A Round-up of Argyle News
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Also included on the three most recent days, facts from Argyle's history.
Derek Adams was pleased with the draw with West Brom which rounded off an unbeaten pre-season for Argyle. He spoke positively about that game and pre-season in general, saying: It was a very good performance from us today - like all our pre-season games. We came through it with flying colours. Overall it was another good workout for us. We coped well; it wasn't as if it was attack after attack, which was good from our point of view because we stopped it at the source. Stopping it at the source means we worked well as a front line, we made them play the ball long most of the time, and it was a good 90 minutes for us. We're never in awe. I think that we looked to do well against them, and I think today we did that.
"We've enjoyed it. We had a very good week in Holland where we worked hard. We had an excellent game against Maastricht. Again today, it was a tough test for us and we've come through it. We're obviously delighted with the way that pre-season has gone. We've had tough opposition as we've gone, and we've been able to get everybody really good game time."
Nauris Bulvitis gave a similar report card. The Latvian said: “A clean sheet is most important, I think, for me and for the whole team. West Brom is a very good team with good players, international players, and I think we played well. It was very nice. In Latvia, we don’t get such big crowds; the pitch was good; and it was a nice day. Everyone was working, everyone knows his place. Hopefully, we can do the same in the season. We have to feel confident.
“It was a good trip to Holland and we have had a lot of games. In some of them, I could maybe have played a little better, but I am used to playing different football so I have had to adapt a little bit. I have had to work at that but, for the team, I think it is going well. Everything here is a little bit quicker. In leagues which I have played before, like Switzerland for example, they give you a little more time to take the ball. Here, everyone is pressing all the time. That’s the biggest difference. The gaffer uses different tactics, so we just have to know our job, what we have to do. He will make the decision how we play each game; we are ready for each formation.
“In training, we have good battles, good training. I think the boys are ready; everyone is fit. I hope I will do everything to get promotion to League One. We will have to work very hard and I will do my best what I have to do.”
Argyle have drawn 0-0 with West Brom, rounding off their pre-season with an impressive result. All available players played, barring Karleigh Osborne and Connor Smith who are still struggling with injuries. Both sides had chances in a game that saw neither side emerge as the victor. Argyle: McCormick(Dorel), Miller (Purrington), Sawyer, Bulvitis, Bradley (Songo’o), Ijaha (Fox), Donaldson (Carey), Threlkeld, Slew, Jervis (Goodwillie), Spencer (Rooney).
Derek Adams spoke warmly of the team's trip to Holland upon landing in the UK and analysed the final pre-season friendly against West Brom: “It is another step up to where we want to go, come the first game of the season. We’re playing against a Premier League side; they have an abundance of talent in their team. I am delighted that Tony Pulis – a former Plymouth Argyle manager – is bringing his team down. They are only a week later than us in starting their season, and from their point of view they will play a good number of their players as they have done in pre-season. When you come up against these teams they will have possession for more time than us because they are a top side. I think it shows when you do win the ball back that it is important to retain possession of the ball for as long as you possibly can. If you can do that you are not doing as much running as the opposition. We’ve had some hard training sessions and a game and its gone well. Training has been hard. They are getting the hours in. That is important at this stage of the season. We’ve had all the running sessions where it has been long and hard earlier on in pre-season training. It’s about going to Delden, getting touches of the ball and being able to work on certain technical aspects of the game. Thursday morning was four on fours which is very hard work. That is important when you come into a game situation: you are comfortable on the ball and you can run off it and support strikers. The trip has been excellent. They have treated us well. The training park is in immaculate condition; that really helps the players and their preparation for the start of the season. The food, the accommodation and just we way we have been looked after by the hotel has been first class.”
New midfielder David Fox has revealed his hopes for the season and stressed the importance of hitting the ground running: "It's the nature of the beast. When you come to a club like this there are expectations. It's a new team and it will take some bedding in. The manager will try to figure out his best team, his best formation, and what works and what doesn't. But while that is going on we have got to be winning games because no-one has come to this club to sit in mid table. It's important that we hit the ground running and because of the season they had last year match that expectation to go one better this time.
"I'm more of a passing midfielder than anything else. I don't think I'm going to be going around smashing people. There are others at the club that do that, and others that can beat players. As I said to the lads when I joined, I will try to get the ball and give it to the people that can really cause damage. We have got a lot of those players at the club. I have got to try to do it as best I can and then chip in with the odd goal and assist, because you have got to. You can't play however many games in a season and not contribute."
Derek Adams welcomes the imminent visit of West Brom to Home Park, citing the match as a 'good test' of Argyle's abilities so far: "It's going to be a very difficult game for us because they have got a team of top class football players. But it's a good one because Tony Pulis was the manager here before and it gives us a stern test before the season starts. I think it's great for the public to see a Premier League team coming to Home Park again. And as a football player as well you always want to test yourself against the best. With West Brom coming down it will give us a very good workout and we will see how we deal with them.
"We retained possession well, we created chances and we stopped Maastricht from playing when they had the ball. Over the 90 minutes it was a very good exercise for us. We played on a 4G pitch which was very good. It was watered before the game and at half-time as well so there were no problems. Maastricht are a top class team and were very tough opposition. "It has gone exceptionally well. The players have enjoyed training and the weather has been very good."
Derek Adams has said that Argyle are unlikely to come up against a team as good as MVV Maastricht, who they beat 2-1, in League Two this season. He said of the performance: "I thought it was a very good performance from us tonight – from start to finish. We pressed very well, were very composed on the ball, created openings and scored two very good goals. Overall it was a very good night for us. When you come to these sorts of places, you expect the other team to have a lot of the ball. We certainly passed it exceptionally well tonight. We retained possession, we moved it from side to side. We won't come up against another team in our country like that. I think they enjoyed it. The surface was excellent. We defended well when we had to tonight, and opened them up a few times. The way we passed the ball, got it into the front men and scored goals was top notch.
"The first goal was well worked. It was into the middle of the park, then down the right side. A good cross into the box, and Goodwillie does what he does – he scores goals. It was a very well worked goal. Then Yann Songo'o with a scissor kick to finish it off. It was a good finish. He's capable of that – he's very athletic and good on the ball. It was great for them to come here tonight. We were well supported. We have ten with us, but to have another 80 or 90 added to that was a special night for them. We will work hard to get prepared for West Bromwich Albion at home on Saturday. The weather has been fantastic at the training facility, and the boys have blended in well. That was the purpose of coming out here."
