about the role he has played in bringing youngsters into the team at Argyle, following the return of Klaidi Lolos to the squad. Lowe mused: "You only have to look at my record at Bury and I think it was eight kids I gave their professional debuts. It's important they take on instruction and they work hard. I've seen one of the young guys this morning at 8.15am and he lives 40 minutes away, so he must have left home just after 7.30. He's a second-year apprentice trying to make it as a footballer and that's what it has to mean to you. We're big with the Academy and a lot of kids have got talent. Unfortunately, nowadays, a lot of kids don't have the attitude but if you have got that and the application, you've got every chance."
"Lolos has certainly got the potential because he does things that make you go 'wow', but he needs to do the other side as well. He needs to work hard 24/7, he needs to do extra sessions, he needs to work his socks off because, when you've got Gary Sawyer at 34 and probably one of the fittest in the team, you've got to look at that. Lolos is starting to do that now because we've told him. I said to him last week when we trained at Wigan, 'don't be foolish, you're on the bench for the first-team tomorrow [at Carlisle], give yourself the best opportunity'. He's scoring goals now and we want him to work his socks off. If it's two sessions or three sessions a day, whatever it is to show me you're doing well and working hard for yourself and the team, then he's got every chance. There were glimpses [on Tuesday] and he's got bundles of talent but what does Zlatan Ibrahimovic say: 'hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard'. He is trying, bless him, and we do run him into the ground."
Lowe went on to give the latest treatment room update on Argyle's injured players. He said: "Tayls has come out of that slipper he was wearing, so he's alright now and doing some jogging. Dom Telford is training with John Lucas, him and McFadzean. Telford will start full training on Monday and will be back and available for Stevenage. McFadzean will probably be 10 days away from him. Will Aimson is looking at probably the first week in February and Tayls will be anytime in the next two weeks."
Ryan Lowe praised an 'outstanding' performance as Argyle continued to climb League Two with their victory over Carlisle. He said: "We want outstanding performances, not that we can get them every week, but that's our aim," said Ryan. "The lads showed an attitude and application out there today. Coming to Carlisle is a tough place to come, especially for us travelling all that way. The application of the boys, the passing accuracy, chances created was enjoyable to watch. We've been putting work into the boys with their passing accuracy, taking time with their passing, not just steaming up the pitch and trying to score all the time. You maybe have to make one extra pass and lend it to people, which they did today. They've taken instruction from what we've worked on all week, which is pleasing. Our passing completion was very good and so was the pass selection. It was very pleasing, three goals away and should have been four or five."
"We said on New Year's Day that we wanted to have a better 2020. We want to make 2020 a better year for all of us, generate more points and get to where we want to be. It is pleasing but still a long way to go, we're a work in progress, as I'll keep saying, but to come away to Carlisle and win 3-0 is very pleasing. Football will have ups and downs, and we're on a bit of crest of the wave at the moment, long may that continue. All the stuff that has happened before our era, we can't control, but it's nice for the fans when they say 'we haven't won here for this long and so on'. All we worry about is what we have to do on the day. We've come away to Carlisle, scored three goals and it could have been more."
Lowe also had positive words for the green army, after he agreed to buy breakfast for all those supporters leaving at an unholy hour on the official supporters coach, saying: "The were different class. It cost me a few quid but it was worth it and a thank-you from me, my players and the staff. What a shift they've put in. They've travelled the length of the country and they've got to travel the length back. That win was for the Argyle fans because it is something special to travel all that way. Not many teams come here with two or three hundred, so to have over 500 here was fantastic. They've gone that extra mile and when they put their hard-earned money into following us, we need to make sure we put on a show for them. They'll keep backing us, supporting us and long may that continue. I do get carried away at times because you're concentrating on the game, then they're singing your name and it's the hairs standing up on the back of your neck. They're appreciative of us and we're appreciative of them. When you get a performance like we did at Carlisle, it's brilliant to send the fans home with a smile. It makes the win more pleasing with the distance they've travelled."
As ever, Lowe had some praise for specific players, saying first of Tyreeq Bakinson:"Tyreeq is a machine in there. His passing accuracy was very good, he's always available, breaking up play and certainly looks the part. We've had Tyreeq in for a while and it's testament to the work we do away from the football pitch. We've got a good recruitment team behind us, with Neil Dewsnip heading that. Me and Schuey go and watch the players, Schuey had watched Tyreeq quite a bit before we even got him in. I then watched him and we know we want the characters, we want the footballers. He is a loan player from Bristol City and he's going to be a quality player for them in the future. We knew that when we were signing him and Ryan Hardie is the same. We've got a long way to go but, from back to front, right the way through the pitch, they're all taking on instruction and the way we want them to play."
