A Round-up of Argyle News
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Also included on the three most recent days, facts from Argyle's history.
Captain and vice-captain Curtis Nelson and Peter Hartley are both in contention for Argyle's trip to York City on Saturday. John Sheridan explained how the two players have both trained and could be ready to start: “They trained today,” said Argyle manager John Sheridan, after the New Year’s Eve session at Home Park. “They both came through okay. They’ll train tomorrow and we’ll assess them from there, but both looked okay so we’ll keep fingers crossed and I’ll make a decision tomorrow. First and forest, both lads have got to be comfortable in the way they feel. Hopefully, they’ll be okay. I don’t want to jump the gun, but I’ve spoken to them and they are both positive. I think Pete’s definitely going to be fit and I think Nelse is 90 per cent. It’s a massive boost.”
John Sheridan is also looking to sign a striker before Saturday's match at York and gave an idea of the type of player he was looking for, saying: “I’m trying to sign someone, but whether it will happen before Saturday I don’t know. In my eyes, I have got two of the best strikers in the division, and I have got to be clever budget-wise with what we can afford and what I feel is right for us. I want someone who is hungry and is hopefully going to try to impress. It will be a young player. I could go for an experienced player but I don’t know if they would be happy to possibly be on the bench. I have got to think around who I’m bringing in and, whoever it is, hopefully they will fit into what we are trying to do.”
Argyle have had no word back from Nottingham Forest about Tyler Harvey's trial with the club shortly before Christmas. Sheridan said: “I thought they might have come back to me, or even Tyler’s agent. He was the one pushing the move as well. It seems odd to me, but I don’t think it’s my problem to go chasing Nottingham Forest. I think they should be ringing me and saying whether Tyler fitted in. A bit of feedback would be nice.”
John Sheridan is gutted at Argyle's 2-1 loss to Oxford in spite of a performance that he could find little fault with. Sheridan declared himself happy with how the ten men of Argyle conducted themselves for the vast majority of the match: “We have lost the game 2-1, but I thought we were outstanding. I told the lads that I thought they were magnificent. I do not care what anyone says, or what anyone tells me; I thought we were outstanding, and I will praise the lads to the hills. I just could not ask for any more. I am gutted for the lads, and for the supporters – it was a great following today. I am just gutted we did not get the result we deserved. If we had eleven men on the field, we would have won 3-0 or 4-0. I am sure we would have. I thought we were on top of the game, even with ten men. At the end of the day, Oxford look okay because they are 2-1 up, and we have got ten men and are deflated because of all the really good work we put in. I could not have asked for any more. We tried to win the game with 10 men. We did not hide, and that is the most pleasing thing for me. I am just gutted today, really gutted, because I thought the performance was excellent and we have lost the game. You will get people saying this, that or the other, but I honestly do not care, because I thought we were very good. I hope the opposition appreciate that; I thought they were very lucky today. Even a point with ten men would have been well deserved. We cannot fault anything today, with the way we have played.
"I thought we were outstanding with ten men until their goal, which again is a set play that we should be dealing with and doing better with. We did everything to try and see the game through, and it is again a set play that has come in the box, and I would just like us to go back and organise, be ruthless and get people switched on a little bit more. It does look soft: it is just a ball in, a header down, and they have reacted better than us. They get the second goal which just deflates us. It ends up a good goal, but we lose possession of the ball. I thought Ollie was magnificent today, but he just loses the ball. It is just those little things that sometimes cost you. Is those decisions today, instead of just hooking it and putting it in behind their back four, they lose it, they break and they score.”
Sheridan also rejected any suggestion that youngster Aaron Bentley should be blamed for the loss in spite of his red card for serious foul play, saying: “He is young kid. It is very naïve, and I could just see it coming. Listen: he is a young kid and he will learn, and there is no blame whatsoever. Obviously it does help the opposition, because they get a bit of belief and a bit more of the ball and possession. Obviously it disrupts us, but afterward we adjusted and performed really well. He has come from twenty yards away. It is just a bit of naivety from him, but he will learn from it.”
Andy Kellett had similarly positive words for Bentley after admitting that missed chances have cost Argyle dearly. Kellett said: “I thought we should have got points out of both games that we have played so close together – Newport and Oxford – but it just wasn’t meant to be. We will kick on from it, like we have been doing all season and, hopefully, push for promotion. With football, you have just got to move onto the next game and that’s our focus now. We have obviously lost two on the trot, which is not like us at all, but I think we could have won with both performances. We have been missing our chances lately and I think that is what has cost us. When we went to 10 men, we were still creating chances we should have scored. Everyone is behind Aaron. It’s not his fault. He’s inexperienced – I think it was his third game – and he’s still learning the game. He has just got to move on from it. All of the lads have told him that. The past is the past now. I saw him in the changing room after the game and I think he thinks the defeat is because of him, but it’s not. We are in it as a team.”