Argyle's opponents and the dates of their group stages matches in the newly revamped EFL trophy have been revealed. The new tournament, which includes a Premier League/Championship Under-21 academy side from each group, will see group stages of four sides of which the top two qualify. The tournament will then revert to its usual knockout format. Argyle will play Newport home, Wimbledon away and Swansea's under-21 side away.
Argyle have beaten MVV Maastricht 2-1 to keep their unbeaten start to pre-season. They went a goal down as early as the 11th minute but shortly equalised through David Goodwillie. There were not any goals for some amount of time but Argyle won the match late on in fantastic style, through an overhead kick by Yann Songo'o. Argyle: McCormick, Miller, Songo'o, Bradley, Sawyer, Fox(Purrington), Threlkeld, Carey, Jervis, Spencer(Slew), Goodwillie(Donaldson). Subs: Bulvitis, Smith, Bentley, Rooney, Ijaha.
Argyle's Devon derby against Exeter City on Saturday, September 17 will kick-off at 1pm. The two clubs, as well as Devon and Cornwall Police, have made the joint decision to move the start from 3pm, as was originally scheduled.
Derek Adams is pleased to have navigated through Argyle's final pre-season game before heading overseas with a near-fully-fit squad. He said: "There wasn't much in the game. We obviously had opportunities. It was a difficult surface to play on, but we got what we wanted to get out of it - which was the players getting some match time before we're away tomorrow. It was always going to be difficult because we've made so many changes. We've played a lot of games in a short space of time. We've come here, we've got all the players some part in the game - 20 players today. We're happy with that; no injuries, we're looking good, so we've got 20 going to Holland tomorrow. Jordan's going instead of Karleigh Osborne. I've left Karleigh behind because he's still got a bit of work to do after his setback, and I wanted to take as many fit players as I possibly can. We're looking to the West Brom game, and then looking to the Luton game. He's with the physios next week, and he's at MarJon University working there on the gravity machine, getting his fitness back that way.
"David just gives us a wee bit of experience in the middle of the pitch. He's 32, he's played in a lot of games in his career, he's a central midfield player and likes to get on the ball and move it. He talks and organises as well, and I think that'll be important as the season goes on. You always need a player who is able to tick the ball over, able to pick the simple pass quickly and effectively, and he's done that for the majority of his career. He looks to play forward as well. He's not scared to take the ball anywhere on the pitch and retain possession. When you've got that, it can obviously help the creativity that we've got in our side."
Rhys Wilmot is resuming his role as a goalkeeping coach for the first team following the departure of James Bittner to Newport. Derek Adams said of the appointment: "He’ll come in two days a week and help the goalkeepers. I think that it's important that goalkeepers have a specialised goalkeeping coach, and we have that now. It's an important role for him. He's been here for a good number of years, at the academy and the first team, and he'll get the goalkeepers working very hard to be in tip-top condition."
Argyle have drawn 1-1 away to Weymouth in the final match of pre-season in a game that was delayed by 15 minutes due to the Argyle team coach being stuck in traffic on the way to the stadium. Argyle went 1-0 up in the second half through Jordan Slew but were pegged back shortly afterwards by a penalty, the third we have conceded this pre-season. Argyle: Dorel(McCormick), Miller(Bentley), Songo'o(Bradley), Purrington(Sawyer), Donaldson(Carey), Fox(Threlkeld), Jervis(Ijaha), Slew(Goodwillie), Rooney(Spencer).
Derek Adams’ hunt for a central midfielder has ended with the capture of David Fox. The 32-year-old Staffordshire-born player becomes the 13th new Pilgrim to join the club since June 16 after successfully coming through a Home Park trial. The former Colchester and Crewe man will wear the number 24 shirt this season.
David Goodwillie's four goals against Elburton yesterday took his total for pre-season to an impressive nine. He was however humble about his form so far and was keen to thank his teammates for the warm welcome he has received since joining the club: “It is good for your confidence, going into the season. Strikers all want to score as many goals as you can. It doesn’t matter who’s up against us, we just need to be ruthless and dominate the game. I’ve scored a few goals, I think I’ve just not scored in one game and I was disappointed – that was last night at Truro – and I’m glad to come back with a few goals. The boys have made me feel welcome considering I’ve just come in. It’s always awkward, going into a new team, and it’s hard to find your feet, but I feel that I’ve in quite nicely, because there’s a lot of new boys and we’re all in the same boat. We all just kind of gelled straightaway. There’s a few boys I’ve played against and played alongside, which has made it easier.
“I’ve not experienced anything like this is my life. It’s been tough. The first week was hard running, then the games take care of themselves. That’s what you want. We have to work hard to put it in and fight to get into the team. There are a lot of games in a season and we need everyone in the squad. Everyone has to be at their fittest and I think we are. We’ll go to Holland and – first things first – we’ll work hard. We’ll play the game and hopefully we can get a result because, at the end of the day, we always want to win games.”
On the subject of Holland, Derek Adams detailed why he thinks the trip will be so beneficial for the club, saying: "We are looking forward to it. I have been there to the same place four or five times. I know how it works so it will be good for me to go there again and prepare the team. We are staying in Delden, which is close to Enschede, on the German border. The players will be away for five nights and that gives them time to get to know each other because we have got a new group of players. There are tennis courts, a golf course, tenpin bowling, a gymnasium, sauna and jacuzzi, and we can go out and have a bike ride so we have got everything on the doorstep. I always take my teams there the penultimate week before the start of the season. We do the hard work here and then we go across there and finish off the preparation. We are going to have a difficult match away to Maastric and then we are home to West Brom on the Saturday."
Argyle have beaten Elburton 12-0 in the biggest pre-season friendly victory that the club have acheived in recent times. David Goodwillie found the net four times. Braces from Sonny Bradley, Graham Carey and Jimmy Spencer complimented individual efforts from Yann Songo'o and Jake Jervis. Argyle: McCormick, Bulvitis(Smith), Songo'o, Bradley(Bentley), Miller(Donaldson), Threlkeld, Ijaha(Trialist A), Sawyer(Purrington), Carey(Rooney), Goodwillie, Spencer(Jervis). Subs: Dorel.
