A Round-up of Argyle News
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Greens on Screen's Daily Diary is a compilation of Argyle news, with help from these and other Argyle-related sites.
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Also included on the three most recent days, facts from Argyle's history.
Argyle have now agreed two of their fixtures for this summer's pre-season schedule. Argyle will visit Weymouth (for whom youngster Jamie Richards and Isaac Vassell have spent a few months on loan this season) on Saturday July the 19th. We will then go on to visit relegated Devon rivals Torquay three days later on Tuesday July 22nd.
The Argyle end of season awards night, due to be held next Sunday, has been cancelled due to lack of interest. The event became financially unviable and the club have decided to call it off.
Luke McCormick has agreed to extend his stay at Argyle. The Pilgrims’ goalkeeper has put pen to paper on a two-year extension to his current deal that will see him remain at Home Park until the summer of 2016. “I am absolutely delighted,” said Luke, who rejoined Argyle last summer on a season-long contract. Once I knew that Argyle wanted me to stay, there was no decision for me to make. This is home for me; it is my club.” Luke played 26 of the Argyle's first 27 League matches before fracturing and dislocating a finger in February’s 2-1 home victory over Mansfield Town. He is still recuperating from the injury. He said: “The season ended earlier for me than I would have liked obviously. But everything is going well and I am determined to come back fitter and stronger and help the club push back up to where it deserves to be. I think I have got a lot more to give. There’s definitely more to come from me, and I am already looking forward to next season when I can show that.”
Jason Banton left it to the Pilgrims’ last home game of the season to give the Green Army a full-on reminder of his undoubted talents, opening the scoring with a superb individual goal against Hartlepool United. "I picked the ball up and looked to pass it at first, but didn’t really see anything on so I just drove at the defence and got my shot off. Thankfully, it went in.” Jason’s goal celebrations included a hug for Argyle Performance Manager John Harbin, who has helped him after his move back to Home Park, after a potent loan spell in the second half of last season, became a little hard going. “We have worked a lot together, and I have definitely got lot to thank him for,” said Jason, “just getting my head right. Being an attacking forward player and with what I did last season, coming back and it not happening straight away, it is tough mentally. We are humans, as well as footballers so it is tough, but John helped me, humbled me and kept going. I have not been letting it get to me, just worked hard in training and slowly getting back to it. The season is coming to an end but, hopefully, it will be a kick-start for next season. There was always going to be the expectation, but that was just fantasy. I’ve taken things slowly into my stride and it’s just unfortunate there is only one more game to go.” That game is a Dockyard Derby at Fratton Park next Saturday, when Argyle will achieve their best league finish for ten seasons. Despite that, and despite nearly becoming extinct three seasons ago, there is a real feeling around Home Park that it should have been so much better. “We have let ourselves down over the last eight or nine games,” said Jason, “but, overall, compared to the last few we seasons, when we have been fighting relegation, even though we are disappointed not to be in the play-offs, we are happy we are not down there this year. You look at the stadium, the fans – 100% we should be higher than where we are. Hopefully we can put that right next season. We’re looking to go to Portsmouth next week, get the three points, dust ourselves down and come back in the summer, ready to go.”
Gary Owers has left his position as first-team coach at Argyle to pursue other opportunities within the game. The club thanked Gary for his contribution during his time at Home Park.
John Sheridan has cited Argyle legend Paul Wotton as the sort of player he will be looking to add to his squad this summer. The manager has made it no secret that he plans to bring in fresh faces over the summer, to help give his side more grit and aggression, which he reiterated following the Hartlepool Match: "I have known lots and lots of players - who I have played with and against - who on the pitch, are totally different than they are off the pitch, and we need that," said John. "You don't have to be the best player to be vocal. We are very quiet, and I have seen it again today - very very quiet." One player on the club's books who personifies passion and resilience is the man who has racked up 490 appearances in an Argyle shirt: Paul Wotton. The veteran is a leader in the dressing room, and the manager sees him as the perfect example of what any incoming players should be all about. Said Shez: "I need a few Wottons; just that drive and determination, and you become a different player when you are on the pitch. Even top players make mistakes, so I have just got to get a bit of character on the pitch - like a Paul Wotton."
John has also been looking towards his target for next season and his minimum expectation is to get out of League 2 - and feels he must improve as a manager to make it happen. "I want nothing less than the playoffs," said John. "We have improved a lot, but next season will be really big for us, and for me as a manager, and we have got to get out of the division. We all want to improve, and whatever changes I make are hopefully going to help us improve on this season, and if we do that, we will have a chance of getting out of the league." Whilst Shez will be doing all he can to bring in signings and improve the players he currently has at his disposal, the gaffer will also knows that the pressure is on to improve himself as a manager. "I will look at what I can learn from this season, look at where things have gone wrong, and make sure I do it properly next season," he said. "I'm going to make some tough decisions, and that's my job. I have got to improve on what we have done this season, and I have got to be ready. It is clear that I have got to be in the playoffs, and I look at myself and know I have got to improve on this season. I can't finish eighth or ninth, I have got to finish in the top seven."
With Reuben Reid having been at Home Park for the best part of a year and a half, it is easy to forget that, while he will always be a Pilgrim, he is not an Argyle player. Such is the affection in which the 25-year-old Bristolian is held by the Green Army that he became the first loan player to win the Player of the Year Award, which he received before Saturday’s match against Hartlepool United. After next weekend’s Dockyard Derby finale at Portsmouth, the 20-goal striker will return to his parent club, Yeovil, and an uncertain future, with his Huish Park contract up in the summer. John Sheridan and team-mate Jason Banton, scorer against Pools, both paid tribute to Reuben, who is the first Pilgrim for 21 seasons to score 20 goals in a campaign. John said: “He has had a good season, obviously, with 20 goals – and he possibly should have even had more. You always need someone who is going to score 20 a season and, usually when I have had strikers, they have done that. Reuben is his own man; he still does things that I think he should do a lot better for him to step up, if he wants to. He has still got lots of things in his game I think he needs to improve on – that is just me being honest, and I have told Reuben that – but 20 goals is really good for him. I have had a lot of harsh words with Reuben, and I think I have given him a kick up the backside, and I think he has responded well.” Jason said: “Goals always lift players. Whether you are a defender, forward or a midfielder, scoring a goal is the greatest feeling and always leads to confidence, as you can see with Reuben this season. I’m happy for Rubes. He has scored a lot of goals and got us to where we are, really. I do hope he stays on next season. That’s down to the player and the club. It’s got to be right for the player and the club, but hopefully that’s the outcome next season.”