Sheridan also revealed that he is hoping to keep hold of midfielder Bobby Reid by signing him on a loan deal until the end of the season. Another short-term loan would not be available under football league rules. Sheridan said: “I will ask the question about Bobby and see what’s happening. I think everyone knows I would like to keep all the loan players if we can, and hopefully add one or two more players. It’s the midway stage of the season and we have got to kick on and try to do even better in the second half, and we are capable of doing it.
Argyle's undefeated home run came to an end today with a 2-1 loss at home to Oxford. The Greens had not lost at Home Park since September 14th before the match. The game was marred by the first half sending off of youngster Aaron Bentley for a rash challenge shortly after Lewis Alessandra put the Greens ahead. The second half saw an Oxford comeback with two goals for the away side ensuring they left Plymouth with all three points. Argyle: McCormick, O'Connor, McHugh, Bentley, Mellor, Cox, Norburn, Bobby Reid, Kellett, Reuben Reid, Alessandra. Subs: Bittner, Purrington, Banton, Morgan, Harvey, Thomas, Blizzard.
John Sheridan has given mixed opinions on Argyle's 2-0 loss at Rodney Parade yesterday. Whilst he praised certain facets of Argyle's play, he went on to bemoan the occasional overplaying and defensive mistakes for the two goals. He said: “I was pleased with the way we came out in the second half. We have had a go and created some really good chances. I actually thought we played okay, but we have lost the game 2-0. I was pleased with the way we tried to get back in the game, and I thought we were the better team in the second half, without scoring goals. We did create chances: Reuben has had a good chance when he hit the bar; Kelvin has had one which has just gone past. We just did not get the breaks, and sometimes you need them to enable you to either get yourself into the game, or to go on and win it.
“One or two little things just did not go our way. We only had one corner, but I think we had lots of the ball. If we would have scored when he makes the save from Aaron, we are the team in the ascendancy; the game is totally different. I felt like we did try and play and get ourselves back in the game – that is the positive. We are going to lose games, and these are the kinds of games where you can and try and scrape even just a point. Even a point would have been a good point in the end, but it was not to be. We did not get the result, but I am pleased with how we went about the game.
“It was difficult conditions for both sets of players. We needed to score, and we needed to get ourselves back in the game. It was just a bit too slow. We kept possession of the ball, but we did not really hurt them. I think we penetrated without hurting them too much, and I thought we just overplayed it a little too much at times. [We should have put balls in the box a little bit more and make them defend. I think we just overplayed at times, instead of playing off the front, especially when we are 1-0 down. Play off the front a little earlier, get up there and support them earlier. I felt we were just predictable, but we did keep possession of the ball at times. We knew it would be a different game to when we are at home and passing it around. You have got to get that killer instinct, and sometimes you have got to change your game around. When Marvin Morgan comes on, I would have liked him to stand up against the young kid at the back and play off of him a little bit more, but we did not do that. I could have left Lewis Alessandra on if we were going to play to feet all day.
“The first goal is a poor goal because we should deal with it – just defend properly with it, but we end up conceding. There is no danger, but it ends up breaking and they score a goal. Then they get the second goal, which I thought was harsh on us, but is a soft goal and a poor goal to concede. It was two poor goals on our part. With the first goal, if they were going to score, that was how they were going to do it. We said ‘Do not let them get corners and long throws. They just put balls in the box; they will play off the front, get in and around you and make life difficult for you’. That is something we have to stand up to, and have to get used to.”
Argyle have ended their unbeaten run on Boxing Day with a 2-0 loss at Newport County. Previously, the greens had gone since 1997 since they last lost on December 26th. Their 15 game run was in jeopardy from the off as former pilgrim Chris Zebroski fired Newport into the lead within the first ten minutes. A game hampered by the rain-swept pitch did not result in any further goals until late into the game when the home side doubled their lead from a set piece. Argyle: McCormick, O'Connor, McHugh, Bentley, Mellor, Cox, Norburn(Morgan), Bobby Reid, Kellett, Reuben Reid, Alessandra(Banton). Subs: Bittner, Purrington, Allen, Harvey, Thomas.
Reuben Reid has given assurance to Argyle fans that he will remain at the club after the transfer window. Reuben attributed manager John Sheridan as a key reason why he is remaining at Home Park: “You never know in football, but I can tell you I’ll be here for the season for sure; definitely; 100%. The manager here has given me – I won’t say a new lease of life, because it could have happened elsewhere – but he has probably been the main factor why I have been able to get that consistency. He’s backed me in times when I wasn’t so hot, when no-one’s talking about you. All of a sudden, people are talking about you. I’ve got a lot of time for him for doing that. When I first came back to the club 24 months ago, it was a struggle for a lot of the players, myself included. I got a lot of criticism. If I wasn’t doing well, he wouldn’t play me of course, but he hasn’t been that [type of] manager where, if I have played a bad game then I’d be been out and you have got to start again. He kept chucking me in, even in times when I wasn’t so sharp. Even though I was contributing to the team, the goals weren’t coming so freely. If players have the backing of the manager, confidence can make you achieve good things.”