Derek Adams said this of the win: When your strikers score goals, it gives them a boost. Against any opposition you come up against, you have got to work the ball, you have got to play better than the opposition, and we have done that tonight. When you go into a season and you are playing with confidence, it is going to help you, and we have seen a lot of players scoring goals.”
Adams also spoke of new signing David Ijaha and gave his reasons for signing him, in spite of him having not yet played a league game: “David’s a big, powerful lad who has come out of non-league football and I feel he can be a good presence in the midfield for us. He is not going to play 50 games this season – he is going to play less than that – but it gives him the opportunity. He’s made a great run from the edge of the box against Truro to win a tackle and then the ball gets played wide; a good cross and a good header from him. He came in at pre-season and trained with us. It was a very hard week and, at any point in that week, he could have dropped out because it was extremely difficult, but he stuck with it. We need people at the football club who have a winning attitude and he’s certainly got that. t’s going to take him a wee bit of time but, the quicker we can get him in and around the players, the better. We need to get him sharper and fitter and we will get that. As we can see tonight, he’s getting there.”
Finally, Adams gave an injury update on Karleigh Osborne who is the only player to have not yet featured in Argyle's preparations: “We would have hoped that he would have had some game-time by now. He’s only missed 10 days training, but it feels like a lot longer than that because we have had a lot of games in a short space of time. We are hopeful of having him training by the end of this week. He will get there. If you look at Sonny Bradley, he had missed a great chunk of training but he has come in and it doesn’t look like he has missed much in the way of game-fitness.”
Argyle have beaten Truro 2-0 in the fifth friendly match of pre-season. The game was goalless until the 69th minute where two goals in quick succession from Jimmy Spencer and new boy David ijaha secured the victory for Argyle. Argyle: Dorel, Threlkeld(Miller), Bulvitis (Songo'o), Bradley(Bentley), Purrington, Smith(Ijaha), Trialist(Sawyer), Donaldson, Rooney(Carey). Jervis, Goodwillie(Spencer). Subs: McCormick
Argyle have signed 26 year old midfielder David Ijaha from Whitehawk after he impressed on trial for the greens earlier this month. Ijaha came through the youth ranks at Wolves following a spell at Chelsea as a 12 to 16 year old but dropped into non-league football for a period of a few years. Argyle however, whose assistant is former Hawks coach Craig Brewster, have given Ijaha a second chance in the game. This is what the midfielder said: “When you’re young and you don’t get anything, you just kind of lose your head a little bit so. I didn’t get anything after that and it was a mate who got me back into it from the non league scene, it’s been a long journey. Brew knows a few managers I signed under. He watched me play a year ago and he told me he tried to sign me a year ago, so when my contract finished last season he called me down and asked for a trial - and here I am today. I see it as a second chance. I know what I’ve got to do - get my head down and work. One day I will leave Plymouth; if its in six month, a year, two year, I know I can leave knowing I have done my all. I’m 26 - I’m not young - so after years burn you start to think is it really going to happen? It’s actually funny because at the end of last season I was thinking it wasn’t going to happen, then I got a phone call - and here I am now.”
After a notable step up in opposition in Argyle's match against Torquay United, Derek Adams feels he has the core of his new look squad assembled. Adams also gave hints on the formation he expects to play over the course of the season: "I thought we were quite comfortable in the game and passed it about," said Adams. "We obviously made numerous changes, but I thought the amount of chances we created today - and opportunities missed - I'm delighted. We're only just two weeks into the season, but the players are in good shape. Listen: we have to sharpen up a bit, and that will come over the next three weeks. I think that there was a lot more running power in the opposition, and you're going to get that the higher level you go. You just see a wee bit higher movement from the opposition, higher running power, and that's what you're going to get with the opposition you play against. I think getting that game time in the legs of the players is very important at this stage of the season. We've used 18 players today which is good - a few of the ones that had knocks have come in and got some game time. They've had probably ten training sessions together, which is not enough. I think that when we go to Holland, we'll be able to bed it in better with two weeks to go.
"We've got the core of the squad in place. To go to Holland, we probably need to take in two before that. We'll wait and see if that happens. Over the coming days I'll make decisions regarding trialists. We're just having a look at other ones - we haven't ruled out anyone yet.
"I think we've got that formation with three centre backs to play; we've got 4-4-2; we've got 4-2-3-1; whatever you want to call it, we've got different formations. We're not going to play that way the whole season, but that's one of the ways that we will play - in a three."
Adams was also coy on the subject of the captain's armband which is currently being passed around various senior players, saying: "We're just passing it around the senior players at this moment in time.The captain will be the captain on the first game of the season, and nobody will know that before then. We don't want to say too early, and I think it's important that we take our time. Your captain needs to lead on the pitch, and I think it's important we have that. Off the pitch as well you've got an important aspect of looking after the players. It is an important job for somebody to do."
Gary Miller has expressed his delight at completing his first 90 minutes in a green shirt. He added that whilst pre-season was not easy, it was necessary to build up fitness ahead of the upcoming season. Miller said: Its been brilliant. Everybody is getting on well. We have been taking it easy and working hard. Some days when the boys are tired it's a bit quieter but everyone is getting on well and we are looking forward to the season starting. I think it always takes a bit of time for most teams to gel, but a lot of the boys have either played against each other or know each other so it makes it a bit easier. We need to see how we set up and work from there. Hopefully we can gel quite quickly.
I think the first-half we played quite well, we passed it about and moved; the second-half I think was just about getting fitness really. Especially for myself, that was my first 90 minutes, so it was just about getting through it and getting to the end of the game. It's difficult, but that's why we do it so we can build a foundation for the season; just keep going through the tiredness and going through when you get sore. You can see we are getting a bit fitter every game. I still felt good but when you're tired and your legs are sore it's hard to do what your head wants. You have to just keep running and get through it. It's still early and we are not the finished article yet at all. We need to get back into getting our legs warm and getting used to the ball again and getting back to our best and getting our form. The aim is to be hitting that for the start of the season rather than worrying about that right now and we will just take it from there.