Lowe went on to explain Josh Grant's absence from the Argyle side: "He's got a little bit of a niggle, so he's gone back to Chelsea because we felt, with all the paperwork done, he wasn't fit to play and Dave Galley said he'll be alright next week. He'll join back with us on Tuesday and be fit and ready to go. None of the lads are guaranteed a place and I've said to the boys from the start of the season 'if you get in the team, stay in the team'. The ones who have been consistent performers, like Sarcevic, Danny Mayor, the back three, Alex in goal, they're keeping their places. Josh is a fantastic pro and a good lad. He knows what it will take to get back in the team and Josh can play anywhere across the back three, as well as in the midfield. I feel we've got great options now."
Zak Rudden, having been confirmed to have played his final game for the club before the trip to Cumbria, gave a final pep talk to his Argyle teammates before heading back to Rangers. Lowe said of the young forward: "He has been different class. He stayed with us on Thursday night and he's contributed for us. He's a great lad, stayed with us on Thursday and had great banter with the lads. We thank Rangers for loaning him to us and he's given us a lot. I think he's become a young man now. He moved all the way down here without his family and it was fantastic for him to commit to that. I said to him this would be the best loan move you ever make because it will make you into a player. He gave the lads a little pep talk and fair play to him. He's a good lad, good character and we wish him well."
Finally, Lowe raved once more on the art of finishing after two more goals from young prodigy Luke Jephcott gave Argyle the decisive two goal lead in the game. Lowe said: "I am delighted for him but he's still got a long way to go. He won't get carried away and I was tempted to take him off, but he was on a hat-trick. He's doing everything we ask him to do, he's in the right place at the right time, he's getting hold of the ball, linking up play when he has to and working hard as well. When you put all that together, you will get goals. I want people who are going to score goals and Luke's doing that at the moment, Ryan's come on for his debut and scored. Joel Grant and Dom Telford have scored, all the lads have contributed. It's a team effort and a team game."
"I always say to the lads it's about making runs and top players don't often score those type of goals. Ian Rush scored most of his goals from inside the six-yard box and they say they're the best ones. Ian Wright used to say the goals from inside the six-yard box are the best ones to finish and I followed suit. As a forward, you say 'thank-you, I'll have that'. It's about being in the right place at the right time. A lot of footballers want to come out and try a fancy flick, but just be in the right place for your mate. They're the easiest ones and the best ones."
Striker Ryan Hardie scored within just 4 minutes of coming on for Argyle and was delighted by his quickfire introduction to the green army. Hardie reflected: "It was four minutes after I came on, I was just happy to get on the pitch and seeing the way the team were playing, they created lots of chances. I was eager to get on and, thankfully when I got on, I got the goal. I've just peeled off the centre-half and he has laid me in. There was a gap and I've hit it early before the 'keeper could set himself. It was just a great feeling to score a goal again. I said to Jephcott as soon as I went on to try and get your hat-trick. I'm as happy to see anybody else score as I am myself. When the chances are there, whoever is playing up front will always get a chance to score. I was eager to get on and the team were creating loads of chances, I knew when I got on, if there's a chance, then there's always a good chance I'll score. I think what convinced me most is the manager said we create 22 chances a game, so if I get 22 chances a game, I'm going to score a few goals. It's great to work under an ex-striker as well, he can help me out and take me to the next level, hopefully."
Argyle made it two away wins on the bounce with a stunning victory at Carlisle for their longest away game of the season. Luke Jephcott continued his spellbounding run of form with two goals to put Argyle into a two goal lead by shortly after half-time. Sub Ryan Hardie had a dream debut, making it 3 from the bench. Argyle's march towards the top 3 continued. Argyle: Palmer, Wootton, Canavan, Sawyer, Bakinson, Edwards(Riley), Sarcevic(C Grant), Mayor, G Cooper(Hardie), B Moore, Jephcott. Subs: M Cooper, Randell, JV Grant, Lolos.
