A Round-up of Argyle News
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Ahead of tomorrow night's Johnstone's Paint Trophy tie with AFC Wimbledon, Derek Adams may be making one or two changes but they will not be wholesale ones and he has every intention of taking the game seriously. Adams spoke about the challenge the game presents and how he wants to do well in the cups as well as the leagues: "It’s a competition we’d like to try and progress in. It’s a difficult tie that we’ve been given and we’ll have to deal with that. We’ve got to take every game seriously and we’ll go there and try to win the match. It’s important we do that. I’m looking forward to it. It’s one we did well in at the start of the season, winning 2-0, and we can take confidence from that. I can’t see myself making four or five changes – there will be minimal changes; if I have to make forced changes, I’ll do that, but that’s not the road I’m going to go down.
"They like to get the ball into the box fairly early so we know we will have to deal with that. Winning is a good habit to have. You can't go into a game thinking 'no I don't fancy it today' because you can't play football like that. We have been there and won in the first game of the season. They will know what we are about a bit more now, and will have watched us a few more times in the League. It's going to be a tough game playing against their front two. It's not three points at stake but we are going to try to put ourselves in the hat for the next round."
Derek Adams once again gave another happy verdict with regards to Argyle's performance and result in the 1-0 home victory over Newport. Adams said Argyle played well enough to win by more and he was delighted with the general start to the season: “Happy with three points; happy with another clean sheet going forward. We played very well, especially in the first half – we could have scored a number of goals in the first half, the way we played; the way we passed the ball; the way we opened up Newport. The scoreline should have been more for us because of the standard of performance. I said to the players, at half-time, ‘If you want to score goals today, you have that opportunity’ because of the way that the game was going. In the second half, it became wee bit scrappier and we didn’t really impose ourselves on the game, but we still could have scored. Take nothing away from Newport. They stuck at it – they did likewise against Leyton Orient last week – and threw caution to the wind at the end, and threw a lot of players forward. In football, if you have a lot of chances and you don’t take them, you have got to be wary of that, but I felt we had control of the match. We played some really good football at times and opened up Newport’s defence, but you want to score goals and their ’keeper had a few good saves.
“As a team, we played well. Ryan came into the team and set up the first goal so, from that point of view, it’s a good performance for him, and a good performance for the team. We are delighted with the start we’ve had. It’s probably more than people would have thought we would have had. Defensively, we have looked really strong and sound and, going forward, we have done really well, as well. To start the season the way we have has been positive and we want to continue that.”
Adams has also sung the praises (as just about everyone has been lately) of new Irish signing Graham Carey who has been pulling up trees at League Two level so far and scored the winner against Newport. Adams eulogised: “It was a well-worked throw-in. Gary Sawyer threw it into Brunt, who held it up and laid it off, and a fantastic finish. It was just one of the numerous opportunities we had in the first half and we really needed to score in the first half because the second half can always be different. He’s played for Celtic and when you’ve played for such a big club, you have to deal with that. He’s a player that is very capable and scored a good number of goals already from midfield. There’s expectancy from me for all the players. We don’t just put pressure on one player; we have got a team that has got pressure on them. I think it’s important that you talk about the team, rather than individuals, but the goalscorers always take the headlines. He’s done really well. He’s hit the ground running – as everybody has – and we’re delighted with the progress he has made.”
Adams was not so happy however with Portsmouth manager Paul Cook. When Cook was asked recently if there was any interest on Portsmouth's behalf of signing Argyle striker Reuben Reid, he confirmed that there was but said that a move was unlikely to happen. Adams was on hand to scoff at the rumours and feels Cook should be disciplined for talking about opposition players. He said: "I haven't read any newspapers and I haven't been briefed. I don't think other managers should be talking about other players. The FA will probably have to look at that. You shouldn't really be mentioning other players in the media. I'm sure the FA will have a word with him."
Captain Curtis Nelson also shared the general positive spirits going into September but at the same time made sure to warn again the dangers of over-complacency by saying: "You have got to enjoy winning. It's that winning feeling that keeps you going again and again. But, at the same time, you can't get too high off the highs or too low off the lows. You have got to make sure you stay grounded and prepare right for Tuesday's game. I think the group of lads that we have got here are quite grounded anyway. We know exactly what we have got to do. If you get too complacent then it won't be long before you get shot down.
"Graham Carey is doing well. He has got to make sure he stays consistent with performances week in and week out. He's on fire at the moment. Everything he touches turns to gold. Today's goal was quite spectacular. He's a good player so you have got to give credit where credit is due. Reuben and Gregg do offer a lot for the team but it's good to see you have got other players who are ready and willing to take their opportunity. Clean sheets are always pleasing – whether you are a defender, manager, coach, goalkeeper, midfielder or striker. It doesn't matter where you are on the pitch. It's the team which keeps the ball out of the net."
Argyle's outstanding start to the 2015/16 League Two season has continued with a 1-0 win over Newport County. The goal came once again from Graham Carey and once again shortly before half-time as has become a staple of Argyle goals this season. Argyle had the better of the rest of the game and eventually saw it out to produce a 1-0 victory. Argyle now have 12 points from a possible 15, equalling the best start to a season in thirteen years and climb to 2nd in the league table. Argyle: McCormick, Mellor, Nelson, Hartley, Sawyer, McHugh, Boateng, Tanner(Wylde), Carey, Jervis, Brunt. Subs: C Harvey, Purrington, Cox, T Harvey, Rooney, Threlkeld.
Kelvin Mellor has expressed a mixed viewpoint on Argyle's start to the League Two season- he is delighted with the results so far but wishes to guard against complacency. Mellor said: "We're really happy with the start. We couldn't have asked for a better start really. We're third in the league, we're happy where we are. We've done well both times away we've just got to kick on and keep pushing, keep listening to the manager and just keep going how we are. It's literally only four or five games into the season though, and there's hardly anything separating the top of the table to the bottom of the table. It's just onwards and upwards really. It's not going to be easy. We aren't walking into the game thinking we're going to push them over because it's not going to be like that.
"We've glued together well. The manager's got us a good team spirit. Obviously with Graham, he's on fire at the minute and Jake's scoring goals - that's the main thing. Gregg's played his part really so I think the new signings have done well. The manager is really positive and he's motivational. Training's good, he's definitely got the players behind him and the fans as well, they like him."