"We have got four games in seven days. So it is going to be difficult for anybody. Once we have got a foundation of fitness then we can start lifting it and start setting up the team however the manager wants to go and start building from there. It is always good for the manager especially when we are coming up against teams that might not have a good idea for how we are going to set up. It is always good to have different options and as you can see there is a good bit of quality in each formation we can play."
Argyle have drawn 1-1 with Torquay in their fourth pre-season friendly match of the week. David Goodwillie put Argyle into the lead shortly before half-time but a penalty after a mix-up between McCormick and Bulvitis meant that neither side ultimately came away with bragging rights. Argyle: McCormick(Dorel), Bulvitis(Slew), Songo'o, Bradley(Purrington), Miller, Donaldson(Smith,) Threlkeld(Trialist), Sawyer, Carey, Goodwillie(Jervis), Spencer(Rooney).
Nauris Bulvitis wants to use league two football as a chance to return to the Latvian international side following 21 months without a cap. The centre-back said: "Marian Pahars knows the level here and I hope I get the chance again to play, so everything is going well with this move," said the 6ft 3in defender, who is still developing his English skills. In Latvia the level is not the highest, so here I can get better games and improve more. It was a good experience in Scotland because we won the league. Everything in that season was very good and the coach was Terry Butcher."
Derek Adams is content with the first phase of Argyle's pre-season preparations and is ready for things to be stepped up a gear against tougher opposition- starting with the visit to Torquay United on Saturday. He spoke about the difference between games that would allow them time on the ball to find their rhythm and games that would work them more. He said: “We’re not going to have it as easy as we’ve had but we appreciate the teams playing against us because it gives us the avenue of games with a lot of the ball, and it gives them a senior team coming to them as well. I think it’s about getting the players to know each other. We’ve taken in players over the summer, and it’s getting to understand how they play – that’s the idea of these first three games. The way the players have performed: they’ve looked sharp, they’ve looked lean, they’ve looked fit. We’re ten days into pre-season. I would say we’re looking good, and we’ve put ourselves in a good position. We’ve had a lot of the ball – a lot of time on the ball, a lot of passes, a lot of movement. By doing that, everybody knows each other, their style of game. The tempo is going to rise now and we’ll have to step up a couple of gears. Over the next few games, they’ll be worked a lot harder. The purpose is to work the striking department, and the midfield department – and then the defence will come. Torquay gave us a tough test the last time, when we won 1-0; it was a close game. On Saturday, it’ll be the same. There’ll be a big crowd. We’ll have to be quicker and speedier than we have been in the last three games.”
Adams also hopes to have a near full squad available for the game at Torquay. Striker Jordan Slew, midfield duo Connor Smith and Oscar Threlkeld, as well as right-back Gary Miller all sat out the 6-0 win at Bovey Tracey on Wednesday because of minor injuries. Some, if not all of them, will play at Torquay, but defender Karleigh Osborne is still sidelined by a thigh strain. The 28-year-old has not featured in any of Argyle's three pre-season games so far. Adams: "I would hope that we will maybe have four back from Saturday. That might be pushing it, but I would hope that Slew, Smith, Threlkeld and Miller are okay."
Derek Adams has said that whilst his squad options are currently shaping up very well for the defence and the strikeforce, the squad is still lacking in central midfielders. He went onto say that he would assess all options before making a final decision on trialists Josh Lelan and David Ijaha, Adams: "We've got four centre backs," started Derek, "we've got two left backs in Gary Sawyer and Ben Purrington, we've potentially got two right backs in Gary Miller and Oscar Threlkeld, so we've got good cover in that area. We've got four strikers - five strikers if you include Louis Rooney. We're still on the lookout for midfield players and it's just taking a bit of time. We want to add the right people to the squad. I think that we have to get a couple of them in; probably more central than anything else. They were only here until Saturday. I've got a number of other people to look at and options to look at, so I'm not going to make my mind up just yet. I've got time to do that."
Argyle brought their tally to 22 pre-season goals following a third game in five days against Peninsula League opposition. They won 6-0 at Bovey Tracey with goals from Carey, Spencer, Jervis, Goodwillie and Rooney adding to a Bovey own goal. Argyle once again battered the opposition, hitting the post four times and forcing Bovey's keeper into a fine set of saves in addition to the six goals. Argyle: Dorel (Trialist), Bulvitis, Songo'o, Bradley, Palfrey, Steer(Trialist), Purrington(Calver), Sawyer, Carey (Donaldson), Jervis(Spencer), Rooney(Goodwillie).
Argyle once again shared the goals around with another emphatic pre-season win, beating Tavistock 7-2. Argyle went 3-0 up early on through Alex Battle, Jimmy Spencer and David Goodwillie. Two goals just either side of half-time, the first from the penalty spot, saw Tavistock threaten to get back into the game but a host of substitutions saw Argyle regain control. Goals from Rooney, Battle (again) and a penalty by Jake Jervis after he had been fouled put the Pilgrims 6-2 up. The crowd of more than 1,500 were treated to a fine run and finish from Graham Carey in the 84th minute which completed the scoring. Argyle's squad featured two brand new trialists but neither of the two who featured in the win at St Blazey (reported to be right-back Josh Lelan and midfielder David Ijaha) were in the squad. Argyle: McCormick(Trialist), Miller(Songo'o), Bentley, Bradley(Bulvitis), Purrington (Sawyer), Donaldson, Trialist, Threlkeld, Battle, Goodwillie (Jervis), Spencer(Rooney).
Newest signing Sonny Bradley revealed his keenness to join Argyle and his expectation of a successful season: “Within five minutes, we’d agreed on something – there was no negotiation about money or anything; what I got offered, I accepted straight away. I spoke to the manager the following day just to confirm everything, made my way down, and got stuck into training. It’s been a good start and I’m happy. The quality of the players he’s brought in...they are very good players. There’s some good experience in there. There are quite a few games coming up, so we can gel quickly and, come the first game, we’ll be flying. I had a brief conversation with my agent about how he thinks Plymouth are going to do this season and he thinks the same as me – that Plymouth are going to have another successful season, so joining was an opportunity that I couldn't pass on. The only way you are really going to get that match fitness is by playing games so the more, the better. I’ve been doing my own bits of training; today’s session was a bit of a reality check, but I’m happy I did it.”