John Sheridan revealed that is touch and go whether captain Curtis Nelson will be fit for the game against Newport on Boxing Day. Peter Hartley and Dom Blizzard will definitely be absent. Sheridan: "Peter had a jab before Saturday so we’ll get it assessed and see what the real problem is. It’s just a case of resting. We are probably looking at the York game, as the two games coming up are a bit early. Dom is another one. He’ll be looking at York, probably just because games are a bit close together. He’s running and coming on fine. I think Nelse be involved in one of the games against Newport and Oxford; we’ll just wait and see. He’s got a chance of being involved in both; we’ve just got to be careful with him because he’s going running, and it’s just one of those things where it could worsen if he does land on it again. We’ll be careful and get him strong and fit enough.”
Bobby Reid is enjoying his time at PAFC and spoke about his connection with striker Reuben Reid from their childhood days in Bristol. Bobby said: “We used to play football in the summer together. It’s good to show it on the pitch now and I hope it can continue. It was at my old school and we played games maybe three or four times a week. There were about 30 of us. We did it for two or three years in a row, just for something to do in the summer. Basically, all the footballers from Bristol got together. It got competitive, to be fair, and the standard of football was crazy. It was enjoyable. I think we have got goals in our team and, defensively, we are solid as well. We are just trying to play the best we can and I think our football is attractive to watch as well. We are not talking about promotion. We are taking it game by game and trying to improve as a team and nullify mistakes. I think we are all enjoying it. We have got to keep carrying it on because it’s early doors still.”
Carl McHugh gave a ringing endorsement of his central defensive counterpart Aaron Bentley following his full debut in the 3-0 win against Dagenham on Saturday. The Irish centre-half went on to talk about the injury that resulted in a spell on the sidelines, saying: “I looked around and Pete had gone in. Then Sean McCarthy and Wottsie told Rodders to get ready. It was probably the best way for him. He didn’t have much time to think about it. The three of us had never played together and for the first 10 minutes we were maybe a wee bit shaky. But after that, once we started our passing going, I thought defended really well.
“I was carrying it for probably three or four weeks before I got injured. In the Mansfield game it just came to a point where I had to pull out and get it sorted properly. I had a scan and there was a tear so I got my rest in. I feel fresh again and ready to go for the second half of the season.”
John Sheridan gave a highly positive appraisal of Argyle's victory over Dagenham and Redbridge with specific praise reserved for the players who had just come into the side following injuries to regular starters. The Argyle manager said: “There were one or two scary moments early on, but other than that I thought we were top drawer. Some of our play was outstanding and the goals were all really quality ones. You can see the confidence in the team at the moment, especially at home. The ball is travelling with a purpose, we are taking care of it and we are causing teams a lot of problems. I’m pleased that some of the players who came in performed really well. I thought Ollie Norburn was excellent. We have had a settled team and we have been doing okay. Young Aaron Bentley has come in and Carl McHugh has had his first game in a while. Probably, none of them three would have played had Nelse, Pete and Dom been fit. I’m very pleased for the players who have come in. If anyone was watching us, they would say we look a really good team - on today’s performance. Nelse and Pete are two big players for us but I didn’t worry about that. I’m not one of those who panic. I prepared for young Rodders (Bentley) to be in the side because I knew Pete was 50-50. He had a jab on Friday and felt great. Pete wants to play anyway – he’s like that. He went out and did the warm up but came back in and said it was too sore.Fair play to Marvin, he was in the middle of his meal but he wanted to be on the bench. That’s what you want in your players. They all want to be a part of a winning team.”
Sheridan reiterated his confidence that he is getting the best out of Reuben Reid at Argyle after the forward netted two more goals to take his overall tally for the season to 13: “I’m part of that as well because I keep pushing him and pushing him. I will be on his case all season. I think that’s what he needs because he hasn’t done it anywhere else, has he? He knows where I’m coming from. I gave him the captain’s armband today as well. He’s a very important player for us. Sometimes he doesn’t like what I say but it’s all for the benefit of him. I get my rewards when he plays like he did today and he gets his goals. If he gets 20 in consecutive seasons I’m doing something right.”
Reuben himself shifted the focus from himself and onto the team in general giving praise to his teammates for their role in Argyle's success so far this campaign: “Honestly, I am just thankful to be playing regular football and training hard during the week to keep my fitness. Once I can start playing games consistently, as I have been over the past 24 months for this club, that’s good enough for me – playing in a winning team. It seems to be a good tally. It could be better, I think. I didn’t score for the last four games, which was disappointing for me, even though I still feel I’m contributing to the team. Obviously, I’m happy to get the goals and contribute to good team wins. Goals are in the back of my mind – I’m buzzing when we win games and I complete 90 minutes and feel good in my body.
