A Round-up of Argyle News
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Greens on Screen's Daily Diary is a compilation of Argyle news, with help from these and other Argyle-related sites.
On This Day:
Also included on the three most recent days, facts from Argyle's history.
Nick Chadwick has admitted the struggles of Argyle in recent times have mirrored his own career, but, after re-signing for the club, he sees a brighter future ahead for both. He said: "In a way it has mirrored my own personal situation. I left Argyle having had two years without playing much football and I couldn't find a club. I was in the Conference at Chester when we went three or four months, I think it was, without getting paid. Obviously, the players and the staff here weren't getting paid, so I could relate to it. I felt for everybody because I know what a hard time it is, especially as it went on for so long. It's a big club, and for me to get the opportunity to come back, it was a no-brainer. I was always going to do it if I was ever asked. It's great for me to come back and help, certainly for six games. Let's hope we can get a few more results and performances like the one on Saturday." The game against Northampton was Chadwick's first League football since leaving Shrewsbury Town in 2009. He said: "It's something I wanted to do again but, for me, I don't think there is much difference between the Conference and League Two. Certainly, a lot of the top teams in the Conference are probably spending more money than those in League Two. So I don't think the standard is any different. I have turned down the opportunity to come back into the League before because it hasn't been right for me to move south. I'm married and we have had a little baby, so I was quite settled in the north west. There was probably only one call that was ever going to get me to move away, and Romain went and made it. This club is better than the position it's in, but there is no point just saying it. You have got to go out there and play like that and get results. We have done it once. Let's hope we can do it a few more times." Chadwick has stayed in touch with Larrieu since their days as team-mates at Home Park. He said: "I speak to him on and off anyway. I keep in contact with a lot of the players who were here. We were a close group. I knew Romain had taken the job as assistant, and it had been half-joked about before, but then he talked to me about it seriously last Wednesday. That was the first I knew." Chadwick signed for Stockport from Barrow in the summer and had scored seven goals in 19 appearances. He added: "I thought I had been doing reasonably well at Stockport. But, with a change of manager, it gave me the opportunity to move. Although it wasn't part of the life plan, it was an opportunity I was never going to turn down." Chadwick believes the acquisition of Darren Purse will be of great benefit to Argyle. He said: "Look at the team when I was here before, you had Cocko and Hasney at the back, big, strong leaders and characters, and you need that throughout the squad. Pursey has come in and people could see his leadership straight away on Saturday. In and around the place, I'm sure he's going to be great for the club."
Paul Bignot has taken 'full responsibility' for the red card he received in the defeat at Stourbridge last Tuesday. He said: "The bloke has fouled me and on the way down he has grabbed me and I have had a little flick out at him. It has resulted in a red card and all I can do is take full responsibility. I was absolutely devastated. All you can do is put your hands up and say, 'I made a mistake'. That's all you can do. I didn't see the rest of the game after I was sent-off. I was in the dressing room so I could hardly see anything. It was a low point in my career. No professional likes losing and it hurt. The league, and getting off the bottom of the table, is our focus now and it's all about strength of character. Every game now is massive. They are like cup finals. We have got to put points on the board."
Ashley Hemmings has admitted he is grateful to be given the chance to play first team football for Argyle. He was told by Wolves manager Mick McCarthy after training last Thursday that Argyle wanted to take him on loan. "I said 'yes' straight away," he explained. "Plymouth have been struggling and I'm happy to be here and help them get out of where they are, but I needed to come out on loan to play real football, to be honest. I'm happy the gaffer has the belief in me that I can come down here and do that. As soon as I got into the changing room, there was a great vibe and I settled in straight away." Hemmings had been restricted to reserve team football with Wolves and relished the cut and thrust of league football when he played against Northampton, and the sense of occasion. Hemmings said: "It's a slower pace in the reserves, and most of the players are either coming back from injury or it's young lads. But, on Saturday, it felt great. The crowd were amazing all through the game. That lifted me as well. I think we will be higher in the league soon. I was happy with my performance. I'm glad I showed everyone what I can do in my first game. The fans will expect me to play like that every game now, and I'm going to show them I can do it as well. We have set a mark which we have to keep playing at, and I think winning will come even more now."