Latest signing Oscar Threlkeld sounded out Bolton team-mate Andy Kellett before moving to Home Park, and received the highest possible recommendation. He said that speaking to Kellett and manager Derek Adams convinced him to make the move South: “To be honest, at first, I was a bit edgy about it but once I’d spoken to Andy Kellett and spoke to the gaffer here, it made me want to come. Andy enjoyed it; it made him a better player, a better person – it made him into a man really; it’s real men’s football down here. He said he loved it; the fans were brilliant; it’s a homely ground; a good experience. That’s what made me want to come down here – to try to get in his footsteps. I’ve only watched League 2 football – I’ve obviously not experienced it – but from the Under-21s, from what I’ve heard, it’s a major step up. This is what I need to start my career. I’ve got a lot of experience in the Championship but it’s a different ball-game in League 2 – more physical – but I’m looking forward to it. I want to kick on straight away and do well for myself and for the club and for the fans. I can play centre-half, right-back or CDM. I like to get forward, I like to get on the ball and keep it ticking. I’ll play wherever the gaffer wants me to play. I’ve seen that you’ve had your wins; you’ve had a good start; and I’m more than willing to carry on with the winning form, trying to keep the ball out of our net. I just can’t wait to start playing. I’m eager to play. I’ve been out with an injury and I just want to play – that’s what I’m here to do – play football and keep us up with promotion.”
Carl McHugh has said he is learning all the time in his new position as a defensive midfielder and is happy with the progression made by Argyle this season, especially when it comes to fitness: : "It's going well quite so far. I have played the five games and that's the main thing for me. I want to be playing and I want to be part of a successful team, wherever it is, but it has been good. I have really enjoyed it. It has been a learning curve for me, but I think it's going quite well. There are loads of bits that I can improve on, but it's good. I probably think like a defender still playing that position, so I give the boys some extra protection, which helps too. It has been good going forward but I know I need to keep giving decent performances to stay in the team because there is a lot of good competition in that position.
"It's not about 11 players. Everyone is going to be needed because it's an absolute marathon of a season. There will be big contributions from everyone, I'm sure of that. I feel a lot fitter. I think we ran over the top of Northampton in the second half. We showed we were a fit team, on a really hot day as well, so that's all looking good going forwards. I think it's always easier to run hard when you are winning. It's always harder when you are chasing a game, especially in heat like that. There were a lot of positives to take out of the game against Northampton but we are not getting carried away, by any means. We are four games into the season so there is a long, long way to go. It has been a decent start. We have got two wins and two clean sheets away from home which is really pleasing and it's something to build on. But we just have to keep the foot down and keep going."
McHugh gave additional praise to his regular central-midfield partner this season, Hiram Boateng. The Irishman added: "He has got real quality. I think he has been brilliant since he has come in. It's probably the first time he has played this amount of games in such a close period and it's not easy mentally or physically. You are always coming down from one game and you have to get yourself right for the next one. It's not an easy thing but I think he has coped with it brilliantly. He has been very consistent in his performances and he can only go from strength to strength. He has got natural ability, you can see that, with his physicality and his running power with the ball. He's a great talent."
Argyle have signed Bolton Wanderers defensive player Oscar Threlkeld on a loan deal until January 2nd. Threlkeld can play at right-back, centre-back and defensive-midfield. He will wear the number 26 shirt during his time at Home Park. He is following in the footsteps of fellow young Trotters defender Andy Kellett, who enjoyed a successful spell at Home Park last season.
Derek Adams has described Threlkeld as the missing piece of his Plymouth Argyle jigsaw puzzle and confirmed that his squad is now complete. Adams went on however to warn against too many comparisons with Andy Kellett: “I am delighted to have him. Bolton manager Neil Lennon has been very good with me, and I’ve been able to take him to Plymouth. He’s already played in the Championship a good number of times for Bolton and it’s an opportunity to get another player in which can provide competition for places. It’s important we have options all over the pitch, and we’re starting to get that now. If we can have that...we don’t want to have too many injuries or suspensions but we have got to have players ready to step in if that happens.
“My remit, when I came in, was to take in five permanent signings and three loan signings. I’ve done that now and I’m happy with the work that has been completed up until now.
“Andy is a wing-back, small and dynamic. “Oscar’s a wee bit different; he’s a defender and we are hopeful that he can do well. He can play right-back; he can play as the sitting midfield player – they are the two positions he has played in for Bolton; he’s been captain of their Under-21 side, as well.”
Derek Adams is relishing the prospect of coming up against his former managerial rival Terry Butcher in the game against Newport County on Saturday. Adams and Butcher has a healthy rivalry in Scotland but Adams insisted they remained firm friends off the pitch, explaining: "The two of us are very good friends. It'll be good to see him. He's always a nice man to be around and a great character. He's had a very good career. I'm looking forward to meeting up with him this Saturday, the last time we met was when he was at Hibs and I was manager at Ross County. He sent me a text at the start of the season to wish me luck. He's obviously played for England 76 times. He had a good spell north of the border as as a player and he's taken that into management. As a person he was top class. He's had a very good career and I'm looking forward to meeting up with him this Saturday!"
Derek Adams had admitted that Argyle will be using the week without a midweek game to recharge their batteries after a very busy pre-season and start to the season proper. He said: "We've got a mid week break this week and we're recharging the batteries. We're getting the players back to having a recovery session at times but we are still working hard on the training field. We carry on as normal. We worked a double session yesterday and we have a double session today. We've got tomorrow off but we'll be working towards Saturday. We talk about pre-season training and how hard it was: the reason its hard is to be ready for the start of the season. The players are fit physically and mentally; this week is just a good week for them to have that recovery. I think there are areas that we can improve on. I think that we can help them and make them even better than they are. They've performed really well to start the season but there's always improvement. We'll get there and keep on moving along over the next couple of weeks. Collectively I'm delighted with the way that the group has come together. They've looked after each other; they're good professionals and want to do well."
Argyle continued their excellent start to the 2015-16 season with a comfortable victory over Northampton Town and Derek Adams is pleased to his entire squad having an immediate impact at the club. He said: “They’ve all performed well. The players that were here last season have helped the others, in the dressing room and on the pitch, as well. Then the players that have come in have given them a lift. We’ve done really well. We’ve only conceded one goal from open play, which is impressive. We’ve got to keep going. We’ve got to keep the concentration, the momentum, the confidence. These are all the things we’ll speak about. We’ve got players who are hungry, and when you’ve got a player that’s hungry, you’ve got a chance. We’ve had it drilled into them; we’ve got players that have got that about them in their ability. They want to come here and do well. The signings have been good, and the ones that were here last season have done well for us. All combined, I’m happy with the group of players that we have.
“Wylde has a slight injury, so I just thought I might as well take him off and protect him, like we protected Reuben. He just thought his thigh was a wee bit tight. We’ve got players in our squad that are capable of coming on, and they showed that today. We’ve had to change the team a couple of times during the game, and we’ve got players that are capable of doing that. I think it’s always important you get goals from all areas of the team. We’ve done well from set plays as well; we’ve scored a number of goals from them. We just need the defenders to chip in now, but they’ve done well defensively.
"We controlled the game for large spells and dealt with the high balls that were coming into us. We played on the counter attack at times and it was a very professional performance. It was good to see Graham Carey getting another goal. He pressed high in midfield and won the ball, and then Jake Jervis has scored again. The back four – back five including Luke McCormick – performed well and it's good to get a clean sheet. It's important we keep that momentum going now.