Josh Grant has rejoined Argyle on a further loan deal until the end of the season. Ryan Lowe hinted that Argyle may be looking to make the deal permanent given time, saying: "We are delighted to have Josh back on loan with a view to making the deal permanent."
Lowe stated his hope that Argyle can continue their path towards being an excellent side by being a little more clinical in the box. Lowe explained: "The shots and the expected goals are up and down because of where you're shooting from and where you get your chances from. We want to be a bit more clinical, like we were last weekend. If you can get that clinical edge and start scoring two or three goals, it's going to make games a lot easier. It's credit to the boys, credit to the staff and myself. It's nice that we get recognised for the little runs you go on. We've always said that we'll become a good team, then a very good team and hopefully an excellent team. We're on the road to winning a lot more games than we're losing. Winning your home games is very important but also winning away games. If you can pick up points away from home, it can lead you to somewhere special. When you're winning games of football and we're coming through a period of nine points out of 12, possibly could have been more, the lads are chomping at the bit to keep ticking the games off. We've got Saturday to Saturday for a couple of weeks and then the midweek games kick-in again."
Alex Palmer also expressed his view that Argyle have now found the perfect balance as the impressive run of form continues. The loanee opined: "The further the ball stays away from me the better. We're playing well, in a good run of form but we've got to carry that on. We need to show everyone we can be consistent and pick up results, like the Scunthorpe one where we had to dig deep. We've got some experienced lads, who have been around different clubs. They know how to play against different opposition. As long as we play to our strengths and we play how we know we can, we'll be alright generally everywhere we go. We've got experience, we know how to play. The gaffer and coaching staff tell us every team's strengths and weaknesses. Each week, we go into the games with different game plans. It was always going to come, I think we've found a decent balance of playing attacking football and keeping it solid at the back. That's obviously going to be a massive benefit for us because then we can play tough teams away and get the points that we need to. At home, we can play on a good surface in front of a good crowd and play our type of football a little bit more. When we go away from home, I think it's about digging in deep, playing our brand of football but also trying to get a result."
"Carlisle away this weekend, another tough game away from home we need to go there, put in a good performance and pick up three points because it's a long way to go to not do that. We don't take any opposition lightly, we've got to perform how we can, it doesn't matter the opposition, as long as we're on it we'll be good enough."
Regarding his own future, Palmer added: "It's good for me, it's what I've been after for a couple of years and now I'm finally playing regularly. I think I'm on 27 games now, the season's ticking away, I'm getting the games that I need to and it's helping me. If it's helping Plymouth Argyle on the way, then it's more the merrier. It's something that I've always tried to work on, I don't think that you can ever be so good that you don't have to work on it. With Rhys and Coops, we do a little bit every day. It's a massive part of the game nowadays, and if you're not good at it you get found out. Obviously i've been out on loan before, but I think the main thing I'm learning is how to manage yourself. Not doing too much, but enough to make sure you're well prepared because there's a lot of games."
"I feel like I'm a Plymouth Argyle player at the moment. I'm from West Brom, but at the moment, I'm down here playing regularly as well. I've just got to focus on that. If you just start thinking Ii'm a West Brom player' then you can isolate yourself a bit. I'm happy down here at the moment, enjoying myself. As long as West Brom stay in touch with me then I've got something to fall back on. I go in and see the lads on days off sometimes, so I'm still around it. We'll do our best to finish where we want to be. It's great for me to be playing in front of 15,000 fans, such a good fanbase and a style of football that potentially the top teams in League One or the Championship are playing, so it's going to benefit me. Like the gaffer said, we want to play the right stuff, so it's only going to benefit others as well."
Ryan Lowe has bolstered his squad with the addition of former Rangers striker Ryan Hardie on loan from Blackpool until the end of the season. The 22 year old forward will wear the number 18 shirt at Home Park. The previous wearer of that number, Billy Clarke, has left to pursue opportunities elsewhere. Lowe said of Clarke's brief tenure: "Billy is a number 10. He came in and did fantastic for us but I don't play with a number ten. He's been a makeshift striker at times, so we've allowed Bill to move on. His contract was until next week but we've agreed to terminate it for his benefit because he is signing for another League Two club and we couldn't stand in his way. He's a good pro, good lad and we wish him all the best. It's closer to home and he's got three kids as well. He's been ultra-professional, chomping at the bit to get in and he's done ok when he did get in. We've helped him out with a short-term contract and he's now fit and ready to play for the team he's going to sign for."