Ben Gibson’s loan spell has been cut short and the defender has returned to Middlesbrough. He was expected to stay at Home Park until January but the recent arrival of more experienced defenders meant that Gibson was not guaranteed a place in the Argyle squad.
Carl Fletcher thought Argyle set a benchmark for the rest of the season with their performance in the win over Northampton Town on Saturday. "We had a few new faces and I'm really pleased with the result, and the way the lads applied themselves," he said. "I was a little bit disappointed that we let the goal in at the end, but you can't get too down about the last 30 seconds in a 93-minute game. We try to do things the right way, and it worked out for us. Full credit to the lads. I think we could have played anyone today and we would have beaten them." Argyle raced into a 3-0 lead by the 17th minute and Fletcher added: "When we are at home, we are very conscious of the fact we need to start well and get the crowd going, and we did that. It was nice we put the game to bed in the first half. I was pleased with that." Argyle now have to wait until December 10 for their next game, at Bradford City but Fletcher was not concerned about the two-week lay-off. He said: "If you are going to have a break, I think it's good to go into it with a result like this. We have a benchmark now and we know the standards we need to keep. We have to do it every day, and we will look forward to a tough game at Bradford." Fletcher was not surprised that Darren Purse settled into the team so soon. "That's what I would expect of him, and that's why we got him in," he said. "I thought Max, in his first game, did well alongside him, but I wouldn't want to single anyone out. I think as a team, and as a squad, they really deserved their win. We will keep our feet on the ground. We don't get too disappointed with defeats and we don't get too above ourselves with a win. We know what we have got to do and when we need to do it."
Nick Chadwick thanked the Green Army for the warm welcome they gave him on his goal-scoring return to Home Park. “The fans here have always been really good and fair,” he said. “Yes, I have had criticism, certainly, but I had a terrible time with injury the last couple of years I was here. If anything, the fans were probably a little bit frustrated with my injury situation, more so than whenever I played. I think they appreciate the fact that whenever I’m on the pitch in a green shirt I will give 100 per cent. They can’t ask for anything more than that, and that’s the least I can give them. I always will give them that, and I was made up they appreciate the way I have come back to the club.” Chadwick has been saddened to see the plight of the club over recent times and did not need any second invitation to return to Argyle when Romain Larrieu contacted him last week. “It would have been easy for me to sit at home in the North West with the missus and the little one over Christmas and play for Stockport County, and do everything I have got going on up there,” he said. “But as soon as Romain rang I couldn’t resist the opportunity to come down and help the club. Whenever me and the old players get together, we chat in disbelief about the way it has gone. It’s such a great club, and for me to be able to come back and help, that’s what I want to do.” Argyle took the lead against Northampton with a penalty from Simon Walton in the eighth minute, just 85 seconds before Chadwick made it 2-0, heading home a cross from Conor Hourihane. A little local knowledge from Chadwick was behind the impressive start. "It was something I thought about before," he said, "and something I tried to get across to the lads, how well we used to start here and how important it is. It's a long way for teams to come and the last thing they want is a bombardment and a threat, and for us to go forward with a real purpose in the first five minutes; we did that today. It was in my own mind to try to get some shots off and be a personal threat early doors, which I managed to do." Chadwick had almost opened the scoring in the fifth minute, but his shot from a tight angle rebounded off a post. He said: “I was gutted the first one didn’t go in. I thought it was in when it left my foot. But to get a cross like that at the near post was what you dream about the night before a game. I put my head on it and there was my first goal. I was delighted with my start, and I was delighted with the start of the team, first and foremost. It was really important we got away to a good start, and we did.” Argyle took a 4-0 lead into half-time after Ashley Hemmings finished off a chance which Chadwick set up. “What a finish from Ashley,” said Chadwick. “I thought I was going to get brought down for a penalty, but I managed to stay on my feet and pulled the ball back. It was a great first-time finish, and to go 4-0 up was great for the fans. Obviously, they have been through it recently. It was nice to get some positivity back into the club.” Chadwick revealed he had been substituted because he was suffering from cramp. He said: “I sat in the car all day Thursday and I did a little bit of training yesterday, but it was cramp more than anything. I’m fine.”