Argyle could only manage a 1-1 draw their final home match of the season against Hartlepool United. The match was on its way to being a winning one, as Jason Banton opened the scoring with a brilliant individual with half an hour gone. Whilst in control of proceedings, the Greens were unable to extend the lead their lead, and were punished when Jack Barmby capitalised on a defensive error from Durrell Berry in the 67th minute. Argyle: Cole, Blanchard, Trotman, Nelson, Berry, Gurrieri, Young, Hourihane, Boco (Harvey), Banton (Alessandra), Showunmi (Reid). Substitutes (not used): Blizzard, Thomas, Purrington, Dawson.
John Sheridan was disappointed with Argyle’s draw with Hartlepool United, and believed his side should have won the game. Despite promotion now being out of reach, the manager put out a strong, attacking side, and following the game, a despondent Shez felt his side should have come away with all three points. Said John: “Obviously, I would have liked to win the game, for everyone but especially the supporters – and I thought we were going to win the game. I thought we played well in patches, and tried to pass the ball around on a beautiful pitch, in lovely conditions to play football in. Then – again – we did what we have done so many times this season: getting on the back foot for no reason, and then everything just went flat. I would have liked to win. Everyone is down and pretty flat. I put a team out to try and win the game, but unfortunately we did not, so it’s a shame.” Sheridan was, however, very pleased with the quality on display when Banton curled home his first goal of the season, and believes the forward can once again become an integral part of his squad. It was a good goal, and hopefully he can keep doing that,” said John. “Once he gets settled in the team, we know he can do that, and that’s the type of goal he was scoring when he was here last season. Next season he has got to build, get stronger, get a better work-ethic to his game, and he will be a really good player for us.” With one game left of their League 2 campaign, Argyle now sit ninth in the table. The draw ends a run of three straight home defeats, and whilst the gaffer could take positives from his side’s performance, improvements still need to be made. He said: “I look at us when we have got the ball but I am looking around to see who is prepared for when we have not got the ball and make mistakes, and we do switch off." John continued: “We have got possession of the ball in their half, then 20 seconds later you give the ball away - we are putting ourselves on the back foot. You have got to get those people who see the pictures before the event.”
Argyle's plans for next season are on hold while they take care of 2013-14’s business. Not until after their final game of the League 2 campaign at Portsmouth on May 3rd – never mind this Saturday’s visit of Hartlepool United to Home Park – will manager John Sheridan reveal his decisions regarding the Pilgrims’ squad for next season. “It’s a difficult time for me to tell people ‘you’re not getting a new contract’, or ‘you’re getting a new contract’,” he said, after Easter Monday’s third successive defeat – at home to Wimbledon – finally ended any lingering play-off aspirations. “What decisions I make are purely to make us stronger for next season, and the players will know that when I chat with them, but we’ve still got two games to go so I want to stay focused on the two games. Those decisions will come – some won’t be nice decisions and some will hopefully be positive. I’ve always said I’ve got a good group of players here – not a bad one amongst them – and they’ve done well for me this season. I want to give them the chance to rectify the finish we’ve had. They’re hurting as well as everyone else.” Argyle end the season at the ground of the only League 2 team that has seen higher home crowds than Home Park this season, and John feels the lure of playing at Home Park could be a help in a summer recruitment-drive to add some old heads to his squad. He said: “When you’ve got an experienced player, I think it’s just going to give you a little bit more consistency; younger players are going to be in and out; that’s how they learn the game. If you want the experienced ones, who you know are going to do well at this level, it is difficult because usually they’ve got a family and, if they move, they’re going to uproot. It all depends on where you’re trying to get the player from but, usually, they have to relocate, which is very hard for an experienced player. If I’m a player, I’d want to play at Plymouth or Portsmouth, because of the ground; because of the pitch; because of the fans. I think they’ll look at Plymouth and think Plymouth done alright this season. A lot of teams and a lot of managers will have said ‘Plymouth will be strong next season’.”
John Sheridan is targeting two wins from the Pilgrims’ remaining two League fixtures against Hartlepool United and Portsmouth. After three defeats in a row, and one win in seven, Argyle’s chances of reaching the play-offs have faded to nothing as the season draws towards a close. This Saturday, the Pilgrims welcome mid-table Hartlepool, who halted their own six-game losing run with a 2-1 win against Morecambe last weekend despite being reduced to ten men when former Argyle skipper Simon Walton was sent off. The ninth-placed Pilgrims could finish eighth if Oxford United fail to win their remaining two fixtures and Argyle win both of their own, and John is targeting some precious end-of-season points and confidence for his “flat” players. He said: “I’d like us to win both games and try and finish on a high, especially at home; to get a win for the supporters, people who have been coming and supporting us really well this season. We want to try and win the two games because of the run we’ve been on. We’re a bit flat at the moment, but I’ve just got to try and get the players up. Whatever team I pick, hopefully will win us the last home game of the season.” The Pilgrims have won only one of their last five home games – the worst record in the league over the course of the last five home games – and have accumulated only eight wins from their 22 league fixtures at Home Park and John admitted: “Our home form is probably the reason why we’re not where we want to be, so we need to do a lot better in that area. We’ve got to finish on a winning streak, for the supporters. We’re at home; we’ve got to win the game. It’s a big game. We’ve ended up on a downer; we’ve still got two games to go and I want to go out with the right attitude – I want to win both games, and finish as high as possible. I wanted to be in the play-offs. I’m greedy – I want to be successful as quickly as I can for this club. Consistency is the problem we’ve had; we haven’t been consistent enough. We’ve done a lot of good things this season, but unfortunately the end of it hasn’t worked out the way we wanted it to. I expected us to get into the play-offs, the way we were going, but we haven’t, so I’ll learn from it and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
John Sheridan has paid tribute to physio Paul Atkinson following the Pilgrims’ medical man’s swift action in dealing with forward Marvin Morgan’s illness this week. Marvin was taken ill on Tuesday morning during training at Home Park. “He just went down,” said John. “I wasn’t there when it happened – the first-team players that played in the game were in the gym – but luckily Paul was there, so Paul dealt with it. He was straight on top of it and did what he had to do. That’s his job. All the players were ushered away and it was dealt with by the medical department. It was important that Paul was there and it did help Marvin.” The striker was taken to Derriford Hospital where has spent two nights as he undergoes, and awaits the results of, medical tests. “Whatever treatment he needs now...hopefully he will make a full recovery,” said John, who revealed that Marvin had not been feeling well for some time prior to Tuesday. He was off ill a week with flu – whether he’s recovered fully from that is my diagnosis as a manager, but he’s with Paul; Paul knows all the details and hopefully, when everything is sorted out, he’ll get to know what happened and why it happened.”