"We could have scored more goals. We have hit the bar and probably should have had a penalty – it looks like it was. There were other incidents in the game where we could have scored goals, but to come here and win 2-0 is very pleasing. It's not an easy place to come to. You see Exeter lost 3-0 here last week so we will take confidence from that. Brunt did well. He closed the centre-halves down, used his physical presence and got us up the park by keeping the ball. He was important for us, but he wasn't the only one. There were a lot of players out there on a hot day and they controlled the game.
"The summer signings have all performed well but the players who were here last season have helped them – in the dressing room and on the pitch as well. The new players that have come in have given them a lift and, all combined, we have done well. We have only lost one goal from open play, which is impressive, but we have to continue that and we have to continue going forward and scoring goals."
Graham Carey is enjoying the goalscoring start to his career at Argyle and has given thanks to Derek Adams for his improved scoring record, in particular the way he has positioned him. Carey revealed how he enjoys playing behind the striker or strikers, saying: "I have started well in front of goal. It was my aim to get a lot more goals and assists than I have in previous seasons. When I'm in on goal, I'm always confident I'm going to score now. I have averaged about three goals a season throughout my whole career. I think it helps where the gaffer is playing me as well, more central in behind a striker or as an attacking midfielder. It suits my game more than being isolated out on the wing – but I will play wherever he wants me to.
"I thought, all in, it was a great team performance this week. We defended really well and were hard to break down, and we counter attacked well. I was happy with my performance too. I saw the play build up and I read what he (Watson) was going to do. There was a big gap in their defence and I finished it well. From the second half during the week, I thought we were rock solid and we continued that today. We are gradually getting what the manager wants because the transition from three at the back last season to four is quite difficult. I think the lads are doing really well at the back and it's up to us to score goals because we know we can keep clean sheets."
Argyle's fantastic start to the League Two season has continued with another 2-0 away victory, this time at Northampton. In many ways, the game mirrored the one against Carlisle on Tuesday. After an unspectacular first half, Argyle took the lead shortly before the interval. The second half introduction of Josh Simpson for Gregg Wylde triggered a more dominating half of football in which Argyle got a second goal and won the match 2-0. Argyle: McCormick, Mellor, Nelson, Hartley, Sawyer, McHugh, Boateng(Tanner), Jervis, Carey, Wylde(Simpson), Reid(Brunt). Subs: Bittner, Purrington, Harvey, Cox
Derek Adams expects the game against Northampton to be another very tough test of his team and has called upon his Argyle players to show strength and overcame it. He complimented the opposition who have made a strong start to the season, saying: “They’ve started the season well, like ourselves. We’ll see what it’s like to go away from home; we did well in our first game at Wimbledon, and we’re looking forward to it. If you look at the club and their finances, they would be one of the clubs that you would expect to be in the top region of the table. They rested a few players from Saturday on Tuesday night. They left four players out that had a very good win, 3-0 against Exeter, and changed their team around a bit, so I presume they’ll go back to more or less the same team that played on Saturday. We have to be ready for that. They’ve got Taylor out suspended, who played in both games. They’re a team that play 4-4-2 or a 4-4-1-1, and they’ve had a decent start to the season. We expect it to be an open match. I can see them coming at us, and we can play on the counter attack as well, at times. They probably will be looking towards the Newcastle cup game, but they’ll be looking to put on a good performance, to try and get in the team to play Newcastle. It was going to be a competitive game to start with, and that just makes it even more competitive.”
After a difficult start to his career at Argyle, Josh Simpson was delighted to get a good full half of football under his belt against Carlisle on Tuesday and hopes that he will continue to get first team chances as he plans on grabbing them with both hands. Simpson spoke about his early career at Home Park, saying: "It was nice to get on there and get some game time. I think it's just a case of waiting for your chance. The lads have been playing really well so there is no negative vibe or anything. I have just got to wait for my chance and when I get it I have got to take it. It's a long old season. I was pleased to get on the pitch on Tuesday and the lads played really well. It was a good win. It was difficult in the first half but the gaffer changed the formation and I think that helped us massively. I was pleased to be a part of it. We scored a few goals and we looked very attacking.
"I was pleased with how pre-season was all going and in the last week I just got a bit of fatigue. I think it was too many games in too short a space of time, but I'm back now and I have just got to work my way into the team. It's a long old season and if we are going to get promoted it's not going to take 11 players, it's going to take a squad of 20. If I can be a part of that, then it's great. Every player wants to play the first game of the season but it's not the be-all and end-all. If I can contribute for the rest of the season then so be it.
"I certainly think we are going to be up there. Portsmouth was a tough game and they will be there or thereabouts at the end of the season. That was a good test for us. We are very attacking and we can score goals, and we have shown that so far. I think we are going to be very competitive and I think we are going to be successful."
The date and time of Argyle's Johnstone's Paint Trophy match at AFC Wimbledon has been confirmed as Tuesday, September 1, with a 7.45pm kick-off. |date|19 Aug 2015
Jake Jervis declared himself thrilled to have opened his goalscoring account for Argyle in such style. Jervis described his goals and said that he was delighted to have overcame injury to be able to play in the match: "It was good to get my first goals at home and hopefully I can keep it up. Carlisle were moving the ball around well and I think the way we were playing, we weren't getting close enough to them. We went in at half-time and made changes. Gregg was unlucky to come off but it was just tactical, and then we have done well and reacted. As I turned inside he slipped and I just looked to get a shot off. Happily, it ended up in the top corner of the net. There is no better feeling than scoring goals. That's what Graham is all about – setting people up – and obviously he can get a shot off himself. He got his goal as well, which is credit to him, showing he can do both sides of the game. I was in with Paul Atkinson on Saturday and Sunday. He did a lot of work to get me fit for the game, which he has told me to make sure I mention! I came through that, trained on Monday and then got told on Tuesday I would be playing. I was really happy. I felt great. We did a hard session on Sunday, probably more intense than training, just to make sure it was okay. I got through that and I was ready to go. It was frustrating watching the game against Portsmouth, and not being able to help the team out there. But I was excited to get out against another former team Carlisle and I enjoyed it."
Derek Adams gave an insight into how the tactical switch from 4-2-3-1 to 3-5-2 paid off in changing the game against Carlisle. He explained the reasons why he chose to make the change and said that Gregg Wylde was sacrificed for reasons of shape rather than his own performance. Adams elaborated: "We had to from the point of view they were causing us a bit of trouble. We had to be on the front foot and then we played off of them. We caused them even more trouble than they were causing us in the first half. It was important we tried to put the onus on them. In the first half we probably didn't get into wide areas enough. We were a lot better than them in the second half. They were a bit kamikaze in the first half. They had a lot of attacking players in their team. I heard them before the game, saying they were going to go for it. That's what they did. We knew they had wingers playing in the wing-back areas. Their centre halves in the back three were pushing forward and leaving one for one. We were aware of that. We changed things around and it benefited us in the second half. We were very comfortable making the change because we have got the players who have played 3-5-2 before.