Meanwhile, Oscar Threlkeld gave his own reasons for returning to the club he calls his home. Threlkeld said: "Once Adams heard that I had got released by Bolton he spoke to me straight away on the phone. I just waited on other offers to see what came in but the best option at the end of the day was coming down here – back to home really. Like I have said previously, I came as a boy last season and left as a man. I felt that Plymouth Argyle benefited my football and I wanted to carry that on. I want to be getting games on my CV. That's what footballers have to do. It's good to be back. It's like a fresh start. A lot of the new faces know the gaffer and the staff. It shows that we have got a good staff around us because otherwise people wouldn't be coming down from Scotland to play for Derek Adams. It has been a really hard start to pre-season training but it is going to benefit us in the long run."
Argyle have completed their 11th signing of the season in the shape of former Crawley captain Sonny Bradley. Bradley, formerly of Pompey, rejected the offer of a new deal at Crawley to move to Argyle this summer and will wear the number 15 shirt.
Much loved Radio Devon and Argyle Player commentator Gordon Sparks will be taking a break from commentating on Argyle matches this season- he explained his decision, citing the need for a rest and the chance to watch games as a fan: "It will be a refreshing change to watch Plymouth Argyle matches purely as a fan, if for no other reason that I won’t have to observe a Football League rule of not being able to wear club colours from now on.”
In surprising news, former Argyle forward Tyler Harvey is on trial with Newcastle United and scored for them in a friendly match on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Carl McHugh has explained his controversial decision to reject a contract from Argyle and sign for SPL side Motherwell. He refuted that the decision was about money and stated that he had been honest with the football club at all times: "The first thing to say is that we were completely honest with the club at each stage. I was out of contract and moved to Motherwell for family and footballing reasons. "The salary I have at Motherwell is significantly less than the one offered at Plymouth Argyle. I would like to thank the fans for their support over the last two years and would also like to wish Plymouth Argyle the best for the future. Football is important to me but my family even more so. One day my career will be over but I will always have my family."
Many people will be noticing the scoreline when examining Argyle's 9-0 win at St Blazey but Derek Adams said that it was more about getting the team to gel together and more crucially still, fitness. Adams: “To get game-time was the most important thing today. It was very good, following on from last season's pre-season. It's just about getting everyone some game-time today. We've got two games during the week as well, so we've got a lot of games to play and just keep the players going along. I think that, last season, we shared the goals around. We've done likewise today and I think it's important that you score goals from all areas. We've shown, today, that we're capable of doing that.
Karleigh Osborne just got a wee bit of thigh strain in training yesterday so we just left him out today. We thought we would have everybody fit; it was just yesterday where he had a slight problem. It was good to have a look at the trialists today. They've been in and amongst the players for a week or so now, so it was good to see them in action. This was their last day today, so we'll have to make a decision one way or the other after that.”
Jake Jervis stressed the importance of taking good habits from the game and using them to get off to a good start in the regular season. He said: “It's habits. We didn't concede; we got all the goals in; and that's what we've got to carry on doing. If you're used to scoring here, then when it comes to the league and cup games, it's just going to come naturally. So obviously you want to carry that on and hopefully we can keep getting the goals. Of course it's confidence for any player if they're scoring goals and they're enjoying it. You're forming habits now: scoring goals, not conceding goals - it's all going to help.”
Ryan Donaldson meanwhile spoke about the importance of a united dressing room and having strength of character at the critical points in the season, speaking about his previous experiences in a title-winning dressing room at Newcastle. Donaldson said: "It was a dressing room which managed itself. That's what you need when it's a long season, it's a long time and you can't be looking to management and coaches for guidance. When you're on the pitch it's down to you. There was no need for Hughton to be anything like loud because it was such a strong dressing room. People managed themselves and demanded the best out of each other, so it was something brilliant to be part of and something I have tried to take bits from. Coming through a club like that, you're dealing with expectations every day. I was fortunate to be a part of the squad that went up, a little part, but I was still involved and actually won the league here at Home Park. I've got good memories of winning here. I wasn't a big part, but I played a part, got a medal and it's experience you carry on for the rest of your career. I'm still trying to work my best position out. I started out as a centre-mid, but Cambridge played a narrow formation so I played right, left then anywhere across the four. I played a lot down the left when we got promoted because we played with a really narrow midfield. Either side or centre-mid, I'm sure the gaffer will put us around and see what works. That's helped me a lot during my career, but maybe I'm getting to the age where I need to nail down one position."
Argyle have started their pre-season friendlies in emphatic style with a 9-0 victory at St Blazey. The visitors dominated the game from start to finish and could have won by more than their nine goals. A Jake Jervis hat trick and a brace apiece from David Goodwillie and Jordan Slew were coupled by efforts from Ben Purrington and Jimmy Spencer on a misty day in Cornwall. Argyle: Dorel (McCormick), Bulvitis, Songo'o, Sawyer 22 Trialist B (Miller), Purrington, 15 Trialist A (Threlkeld), Smith (Donaldson), Carey (Rooney), Jervis(Goodwillie), Slew(Spencer).
Argyle have announced a sponsorship deal with Ginsters pasties for the home and away shirts for the upcoming season. Argyle are renewing their acquaintance with the brand, having previously had them sponsor shirts from 2002 to 2011. Martyn Starnes said this of the deal: “We are delighted to have such a successful and well-known brand like Ginsters on board. Ginsters shares our ambitions for the club and we are excited about the opportunities the partnership offers. It’s great that two Westcountry brands with national recognition can support each other to mutual benefit.”
Former sponsors LTC Powered Access are continuing their association with Argyle as the club’s Official Academy Sponsor for the 2016-17 Season.
Derek Adams revealed that he is ready for Argyle to step things up a gear with the visit to St Blazey which will kickstart Argyle's pre-season fixtures: "We're looking forward to it - every season, you enjoy coming back for pre-season training. I think the players are looking strong and fit. They're now speaking to each other, because they've been quite tired with the amount of training that we've been doing. We're away to the running track again this afternoon and we're working hard. We've had ball-work in the morning and we've been running in the afternoon. They're all looking in good shape; we're all obviously going to be a bit rusty because there's a tiredness element to it, but we're in better shape than I thought we'd be. We're using Marjon just now, and we're using Brickfields' training complex. We're going to be off [Harper's Park] for a couple of months now. It's getting drainage work and it's going to be fenced off as well which will provide extra security, which was required, and the pitches will be a lot better than they were. For a number of years it's been needed, and I'm very grateful to the chairman and the board that, by asking them to get a wee bit of improvement, they've been able to do that.