John Sheridan has called for his players to show more mental toughness following Easter Monday's flat 2-1 defeat to Wimbledon and the general direction of self-destruct that Argyle's play-off has resulted in. Sheridan bemoaned the mental fragility of his squad and wished that there was more communication and argument both on and off the field of play. Sheridan: "We are so quiet, and I really do think that's the biggest problem we've got. I wish three or four of them would have an argument with me, and show me they care. I ask them the question after the game and no-one says a word. I haven't got a problem with any of the players. They're a really good group of players, but I would like four or five of them to have an argument with me after the game. We are so quiet as a group. I like people with an opinion, and even if they're arguing with another player, I respect that, because it shows they care.I think it's just mental toughness, and you've got to be strong as players. It is so quiet, and I need to get those four or five players, who are going to get on to the others in the squad. They're a good group of lads, but we're not going anywhere by just being nice."
Speaking more specifically of the match itself, the gaffer yet again apologised for the display speaking very critically of both the result and performance but did say he felt Argyle should have had a penalty: “Obviously the result is another poor one. We are just very flat, at the moment. Even today, we got off to a good start, with a great goal from Conor, but I just think one or two people are ready for their holidays. I said, in the dressing-room, that it could be a very long holiday for some people. I’ll apologise, because I thought we’d get in the play-offs, and thought we had good enough players to do it, but, for some reason, we haven’t, and that’s something I have got to look at. But we’re not really doing anything different to when everyone was praising us. I’m arguing with the referee at the end of the game because it bothers me – we should have had a penalty, when Lewis Alessandra comes inside and shoots, it hits the player’s arm. I’m arguing after the game, because I have to get my point across, have to make him know that I’ve seen it. For the second goal, we were having a good passage of play, and probably on top of the game at that stage, so it just comes out of the blue. That’s just communication; people organising each other. It’s not a hard thing to do, but if you haven’t got it in your locker... We’ve had a really poor end to the season, so I’m really disappointed.”
Sheridan is also prepared to make tough decisions in order to see the club progress. That's his verdict regarding the future of several out of contract players this close season. Sheridan said that whilst he finds it difficult to be telling players that they won't be retained, it is necessary to see the club do better next season. Argyle's manager said: “I know what I am going to be doing. As a manager, this is the hardest part – any manager will tell you that. I wouldn’t put any blame on anyone; I just need to make decisions now. I’m going to be getting judged more than anyone, so I have got to make strong decisions for the football club – not for me – and for us to be better next season. That’s the only thing on my mind. I have got to work very hard – and it is hard to attract players to here – but I will work my socks off to get the right people in. I have got to respect the players. They have got families. Some players have been here a long time, some a short time; I know what players I’m going to be trying to keep; I know 95% of who I am going to let go. I’m just doing it for the benefit of the club.”
Argyle's slim play-off hopes are now officially over, following a 1-2 defeat by AFC Wimbledon at Home Park this afternoon. Argyle made a bright enough start, scoring through captain Conor Hourihane after seven minutes, but goals from Jack Midson, just before half-time, then Kwesi Appiah, on the hour, saw Wimbldeon home. Argyle: Cole, Blizzard, Wotton (Blanchard), Nelson, Gurrieri (Showunmi), Young, Banton (Morgan), Hourihane, Parsons, Alessandra, Reid. Substitutes (not used): Boco, Harvey, Thomas, Dawson.
John Sheridan revealed that, following Argyle's defeat to Bury, his team selections for the remainder of the season will be made with the future in mind. After the game, the manager admitted that he will now be focusing more on next season's prospects, as well as using those final three games as a chance for younger players to stake a claim for a first-team place. "Now I've got to plan for next season, so I've got to get the game out of the way and think of the future, and the team next year,” John said. "The season's over now, so I might give one or two younger players a run-out, see if they can stand up to it and have a little look at them. I'm going to build a team next year - a different team to what I've had this year, and we're going to push and do better than we have done this season." Sheridan also believes that fresh faces will need to be brought into to help push the club to bigger and better things, and has pledged to put together a squad of players capable of achieving his high expectations. "I'm going to have to make some big decisions," said Sheridan. "My mind is set now on what I need to do. The season's over now. I've got to try and build a stronger team for next year, so I'm going to find players, and I've got to do better than I've done this year. I'm telling you now: I will work my socks off to the bring players in who have got a bit of drive and a bit of will to win."
John Sheridan was livid and at a loss to explain yesterday's woeful performance to Argyle's fans following the 4-0 thumping at Bury. Sheridan apologised to travelling supporters for the performance and made no bones about the lack of quality on show. He also hinted that some of the players involved in this season's play-off collapse would not be in his plans for next season and would be told as much after the Wimbledon game on Easter Monday. Sheridan: "First of all, I'd like to apologise to the fans for the performance of the team. I never expected it. It was an abysmal performance. We shouldn't be coming to Bury and getting beat 4-0. I really have not got the answers for you, to tell the truth. I'll accept responsibility - I pick the team, but there's not many changes from the team that have got good results and played well. We have had chances in the first half, to be fair. We could have possibly been 3-1 up at half time. It's just the body language of some people; I don't like it. There's good enough players there, but mentally, we're way off the mark. You don't have to always play well in games. You can play poorly and still win, but we don't do that. We gave in today. We just gave in. This season is over. Now I have got to plan for the next one and think of the future. I’m telling you now, I will work my socks off to bring players in who have got a bit of drive, and a bit of will-to-win. Once we got into the play-off positions we have gone backwards. For what reason, I haven’t a clue. Now I start planning for next season. I will do that after the game on Monday. I will be speaking to players who are out of contract – even players who are under contract. I’m going to build a different team to what I have had this year. We are going to push and do better than what we have done this season. I think I have got one or two decent players and I expected us to push on in the belief that we could get in the play-offs, but we haven’t shown it. It has made my decision easy, for players who are out of contract, and even players who are under contract. I’m going to have to make some big decisions, and I will make them. My mind is set now what I need to do. You can’t come and perform like we have today, or you can’t perform like we did last week. It shows me the mentality of the players. I have got to find players who I think are going to give me that consistency week in, week out. We have done alright this season, but we are just middle of the table. That’s no good to me. That’s not me doing my job. I don’t think that’s doing a good job.”