"We have also got good players in midfield and strikers who could go and change that. It was not a problem. It was quite easy to do, and it obviously worked for us. I said to Gregg 'listen, it's not your fault, it's everybody else's fault'. It was one of those things. Somebody had to be sacrificed, and he was the one sacrificed. It was a shame for him because he had been in the game and given us that good width on the left hand side. Graham picks up good areas in the park and sees good passes. He's creative and he likes to score goals as well. Reuben Reid has got a goal as well. It's important all these players are scoring."
Adams also explained that he took a risk on the fitness of Jake Jervis for the game. Needless to say, it is one he was delighted to have seen pay off. He added: "He trained on Monday and I had an idea there was a possibility of him being involved against Carlisle. I probably gave everybody a dummy, even our own media. I just decided I would play him because I think he's one of those who can benefit the team and he showed that. I was worried that he hadn't overcome his injury enough and I took a risk. Did I think he was going to last as long as he did? I was hoping he would last the 90 minutes but we took him off just to protect him."
Argyle have struck third time lucky with their first home victory of the season: an impressive and somewhat surprising 4-1 victory over Carlisle. After two consecutive home losses, Argyle did look nervy in a first half which the visitors had the better of but a half-time switch in style and formation saw Argyle burst into a 4-0 lead via Reuben Reid, Graham Carey and Jake Jervis(twice). Carlisle got a last minute consolation but they still faced the long journey back up North with no points once more. Argyle: McCormick, Mellor, Nelson, Hartley, Sawyer, McHugh, Boateng(Brunt), Jervis(Tanner), Carey, Wylde(Simpson), Reid. Subs: Bittner, Cox, Harvey, Purrington.
Derek Adams is weighing up his options in the development of young Argyle striker Louis Rooney who has pulled up so many trees in the South West Peninsula League but has to improve further to be ready for first team level. Adams hinted that he was considering a loan move: "At this moment in time I haven't really decided. His next move might be onto the bench. It might be somewhere else – a loan move out to a National League club. But it might be that he pushes his way into the first team. We will just assess him as he's going along. He has got a long road to go and he's working hard. The games in the Peninsula League are helping him, but obviously the standard that we are playing at in the first team is totally different.
"Anybody with football knowledge knows the difference in standard. The footballing people understand where the progression is and where the next move is. He has only just come out of under-18 football and he's moving along nicely. He's in and around the first team squad. He's training with them every day. If we had enough players – and we don't have enough players at this moment in time – any loan move would be to somewhere which would benefit him. Probably the National League would be the one that we would try to look to."
Adams also added that he has every sympathy for the Carlisle United supporters who have been forced to make the long trip to Plymouth on a Tuesday night: “It’s not fair to the supporters. Not many travel long distances on a Tuesday night. But you can tell the computer system that and the computer system will not listen; it’s not individuals, but a computer that churns out the fixtures and there’s nothing else you can do about it. It’s disappointing as Carlisle will not want to travel; it’s a long journey and, in the midweek, supporters will find it very difficult to get here. That’s the nature of the fixtures at the start of the season – some you’re happy with some, you’re unhappy with others. That’s just the beauty of the game. When we go away from home, on a Tuesday evening, to some places, our fans find it difficult. We’ve got a hectic Christmas period, when there are three or four games that are away from home – the likes of Hartlepool, Newport, Carlisle – so that’s not helpful to us, but I’m not complaining.”
Derek Adams admitted that Pompey won the game against Argyle yesterday by being able to nullify the greens' usual style of play. The visitors stopped Argyle from being able to execute their passing game and therefore won the game comfortably. Adams reflected on the match, saying: “It was a very good atmosphere. I think that the players enjoyed it. It was a good derby match; obviously I wanted to see more chances for us, but that’ll come. I think that it was very mixed. It wasn’t really free-flowing, and there wasn’t many chances throughout the match. I thought the teams cancelled themselves out. Portsmouth are a good side. You can see that with the experience they’ve got throughout their team. We know that; they made seven changes to their team the other night and beat Derby. They’re a good team; at times today we’ve been able to create chances, but we didn’t really play the free-flowing football that we can play, and that’s probably credit to Portsmouth. They pressed quite well and didn’t allow us to get into a free-flowing game. There were a lot of fouls, pulls and tugs, and obviously that’s part of the game. The game became a bit fragmented, and that didn’t really help us. There were a lot of stoppages in play. Their players closed us down in midfield, and maybe the option wasn’t there to pass it into midfield. That caused the defenders to play long, and sometimes that happens.”
Adams did however bemoan the decision from the referee to award what he deemed to be a soft penalty at the end of the first half that saw Pompey take the lead by saying: "I thought the first penalty, looking at it from where I was, was very soft. The player Stevens had fallen down before he was touched. He was in a forward motion so I don't think that was a penalty. The second one was a definite penalty, though.
It's a big decision from the referee because it's right on half-time. You have got to be 100 per cent sure, and obviously the referee was. But, from our point of view, we lost possession and we didn't react quickly enough. We had a number of players out of position, which is probably why we got ourselves into that bit of bother."
Gary Sawyer was naturally frustrated with the game against Pompey from both a personal and team wide perspective but strengthened his resolve to improve things in the game against Carlisle on Tuesday. Sawyer may have given away the penalty for Portsmouth's second goal but he insisted he is keeping things in perspective: “It was very frustrating from our point of view, and especially from a personal point of view, me being one that gave the penalty away. There’s not a lot I can do to defend myself – he got the better of me. We have just got to look to bounce back on Tuesday. We know what we’ve got to do now against Carlisle, and all thoughts are towards that. We can’t sit here and cry about losing to Portsmouth, myself included – I’ve given a penalty away; I have got to go out and right that wrong. They are good side, very capable, but I still think that, when we’re really on it, we have got a good side. We can only look to ourselves. Their shape stopped us a little bit in certain areas and we didn’t attack as well as we have done in previous games and as well as we can do. We left Rubes a little bit isolated at times and it was hard for him to get anything going. There were big lads up against him. We need to be a bit more professional and have a bit more savvy about us. When you get to my age, playing this game, you’ve had enough ups and downs to last you a lifetime. It’s the way the season is. When games are coming thick and fast, on Tuesdays and Saturdays, your highs and lows come quickly, depending on how the game goes. We need to bounce back on Tuesday.”
Argyle's first home game of the league season has ended in defeat with a 2-1 loss to Pompey. The visitors had the better of the first half and got their opening goal courtesy of a Matt Tubbs penalty on the stroke of half-time. They continued to attack in the second half and Gary Roberts eventually got their second goal, also from the penalty spot, with four minutes to go. Argyle ensured a frantic finish due to a fine strike by Gregg Wylde in the 89th minute but ultimately it was not enough. Argyle: McCormick, Mellor, Nelson(Brunt), Hartley, Sawyer, McHugh, Boateng, Tanner, Carey, Wylde, Reid. Subs: Bittner, Bentley, Purrington, Cox, Simpson, Harvey.