Lowe shared his hopes of bringing another familiar face back to Home Park, that of loanee Josh Grant from Chelsea. Lowe said: "We're in negotiations with Josh and we're still speaking to him. I'll always say it, we've got to respect the parent club and Josh. There's every chance he could be with us for the weekend. He might not travel with us today and we know what Josh is about. We're happy to have him and, if he comes, we'll be delighted. We've offered him a long-term contract but we have to wait on Chelsea. We just want to get it done and if we have to borrow him again with a view to a permanent deal, that's fine. It's sort of out of our hands at the moment and down to Chelsea and Josh. He knows we want him here and that's all we can do."
He did note however, what a good job Tyreeq Bakinson did in the holding role deputising for Grant: "We make sure we look for these quality players that we feel can come in and suit us and hit the ground running. Tyreeq was with us a couple of weeks before he signed, to have a look at the place, get a feel for me and the staff, and the players. We've seen that in training and you don't play for Bristol City for nothing. He's a quality player and for us to have him on loan is a big plus because he can do all those things."
"We've offered Tafari Moore a pay-up to release him from his contract. It's more for Taf's benefit really. He's got ability, we know that, but we feel that rather than training with the kids, he needs to go and play some games. We've advised him to take the settlement and move on."
Finally, Lowe noted shared recognition in response to his nomination for another manager of the month award. He said: "I'm the manager, so everything lies with me, but I share it out. "Steven Schumacher is doing a fantastic job as assistant manager, Kevin Nancekivell is doing a fantastic job as my first-team coach. We've got John Lucas as fitness coach, Jimmy Dickinson the analyst, Rhys Wilmot the goalkeeping coach, the medical team, Neil Dewsnip behind the scenes. It's great and these are things that just come along when you're doing well. There are plenty of good managers in there, who are being recognised for the same thing. You win them, you lose them, but to be recognised is nice and shows the work we're doing. We won't get carried away, we'll continue to do our work and hopefully that gets us where we want to go."
Ryan Lowe has been nominated for the manager of the month post again, having also been put up for the award in November. He will be hoping the Greens good form will prove enough to win the December award
Ryan Lowe was overjoyed with a fantastic team effort to see Argyle climb back to winning ways in League Two with the convincing win in Scunthorpe. He said: "I was disappointed because of the loss against Swindon but not disappointed with the way the lads applied themselves. They were on the floor because they knew it was a big opportunity to beat the team top of the league. I knew I would get a reaction. You're never guaranteed three points but the way our lads were over the last few days, and the disappointment, it showed in their performance. It goes down to the hard work behind the scenes, not just me and the staff, everyone associated with the club, and the players, first and foremost, because it's not possible without them. I've said all along that we're a work in progress and, when they put their bodies on the line like that, they take a lot of the credit. It's always important to get three points on the road, we've got this one and then Carlisle next week. We'll plan properly, make sure the lads get a bit of time off. I've got no questions on my players' desire and what they're giving us. They're working hard and they want it as much as the fans and everyone else."
He did of course reserve some praise for specific players, not least young striking star Luke Jephcott, who he recalled to the team to score a brace. Lowe: "We had a debate about starting Luke when we brought him back and we gave him the opportunity in training on Friday. He's been different class and still trained with us when he wasn't at Truro. He's learnt, he's listened and why wouldn't we give him a chance. He's gone away to Truro, at a different level, but he's scored plenty of goals. It's what we've been missing, so we thought 'let's get him back in the building'. It's a small pitch and we felt we could down the side of their centre-halves with a bit of movement, and Jeph's got that. If we're going to bring him back, let's throw him in. It's still going to be tough for him and his fitness blew up after 60 minutes because he ran his socks off, but fair play, it's a credit to him. I said to the boys to look after him and it's a sign of a good team to get round a youngster coming in and making his debut. We've been wanting that from all the strikers and I've said to all of them 'make sure that's a lesson learned'. A youngster has come back from loan and a 19 year-old has put the ball in the back of the net. The credit goes to Luke Jephcott for everything. He's gone away to Truro, worked his socks off at that level and come back today to score two goals."