Reuben Reid has spoken of his disappointment following the 4-0 loss to Bury yesterday and the probably petering out of Argyle's play-off bid but also of his determination to be part of a successful Argyle side. The on loan forward revealed that whilst he is gutted to lose in the way Argyle did yesterday, he is still very much interested in signing on the dotted line for us. Reid said: "At the moment we're not good enough collectively, at all. I don't think we were too bad in the first half, but we can't come out and do what we did in the second half. Hopefully we won't peter out within the last three games of the season, and we'll get some positive results. I've scored goals, but I don't think it counts for anything if we're going to finish mid-table. I can't speak for the lads, but mid-table in League 2 is not what I want to be doing in my career. Obviously I would love to stay beyond this season. It's been one of my more enjoyable seasons personally, and for the team, actually. We've made big improvements. If you look at the few years before now, I think we've done a massive job - from keeping us in the league last year to potentially going for the playoffs this year - and it's still not over, by the way. I love it here. Plymouth's the team I support, and it's a team I feel like I can give something to."
Argyle's playoff hopes are now realistically over, after being comprehensively beaten 4-0 by Bury at Gigg Lane. With six minutes gone, Bury took the lead with a calmly-placed strike from Tutte. Early into the second half, Nardiello was ruled to have been brought down in the area by Berry and the striker converted the resultant penalty kick. Nardiello headed home his second, and Bury's third, in the 52nd minute. Rose finished the scoring for Bury with a goal four minutes from time. Argyle: Cole, Berry, Trotman (Young), Nelson, Purrington, Hourihane, Blizzard, Gurrieri (Thomas), Banton, Alessandra (Showunmi), Reid. Substitutes (not used): Boco, Wotton, Harvey, Dawson.
Paul Wotton remains confident that Argyle's chances of a play-off escape from League Two this season are more than just a pipe dream. Wotton said that Good Friday's match at Bury would be a tough one but if Argyle played as we are capable of doing, we could get the win that would keep our top seven ambitions alive. Wotton said: “It’s going to be a tough game, but we’re in a similar situation as we were after the Burton game – we had to go to Newport and get a win. We have to go to Bury and get a win. We’ve got to go there free, like we did against Newport. We could have scored three or four goals. There is pressure in football, but that’s only the pressure that you put on yourselves anyway. It’s never easy at Plymouth is it? We always do it the hard way. But it is what it is. We were a game away from the Skrill Premier last year; we’re away to Bury on Friday, when Northampton play Wycombe in survival battle so I know which game I’d rather be playing in. That’s not to say we’re settling for ninth, because we’re not.”
Conor Hourihane is still incredibly grateful to former Argyle manager Peter Reid for giving the then young and inexperienced Irishman his first chance playing professional football with the club. When Hourihane was let go by Ipswich Town in the summer of 2011, Argyle were in administration and desperate for players to improve an ailing squad. Hourihane was signed on an initial two year contract and the man from Cork has never looked back. He revealed that promotion out of League Two this season would be a perfect way to top off his efforts: “I can’t describe to you how good this move has been for me. Starting off, I had poor discipline and inexperience, where I didn’t know the league or what to do at the right times. That’s gradually gone away. It’s something that people mentioned to me and I didn’t really like it, so I had to put that right. The first year, I was finding my feet. I played quite a lot of games, but we had no players so I had to play, whether I was good enough or not. In the second year, I had the captaincy at a young age, so I had to grow up a lot quicker. The second half of the season was strong for me. This season, I’ve added a bit of consistency, which is important, and I have set more goals for myself, to beat last year’s scoring record. I suppose playing every week, and getting bigger and stronger, is important as well. There have been a couple of performances lately which I haven’t been too happy with – the home games against Exeter and Oxford – but you can’t play well every week; ypu don’t go out and want to play badly. It’s something to put right on Friday. The last 18 months, when I’ve got the captaincy, I’ve had to grow up. The lads have to look to me as their captain. It’s not all about putting the armband on at 3pm; it’s about doing things on and off the pitch for the lads. It’s something that I enjoy. This move has been fantastic for me and it’s not over yet. I want to keep playing and keep achieving goals here and getting Argyle out of the league. That’s something I want to do.”
Conor Hourihane admits to suffering the same frustrations over the Pilgrims’ inconsistent end-of-season form. The young Irishman leads his team-mates into the Greens’ penultimate away game of the season on the back of a disappointing home defeat to play-off rivals Oxford United. The 2-0 reversal followed an uplifting 2-1 midweek victory at Newport that revitalised Argyle’s hopes of finishing in the all-important top seven after a streak of three winless matches had seen them slip out of the play-off qualifying positions, which they had reached on the back of four wins in five games. “It’s been a frustrating couple of weeks at times,” said Conor. “We get so close to really pushing into the play-offs and cementing a place, then we go backwards. It’s something we need to put right. We can’t put our finger on it. It’s happened two or three times now.” Argyle are back at Home Park on Easter Monday and entertain AFC Wimbledon next Saturday, before visiting Portsmouth for a Dockyard Derby to round off their league campaign. “We’re looking to get as many points as we can from the last four games,” said Conor. “We need results to go our way and, hopefully, it will happen, but, first, we are just looking forward to Bury and putting it right. Like the Newport game, we need to win. We need a win on Friday to set things up for Monday.” Play-offs or not, Conor has witnessed the rebirth of the Pilgrims following their brush with extinction in 2011 and consecutive battles just to stay in the Football League. “There has been massive progress,” he said. “In the three years I have been here, we’ve been having six-pointer games at this stage of the season that are very nerve-wracking. It’s nice to go out and play with a little bit of enjoyment to try to achieve something. At the same time, we haven’t achieved anything. Finishing eighth or ninth doesn’t count for anything. To get into the play-offs is something we would love to do. Whether we do or not this season is another story. We have made it hard enough for ourselves and we have had our chances. There has been improvement but, if you finish 16th or you finish ninth, it’s basically the same thing.”
Paul Wotton is the senior member of Argyle’s play-off chasing squad and just two games away from reaching a significant milestone in the club’s history, but remains as keen as he was when he made his Pilgrims’ debut as teenager in 1995. Now 36, Wottsy is raring to go ahead of Good Friday’s important 2 game at Bury. With only three more games to come after the visit to Gigg Lane, and Argyle lying two places and four points away from the play-off positions, margin for error is slim. “It’s going to be a tough game,” said the green-blooded Plymothian, “but we’re in a similar situation as we were after the Burton game – we had to go to Newport and get a win. We have to go to Bury and get a win.” If he plays at Bury and in Easter Monday’s home game against AFC Wimbledon, Wottsy will draw level on the club’s all-time appearances list with the legendary Sammy Black, whose mark of 491 games between 1924-38 has been surpassed only once by the 998 Pilgrims who have played before or since. “That would be tremendous, but that’s not the be all and end all,” said Wottsy. “It’s something that I’m aware of, but it would be great [to reach the mark] simply because it would mean that I’m playing another couple of games.” Sammy’s last game for Argyle came when he was 32 years old, four years younger than Wottsy is currently. Not that the man who captained Argyle to the Division 3 and Division 2 titles between 2002-2004 is planning on giving up any time soon. “I’ll be the first one to say I can’t do it anymore,” he said. “But at the minute, I feel like I can.”