Ashley Hemmings played a part in two of the goals in the 4-1 victory over Northampton, less than 48 hours after he joined Argyle. Hemmings, who scored the fourth just before half-time, said: "I was over the moon. It was my first league goal, plus it was a victory for the lads. As soon as I saw Chadwick running down the line with the ball, I was shouting his name. It was great vision to cut it back. I just thought: 'Shoot straight away, where the space is' and, as soon as it went in, I felt so happy. You just get mad inside, to be honest." The first goal came after Hemming’s cross was handled in the area. "It was definitely handball," he said. "As soon as I saw it I shouted at the ref. He noticed straight away. It was great penalty. He just put it straight in the back of the net, and that's what we needed." It was not long before another cross from Hemmings saw Chadwick head in at the near post. Hemmings added: "Before the game, he told me: 'As soon as you get the ball, take him on and get it in the box, I'll be there'. Every time I got the ball out wide, I just thought 'Cross the ball', I knew Chadwick would be there." Hemmings is now keen to build on that start, and help Argyle move up the table before he returns to Wolves. "I'm looking to get some more goals and some more assists," he said. "As soon as I get the ball at my feet, my first thought is to look up, run straight at the defender, take him on and cross the ball. I'm happy that the gaffer has taken me in and believed in me that I can come down here and do it. I needed to be playing real football and I'm glad I'm here to help them get out of trouble. Plymouth is a big club, a big set-up, and I think we will be able to get out of where we are The lads have been wanting this for a long time and I think we have set a mark to where we have to keep playing, and I think winning will come even more now."
Argyle scored four goals at home for the first time in almost two years yesterday, and Carl Fletcher was delighted with his side’s performance. "It was pleasing," he said. "Obviously we had a few new faces, and I'm really pleased with the result and the way the lads applied themselves today. I'm a little bit disappointed with the way we let the goal in at the end, but you can't get too down about the last thirty seconds. It's a benchmark for us to move on." Nick Chadwick was named man of the match for a display in which he scored, forced a penalty and laid on a goal. Fletcher said: "We knew what he would bring to the team, that's why we got him in. It's the same with all of them. I'm really pleased for Nick, because he probably does a lot of stuff that people wouldn't see normally. With his physical presence up front he caused a lot of problems for their defenders today, which in turn gave Craig Sutherland more opportunities. With any strikers it's always pleasing when they get goals." Ashley Hemmings caught the eye with a promising performance on the left wing and his first senior goal. Fletcher said: "We know what he can do, otherwise he wouldn't be here. It is pleasing that he comes in and he is settled in. He's only been here a couple of days and he's done well. That's great for us and great for him." Darren Purse dominated in defence, alongside Maxime Blanchard. "I thought Max did well, it's his first game too," added Fletcher. "Max is twenty-five, he's played in league one. He's experienced and he knows what to do. He does well in training, so he deserves his chance. But I'm really pleased for the lads that have been here all season. The ones in the squad and the ones who played, because there have been some tough times and it's been a tough week. I thought the lads all over, really did well. There wasn't anyone I would like to single out. I think as a whole team and as a squad they deserve their win today."
The Argyle youth team beat Torquay United 5-1 at Haye Road yesterday, the goals scored by Jared Sims (3), James Bradley and Tyler Harvey. Argyle: Walton.C, Watson, Bradley, Pearce, Harper-Penman, Allen, Copp, Clarvis, Harvey, Sims, Vassell. Subs – Bentley, Gallagher (not used - Vickers, Walton.R).
Argyle beat Northampton Town 4-1 at Home Park, the goals scored by Simon Walton after 8 minutes, Nick Chadwick (9), Will Atkinson (17) and Ashley Hemmings (44). Argyle: Cole, Berry, Purse, Blanchard, Bhasera, Walton, Hourihane, Atkinson, Sutherland, Chadwick, Hemmings. Subs – Lecointe, Daley, Young (not used – Larrieu, Nelson) Attendance - 5,762.