"We'll have the first-team squad going to St Blazey and we will get some good game-time for them tomorrow. When you come back for pre-season training, you're always looking forward to the first game. When you sign new players, they look forward to getting in the strip of their new team; they look forward to going to different venues; and the supporters are excited about the new season. We've prepared well this week; the players are tired but they'll sure be excited for St Blazey. We've got a number of games that we're playing in and around Plymouth this year again. I think it's important that we support the local football teams, and we're doing that to a great extent again this year. They'll have first-team players playing at various venues next week. We're all preparing for August 6 and the first game of the season. It's about getting the players game-time and making sure they're injury-free and prepared for that first game of the season."
Adams also spoke about the return to Argyle of Oscar Threlkeld, citing versatility as something that he believes the former Bolton man can offer. He explained: "Oscar went back to Bolton before the end of the season and played a number of games in the Championship. He did really well for me when he was here on loan.He can play at right-back and in central midfield so he gives us good flexibility in both of those areas. He gives Gary Miller and the central midfield players good competition."
Derek Adams revealed that he is hoping for five more players to make up an overall squad of 23 going into the season. He revealed that two of them would be loanees and thus would not join until after the pre-season trip to the Netherlands. Adams explained: "There is the possibility of taking in three more permanent signings. It's just dependent on the way we work the budget from there. I want to have my core squad in place before we go to Holland so I would like to have them on the plane. We have got the potential of having two loans, and that probably will not happen until after Holland. Clubs will not be looking to loan players out until that time."
Argyle have called a press conference for Friday afternoon when they are set to announce "some major news for both the club and the Westcountry business sector". The press call will be held at 1pm in the boardroom at Home Park.
Derek Adams has stated that the quality of Argyle's lesser known signings last summer (such as top assister Graham Carey and top scorer Jake Jervis) proves that it is quality and not pedigree that make a good signing. Adams elaborated: "If you look at the signings I made last year, those five permanent signings, not one of you here knew who they were. I've seen things written in the press about the new signings and a lot of you don't know who they are either. What I will say is: the ones that we took in last year have all performed and you certainly know them now. You will probably say you knew them beforehand, but you didn't, and that's the nature of being in the written press – you always speak in hindsight and we speak in what we know. You want to get strength and power into your team and you also want to have a team that is able to be good on the ball and with the signings we've got pace as well. It's a big football club and everybody wants to come here, to a football club that is moving on year and year. These players want to benefit from that, they want to be around a team and players that can help them progress their careers."
In a shocking move, Carl McHugh has signed for Scottish Premier League side Motherwell in spite of agreeing to sign for Argyle before the weekend. Derek Adams confirmed that McHugh's signature for Argyle was a mere formality but he performed a U-Turn over the weekend and joined Motherwell. Argyle released the following statement this afternoon when it became clear he was set to join the Scottish side: “We understand that Motherwell Football Club will today announce that they have signed Carl McHugh despite the fact that contract terms for him to extend his contract with Plymouth Argyle were agreed in writing between Argyle’s CEO Martyn Starnes, Carl, and Carl's agent Sky Andrew last Friday. Carl subsequently confirmed in a telephone call with manager Derek Adams that he was planning to travel back to Home Park on Monday for pre-season training. However, on Monday morning, we were advised by Carl’s agent that he had been contacted by another club over the weekend and that Carl had expressed a wish to speak with them. We have now been informed that Carl has decided to join the Scottish Premiership team. We are extremely disappointed that Carl has changed his mind and chosen to join Motherwell after he had previously given his agent the authority to extend his contract with Argyle."
Derek Adams has revealed that his squad of permanent Argyle signings is almost complete and he will soon be moving into the loan market for further acquisitions. Adams said, speaking before the confirmation of Oscar Threlkeld: "We've got 18 permanently signed players now, we've still got two or three to go permanently and then we'll look at the loan signings. What I'm looking for is competition for places in the team. Last year we didn't have that. We had a number of areas in the team where there wasn't competition and that probably affected us during the campaign because some players knew they were going to play week-in-week-out. This year we're going to have somebody behind you pushing you all the way. "This summer I've been able to take in more players. Last summer I was handicapped because a lot of players were already under contract and I was only able to take in five permanent signings. This year it's been better for us because we've been able to go out and choose the players we could choose, but with that it's been a difficult summer. We've only had four weeks where we had three players under contract and the rest were out of contract, and then we're trying to take in new players as well. We haven't had a lot of time to do that, but to be in the position where we are today with 18 permanent signings, I've got to be happy with that."
Adams has also pledged his support for the idea of B-Teams in the Football League Trophy stating that it will be beneficial for England's young stars. He reasoned: “For English football, it’s going to be beneficial. The national team needs to improve and, if we are going to see young Premier League players getting the opportunity to play competitive football, then playing against League opposition is going to help them. The England team has struggled for a good number of years now – I saw a stat this morning that Wales have won more tournament games this week than England have in 20 years. I think it is going to be beneficial for the English game that we get good, young, English talent playing competitive football, getting away from Academy football playing against each other, rolled up in cotton wool, protected. Let’s get them into the big game environment and let them go and work for a living. Then we might see an improvement in English football.”
Following the confirmation of his departure from Argyle, former captain and player of 246 games for the club Curtis Nelson has signed for Oxford United. Because Nelson is under 24, Argyle are still entitled to a compensation fee for him even though he is out of contract. Argyle and Oxford have been unable to agree a fee and thus it will go to an independent tribunal. Martyn Starnes said: "It looks like it's going to a tribunal. We haven't agreed a settlement package with Oxford. He has played nearly 250 games and was our captain. We would expect something substantial. They made an offer which we considered to be below our valuation by some margin. It appeared as though the best solution was to go to tribunal, but that's not to say that negotiations won't continue at some stage. But, at this moment in time, it's going to tribunal."