This year's annual end-of-season Argyle Awards Night is being held on Sunday, May 4. The venue for the prestigious occasion, which will see your Player of the Season and Young Player of the Season duly honoured, is Plymouth's Duke of Cornwall Hotel. There, you can join John Sheridan and all the first-team squad for a three-course dinner before the ceremonies and entertainment throughout the evening, which begins at 7pm. Tickets for the event, which cost just £36, are strictly limited and can be purchased from the Argyle Ticket Office at Home Park. The various supporters' branches will also present their individual awards to the player who they have selected as their pick of 2014-15, and there will be an auction of Argyle Memorabilia.
Lewis Alessandra spoke of an 'overwhelming sense of frustration' following Argyle's 2-0 home loss to Oxford United which saw Argyle's play-off challenge on the verge of collapse. The returning Argyle forward admitted that the away side were on top for all of the match and were filly worthy of their win. He did however confirm that he is not giving up hopes of getting something out of this season. Alessandra: “We saw the chance for ourselves – results have gone our way as well, which is a killer – especially playing Oxford who were a place above us and who we would have leapfrogged if we’d won. We would have been right in there. I think we were second all over the park today. They were the better team – you can’t come away and say ‘We were unfortunate to lose that’; we didn’t deserve to win the game. I don’t think we got going. You want to reward the fans, who have been excellent for us. Like the manager just said in the dressing-room, we feel like every time we get to a point where we think ‘Go on, then, there’s a chance here’, it seems like we take a backward step. There’s an overwhelming sense of frustration about it. We will look to go to Bury and do well over the Easter period,” he said. “If you pick up six points, which is not impossible...we have just got to keep believing. The odds are stacked against us now, but you never know. Stranger things have happened in football. Results have gone for us this weekend, why can’t they again next week? We are disappointed, but we are going to have to pick ourselves up. No-one’s sat in the dressing-room saying: ‘Unlucky lads, better luck next year.’ We think there is still a chance.”
The club have made the decision to extend the deadline to buy early bird season tickets for a further two days. The deadline for Argyle fans to buy an early season ticket at reduced prices was initially 5pm on Monday but this has now been pushed back by 48 hours. The club were concerned that some supporters may have failed to beat the clock following a heavy volume of interest on Monday.
John Sheridan has labelled defender Maxime Blanchard’s red card during the 2-0 home loss to Oxford United as ‘pathetic.’ The French central defender was given his marching orders in the 50th minute of the League 2 encounter for a pull on Oxford striker Dave Kitson. Having been booked in the first half, referee Mick Russell had little option but to brandish a second yellow and, ultimately, a red. “It’s an absolutely pathetic sending-off.” said John, after the game, who cited Max’s positioning for leading to the foul that produced a second yellow card. “He caught himself out from a throw-in,” said John. “He wasn't organised. I don’t want to speak to him; I’d lose my rag.” Blanchard’s dismissal was the fourth that Argyle have received this season, with fellow defenders Curtis Nelson and Neal Trotman, and midfielder Andres Gurrieri, also seeing red. With the score already at 1-0 to the visitors, the red card was the last thing that the Pilgrims needed and caused John to rethink his plans. “It’s absolutely stupid,” he said. “I was just about to put three subs on there at once. That’s happened before with Andres at Rochdale." The Frenchman will miss the Pilgrims’ next game away to Bury on Good Friday.
On many occasions this season, Argyle have received plaudits for their pitch. However, manager John Sheridan is beginning to wonder whether it is too good for the players. Following the defeat to Oxford United, John spoke about how his team has not managed to use the facilities to their own advantage. “We’re at home, on the best pitch in the league, and we can’t put two passes together,” he said. “The pitch is like Wembley. So why do we struggle with the ball?” Having left Luke Young, one of the better passers that Argyle have, out of the squad for the past two matches, John made it clear that he will not be omitted for the Easter games at Bury, on Good Friday, and home to AFC Wimbledon, on Bank Holiday Monday. John said: “I've not put him on the bench and I've stuck with the players, but he's the only one who can pass it. Even if he's having a bad game, he might play that killer pass, and I've left him out today. He won’t be left out on Friday, believe me.” The defeat to Oxford means that the Pilgrims have lost ground in the play-off race and, oddly, it is the home form that has been letting them down. The Greens have lost only two of their last five away games, compared to three defeats from the last five home games. “The pitch is probably too good for us,” said John. “We were not confident enough to zip the ball around. I might end up digging the pitch up and training on it every week.”
A goal in each half gave fellow play-off contenders Oxford United a 2-0 win at Home Park today, and put a big dent in Argyle’s play-off hopes. Experienced frontman Dave Kitson scored a facile opener for the U’s midway through the first half, before his strike partner James Constable scored a goal of real quality after 15 minutes of the second half. In between, Argyle defender Maxime Blanchard was sent off for a second caution, making an already tricky task seem somewhat impossible. Argyle: Cole, Blanchard, Trotman, Nelson, Gurrieri, Harvey (Showunmi), Wotton (Blizzard), Hourihane, Thomas (Berry), Reid, Alessandra. Substitutes (not used): Boco, Morgan, Banton, Dawson.
John Sheridan admitted that his side’s 2-0 defeat to Oxford United was well deserved, following a “very, very poor” performance. The visiting U’s, sitting a place above Argyle in League 2, took control of the game from the get-go and bagged themselves the opening goal in the 33rd minute, veteran Dave Kitson tucking home from close range. Following Max Blanchard’s dismissal for a second bookable offence early in the second half, Oxford secured the three points with James Constable’s powerful long-range effort after 65 minutes. After the game, John did not pull any punches regarding his team’s performance, singling out their first-half display as particularly disappointing. John said: “I’ve got no qualms about the result – they were better than us. Every player in their team performed better than every player in my team. We were very, very poor. I left it short and sweet in the dressing-room, but I just think the first-half performance was probably the worst we’ve played. The tempo of it and everything was way below standard. Oxford just looked a better team than us. We didn’t deserve anything out of the game.” With 8,161 in attendance, the Pilgirms once again fell short in a vital home game, missing out on a chance to move back into the play-offs despite other results going their way. The gaffer was at a loss to explain why, after an important away win against Newport Country four days earlier, his side did not seem up to the task. He said: “I am struggling to answer the question of why we’re playing a big game against one of your nearest rivals who are going for the play-offs, and yet we go out and perform like we did. We’ve done that a couple of times this season, where you think there’s a big game there waiting for a big performance, and we were flat. Really flat. It’s getting on my nerves now. I’ve seen it on three or four occasions. I even remember when we played Morecambe away and we were on a little run – we were flat in that game, too.” A draw for York and Southend’s defeat means that the Green Army’s dream of securing a play-off spot still is not out of the question, and John insists he will not give up on achieving that goal – but knows that the team’s mentality needs to be assessed. "I’ve said it many a time, and I’m not being harsh, but they have to work and focus a lot more,” said the manager. “We’re still in with a chance – results have gone our way today, but we can’t be performing like that and expect to do anything. Today we didn’t deserve anything from the game, but I’ve got to keep them focused, because we’ve got a little chance. I haven’t been hard on them in there – they know how I feel, but that’s too many times now. We’ve done alright, but just alright is not good enough.”