Paul Bignot will make a donation to charity following his sending off in the FA Cup replay at Stourbridge on Tuesday. Carl Fletcher has accepted the request from Bignot to use the club fine for his dismissal in that way, and said: "When you go out there and play football, things happen in a game. Everyone has done it. I've done it. You do things that you probably regret, but it would only happen on a football pitch and it's done in a split second. Paul is a lovely guy and he's down to earth. He knows he made a mistake and he's really cut up about it. He has come to us and said he doesn't mind being fined for the incident, so he's going to give that to charity. We all make mistakes, but you have got to learn from it and move on." Bignot's three game suspension starts today and includes the trip to Bradford City on December 10th and the home game against Hereford United a week later, which means he will not be available for selection again until the visit to Bristol Rovers on Boxing Day. However, as he is on loan until January 28 he will continue to train with Argyle, rather than return to Blackpool. Fletcher said: "At this minute in time, he's our player on loan and we want to keep him here."
Carl Fletcher believes the pace of loan signing Ashley Hemmings will be a valuable asset. He said: "Ashley is quite small but he's quick. He likes to take players on and get balls in the box. Hopefully, it will be a good move for both parties. It's an opportunity for him to come here and do well for us." Fletcher has seen Hemmings play for Wolves reserves and also made other inquiries before making his move for him. "We have done our research on Ashley," he added. "This is a chance for him to come here and express himself. When you get young lads from Premier League clubs, there is always an element of risk there because they haven't played league football before, but you just have to weigh that up." Fletcher was desperate to strengthen Argyle's squad before the deadline on Thursday for loan signings. He said: "There were a few areas we wanted to address and we have tried to fill them as best we can with the restrictions we have."
Peter Ridsdale believes that the signing of Darren Purse is a statement of intent from Argyle that they are determined to secure their survival. "Darren has agreed to join Argyle not just on loan, which is the initial administrative requirement, but on an 18-month contract from January 3," said Ridsdale. "That's important for all sorts of reasons. It shows the intent of this football club, its owner James Brent and Carl as manager, in terms of the quality of players we want to bring in to add to those we have already got, and give us additional options. I think a club of this size, and with its history, needs to be reassuring its supporters that the current position in the league table is hopefully temporary. We have aspirations not only to maintain our League Two status, but in the not-too-distant future to start climbing back up the divisions again. The fact that Darren has agreed to join us is outstanding from our point of view. I think the fact he has agreed to commit himself until the end of next season is testimony to everything Carl is trying to do here in building a team." Purse's signing was followed by that of Nick Chadwick, on loan from Stockport County until January 3rd. As yet, there has been no talk about Chadwick completing a permanent move in January, but Ridsdale did not rule that out. He said: "What we are trying to do is say, 'Let's look at what we need to do between now and the end of January' to make sure we have got the best chance of getting some points on the board. Then we will take a view on how the loan signings have done and what else is out there in permanent options to bring in. We will have the first chance to do that on January 1, but clearly anybody who joins us on loan between now and then and does well, and if they want to stay and they are available, well, then there is that option. It's in their hands to some extent. If anybody comes in here and starts scoring goals, the last thing we want to do is let them go back again. It's a two-stage process. Let's get through to January and get some points on the board. We have got some big games in December. And, from last night, Carl and I have started planning for January."
Darren Purse believes there is a big future ahead for Argyle, despite their current plight. He trained with the squad for the first time yesterday after his move from Millwall and is set to make his debut against Northampton Town at Home Park tomorrow. Purse said: "I'm here for the challenge. I have played against Plymouth many times and it's a football club which shouldn't be in the position it's in. Hopefully, we can avoid relegation this season, stay in the Football League and I can see a big future for the club. That's the reason I'm here, because I want to be part of that." Purse revealed he had a meeting with Carl Fletcher last week to discuss the possibility of signing for the club. "I spoke to the gaffer about the challenge and he's really up for it," said Purse. "Hopefully, with the gaffer and Peter Ridsdale involved, and the new owner as well, it's a club that's going places." Purse is three years older than Fletcher, and the pair have come across each other on the pitch before. Purse added: "He's a centre midfielder and I'm a centre-half so we have never had too many comings together. He has gone on to the managing side now and, hopefully, with me playing as well, he will make a good fist of that. The most important thing at this moment in time is making sure that come May we are not in the bottom two in this division." Having made his League debut for Leyton Orient at the age of 17, Purse knows all about the pressures on Argyle's talented but inexperienced players. He said: "It's about the youngsters coming out of their shell and becoming men. I think that's what we are going to need out there for the next five months. We are going to have to roll our sleeves up and start grinding out results. Hopefully, the confidence will come from there and then the ability the young players have got will be there for everyone to see." Purse was keen to get his Argyle career started now, on loan, rather than leaving it until the January transfer window. "There are some big games coming up for the football club and I wanted to try to get in here as early as I could, to give us the best possible chance of staying up," he said.