On Tyreeq Bakinson, he added: "We've known Ty and what he's about. He came in and trained with us, and he's a quality player. We've got him from Bristol City and we're appreciative of that because he's a top-quality player. For them to lend us him for the latter part of the season, as we've seen, the performance was different class. I said to Byron 'you're playing up front', and he said he's been enjoying playing at wing-back. I felt he'd looked a bit tired and, as a striker, he's fast and he peels off. We do things for a reason and I've got a fantastic group of lads, who are putting their bodies on the line and playing with their hearts on their sleeves. That's what I want because, if you look at all the best teams, look at the work-rate they give you. You can have quality but without work-ethic, you don't get anything, and my lads certainly have that."
Lowe also disclosed that Argyle have offered a contract to former loan star Josh Grant whose deal has currently expired and is back at parent club Chelsea. Lowe revealed that he has been given time to mull over the decision: "Josh's loan finished on Thursday and we've offered him a contract. We have to respect Josh's decision, he's happy with everything we've done but he's been at Chelsea since the age of six. To come from Chelsea to Plymouth Argyle is something he has to make a decision on and we felt we should give him a bit of time. We respect Josh's decision and wanted to give him the weekend to think it over. We're confident he's going to commit his future to us but we have to make sure we give him time because it's a big decision. He's been at Chelsea since he was a baby, so we've let him go away with his family to make that decision."
"We're not just going to sign anyone for the sake of it and, as I've said before, one or two might move on because they're not getting enough game-time, and one or two loans are up. We're always in the market for whatever comes our way but it has to be the right one. Sometimes, whether it's one, two or three coming in, we've got a squad and if someone goes, we have to replace them. It's just spinning plates. Everyone knows we're in the market for a striker still, you have to be, but we will do our work behind the scenes."
Jephcott himself had his say on the memorable win, describing his two goals. He enthused: "I got the call on Wednesday saying that they wanted me to come back. I had to come back, sign some papers and then they said I was going straight back into the squad, but I didn't know I was starting until Friday. We were in training and I was a bit surprised when he [gaffer] said I was starting. It is an unbelievable feeling, there is no better feeing than scoring your first and second goals in the league. I have been waiting for this day and there is no better feeling than scoring. I just got myself in the area. Before the game, they were saying 'get yourself in the box and put it on your foot' and that's exactly what I did, and it's set me off nicely."
"It was a great ball in from Coops and before the game, I got told to get myself between the posts and score, and that's what I did."
"As strikers, that's what we get told to do. If the shot is there, we have got to follow it in and that's what I did and, gladly, I scored. I'm glad he called me back and had the confidence to put me back in straight away. I hope that I have repaid that. Ultimately, it is up to the gaffer who plays but I think I have put myself in a good position."
Argyle returned to winning ways in League Two with a cracking win at Scunthorpe United, courtesy of a shock recall of Luke Jephcott to the Argyle starting eleven. He took the lead with a real poacher's finish early on in the game before Byron Moore added a second. Jephcott got his second and Argyle's third later in the game. A consolation for the hosts was not enough to bring the result into doubt. Argyle: Palmer, Wootton, Canavan, Sawyer, Bakinson, Edwards, Sarcevic, Mayor, G Cooper (C Grant), B Moore (JV Grant), Jephcott (Clarke). Subs: M Cooper, Riley, Randell, Rudden,
Argyle confirmed their first signing of the year with Tyreeq Bakinson joining on loan from Bristol City until the end of the season. Bakinson, one in a long line of Argyle signings from the Bristol club, most recently got promotion to League One on loan at Newport last season. He will wear the number 14 shirt whilst a Pilgrim.
Whilst Alex Fletcher and Mike Peck extended their loan spells at Tiverton Town by 28 days, Luke Jephcott will return to the Argyle first team set up after a successful spell at Truro City. Lowe spoke of how the young Welshman grabbed his opportunity with both hands and has deserved his recall. Lowe explained: "Luke's been terrific. We sent him out on loan to get some game-time because we felt he wasn't going to get it with the strikers we had here. He's gone to Truro and been one of their best players. Paul Wotton's played him. I think he's had 10-11 goals and he's had plenty of assists. They are starting to call him a goal-machine now. Thanks to Truro, Tayls is not quite fit yet. We felt that it is what the kid deserves – if you go out on loan and score goals, it's what you deserve because that's what I sent him out to do," he said. He's done everything I've asked him to do – he's gone out; he's got his head down; he's got fitter, stronger; scored goals. So, it's reward for Luke's hard work and dedication, what he's done to try to get back into the Argyle team. He'll travel with the boys on Saturday. We sent all of our youngsters out on loan and we said: 'You're not going out on loan just for me to get rid of you, otherwise I'd just cut you short and get rid of you'. That's not the case; the case is 'go out; make sure we know what you're doing.' So, it is a message to the rest of the lads that are out on loan that we do monitor you; when you do go out, you've got to do the work. Luke's certainly done that, so fair play to him."