“Lewi was on fire in the first half – what a performance from him – which helps me out, and the team,” said Reuben. “He got behind again, and I made a good run; he fired the ball across and I was quite pleased with the finish, because it is one of those that, if you think too much about it, you won’t get good contact. I aimed to keep it low and thankfully it went in; it was a really good team goal. He’s a massive help to me, with his energy and the way he can manipulate the ball sometimes. There’s always room for improvement between us two, which is a good sign; if we can click even better, then there could be a lot more goals to come.
“The first goal is crucial and we start on fire,” said Reuben. “When you keep retaining the ball and then going again and attacking the ball…sometimes I’ve looked in centre-backs’ faces and they are pouring with sweat and already looking flustered. So I’ve said to the lads ‘Come on, kick on again – this is our time to score’. Thankfully, for the past few weeks and months, we have been doing that. Keeping the back door shut has been pretty key; the two wing-backs, myself, Lewi and Bobby are given a license to go and win the game for the lads. A massive point for us – what we have been doing well – is the energy levels and commitment to make runs for other people, and to get up and down the field. We’re catching teams cold.”
“With the squad the manager has put together – the quality in all areas – we have got to be fighting to get in the play-offs. We have done nothing yet. There is a massive amount of games and we are just coming up to Christmas now. You will see a little gap open up now and we have just got to hope we keep our performances up to the same level so we can be there or thereabouts at the end.”
Argyle's exemplary home form continued with a 3-0 victory over Dagenham and Redbridge in spite of a depleted defence. Peter Hartley came off injured in the warm-up and first-year professional Aaron Bentley was handed his full Argyle debut. Reuben Reid made his debut with a cool finish on the stroke of half-time and he had a chance to score again after the interval for Argyle's second but instead selflessly squared to Bobby Reid to make sure of the finish. Reuben ensured he got a brace from the penalty spot after Lewis Alessandra was brought down in the area. Argyle: McCormick, O'Connor, McHugh, Bentley, Mellor, Cox, Norburn, Bobby Reid(Harvey), Kellett, Reuben Reid(Morgan), Alessandra(Bantom). Subs: Bittner, Purrington, Allen, Thomas.
Vice-captain Peter Hartley has been at Argyle for half a season now and has given a very positive appraisal of his time here so far. He stated: “I am really enjoying it - it is a great place, Plymouth. I am really settled. I love the lads, love the club; everyone at the club has been great. Obviously I have a lot of family at home, but I get to see them often, due to good results and getting them down here to watch games. My dad is a fisherman, funnily enough, so he comes here down here quite a lot. He has gone to Brixham quite a lot, so I probably see him more than I saw him when I was at home, to be honest with you! I am loving life, at the moment.”
The board of PAFC have issued a response to questions about the funding of a cinema-anchored leisure scheme around Higher Home Park by publishing a letter from Legal & General Investment Management which can be found on the club's official website.
John Sheridan has given a synopsis of the current injury situation at Plymouth Argyle. Carl McHugh, Nathan Thomas and Marvin Morgan are nearing fitness whilst Dom Blizzard and Curtis Nelson are making good progress. Sheridan said: “Carl’s trained this week, as well as all last week. He looked okay. Dom’s got a similar injury to Carl, but he’s getting better quickly and feeling better every day. The first diagnosis was probably three weeks, but I think it’ll be shorter. He’s been a regular in my side, and hopefully he’s not out too long and that he’s back soon. He’s getting more game time, and he has been getting fitter game by game. Marvin’s trained today, Nathan’s trained today. Whether it’s too early for them to come back or not for a game, as they’re short on match time; they’ve only trained one or two days this week.
“I don’t think Curtis will be out for three or four weeks,” said John. “Curtis is a lad who likes playing, and we got to respect he’s had a bad injury, but luckily for us, it hasn’t come out as bad as we first thought. He was out running this morning, and he’s getting better day by day, but that’s only me talking, and it’s down to the medical people, so we got to make sure if and when he does come back, he doesn’t get any reaction from the injury. If I’m looking at him now and the way things are going, then he’ll be back for Boxing Day. He’s been one of my most consistent players and he’s my captain.”
Peter Hartley will wear the captain's armband on Saturday in the absence of Curtis Nelson and he said that in spite of Northampton's late revival, Argyle did the important stuff to hold onto all three points: “It looked very comfortable. The first goal was a bit of a sloppy goal from a defensive point of view. We have thrived off of sticking to good habits this season as a back five or six. We just switched off for a second, and that is all it takes to concede a goal. By all accounts, the second goal was a worldie. It was a great goal. We showed our character, we stuck in there, and we made sure that what happened against York did not happen again the week after. We have got back into good habits and done the nitty-gritty things we need to do to get the three points.