Argyle’s search for a striker finally ended yesterday when the club signed Nick Chadwick on loan from Stockport County. Carl Fletcher said: "We knew we needed to get another striker in, and we have been looking for a long time but, to be honest, there is not a lot out there. We got to a stage where we had to decide whether to take a gamble on a young lad from a Premier League club. It could have been a toss of coin whether he came in and did well, and hit the ground running, or not. With Chadders, he has been here before and knows what the club is about. He knows what the club means to the people of Plymouth. He has been playing in the Conference and he's desperate to get back into the League. He has got the hunger there that he wants to do well, and he has scored goals. So, from our point of view, everything kind of fitted the bill and we are delighted he's coming in." Chadwick has scored seven goals in 19 appearances for Stockport this season but County are being forced to cut costs, so Chadwick's return to Home Park suited all parties. Fletcher added: "When you look at getting loans in, a lot of the people who are available aren't playing, and haven't played for a long time, or if they have been playing it has just been for the reserves. The reserve team games we have gone to watch have been pretty much a waste of time, really. They are almost like a non-contact sport. So it's very hard to gauge a player when they don't put a tackle in, or they don't get tackled for 90 minutes. We have got tough games coming up against teams around us, but there is no problem throwing Chadwick and Purse straight in because we know they are match fit and raring to go."
Northampton Town visit Home Park on Saturday, the first of three consecutive games for Argyle against teams in the bottom six of the division. Carl Fletcher is trying not to think too far ahead but knows the challenge that awaits his side. "The next three games are big games," he said. "We've got teams who are in and around us. We've got to be ready for that challenge. Prepare right, do things the right way on and off the pitch. We're not in the position where we can feel we can turn up on the Saturday, turn the switch on, and get a performance. We have to train, perform and behave every day the way you would on a match day, then it becomes second nature to everyone involved." Northampton have managed just one point from their last seven league games and recently sacked their manager. Fletcher said: "We're used to what they are going through. They lost 7-2 at home last week, so you'd expect a reaction. All we can do is be 100% ready from our side of it. We know, if we are ready and well prepared, then we give the players the best opportunity to go out there and get a performance. And if we get a performance, we know the result won't be far behind it." The mood at Home Park has been lifted by the arrival of Darren Purse, Nick Chadwick and Ashley Hemmings and Fletcher added: "It gives us options. Just getting bodies around the place makes the 'Old v Young' games and competitions we do in training a little more distinctive. It's usually 'Young v Younger'! If you can get competition for places, it gives everyone a lift and keeps everyone on their toes. All the lads in the squad are good players, and they want to do well for the club. It's great to have competition. It's a good problem to have as a management team to pick the best players."
Argyle legend Johnny Williams passed away yesterday, at the age of 76.
Argyle today finalised the signing of Nick Chadwick, on a short-term loan deal from Stockport County. The deal could be made permanent when the transfer window re-opens in January. Also arriving at Home Park is Wolves winger Ashley Hemmings, on loan until January 21st.
Peter Ridsdale has dismissed speculation about a possible role for former Bournemouth manager Sean O'Driscoll at Home Park. O'Driscoll sat with Argyle officials at Stourbridge, as a guest of Carl Fletcher, who played under him at Bournemouth. Ridsdale said: "Carl invited him to the game on Tuesday. As any young manager would do, he's turning to friends, colleagues and acquaintances for help, support and information. That's why he was there." James Brent attended the game against Stourbridge and invited former vice-chairman Peter Jones, leading to speculation that Jones could be involved in the new boardroom set-up at Home Park.
Former Argyle striker Nick Chadwick is set to return for a second spell at Home Park. He will be moving on loan from Stockport County until January and was travelling to Plymouth today to complete all the paperwork for the deal.