Derek Adams today confirmed that Jake Jervis will miss the game against Portsmouth tomorrow with the groin injury that he acquired in the Gillingham game and hinted that Craig Tanner may be the man to replace him:
"Jake will be out for Saturday. We're just assessing his groin injury and we'll see from there. He's out for Saturday but we'll just assess him over the next few days to see how long of a period he will be out for. It's hard to tell at this moment in time but he is moving better than we first thought. Hopefully it is not as long as we first feared. Craig came in and fitted in seamlessly into the system, into the team and scored a marvellous goal so he obviously does come into our thoughts and we've got other players in the team who are on the bench as well who could possibly come in as well."
Peter Hartley gave a nuanced analysis of the Gillingham game just passed and also looked forward to the upcoming Dockyard Derby against Pompey with anticipation. He shared Derek Adams positive view of the Gillingham game and insisted he was not phased by facing the League Two promotion favourites. Hartley: “I thought we played very well in parts.. We had a decent game plan going into the game, as we did on Saturday, and I thought for 80 minutes, we followed it through well. You would rather be in a situation like that, where you can affect the outcome, rather than a situation where you’re getting popped off the park 4-0 or 5-0, and you’re thinking ‘what’s going on here?’ Their keeper definitely worked more than Luke did. The boys worked hard and we looked like a fit team, so I think there’s going to be exciting times to come.
“It’s a massive game. They’ve bought a lot of players who have played a higher level, with good quality. It’s a completely different team, so we can’t expect to have the game that we had last season, with regards to how we broke them down so early on, and how easy the game seemed to be for us. I think we’ll start on the front foot, like we did last season. I watched them last night against Derby and thought they played really well, even though they made seven changes. I watched the way they played, and they look like they use the full backs very well. Paul Cook seems to have strength in depth, and obviously Paul is a well-proven manager at this level. But I look at the quality we’ve got in our dressing room and think we’re more than capable of beating anybody. We’re going to go in there to win the game. We’re at home, we want to win our home games, and you’ve got to do that if you want to be in the top part of the league come the end of the season. It’s going to be a tough game but I’d like to think that the best team comes out on top, which will be us on the day. It’s like a Championship game, isn’t it? It’s crazy. It seems to get the best out of us, so long may that continue.”
Hartley went on to say how much the general atmosphere and training around the club has improved since the arrival of Derek Adams. He particularly praised the preparation skills of the new manager, saying: “The gaffer seems to have a real desire to win. He knows what he wants from a team, so how can you criticise a person who’s got that type of desire? It can only brush off on everybody else. He’s got ridiculously high standards, and it rubs off on everyone else. You learn new things every day from what you’re doing; the day you think you’ve stopped learning is the day you start decreasing in your career. With different methods in training, we’ve done a few different things that I’ve never done before. Success is a lot of things, done very well, so if we keep doing those things and keep on top of things then hopefully, touch wood, we’ll see where we are at the end of the season. There’s a lot more organisation about the place. The gaffer seems to have a good philosophy, knows the way he wants to play and what he wants to do. One thing I’ve noticed the players all say is that he’s a good person, as well. I’m enjoying it, and I think it’s going to be a really enjoyable season.
“He’s obviously changed the formation,” said Peter, “and I think that you saw in pre-season, because we changed from a three to a two centre backs, it took us a couple of games to get our distances right, because you’ve got to make up a lot more ground when it’s a two at the back. As the games went on, we gradually seemed to get more and more solid. The main thing was that when a ball came into an opposing striker last season, it was always the middle-man, which was Carl McHugh, that would go in, and then me and Nelse would tuck around. Now, we’ve got to take that responsibility in ourselves to get tight with that striker. So you’re making up more ground, but the penny’s starting to drop now. You’ve got to take more responsibility and ownership.”
Derek Adams was impressed with the Green Army's backing on Tuesday, and with that in mind is looking forward to a big crowd on Saturday as Argyle face Portsmouth in the Dockyard Derby. He said: "There is a very good rivalry and you want that in any football match and it is great that the two dockyards have that. We're expecting a very big crowd on Saturday. I think everybody wants to be involved in big occasions; the Dockyard Derby is always a big occasion and we're all looking forward to it. Derby matches are always good. Obviously I've been involved in Scotland for many years. Being at Celtic Park and Rangers and involved in 50,000 or 60,000 week in week out, I am used to it. It's always nice to have a derby match and seeing a stadium full. I think it was impressive. We had nearly 5,000 home fans. They have come out in numbers for the first home game of the season and they have gone home and told their friends and family what a good game it was to watch. Hopefully that will add to the numbers on Saturday.
In spite of his overall positive analysis of the Gillingham game however, Adams did have some words of caution and advice to his players as to where they could learn from their mistakes: "We have to look at the negatives as well. The goals we conceded were preventable. We either lose possession of the ball or are out of position and we could have stopped them. For the chances we created, could we have taken the chances and scored a few goals in the first half? I'm Frustrated from the point of view that we played so well and over the 90 minutes and I think we deserved to go through, but that's what happens in football; sometimes you lose games that you are in total control of but that's just the nature of the game. I thought we played really well and were unfortunate not to go through. I think as a team we played very well, and this season, if we're going to succeed we're going to have to play as a team, but I thought the performance on the night was good. We were very good at winning the ball back, we played on the counter attack and in the first half we could have probably been two or three goals up."
Despite experiencing his first defeat as Argyle manager in the game against Gillingham, Derek Adams believes it is arguably the best performance from his charges since he took over at the club. He therefore said that there were more positives than negatives to be taken from the defeat: “I thought it was probably our best performance since I came here. We started on the front foot. We created numerous opportunities in the first half, and were probably unfortunate to not go in two or three goals up at half time. I thought we counter attacked well, passed it extremely well, and it was a very good performance. I think that 2-1 to Gillingham is harsh on us, to say the least, but that’s the nature of football. We make a mistake and we get punished, then they quickly make it 2-1. But even at 2-1, the boys didn’t let their heads go down. They tried to come back and take it to extra time, but it wasn’t to be. We could’ve done better with both goals. We shouldn’t be losing possession; it was easy possession and we know that. We just had to see out the game. We’ve been naďve but we’ll learn from that. We’ve got a young group that’ll do that. We’ve probably had a few tap-ins tonight that they should’ve taken. We’ve got into really good positions. There’s a lot more positives than negatives. The negative is that we have lost but I don’t see that Luke McCormick has had to make a save tonight. Their goalkeeper’s had to make three or four good saves, and we’ve been in good positions. I don’t like getting beat, but I’m delighted with the way we played tonight. I’ve taken a lot of heart from playing against a good Gillingham side. They’ve came off a very good win against Sheffield United, so we’ve got to take a lot from that tonight.”