“Obviously Nelse is the club captain, and you can see he put himself through brick walls on Saturday to make sure we got the three points. It will be good to repay him the favour by leading the boys out. Carl has struggled with his calf for the three or four weeks now, but he has been out there training, and looks just as sharp as did before he had his injury. Carl will not have any problems stepping in for Nelse, and we will just stick to our good habits, do what we are told, and hopefully get another good three points.”
Former Argyle manager Paul Sturrock believes that striker Reuben Reid is 'too good' for the division that he is currently playing in. Although 'Luggy' released the then teenage striker in late 2008, he is very impressed by his progress since then and believes he could even play as high as the championship. Sturrock said: “I released him when I first got down here the second time. He was a young boy and naive. I think he has learned his trade and probably become more professional in his approach as he has got older. You can see the benefits he has gained from that. In my opinion, he’s miles ahead of League Two. He could be playing up at Championship standard at the minute. He likes the ball to his feet and he’s the main weapon for getting up the football pitch for Plymouth. It surprises me people haven’t sussed that out. I would have expected other teams to try to nullify that. I would worry if Reuben got injured. I see John Sheridan takes him off periodically if the games are going in their favour, which I think is a very wise decision.”
Argyle have released three options for the home kit for the 2015/16 season next year. The kit will be worn with black shorts and white socks. Argyle fans can vote from a striped option, a pinstriped option and a plain green option and are able to see all three choices by viewing the club's official website which also includes instructions on how to vote and the voting deadline.
Curtis Nelson will be out of the Christmas and New Year period for Plymouth Argyle following a dislocated elbow in the last minute of Argyle's win at Northampton on Saturday. A scan revealed that the elbow is not broken and will not require an operation. Nelson is expected to be absent for 3-4 weeks.
Various media outlets have reported that Argyle teenage prospect Tyler Harvey is currently training with Championship outfit Nottingham Forest on trial.
After Andy Kellett's fantastic goal against Northampton on Saturday, Anthony O'Connor joked that he is determined to follow suit: “Andy is a good player and that’s what he’s all about – getting the ball and running with it. He’s quite comfortable on the ball and quite quick and nippy; he has that in his armoury. I’m happy for him to get his first goal for the club and I’m hoping to get my first goal soon, as well. I’ve been saying to the lads that, next time we get a free-kick, I’m hitting it.”
Paul Wotton re-iterated John Sheridan's consistent message about the importance of Argyle keeping their heads on the ground and taking one game at a time. He said: “You just try and get some momentum building again. It is three points today, and we have got a great game to look forward to on Saturday, against Dagenham at home. We spoke before the game about how the festive period is a chance to pick up a lot of points. Hopefully at the end of it, we are up and around the positions we want to be. Points-wise, today is a perfect start. We are ticking along all right. They are a great bunch of lads, and we are doing okay. All we are worried about now is Dagenham on Saturday. It is such a cliché, but you can only take it one game at a time. You cannot look too far ahead, because it will come back and bite you. Today is done, and we are looking at Dagenham on Saturday.”
Paul Wotton, who stood in for manager John Sheridan in Argyle's post-match interviews, said that he was disappointed that Argyle did not see the game out in a less dramatic fashion. He was however keen to point out, that a win is a win nonetheless: “I would not say we were cruising, but we were keeping Northampton at bay and keeping good shape, looking good on the break. We are disappointed with Northampton's first goal. The second goal is a wonder-strike, and then injury time was a bit dramatic. They are a big strong team and they are throwing things in the box, with Ben Tozer’s long throw. We could not get out of the box.
“We should have seen the game off easier than it was, but it is an away win, and it is three valuable points that sets us on the road. There are positives, and the bottom line is that it is three points away from home. It should have been more comfortable than it was, but it was not. At the end of the day, when you wake up tomorrow and read the paper, it will say that we have won the game.”
Paul Atkinson gave an update on the injured arm of Argyle skipper Curtis Nelson following the elbow knock that he picked up in stoppage time. Atkinson gave an optimistic prognosis: “All being well, there are no fractures and it will not keep him out too long. It depends on how much damage there is to it. I would not like to say at this stage (how long he will be out). He was in a lot of pain, but the Entonox (a form of Nitrous Oxide, or ‘laughing gas’) took the pain away, and that was why we were able to relocate the elbow. He thinks he sort of landed on it, throwing himself in front of something. He has gone off to the hospital in an ambulance, and he is going to get an x-ray there. We will assess the damage further after that. It depends on the ligaments, and all the structures that hold the elbow in place. It depends how badly that is damaged.”