Oscar Threlkeld revealed that he is back at Home Park due to unfinished business and that after his release from Bolton, interest from Argyle trumped that of any other club. He explained: “It’s a great club. I know it can achieve great things and I want to be a part of it. There is some unfinished business. I felt I could have benefited the final part of the season in a certain way, but who knows? You can’t really say, because I wasn’t there. When I heard Plymouth came in, it brought back memories. It came to the point where I dropped every other option because I knew Plymouth were the best option. Things have changed. There are new people in. They seem friendly – I’ve met them briefly – a good group, and I’m just looking forward to kicking on with the season."
Kelvin Mellor has joined Jamille Matt in signing for Gary Bowyer's Blackpool- they will face Argyle at Bloomfield Road at the end of August.
Argyle will start their bid to win the Devon St Luke's Challenge Cup for a third successive season with an away tie against Exmouth Town. The first round fixture will take place at the King George V Playing Field, Southern Road, on Wednesday, September 28. The winners will be away to Cullompton Rangers in the quarter-finals.
Ryan Donaldson expects the grueling pre-season itinerary to bring a new-look Argyle side closer together. He said: "Obviously we've signed a couple of boys that I know so it's been quite handy - Jimmy Spencer and Jordan Slew - so it'll be nice to see them again and catch up. Jimmy had a really good end to the season last year. I think he had a lot of injuries when he was at Notts County but he came in and did well, and got quite a few goals actually. A really good player. Jimmy texted me the day before he signed, just saying he was coming down, asking what the place was like. I spoke very highly of the manager since I met him, and I just encouraged him to get it done. Slewy's really quick and strong, and a handful for any defender. I'm looking forward to playing with him again. He's rapid, strong, and just causes havoc for everyone. Put a ball in front of him and he'll run after it and probably get it because he can catch pigeons, that lad. It's always nice to have people that you know joining a new club, and I'm sure we'll be helping each other in pre-season.
"I don't think anyone will be ready but it's part of the job. You know it's coming and you've just to grit your teeth and get through it at this stage of the season. It's a good time to build relationships and get to know everyone. You're all in it together; you don't look forward to it but it's got to be done. When you're running on the track it's always to forget there's a game coming, but it's nice that the games start pretty soon. You've just got to get this out of the way before the fun stuff comes. It's a really intimidating place to come and play, actually, in this league," said Donaldson, "but I'm glad I'm on their side now. It's something I'm looking forward to, and to call this my home is really something I'm quite proud of."
Adams himself meanwhile had positive words to say about two of his new signings: “David Goodwillie is a very good football player and I think it is important we take players to this football club who can enhance us on the pitch and he will certainly do that. David is a proven goalscorer. He is a player who has commanded a high transfer fee over a period of time. This is a big football club and everybody wants to come here; it is a football club that is moving on, year on year and these players want to benefit from that; they want to be in and around a team and players that can help them progress their careers and they’ll help us move forward.
“I’ve known Nauris for a number of years now; he played in Scotland and I have watched his career over a number of seasons – he’s a no-nonsense centre-half; he’ll go and head the ball and kick it, and that was something we were looking for. You need different people in the squad and I think we need robust defenders who can go and win headers and look to compete. You want to get power and strength into your team; you also want to have a team that is able to be good on the ball. With the signings, we have got pace as well.”
Tyler Harvey has released a statement explaining his decision to leave Argyle on Twitter. He said that whilst it was hard to leave his hometown club, he had not got the opportunities that he felt he deserved. He said: "After 12 years at PAFC my time has unfortunately come to an end. I would like to thank a lot of the people behind the scenes at the club as I have grown close to them over the years."I have never given anything but 110 per cent to my home club, day-in-day-out, but unfortunately I haven't the opportunity to show what I was fully capable of. The time has now come for me to move on and try to further my career. I wish the club all the success it deserves in the future."
The good news that Argyle have been waiting for all summer has finally arrived. Carl McHugh is set to commit his future to Argyle and will join the Pilgrims' pre-season preparations next week. The 23 year old was a notable absentee from the first day of training on Friday but has finally agreed to put pen to paper for another year at the club. Derek Adams also confirmed that captain Curtis Nelson, striker Reuben Reid, defender Kelvin Mellor and forward Tyler Harvey have all failed to agree new contracts and will thus be leaving the club.
Oscar Threlkeld has signed a permanent contract to become a Pilgrim again following a successful loan spell last season. He is Derek Adams' 10th signing of the summer and 19th member of the squad. He was let go by Bolton Wanderers at the end of last season.
Argyle today returned to pre-season training ahead of the 2016/17 season. The squad was bolstered by a series of new players and the return of Vincent Dorel who had not yet signed his contract until today. 24-year-old keeper Dorel who has made one appearance for the club so far confirmed he will be at Argyle for the upcoming season.
Meanwhile, a whole host of new players have expressed their joy, delight and gratitude at signing for Argyle on their first day at the club. The verdict of the newbies was as follows:
Jordan Slew: “You’ve got a great manager in Derek Adams. I had him before at Ross County and he was fantastic with me. I can’t wait to start working for him again. I had a fantastic time. He’s a fantastic manager with a proven record. That was a massive reason why I came here. I know the manager has got faith in me and I’ve got faith in him, as well. It’s a great duo. I’d say I’ve got a lot of pace to burn in behind, I’m strong and I know, under Derek Adams, goals are going to come my way as well. I’ve known about the move for a couple of week now, so it’s been about preparing to come down here. I can’t wait to get started. There’s a good few players who have come in here that I know pretty well from last year and few years before, at Blackburn. I know David Goodwillie– he’s a fantastic player. They have recruited a good bunch of lads from what I’ve seen already. It’ll be interesting to see how we do this season. We all kind of make plans in our head how things are going to go but sometimes it doesn’t always work like that. You can get there, but it isn’t always a smooth road. There’s no reason why I can’t get back to the top with Plymouth. I’m looking forward to the adventure.”