Adams also noted that he felt Craig Tanner's excellent 78th minute strike was worthy of being on the winning side in a match. Adams also praised the general performance of Tanner having come into the game 10 minutes in following the injury to Jake Jervis: “I thought that one goal was going to win the game – it was that kind of match. Tanner has taken it out of the sky and put it in the top corner with his right foot. It should’ve been the one that won the match. He’s a dribbler, he’s creative, and you always need a dribbler in your team. We’ve got goals in our team, and it was nice to see him score tonight. It wasn’t easy for him, because he had to come on very early in the game, but he got up to speed. It was a magnificent goal."|date|11 Aug 2015
Argyle have once again crashed out of the League Cup in the opening round after a disappointing 2-1 loss at home to Gillingham. It was a fairly even match for the first 75 minutes or so until Argyle took the lead curtesy of a great strike from Craig Tanner in minute 78. Instead of the game petering out however, the greatest drama was yet to come. Defensive errors meant that Argyle conceded two goals in the space of two minutes shortly before full-time to ensure Gillingham's progression to round two. Also of concern for Argyle was an early injury to Jake Jervis who was replaced by Tanner with just ten minutes on the clock. Argyle: McCormick, Mellor, Nelson, Hartley, Sawyer, McHugh, Boateng, Jervis(Tanner), Carey, Wylde(Brunt), Reid(Simpson). Subs: Bittner, Purrington, Cox, Bentley.
Derek Adams is anticipating another difficult game for Argyle away to AFC Wimbledon after the two sides were once again paired at the Cherry Red Record stadium for the first round of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy. Adams said: "Obviously it's a difficult game, as Saturday was. We would have liked to have a home tie, we would have liked to have played somebody closer. It looked like at one stage it was going to be Exeter, but it was the last out the hat and it was away to Wimbledon. But we've got on with it and it's a competition we would like to do well in as well."
Gregg Wylde hopes his superb debut goal in Argyle’s 2-0 victory over AFC Wimbledon is the first of many for all of the team’s attacking options. He said that he and many others were hoping to get in on the goals a bit more: “The first 10 or 15 minutes were tough, but we defended really well, not just as a back four, to keep the clean sheet. The boys told me throughout the week that it’s quite a tight pitch, and the fans will be on you – and it was tough in the first 15 minutes. I just saw the build-up from the back as we passed it a few times and it went out wide,” said Wylde. I was in two minds because I think it was George Francomb going to flick it on, but I just placed it and it’s hit the roof of the net. I’ve been crossing for Jake Jervis in pre-season so it’s nice to get one back! You can’t just rely on strikers – you have to chip in as a team. I’m just pleased to score in the first game of the season and hopefully it continues.”
Craig Tanner is settling in well at Argyle and is especially pleased to be re-united with Carl McHugh who was one of his teammates in the Reading development squad. McHugh moved across the Irish Sea from County Donegal to sign as a scholar for Reading at the age of 16. He spent three seasons with the Royals until he was released at the end of his first year as a professional, without making a first team appearance for them. Tanner explained: "I already know Carl McHugh really well from when he was at Reading. I actually used to put him up in my house. He used to take me in to training and we used to look after him. He has already made me feel settled in. Everyone is so friendly here and I just can't wait to show the lads a bit more what I can do. It takes some people a couple of weeks to settle into new surroundings, and get to know the names of everyone, and just feel part of it. If you know you are here for the foreseeable future it gives you that reassurance you have time to impress and it doesn't have to happen overnight. I'm happy I'm here.
"The manager met me at the hotel when I arrived last Wednesday and made sure I got checked in okay. It was really good of him. I'm excited to work with him and hopefully I will learn lots off him."
Derek Adams revealed that the team had a gameplan to deal with AFC Wimbledon yesterday- and executed it perfectly. Adams called it an 'outstanding performance'. He said: “There wasn’t a surprise – we had seen it before. We had watched videos and the players were primed; we knew it was coming. We didn’t expect it come in the droves that it did at the start of the game, but that’s the nature of the first day of the season. We obviously had to deal with a lot of balls into the box, and we coped really well with that. They had more possession and had more of the ball, but that’s always going to be the case at home. We didn’t change anything, because we knew that as the game went on, we had players in the team that could open up the opposition, and that’s how it panned out. We knew we had to control the game somewhere on the park, and we tried to control it in the middle area. We knew there would be a lot of long balls; that was evident throughout the match. They had umpteen corners in the first half but we dealt with that, and we dealt with the physical presence of the team. That was pleasing for us. It took a wee bit of time. The game was played at a frantic pace, but I’m delighted with the performance, to come away, because Wimbledon will do well here. Our play at times, going forward, meant that we could’ve scored a few more goals today. It was roasting today – down in the dugout I probably got sunstroke! But it was a day that you needed to dig in, and the players did that.
“It’s an outstanding performance. The travelling support we had here today warranted a performance, and we gave them that. It was loud throughout the game. The fans were outstanding today, to a man. It was a very good start for us. It’s a tough game, coming to Wimbledon and to come away from home. You want to get up and running as quickly as possible, and we’ve been able to do that away from home.”
He finally gave specific words of encouragement to the debutants and specifically the two scorers of good goals: “The first goal was outstanding. We had a good bit of play down the right-hand side, it was pushed out wide, and then it was an unbelievable volley from Wylde. The ball from Jake Jervis is great as well, but to hit it with his left foot with the power that he did was outstanding. They’ve played really well today. That’s helped by the lads that are here already, but to come here and score on your debut is pleasing. The other players have performed well on their debut, along with the rest of the team. I think when you go into any job, you want to take in your own players, and you want to improve everyone at your squad. We’ll continue to do that but, to a man today, I said to them I was very proud of their performance and their attitude in the game. I think you saw the style of football we’re capable of, with the amount of shots that we had in the game. I know that Wimbledon had shots in the game but they’re the home team. To come away from home and have that number was very impressive. I enjoyed it – it was a fantastic occasion. There was a supporters’ function in London last night and I enjoyed that. Today was the same.”
Lastly, Carey himself spoke of his satisfaction at his role in the win as well as that of new teammate Gregg Wylde noting that both were aiming to add goals to their game: “Gregg got a lot of assists in pre-season and something he has wanted to do is to add goals to his game. He had a chance before he scored and the second one came along and he took it. It was a great finish. With the pace he’s got, there’s no reason he can’t get a lot more. It was good to get the second goal and I think that was vitally important in the game, especially the way Wimbledon flung balls into the box in the final half-hour – it was important to get that two-goal lead. It’s something I want to add to my game,” he said. “I haven’t been scoring enough goals in previous seasons. I’ve been setting up a lot of goals and I’ll continue to do that, but if I can add goals to my game and link up well with Reuben Reid and the other strikers, it’ll be a bonus.