Having endured three relegation battles for each of his three season involved with the Plymouth Argyle first team before this one, Curtis Nelson is delighted that he is finally involved with a feel good Argyle side. Nelson: “It’s brilliant, it’s obviously good whether you've had tough times or not. It’s been a good season, I think the team has played well and I’ve been glad to have been a part of it. It’s good for everyone at the club, it’s good for the city and obviously for everyone who’s going to be involved in it. Every game is a must win game. I don’t think anyone goes into a game thinking‘we’ll take a point here’-you've got to go into a game looking for three points every week. Every game we go for we’re going to go for a win and we’re going to try and take 15 points from these five games.”
Nathan Thomas has sung the praises of his manager John Sheridan. Nineteen year old Thomas described the gaffer as a 'born winner', saying: “I think you need the edge that he has. He’s a winner, and he always will be. He’s a perfectionist, and he played football at a lot higher than what we are playing now. He knows how to win football games. I enjoy the way he is, and I think if you had a more laid-back manager you would get away with a lot more than we do. I think everybody could see that little side of him in all of us on Tuesday night. We were all shouting and we were all demanding from each other."
John Sheridan has told his players to relax and let the League 2 play-offs take care of themselves. The Pilgrims ended a run of three winless games with a 2-1 midweek victory in Newport to re-ignite their hopes of being involved in the post-season mini knock-out tournament to win promotion. First-half goals from teenager Tyler Harvey and captain Conor Hourihane, either side of a strike from former Argyle player Chris Zebroski, took them to within two points of the all-important top seven with five games of the season left to play. “We’ve got a chance,” said John. “We’ve just got to fight. I told the players to go out and just relax. I told them ‘We’re not getting relegated – that’s a fact – so go out, relax, and give your all for the next five or six games.’ That’s what we’ve got to try to do. You could see the effort we put in. Once we got the lead, we worked hard to keep it. The main thing at this stage of the season is getting three points, and I thought we worked very hard for the three points.” John had made four changes to the side defeated four days earlier at Burton, including giving Tyler only his third senior start, recalling Marvin Morgan for his first start since October, and handing a full debut to Nathan Thomas at left wing-back. Andres Gurrieri reverted to right wing-back. “I went a bit more attacking,” said John. “The wing-backs were quite vulnerable, defensively, but I wanted us to try and get forward and cause Newport problems. Nathan, with his pace, can do that. I thought he did really well, in the second half, especially. Coming in when you haven’t played for a while – the likes of him and Tyler, even Marvin... I thought fitness might be a problem in a match situation because they haven’t played many games, but they played their part. I thought we scored two excellent goals; two midfield players scoring. Tyler’s done what he’s good at; I told him to get in the box from midfield. He’s good at getting in the box. It was a great ball from Nathan and a great finish. I’m disappointed on their goal. We should have been able to see it and deal with it. The difference between our goals, where we’ve worked on opening them up, and theirs...To be fair to Zebroski, he’s read it well and he’s put it away. It was a difficult pitch, obviously, and they are a good team – they are hard to play against. It was a difficult game for us, and to come and get the three points was the most important thing.”
John Sheridan’s carrot and stick approach to management is keeping the Pilgrims’ play-off dreams alive. Twenty-four hours after suggesting that teenage wideman Nathan Thomas was a little way out of his thinking, the Argyle manager handed the young Geordie his full debut on Tuesday and saw him cap an impressive performance by laying on the first goal by Tyler Harvey in the victory at Newport. “I was always going to play him,” said John, who told Nathan of his inclusion only a few hours before the match. “Once he knew, he was ready for the game. He’s a confident lad in himself; he’s probably too confident for a 19-year-old. I thought he played a lot better in the second half. I told him to get at people. I thought he expressed himself a little bit more; and he’s got genuine pace.” John also had praise for central defender Neal Trotman, who had been substituted early on in Argyle’s defeat at Burton in their previous match and criticised afterwards. “I took Neal off at half-time at Burton; I thought he was excellent tonight,” said John. “He defended really, really well, and was part of a good, solid team performance.” With Luke Young and Lewis Alessandra set to return to the squad for Saturday’s home match against fellow play-off hopefuls Oxford United, the Argyle manager has plenty of options going into the final five games of the league campaign. Lewi has been injured, while Luke was left out of Tuesday and John said: “Youngy understands. Youngy’s been a big part of where we are at the moment. I just felt ‘Give him a little bit of a break’. He’ll be back involved on Saturday. I’ve got 19-20 players – Lewi will be back on Saturday – and they are all going to be involved; I need them all.” Another big Home Park gate is anticipated for the visit of Oxford, who have slipped from top spot just before Christmas to eighth place, one point and one position ahead of Argyle. “They are on a bad run, but they are still a good team,” said John. “They have got good players for this league and they will still believe they are in contention for the play-offs. They are above us; it will be a big game. I am very wary of them, but it is an important game for us – we have got to try to win it, like every game we have got left.”