Jimmy Spencer: “I think it was about three or four weeks back that negotiations started; we’ve just been trying to get something sorted, and trying to get something between me, the club and my family that’s right for us all. I started at Huddersfield at about seven years old and signed a professional contract until I think I was 21. I did have a few loans: Cheltenham, Brentford, Crawley, Scunthorpe. I signed for Notts County after that and obviously Cambridge last season. Holding the ball up, definitely; bringing other players into play; and as a striker in this league, hopefully I can score. I’ve been a bit unfortunate through injuries, really, not to play as many games as I’d have liked to at this age. Given the time, I know I’ll always do well in this league; it’s just getting that opportunity to play as many games as I can. As long as I stay fit, I’ll back myself. That was a big part of signing – I’ve seen them play and they’ve always been strong teams when I’ve played against them. It’s a massive club for this league, so it was a no-brainer really. I’m looking forward to getting back; getting the balls out again and playing. It’s been too long since I’ve kicked a ball. I’ve been working hard in the off-season so I’m ready to go.”
David Goodwillie: It’s not totally alien. I’m just looking forward to it. It seems like a nice part of the world. I’m looking forward to getting started. I know of a few players in the squad and hopefully that will make it easier for me to bed in and settle a bit more. I know Graham Carey from doing a pre-season at Dundee United with him, so I know how good he is. It will be good to catch up with these boys that I’ve not seen for a while. “I know I had limited games in those big leagues but, at the same time, it was a great experience and I can take a lot of that on board and hopefully I can maybe give that to some of the younger players. Hopefully, Graham can assist me with a few goals this season, which would be great for me and great for him. Hopefully, I bring a little bit more to it than that. But obviously people see you scoring goals and it looks like you’re doing well, so if I can score as many as I can and assist a few as well, it’ll be great for me.”
Gary Miller: "He's a good gaffer. I played with Derek at Livingston as well, so we were kind of friends first, because we were injured at the same time for a few months, and he had to pick me up. That's how I got to know him - I'm sure he would tell you how annoying I was, because I was quite the young and immature guy then! As a manager he was quite different; he was quite focused on what he wanted to achieve and how to go about that. I enjoyed my time up there, we achieved a lot and he's good to work for. I spoke to the gaffer and he told me his plan, his outlook for the season and what he was hoping to achieve, which is something I was interested in. I'm looking forward to obviously working with the management team again that I've worked with before - it was quite influential for me. It was an easy decision in the end. It's always good to go in and help a team to get better. I think at my last team, we had the third or fourth best defence in the league as well, so it's always something that for a defender is a good achievement. I'm just looking to add to that and make it better. It's always good to be as fit as you can and the manager's quite big on that so that's sort of a building block to start the season. It won't be enjoyable but it'll be worth it. I know a few of the players and I know they've got quality, so it should be a good lift for us. We'll just need to take what the manager wants, take it forward that way, give it our all and do as best we can in the league."
Nauris Bulvitis: “I want to play in the national team but sometimes things change – new players and new coaches who change the squad. If they come here, I will always be happy to come back. We will see how it goes. Our national team coach is Marian Pahars, who played for Southampton. He knows English football, how hard it is to play here. One of my friends is an agent. He was in contact with Derek and he wanted to see me here. I was happy I had this option. I wanted to come here. I played against Ross County, who Derek was coaching at the time. We met a couple of times. Maybe that is why I am here. It’s my first time in England; I am looking forward to my stay here. I played in Latvia; I played in Slovakia; the best time for me was in Scotland, because we won the First Division. After, I moved back to Latvia and then I moved to Switzerland, which was also a good time for me. It was a good level, we played teams like Basel. I enjoyed that time. I will do my best in training and every game, and the coach will decide who will play, who will help the club. I read about last season. I hope this season, we get the club’s targets and I will do everything that the club needs to do this. I hope all players think the same."
Connor Smith: “They like to get the ball down, which I like to do. It was really a no-brainer: the style of football; how well they played last year; how well they did in the league. Once I knew the interest was there, it didn’t take too long to know what was going to happen. I remember playing against Plymouth when I was Stevenage in September and I thought, then, that they’d go up automatically. They are one of the best teams I have played, footballing-wise. Out of the teams in the play-offs, I didn’t want to play Plymouth because it’s such a good footballing team. It was a good game on the day. Obviously, I was pleased to be part of the winning team but I’m forgetting that now and hopefully do the same thing this year with Plymouth. I decided, last January that, although loans are good, I would prefer to move to a club and start properly at a club. I did that at Wimbledon for six months and now here I am.”
Yann Songo'o:"I've been here at the end of the season - for months I have trained with the team," said Songo'o, "so that was really good. They tried to sign me but obviously I came a little bit late. I was really happy here and I was confident that at the end of the season we would find a way for me to sign an agreement to this club. Last season we had a really, really good squad. The environment in the dressing room was unbelievable. I think that's what made me think that this year I wanted to be here. Before I came here, no disrespect but I didn't know the history of this club, because I'm not from England. When I came here and I saw, I was really surprised at this history of this club, and I think in the future this club will get in a really good position, hopefully to get back where they used to be in the Championship. I think it's really important to be with someone who knows what you can give to the team, to the club and obviously the manager here knows me really well - he knows what he can get from me. He's one of the managers who gets the best out of me, so the best decision for me to make was to come here and prove I can be a really good player. My best position for me is as a centre back, but obviously when you're in a team, sometimes you have to sacrifice for your team, and if I have to play right back or left back or in midfield, you just have to do it. Obviously I would not be as good - I'm a centre back - but I definitely guarantee I'm going to give 100%. Obviously if the gaffer's put me there it's because he believes I can do it well. Whatever position the manager wants me to play, I will just play, because the only thing I want to do is play football. "I saw an opportunity to start my professional career in Spain and after some difficulties with the club I had to move, and the only option I had was to go to America to play. After playing a season in America, an English team wanted me to sign for them. Since I came to England I've loved the football, loved the country, and I just want to play football in England. I want to play football nowhere else, really. I enjoy going up and trying to score - whenever I go up I try to score all the time. I feel sometimes when I finish the game and don't score; I don't feel frustrated like a striker but I feel I could've scored and didn't. I'm a player who likes to go forward when the game is right and try to, if I can, score a goal. It's always my objective every season: I plan to score a few goals. It's in the blood. My brother used to play at Portsmouth when he was younger, and my dad used to play as a professional as well. My brother is doing his own thing, I'm doing my own thing, and I think for me - for my future - the best place to be at the moment is in the club, to be playing in England for this team."
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