Anthony O'Connor echoed the words of Paul Wotton and described John Sheridan's dressing room reaction following the final whistle and agreed that the game should have been put to bed earlier. O'Connor said: “It was a bit nerve-wracking at the end,” said the Irish Under-21 international, “but the bottom line is we got the three points and we’re all happy with that. It was disappointing to concede two goals, but one was a great strike. We dominated the game, especially with possession, and we got two good goals in the first half. Peter has scored two similar goals. That’s the space he likes to get into and get his head on the ball. That got us off to a good start and got us a bit of momentum; then we got the second and we looked very settled. a couple more. Jason Banton had a chance and there were couple of others – we should have killed the game off. We probably invited a bit of pressure on ourselves but we got the three points and it’s on to next week.”
Argyle are back to winning ways after a 3-2 victory away to Northampton Town. For the second season in a row, Argyle went in at half-time 2-0 up against Northampton: this time due to a Peter Hartley header and a wonderful individual goal from Andy Kellett. Lewis Alessandra made it 3-0 not long after the restart and the game looked like petering out. However, Northampton threatened with a late revival which included two goals in the final 15 minutes. A goalline scramble almost saw them equalise in stoppage time but a last ditch block from Curtis Nelson (which saw him pick up an elbow injury) and a clearance from Anthony O'Connor ensured that Argyle came home from an away match with three points for the third time this season. Argyle: McCormick, Nelson, O'Connor, Hartley, Mellor, Cox, Bobby Reid, Blizzard(Norburn), Kellett, Reuben Reid(Banton), Alessandra(Harvey). Subs: Bittner, Purrington, Allen, Bentley.
Andy Kellett has extended with stay with Argyle for another month and into the New Year. Argyle and Bolton have agreed the extension which will see the left utility player remain a green until January 17th. This takes up the last of the 93 days allocated for short-term loan deals per player per season. If Bolton wished to loan Kellett to Argyle again, it would have to be as part of a long-term loan arrangement which could only be done in the January transfer window.
The injury suffered by Deane Smalley which has ruled him out for the season and possibly beyond has upset John Sheridan more than any other. The Argyle manager spoke about the circumstances of the injury and the forward's future prospects: “I do feel for him, because I was playing him at Sheffield United. I was not playing Reuben Reid.He played really well in the practice match – looked really sharp – and it was a crying shame for him. The injury happened in probably the last minute of training. It was innocuous; he has just gone for a ball. It is a real shame that he has got a bad injury. I am gutted for him. He has not had a lot of football, but I thought he was getting back and looking to be getting to where he should be. It is really unfortunate for him.
"Paul Atkinson took him to a specialist. It is a bad injury, there is no denying it. He will not be involved in any football this season, and possibly even the start of next season. We just want him to get the best treatment and recover.
“I just concentrate on what we have got. We are probably a bit short at the moment, but I have got to believe we will get results, and I do. That is the way I get on with it. I very rarely make excuses over anything, and I do not want to make excuses. I feel as though we have got good enough players, and it gives an opportunity to those who think they should be in the team to force their way in".
In spite of Argyle's injury crises, the Argyle manager still gave a full vote of confidence to his main two strikers, saying: “I have got two very good strikers at the moment in Lewis and Reuben, who are as good as any in the league. As long as they stay fit, I am happy. Hopefully they will stay fit, because they are two of the best strikers in the division. I am fortunate to have them. I know I have not got too much cover, but if those two are on their game, I will not need anyone else.”
On the subject of Reid, Martyn Starnes said that Argyle would not consider selling their top scoring striker unless a club were to bid an 'absolutely stunning' offer. Whilst Starnes admitted that every player had his value, Reid's value would have to be extremely high to outweigh his possible value to the football team as the greens search for promotion to league one this campaign. Starnes stated: “Would I be surprised if we got a bid for Reid? No, I wouldn’t be. But I think over the last few years the January transfer window hasn’t really seen that many moves of players in the lower divisions that are still on contract. There is a lot of loan activity, and players may get released for whatever reason and find another club. In terms of clubs coming in and paying a fee in January for a player who is under contract, there aren’t that many of them these days. They tend to leave it until the summer. I would be more inclined to think that if there is a club interested in his services that approach will come in the summer rather than January. But I have learned in this game never to be surprised.
“Some people won’t like to hear this but every player has got a value. We would not be actively looking to sell Reuben Reid in this window – far from it. He’s an important part of the squad. He’s one of the top scorers in the division. Why would we want to let him go when we have got promotion as our major objective at the moment? So if an offer came in, it would have to be absolutely stunning for us to give it any serious attention.
“We get disappointed like we did in the summer when we get a relatively late approach from a club for a player like Conor Hourihane. We were really left with no alternative but to get the best value for him. These things happen in football and what you have to do is be quick to react and try to do something about it. That probably means we could be having a negative impact on another club, and so it goes in football, so we are sort of used to it. We get disappointed, but that disappointment has to be parked and we have to get on with the job.”