Nathan Thomas has thanked the fans for their support, following his full debut for the club. The 19-year-old joined the Pilgrims on Christmas Eve and had previously made eight appearances for the club, all of which have come from the substitutes’ bench. It was a cross by Thomas from the left-hand side, which found Plymouth-born Tyler Harvey at the back post who headed home to give the Pilgrims the lead. “I think that was the first time I had any space at all in the first half.” said Nathan. “I knew as soon as it left my foot that it was on the money and it was a great header by Tyler.” Thomas, who had previously been on the books of Newcastle and Sunderland, was played in an unfamiliar left wing-back role, and was faced with the task of keeping former Pilgrim Chris Zebroski quiet. “I think that’s the most defending I’ve ever had to do ever; he’s a good player and that something I think I've got to work on, my defensive side. The first half was sloppy - I was a bit nervous with the full debut - but I though second half I did really well.” A number of fans had been crying out for Thomas to be included from the start and this is something that hadn't gone unnoticed by the young winger. More than a thousand Argyle fans packed the away enclosures at Rodney Parade. Their vocal enthusiasm and the players’ positive performance on the pitch seemed to form a symbiotic relationship, with the performance of each improving as the night wore on. “I think I owe it to them the fans as well tonight, for the fantastic support they've showed me,” said Thomas, of the Green Army “The ground shook when we started; I felt it in the bottom corner. Everywhere we go we get the supporters in, it’s fantastic. I think that’s the reason we are where we are, because we've got something to play for; thousands of people who are travelling every week, travelling the breadth of the country to watch us play. Ever since I came here I’ve had a lot of supporters. I really wanted to do it for the them obviously and a little bit for myself to prove I could do it, but I hope I paid everybody back tonight.”
Argyle are throwing open the gates of Home Park and inviting fans to participate in the first official Argyle Corporate Cup. The event – on Friday May 9, 2014 – is open to all: businesses, sports teams, social clubs or groups of friends, and will take place on Home Park. It is a unique opportunity for Pilgrims to take play on the same surface as their Saturday afternoon heroes, and can be used as a reward for staff, to entertain prospective clients, or just to have fun.
Argyle have returned to winning ways by beating Newport County 2-1 at Rodney Parade. The game was notable for a full Argyle debut for Nathan Thomas. Tyler Harvey (also making his first start under John Sheridan) put the greens 1-0 up after twenty minutes. Seven minutes later, former Pilgrim Chris Zebroski made it 1-1. However, just four minutes after that, captain Conor Hourihane was on hand with a long range shot to restore Argyle's lead. The second half went goalless and Argyle secured the win that keeps the play-off push alive. Argyle: Cole, Blanchard, Trotman, Nelson, Gurreri, Wotton, Hourihane, Harvey(Blizzard), Thomas(Berry), Reid, Morgan(Showumni). Subs: Dawson, Purrington, Boco, Banton.
John Sheridan believes Tuesday’s League 2 match at Newport County could get his side’s play-off push back on track. Despite not tasting victory in the last three games, including a 2-1 home defeat to bitter rivals Exeter City, Sheridan believes that his side can bounce back and start a play-off push starting at Rodney Parade on Tuesday night. “We've still got to believe and fight for every point.” said John, who has an overall points target in mind that he believes will see Argyle to an all-important top-seven finish. “I’m looking at the high 60s to 70-point mark – which we can get. There are still a lot of teams in there that still probably feel the same as us. We need to win five out of six to have any chance of being there at the end of the season, so it'll look a lot healthier if we do get three points. We’ll just go there and give it our all to try and get a few points.” Earlier in the season, Argyle and Newport played out a goalless draw at Home Park, since when both clubs have been hovering around the edge of the play off places. One area of concern for the Pilgrims may be the state of the pitch in South Wales. At one stage the Exiles had six games in hand of some clubs above them because of a number of postponements. However Sheridan does not believe that it will be a problem. “I’m not making a big thing of the pitch,” he said, “Burton’s pitch was nice and we didn't pass it on there. It’s just as hard for Newport and is something we've got to deal with. It’ll be a tough game – they'll put balls into the box and put you under a lot of pressure – like every game in this division” Newport’s form in recent matches has, like Argyle's, hit a bit of a brick wall lately and their play-off push has stuttered slightly. Even with former Pilgrims striker Chris Zebroski in their ranks, County are without a win in three games and have dropped to 14th in the league, five points behind Argyle. “It’s difficult when matches are cancelled week after week and then you're playing catch up.” said Sheridan. “I think there was one time with the games in hand they could have gone top of the league – it’s been hard for them. “I remember, when we played them before, they were tough and organized. They can beat anyone on their day; they've picked up good results up this season.” A big boost for the Argyle squad and Green Army will be the return of Jason Banton to the match-day squad. The forward’s performances and goals last season, which ultimately helped guide the club to safety, saw Jason return to Home Park from Crystal Palace in January. However, a couple of injuries has meant that he has only played in nine games so far, but his return – along with the news that fellow striker Lewis Alessandra is back in training after hamstring trouble – is a timely boost for the whole squad. “Jason is back and in the squad for tomorrow, and Lewi trained today,” said John, on Monday. “Lewi has trained well but the pitch is my main worry, more than anything else. He won’t start and I have to look towards Saturday, really.”
John Sheridan believes that there is much more to come from young winger Nathan Thomas. Since joining the Pilgrims on Christmas Eve from Sunderland, the teenage winger has found first-team appearances hard to come by and has made just eight appearances, all from the substitutes’ bench. John believes that Natha has that little something about his game and wants to see more from the former Darlington wide man to prove that he was not just for Christmas. “He has got things in his armory where he can affect a game,” said John. “He’s one of those players you have got to keep on top of. He’s a young lad who thinks he is a bit better than he is, but he has been working hard in training.” Thomas last pulled on an Argyle shirt in the 4-0 home defeat to York in February and has been an unused substitute on three occasions since.
John Sheridan believes Argyle are “throwing a great opportunity away” after a third successive winless game further dented their play-off ambitions. Callum McFadzean’s 27th-minute goal for promotion-chasing Burton Albion at the Pirelli Stadium on Saturday condemned the Pilgrims to a 1-0 defeat in their first game since losing 2-1 at home to neighbours Exeter City. The loss left the Argyle, who drew their previous away match at Accrington 1-1, five points outside the play-off zone with six matches – including Tuesday’s game-in-hand at Newport – left to play this season. “For the last three games, we have thrown the opportunity away,” said the Argyle manager, “but we have got to keep believing. I said before that I thought we could lose one or two of the seven games we had left – I think five wins will get you in the play-offs – but we are making life every difficult and, to be fair, the way we played, we don’t deserve it. The difference between the two teams was that Burton played like a team that has got a chance of getting automatic promotion; we played like a side that is happy just to stay in the league. I don’t think we played the football I expect us to play. We played too many long balls and everything was a scrap. We did play a bit better in the second half, but we were disappointing. I don’t like watching us when we play like that. I’m the manager and I’ll get the blame for it and never usually have a go at my players but we can’t come and perform like that. We just did not get going. I don’t like to say ‘we trained really well’ – training’s totally different – but players who have looked really sharp in training this week, who have played today...I am looking at different players. There’s not a lot I can do about that. I’m picking them with the belief that they are going to play well. That’s the unfortunate thing at this level. It’s that magic word again – ‘consistency’ in your game. And know what you are good at and what you need to do.” Following the introduction of Paul Wotton at half-time, Argyle’s second-half performance picked up from the first and they ended the match with a three-man strike force of new signing Enoch Showunmi, leading scorer Reuben Reid, and Marvin Morgan. John said: “I don’t mind losing the game – I expect to lose football matches – but it’s the manner of the losing. We huffed and puffed at the end. We had three big lads up front and tried to get a scrappy goal out of something, but I don’t think we deserved anything out of the game, if I’m honest. There’s no excuses. The team is the same team – or similar – that went to Fleetwood, Dagenham and Wycombe; and got a win; same formation. Why we are looking flat, I will never know. We didn’t play like a team that’s still got a chance of getting in the play-offs.”