“They are two young great footballers who are not just defensive midfielders – they want to get on the ball and pass forward and that’s vital to the way we want to play. We played a lot of teams that we should have been beating in pre-season, really, and we have been building up to this for a couple of weeks, playing gradually better opposition, but you don’t really know what you are going to get when you come into the league. We battled. They are a big, physical, side and it was a hell of a storm that they brought on in the first 15 minutes but the boys at the back and in midfield, and even the strikers, defended great and was a great team performance from which we can kick on.”
Argyle have started the Derek Adams era spectacularly with a very impressive 2-0 win away to AFC Wimbledon. Argyle edged a fairly even first half and got their noses in front with an excellent goal by Greg Wydle. Argyle came out the better side after the break and a long range deflected effort from Graham Carey gave the greens a 2-0 lead within minutes. Argyle had several good chances to grab a third and ended up seeing the game out effectively. Argyle: McCormick, Mellor, Nelson, Hartley, Sawyer, Boateng, McHugh, Jervis, Carey(Brunt), Wylde(Purrington), Reid(Tanner). Subs: Bittner, Bentley, Simpson, Cox.
Argyle will make a quick return to South London, after the first round draw of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy paired us with AFC Wimbledon. The match will be played on the week commencing August 31st.
Argyle's development side also wrapped up a victory today, 4-3 at home to Bude. The goals came from Ryan Lane and a Tyler Harvey hat-trick.
New Argyle loan signing Craig Tanner is willing to contribute over the coming season in any way which his manager sees fit. Youngster Tanner sees himself as a versatile attacking player and does not want to tie himself down to any one position. He explained: “I’m getting the buzz back for Saturdays and Tuesdays. It’s what I was missing, so I can’t wait to be back; especially because we’ve got Wimbledon in the first game, my former club. I’m looking forward to seeing a few familiar faces, but also getting the three points so I can rub it in a bit! They’ve got some really good players and it’ll be a real tough game, but I think we need to focus on us rather than them. I think we’ll get the three points; I’ve got that feeling, and normally my gut’s good! I’ll play anywhere, if I’m honest. I can play right wing, left wing, centre midfield, attacking midfield, striker, so luckily enough I can play a few positions. I don’t have a favourite position so I’ll just play wherever the gaffer wants. As long as I’m on the pitch and have the ball, I’m happy.”
Derek Adams explained the final details of his team's pre-match preparation for the opening day at Wimbledon before detailing why points totals are not something that he is interested in over the course of this seasons. Adams elaborated: “We watched Wimbledon last week and they were very direct. They like to get the ball into the penalty area very quickly, from the wide areas and even from the back. We’ve let the players know that. We’ve watched videos together to tell them to see that. We’ve worked on it in training, so they know what’s coming. They’ve got a front three that are powerful, and we’re aware what type of game it’s going to be. If we can pass the ball as well as we did against the likes of Forest Green, we will do well. If we pass the ball quickly and at a higher tempo, we’ll have a good opportunity. What you have to have as well is players who are capable on the ball and have good control. We’ve certainly got that, but we’ll have to be ready for an aerial battle as well.
“I’ve known nine or ten players of the starting XI for a while now. We’ve looked through the pre-season games and had an idea of the formations, and I don’t think there’ll be too much of a surprise to the supporters with the team on Saturday. My target is to win promotion, and the majority of teams in the division will be exactly the same – and I’m no different. I want to win as many games as I possibly can. That’s always been my philosophy, and we’ll work on a weekly basis to try and do that. I’m not going to set points targets or anything like that, because the target is to win every game. That’s just the nature of how we go about things.”
Curtis Nelson is a player whose level of experience is far higher than one might initially expect for someone of such tender years. Nelson has only just turned 22 but is already closing in on his 200th appearance for Argyle. Yet this does not deter him from wanting to continue to learn and develop more skills as a player. The skipper said: "I think I'm quite fortunate because I have been involved in the team since such a young age. It doesn't happen often. But I have still got a lot to learn in the game. I can't stop learning if I want to play higher up in football and carry on for as long as I can. I think that's the main thing. It isn't what I expected it to be. It's a new role for me and a lot of responsibility. Different things come with being the captain, but I think I'm learning the role with each day that goes by. We have a target but we want to keep it in the dressing room. Obviously you have always got to look to improve and set standards."
It went somewhat unnoticed in all of the upheaval at Plymouth Argyle this summer but this season will be the first of Paul Wotton's official retirement from playing. The coach officially shared his coaching duties with playing ones last season but in reality Wotton was never likely to play due to his lack of training. However, now that the end has been formally confirmed, Wotton reflected on his playing career in football and looked ahead to his future as a coach: "Officially, I was player-coach last season but I didn't train. I think I could have played some games, but it's not about playing the games, it's recovering afterwards. I took everything I could out of my body and it repaid me quite well to be honest. You do get warning signs. I remember a game against Wimbledon and I got done a couple of times, where it wouldn't have happened before. You do think 'maybe my time is up' but being honest with yourself is really hard because you just want to play forever. Little bits happen in training and you think 'I should have got that' or your brain says 'yes' and your body says 'no'. Then you get frustrated with yourself, but I'm really fortunate to have made the transition I have. I'm still in the club every day and coaching is the next best thing. I made my debut at 17 and my last appearance was at 36, at Portsmouth, so it's a terrific stint really. It's something I'm proud of, and I have never really said that before. To get over 600 games is a rarity.
"I would have had more appearances for Plymouth had it not been for that injury, but I don't know whether I would have gone to Southampton then. You don't know how things work out in football. I have got zero regrets career-wise. I could have moved a few times but my affinity with Plymouth was always there. When I did move, it was because I had to. It wasn't because I wanted to leave, but then I had really good memories of Southampton as well. I have had a really good career. I have lifted trophies and won championships, played at Wembley, and this and that. I have had a good shift, but it is someone else's turn now. You can't go on forever. You still look at training and think 'I could do that' but you can't. Like I said, I took everything I could out of my body and it let me down very few times. I took it as far as it could go and then it was enough is enough. Whatever career you have, whether it's one minute, one game or 20 years, if you can look back and say 'I gave it everything I had' I think that is the most important thing. I always prided myself on being as fit as I could possibly be. I wasn't quick but I could run.
"Being Plymouth born and bred and playing that many times for my hometown club is something I will always be proud of – and I hope other people are proud of it as well. The bottom line is, I gave everything I had in every game for Plymouth Argyle, and that's good enough for me."