Sheridan also said that this will be the part of the season that separates the men from the boys- and thus crucial to Argyle chances of promotion this season: “I think every manager will tell you that it is an important part of the season, because you can really get in the mix if you have a good Christmas and New Year, with the games coming think and fast. This is probably where the table starts showing itself. We have got to be positive, and make sure we are one of the teams who are in there. We have got to get wins, and it starts with Northampton. If you can get a couple of results early, you can get the momentum going again.”
An Argyle line-up of mixed youth and experience won 3-1 at Buckland Athletic in the quarter-finals of the Edenvale Turf Ltd Devon St Luke's Challenge Cup. Aaraon Bentley scored a header to see Argyle go in at the break 1-0 up. Shortly after the interval, River Allen had a penalty saved but Mason Hughes netted to give the away side a two goal cushion. Buckland pulled a goal back but Jason Banton got Argyle's third to ensure it was a comfortable win in the end. Argyle: Bittner; Bentley, Sargent, Moxham; Hughes, Allen, Norburn, Lane (Hall), Purrington; Rooney(Vincent), Banton(Palfrey). Subs: C Harvey, Calver.
PAFC have issued a statement in response to the city council's backing of the British Land proposed Bretonside development. The club stated that the re-development of the grandstand could not go ahead if Bretonside did- due to the fact that there would be no leisure district next to Home Park with which to fund the rebuild. The full statement in which the club urged Plymouth to back the plans at Home Park can be found on the club's official site.
Deane Smalley is out injured for the remainder of the season following a cruciate ligament injury that he picked up in training last week. The former Oxford man will seek to meet with a specialist with a view to an operation in the very near future.
Argyle will visit Buckland Athletic in the quarter-final of the St Luke’s Challenge Cup on Wednesday. The squad will include fringe first team players such as Ollie Norburn, Jason Banton, River Allen and Aaron Bentley.
John Sheridan has taken both positive signs and pointers to improve on from Argyle's defeat at Sheffield United yesterday. The manager said: “We were down – you could see it in the players – but we kept going and did not give up. Things just did not go our way, and Sheffield United made it difficult for us in the last 15 minutes. I do not think we finished the game very well. Our heads went down after probably the second goal, and it was difficult for us to get back in it. I think we could have done better with the ball. I think there were great opportunities to break and cause them even more problems. We looked lively at times, when we did take care of the ball. We have just got to learn these little things, like how they keep the ball and make the game look simple. That is what we have got to try and get in our game. Know what you are good at and stick to it: that is what makes good players.”
Sheridan then urged Argyle to use the festive period as an oppurtunity to kick back on and get another run of good form together with their high volume of games. He also spoke about the perfornances on Ben Purrington and Jason Banton who came back into the side yesterday after absences with injury: “I am pleased that there are lots of games coming up thick and fast now, and we will need every player fit and ready for the Northampton game. We have just got to try and get back to winning ways. It was a bad defeat today but, again, I can take a lot of things out of it. We have just got to carry on. I have got a good group of players. They are all wanting to do well, and we want to do well in the league, so hopefully we can get back to winning ways against Northampton. Every game is critical, and they will all come thick and fast now over the Christmas period.
“Ben has come back; Jason played today, as well; so it is good for them to get a game. It was tough game, but Ben is a fit lad, and he has not lost a lot of fitness because he has been able to run. I thought he did okay. He did not let himself down.”
Finally, Peter Hartley has admitted personal culpability to the goals Argyle conceded yesterday and has said he is taking it on the chin: “I’ve made a little bad decision for their first penalty – I should have cleared the ball first time and I’ve taken a touch. It’s one of those things – I’ve made a personal bad decision and Ben’s bought the boy down. For the second, the midfield runner came through; I came across with my striker; there was a gap between me and Nelse; the guy’s run from midfield and I’ve come across him and got my arm across him; and Nelse has sandwiched him. To be fair, it should have been my yellow card. We’ve had a few chances today; everybody could have done better. If we’d all given five per cent more, it could have been a different score. But that’s football – you don’t come on to the pitch intending to make these mistakes; they develop as the game progresses. I know I’ve made a mistake and I’m man enough to take it on the chin – I’m that type of person – and I know it won’t happen again. I’ll go in next week and do everything I need to do to make sure we get the three points against Northampton. That’s the way it is.”
Argyle are out of the FA Cup having lost 3-0 away to Sheffield United in the second round at Bramall Lane. Argyle had made two changes and gone to four at the back following their draw with York and went in 0-0 at half-time. Reuben Reid had a chance to fire Argyle into the lead from 12 yards but blazed his penalty wide and over the bar. The home side were also awarded two penalties in quick succession and duly converted both of them to establish a 2-0 lead. They added their third late in the game. Argyle: McCormick, Mellor, Nelson, Hartley, Purrington(Cox), O'Connor, Blizzard(Harvey), Banton(Norburn), Alessandra, Kellett, Reid. Subs: Bittner, Allen, Bentley.