John Sheridan shouted the praises of veteran Pilgrim Paul Wotton after the defeat at Burton Albion. John introduced Wottsy as a half-time substitute after a lacklustre first 45 minutes. Although Argyle could not turn the game around, further denting their play-off ambitions, the reorganisation contributed to an improved second-half display. John said: “I’ve said before, if we are going to go anywhere as a team, you want winners and people with an edge; unfortunately, we haven’t got many of them. I keep mentioning Wottsy and – he hasn’t done anything – he just talks. He’s shouting at the ref about Burton’s time-wasting. The first 11 don’t say ‘boo’ to a goose.” The appearance was Wottsy’s 487th for his hometown club, meaning he just four games away from equalling Argyle legend Sammy Black’s total for the club which places him second on the all-time list of appearances. “He’s an organiser,” said John, of the 36-year-old Wotton. “Unfortunately, he knows – and I’ve been there myself when I got older – your legs go and you can’t do everything you used to. But he’s an organiser. I saw us in the first half and I’ve not seen one person who is vocal. It’s a massive part of the game.”
Argyle's poor run of results continued as they lost 1-0 away at Burton Albion. A first-half goal by Burton wide man Callum McFadzean was the difference between the two sides, although each half saw it own sets of contrasts. Argyle found themselves up against it for the majority of the first 45 minutes, with Albion taking a deserved lead into the break. After the interval, the Pilgrims seemed rejuvenated, taking the game to their visitors, but were unable to craft the chance that could earn them what would have been a vital point. Argyle: Cole, Blanchard, Trotman (Wotton), Nelson, Berry (Morgan), Young (Blizzard), Hourihane, Gurrieri, Purrington, Showunmi, Reid. Substitutes (not used): Boco, Harvey, Thomas, Dawson.
Burton may be one of the better sides in League Two but Argyle need points quickly to make the play-offs and John Sheridan will take his team to the Pirelli Stadium with every intention of playing an attacking game from the start. Sheridan acknowledged that it is a must-win game and plans to play positively. Sheridan: “We’re going to go there and attack, I’ll tell you that. We need to win the game. We’re going to go for it. We know what we have to do, and we know how to go about it: we’ve just got to try to win every game. That’s exactly what we’re going to try and do. We’re obviously disappointed with the last two games. Usually when we’ve been in the lead we’ve come out winners. It was disappointing to only pick up one point from the two games. It’s not what I really wanted. I’m not going to let the last two results affect the way I think we’ve been doing. I think we’ve been doing really well. We’ve picked up and have been consistent. The last two results have just put a bit of a downer on where we’ve got to.”
Argyle have confirmed that they will be offering forward Matt Lecointe a new deal with the club when his current contract expires at the end of this season. Teenager Lecointe has not played in a competitive game for the club for over 15 months and has been unavailable all season due to a long-term injury that he picked up to his anterior cruciate ligaments in the pre-season match away at Truro last summer. However his recovery is progressing faster than expected and Sheridan has confirmed that the club will stand by him with a new contract for next season. The Argyle manager spoke highly of Lecointe's progression. Sheridan: “He’s looking excellent, to be fair. He’s not in any contact, but he’s involved in all the football we do. He plays as a floater and, actually, he has looked really good on the ball. Obviously, game situations are totally different, but it must be good for him to get involved with the players again after a long time out injured. The next step will be when he can join in and have a game, but on the ball he has looked very good. That’s down to the physio and Matty. They know better than me, but he’s looking really fit. We will be offering him a contract this summer. I think it’s only right for us to do that. We will give him a chance to prove himself. He’s looking good at the moment and, hopefully, he stays fit. I think it’s important we give him a contract. The lad has worked hard to come back from his injury. He has played in the first team before so he has got the ability to push himself and get involved in it again.”
Enoch Showumni has revealed that he hopes his loan spell at Argyle will put him in the shop window ahead of this summer's transfer window. Showumni, who recently completed a loan spell with Torquay United, is out of contract with his parent club Notts County at the end of the season and is set to find himself without a club. The 31 year old will be at Argyle for at least seven games (with the addition of any possible play-off matches) and is hoping to earn himself a deal either at Home Park or elsewhere. Showumni: “I’m running down my contract, and I got the opportunity to play at Torquay. Now, the next seven games – hopefully more (in the play-offs) – are going to be at Plymouth. It is shop window time for me. I think every player is pushing himself to try to earn a contract, especially at this level of football. It’s not as easy as people on the outside probably think it is. This is a good opportunity for me to come and play a bit of football, and at a really good club as well.”
Argyle have been hit by a mixed bag of news regarding current injuries. Lewis Alessandra is coming along better than initially anticipated but wing-back Matt Parsons will be out of action for the trip to Burton on Saturday. Alessandra is running again in training and Parsons suffered a re-occurrence of the injury that kept him out of a few matches in February. John Sheridan has said: “I don’t think Parsons has pulled his thigh muscle but he felt it again against Exeter. They are a horrible injury. I had one myself before as a player. We will give him the best treatment possible but I think he will be struggling for the weekend. It’s just one of those injuries where they do need rest, and you can do everything other than striking a ball. That’s the problem he’s going to have. I haven’t spoken to the physio but Lewi is running now, and he’s jogging. I think he feels good in himself. Everything is looking okay at the moment and I would like to think he’s pushing towards the Oxford game.”
Finally, Argyle have revealed that an allocation of 1,800 has been given to us as a maximum for away fans at Portsmouth on the last day of the season. Portsmouth tickets will go on sale to members on Tuesday April 15th and non-members on Thursday April 24th.
Argyle have issued a reminder to all fans that Saturday's match against Burton Albion at the Pirelli Stadium is all ticket. Tickets can only be purchased up until Friday afternoon and will not be available on the day.
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