After a number of missed chances that cost Argyle the win against Swindon on New Year's Day, Ryan Lowe spoke about the importance of good movement and good finishing if Argyle are to hope to progress up through the leagues. Lowe said: "We work on it every day and I don't need to talk about movement or patterns of play because that is evident to see. What's not evident is someone putting the ball in the back of the net, which is not happening often enough. The lads know that and they're disappointed, but someone needs to step up to the plate because that's what we will fall short on if they don't. We will get back on the training ground, back to work and go again. We worked on stuff for Sarce to run off their midfielders and he got in some great positions, almost too good. Sometimes, when you've got time to think, they're the hardest ones. The ones that come quick and natural can be easier. There is no blame on Sarce, he's been excellent for us and got in good positions. On another day, he scores two. He's disappointed but we lift him up, and you've got to be in there to score. We're getting in there, just not scoring at the moment. I'm pleased that they're doing it but I'll be even more pleased when they start hitting the back of the net a bit more often. The style of play I want means we will always create chances but we have to go on a little run of scoring.
"It's no secret, we know what we're looking for and there is no way I'm going to have a pop at my defenders or the 'keeper for not keeping the ball out of the net because they've been phenomenal. They're waiting for a bit of a chill-out time at the back when the goals are going in. We know what we need, what we want and I'm pleased that we keep playing the style of football. Will someone pop up with 10 or 15 goals between now and the end of the season?"
While the challenge is set for Argyle's current crop of forward players to start finding the net more often over the second-half of the campaign, Ryan also the option of bringing in fresh firepower in the January transfer window.
"The rest of the leagues are looking for that and it's hard," he said. "We've got a recruitment policy in place and we've had loads of names, but it's about the right one. I've got to go for someone who is proven in scoring, whether that's in under-23s football or in the league, but every team is the same.
"It's got to fit what I want and it's alright saying we'll just go and pluck a lad from the Conference who is scoring goals – is he going to do that in league football? We've got to make sure we get the right one."
Ryan Lowe bemoaned one split second that cost Argyle the game against leaders Swindon Town. Lowe spoke of an element of luck, saying: "It's disappointing, we were very good in the first half and got a good goal. We could have had the game wrapped up at half-time but you can't leave the best striker in the division alone in the box. It was good movement and probably hits his shin to go in, but I'm overall pleased with the way we played, pleased that we kept creating chances but we needed someone to take that chance and put it in the net. We're disappointed with the result because, at one stage, I felt there was only team that going to win it and I think they felt the same, but you've got to be on the mettle for 96 minutes. We took our eye off Eoin Doyle for a split-second and good movement caused them to win the game. Overall, I'm proud of the boys, it's two losses in eight games, we're in good form and we'll pick ourselves up to go again."
Dom Telford was subbed off shortly after giving Argyle the lead in their New Year clash. Lowe went on to explain why: "We don't know yet, he felt his hamstring and we took him off. I tell the boys to not be a hero and stay on. It's early doors, so we don't know yet. We've got a bond with all the players and they speak to us, open and honest. Dave's had a look at him, he felt nothing go, just felt a bit tight. We'll have to address that and see how it is. He looked lively, scored a good goal and you're thinking 'go on son, go and get a couple more'. I feel that, if he'd had a couple more chances, he probably would have scored, but it's all ifs and buts."
Argyle lost their first game of the 20s, going down 2-1 to Swindon Town at Home Park. The greens did take the lead early on in the fixture courtesy of a Dominic Telford header but an even game saw the visitors grab an equaliser shortly after. The division's top goalscorer, Eoin Doyle, nabbed a late winner for the Robins to see them consolidate their place at the top of the league. Argyle: Palmer, Wootton, Canavan, J Grant, Edwards, B Moore, Sarcevic, C Grant(Mayor), G Cooper, Telford (Clarke), JV Grant(Rudden). Subs: M Cooper, Riley, Sawyer, Randell.
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