PAFC have reported a 'significant reduction' in their football creditor debts following the settlement offers that were made to them in recent weeks. More than two thirds of the outstanding football creditors have agreed to take a percentage of their outstanding money now rather than wait for the entirety of their payment between now and October 2016. Chief Executive Martyn Starnes said: “As a result of our negotiations, we have achieved a considerable reduction in the balloon payments scheduled for 2016. This represents a very successful outcome for the club in reducing overall debts.”
Anthony O'Connor says he wants to extend his loan deal at Plymouth Argyle when it runs out in January. The 22-year-old defender has played 22 games since moving to Argyle before the start of the season. "When my loan comes up I'm sure we'll have a chat about it and I'm more than happy to stay here," said O'Connor. I've still got another month to go before my loan is up and I've had a couple of words with the manager and we've spoken about it."
O'Connor has not played a first-team game for parent club Blackburn Rovers and previously had loan spells at Burton Albion and Torquay United. "I don't want to go back to Blackburn and sit on the bench a couple of times and play under-21's football," he told BBC Radio Devon in an interview, "It's not for me now any more, the most important thing for me is to play every week and I'm getting the chance to do that at Plymouth."
The build-up to Argyle's FA Cup 2nd Round against Sheffield United at Brammall Lane touched upon John Sheridan's return to Sheffield and his expected reception from Blades' fans. Sheridan made almost 250 appearances for the Blades’ arch rivals, Sheffield Wednesday, between 1989 and 1996. One of the highlights of Sheridan’s time with Wednesday was when they beat United at Wembley in the 1993 FA Cup semi-final. Speaking of his likely reception, Sheridan said:“It doesn’t really bother me. They are real good supporters – likewise with Sheffield Wednesday. “They get right behind the team and support them through thick and thin. I don’t think many of them will remember me because it was quite a long time ago. Those (Sheffield) derby games were special. It was a good rivalry and it was always tough at Bramall Lane.” Sheridan made 250 appearances for the Blades’ city rivals, between 1989 and 1996 and having scored the winning goal for Wednesday when they beat Manchester United in the final of the 1990/91 League Cup at Wembley, remain a hero to this day on one side of Sheffield at least.
Argyle will be ball number 60 in the draw for the Third Round of the FA Cup should they leave Brammall Lane unbeaten.
Argyle could find themselves involved in a fixture conundrum should their FA Cup second round tie against Sheffield United require a replay. Should Argyle secure a draw, finding a date for the replay at Home Park would not be easy because of United’s continued involvement in the Capital One Cup. The Blades have qualified for the last eight of the Capital One Cup and are scheduled to host Premier League club Southampton on Tuesday, December 16. However, the dates set aside for FA Cup second round replays are December 16 and 17. Dates for replays are usually agreed by both clubs in advance of FA Cup ties, but that has not been possible in this case. It is likely that that any replay should take place on December 16, with the FA Cup taking precedence, though this would mean United having to rearrange their Capital One Cup clash against Southampton.
Former Argyle defender Durrell Berry will be offered a full contract until the end of the season by Torquay United, after impressing during his trial with the Gulls. Manager and former Pilgrim Chris Hargreaves has confirmed that Berry earned an upgrade from his current non-contract deal, which has covered the first six games for the Plainmoor club. “Durrell has been terrific since he joined us, and he will be offered a deal to the end of the season. We are just sorting that out now,” Hargreaves said.
The club have announced that the Devon Derby against Exeter City, on Saturday, February 21, will kick off at 1pm.
Argyle's away match at Exeter City on February 21st next year will instead kick-off at 1pm as opposed to the usual 3pm kick-off time.
Defender Stephane Zubar rates Argyle as serious promotion candidates after playing against the greens for York on Saturday. Former pilgrim Zubar also spoke about his underlying affection for the club, saying: “I just wish them all the best as they try to get promoted. Plymouth, as a club and a city, deserves it. The fans must understand that when you have been in administration, to come back from that is never easy. The great example is Portsmouth, so it’s not easy at all. The one thing the fans can do is to get behind the lads, and if the team do well you know there will be big crowds for home games, and that helps a lot.
“I think they can challenge for promotion, definitely. It’s not just because I’m a Plymouth fan. I thought they looked decent on Saturday and they have got a good squad. They know exactly how they want to play and they were unlucky not to beat us because they had quite a few chances. Fortunately for us, they didn’t score a second goal and we got one at the end.
“It was quite emotional for me to come back because I had a great time here. It was the best season of my career so far. I was still at the ground an hour after the game finished, talking to people. I had been looking forward to playing here again. Plymouth will always be special to me. A lot happened during my time at the club. We went through a lot with the administration, and I want to thank the fans for the reception I got on Saturday. It was emotional for me.”
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