Argyle owner James Brent became the final name to express his feelings of excitement ahead of the new season. He revealed how pleased he was with the early days of Derek Adams reign at Home Park. He went on to make comparisons with Adams and departed manager John Sheridan. Brent said: "Derek is an incredibly focused, dedicated and diligent person. I think what made that most clear to me was going in and seeing his office within a day of him moving in. The office was changed around; it was repainted, there were pictures on the wall and it was totally tidy. He has got a very tidy mind I suspect, and he's a very organised person. He's passionate about his football, has got youth on his side, and I suspect very significant ambition. He has got a lot going for him. The shortlist that we went through was the full spectrum, from managers who have got Premier League experience to people who hadn't managed in the Football League before. It was a unanimous decision to appoint him. It was a very good field we had and he shone out. John's family had not moved down to Plymouth as we had originally hoped, and I think as John had originally hoped. Having spent much of my working life away from the family, it is difficult to do. I think that combined with some of the negativity he was getting on social media made it very tough for him. So I wasn't surprised when he decided to leave. But I do think we need to remember that when John came in we were expected to be relegated to the Football Conference. He turned us around that season and moved us up to 10th and then seventh, so his tenure, in my view, is one of a period of success. I totally get it that the football wasn't as exciting as it might have been, and I do think John does like attacking football, but that was not really the game we were playing. It was making sure we conceded fewer goals than the other side, as opposed to scoring more goals than the other side.
"I still feel after four years I'm a relative football novice, but I thought we were fortunate to get into the play-offs and we didn't deserve to win. If we had been in Wycombe's position, I think I would have felt absolutely distraught over it. But I didn't think we deserved to have Wycombe's position and I thought the outcome was fair.
"I think as a professional, competitive team, to start a season with any hope other than to win the league is defeatist. My guess is we will have a good season, but that it will probably have a few ups and downs. The impression I get from the pre-season games is that we will win by a large margin on occasions and when things don't go well we might lose by a few goals as well. It feels as though it's going to be much more open and exciting. Derek knows that we have shown improvement each year and we hope to continue that trend. We don't see the right position for the football club as being in League Two. We have spent most of our history in what is now League One or the Championship. A well-run Championship club is where we should aspire to be in my view."
Argyle have signed 20 year old Craig Tanner on a loan deal from Reading until January 2nd. Tanner who can play as a versatile forward was playing at Home Park recently for the friendly between Argyle and the Reading development squad. He missed a penalty but generally seemed to impress manager Derek Adams enough to sign him for the greens, playing as he did on the right side of midfield. He has been given the number 27 shirt while he is at Home Park. Last season, he had a loan spell at AFC Wimbledon who Argyle coincidentally face on the opening day of the season on Saturday.
Derek Adams has welcomed Tanner as another player of high pedigree to join his squad, by saying: “As with Hiram, we have got another one in with a good pedigree in that both their clubs have got high hopes for them. He played at Wimbledon last year, so he knows the league. He’s quick; and he’s got goals in him. He can play anywhere along the front line – left, right or central – or wide in a four, so there are plenty of options with him. We knew about him before,” he said. “The match was as much about the players from Reading being able to have a look at us. We are delighted to have him at Home Park and I look forward to working with him.”
With the opening game of the season at AFC Wimbledon just days away, Derek Adams thinks that his Argyle charges are more than ready for the season ahead, saying: "They've done really well. They have worked hard and they are more than ready for the start of the season. It's very exciting for a lot of people, the players have shown that in pre-season they have been excited. They've performed well in the pre-season games. I'm looking forward to the start of the season. We have been very competitive in pre-season matches and that's been important. We want to go out and win as many games as we possibly can and that is always your ethos at the start of any season. On a weekly basis we will try and win each game. Wherever this season takes us we will go out to try and win."
He also confirmed that he had a full squad at his disposal for the game with the one exception of Deane Smalley: "Josh Simpson trained on Monday, he is moving along well; we've got a fully fit squad except for Deane Smalley who has been a long-term absentee since January, so I'm happy to get through the pre-season. When you have a first-team player out for so long it's frustrating. You want to have all your players fit. It's disappointing for Deane himself, he's not been able to show the Argyle fans what a good player he is. He's moving along well and training hard so we're hopeful he will get back November or December."
He may not have felt it at the time but on reflection Gary Sawyer was grateful that Argyle started the game against Forest Green so poorly- because it gave them a chance to right their wrongs and get errors out of their system going into the game against Wimbledon on Saturday. Sawyer said: “We didn’t start the game great, defensively, and we got punished by a good side. Thankfully, the boys showed a lot of character and turned it round. To be honest, the fact that we had the bad start and the character we showed to turn it around is a massive thing to take into next week. All the games aren’t going to go with us; sometimes you need boys to dig us out of it, which we’ve got. It was a good test against a really good side and the boys have come through it really well. Forest Green caused us problems but, going into the season, we need problems and it was a good thing to see the boys come through and sort it out. I think we got stronger as the game went on but everyone knows that the start wasn’t good enough and we can’t do that next Saturday. We’ve got goals in us; lively players everywhere; some good footballers; quick players. It showed today at times; I think we were unplayable at times. We know we’re strong and we believe we have got good players at the club You know what you’re going to get with Rubes. He’s a really good player and proven goalscorer at this level. He’s a great finisher when he gets into those positions. It’s a massive bonus for us to have him fit.”
Derek Adams too confirmed that his side will continue to address their defensive frailties as they continue to adapt to a new style and formation. However he was not without his praise either. He said that in spite of this, it was on the whole the best that Argyle have played under his tenure as manager: “It was a really exciting game, but obviously the start wasn’t what we had hoped for, to be 3-0 down so quickly without a ball really being kicked. We were in control of the game throughout the match, yet we were 3-0 down for some reason. We made a number of defensive mistakes and gave away a penalty. That was just the nature of the first half. The goals we conceded were just a lack of concentration. Forest Green didn’t really trouble us and yet they were 3-0 up. I got into them a bit to try to get the best out of them, because there’s no point feeling sorry for yourself. They turned it around, and they were able to show me and the coaching staff what good players we know they are. That was the good thing about it, but we’ve got to tighten up a wee bit defensively. At a number of times tonight we were excellent, probably the best we’ve actually been in pre-season. I think that the tempo we played at, the way we passed the ball, the crosses into the box and the chances we created; it was probably the best performance we’ve had, to win tonight. At times we played really attacking football, and tonight it was all about passing and moving, because the pitch was in a great condition. It was a fantastic pitch we played on tonight: it was quick, and it probably suited us. It was pleasure to play on and it was a good venue. We got back into the game and made it 3-2 before half time, and showed a lot of character. We created a lot of chances and it was only a matter of time before we scored because we had a lot of good possession and good play. We could’ve probably been in front by the end of the first half. Then in the second half, it was an excellent performance. To come away from home, score five goals and have as many chances as we did was very pleasing, and I’m delighted with the win tonight. I’m delighted with the goal-scorers, as well: strikers, midfielders and even a defender. We’re ready, I think you could see tonight, with the way the players are looking – they’re looking fit and strong – that they’re ready to go. You always want to finish pre-season well. We’ve had a very good pre-season, and now we’re ready to go for the start of the season.”
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