Carl Fletcher believes the wait has been worth it after Argyle finally sealed a deal for Darren Purse. He said: "Darren will add a lot to our squad. If you are going to bring players in, they have got to give you something different. Experience is not something we are high on, so it will be a boost to our team."
Carl Fletcher believes Argyle must improve their disciplinary record, after Paul Bignot became their seventh player sent off this season. "The discipline thing is something we'll have to address," he said. "I don't really try to tell people when not to tackle and when to tackle but at the minute it is getting a bit out of hand. It's all something we have to look at and address as individuals and that we have to work on." The sending-off cost Argyle as they crashed out of the FA Cup last night. Fletcher said: "Obviously we're disappointed but we've had a man off so that makes thing far more tough for us. I didn't see the red but I spoke to the referee and he said the player kicked out. We'll address it in house, it's something I'm not happy about. Discipline seems to be a real issue for us at the moment. We knew they'd pressure us with them being the home team and we had a grip on the game until the red card. You can't take anything away from Stourbridge though, they worked really hard for the win. We weren't panicking too much with 10-men at half-time, we had loads of possession but let them score a soft first goal. From there we never got to grips with things. We'll move on and must now look at Saturday. The league's a massive priority and something we need to sort out."
James Brent has backed Carl Fletcher following the FA Cup defeat at Stourbridge. "I think what we need to do is to provide Carl with the support he needs to rebuild the team," said Brent. "It was always going to be a rebuilding exercise and that's what we are doing. I've spoken to a lot of chairmen and a lot of board members who've got a lot of experience between them and the one piece of advice that is absolutely consistent is when there is a problem the demand from the fans is to fire the manager. Every single one of them tells you that that has cost them very dear in the past and it's not the right reaction to have." Brent admitted that the performance last night was not good enough. He added: "There may be a lack of motivation amongst players. I certainly saw amongst the majority of the players, and I was at the game, I saw a lot of passion and a lot of commitment. But did the team hang together as a team and win? No it didn't." Despite the setback, Brent says his priority since taking control at Home Park has always been to ensure that the club stays in the Football League. He said: "The fact that staying up is a difficult job isn't a surprise to anyone. It was never going to be flashing a magic wand and getting a Premier League team, so the fact that we're having to work pretty hard to stay up in League Two is no surprise."
Millwall defender Darren Purse was at Stourbridge last night and looks set to sign for Argyle today. He will initially join on loan until January, with a view to a permanent move during the transfer window. Carl Fletcher believes his experience will benefit his youthful squad. "He's someone we've been after for a little while," said Fletcher. "There's been a lot of back and forth which we had to sort out. When the takeover took off, I think everyone was expecting an influx of players, a load of bodies to come in, but we have got to get the right ones in. Darren is one of those and he'll add to our squad. You have to add something to your squad. If you are going to bring players in, they are going to have to give you something different, and experience is something we're not high on, so it will be a boost to our team."
Argyle lost 2-0 at Stourbridge in the FA Cup replay. Argyle: Cole, Bignot, Nelson, Gibson, Bhasera, Daley, Fletcher, Walton, Hourihane, Atkinson, Feeney. Subs – Berry, Vassell, Lecointe (not used – Larrieu, Williams, Young, Sims) Attendance - 2,519.
Luke Daley has admitted patience was the key in his recovery from a troublesome thigh injury. He returned to action after a six-week absence at Torquay United on Saturday and played 76 minutes of the Devon derby. Daley said: "I was itching to get back before then, and I said that to Paul the physio, but with thigh strains you have got to make sure you monitor them well. You can try to come back a week early and end up being out for even longer. I believed in what Paul was saying and now, hopefully, I can keep progressing and get back to full match fitness. I don't feel like I'm quite there yet. I know I can do a lot better than I did on Saturday, and I can be more consistent. I will keep doing extra in training and get up to speed with the other boys." Argyle take on Stourbridge in their FA Cup replay tonight, and Daley insisted he was optimistic about their chances. He said: "We have put Saturday behind us and we will learn from the mistakes. We know what to expect going there, so we have just got to stick together and, hopefully, get through to the next round." Daley knows the Argyle squad needs to be strengthened as they fight against relegation, and added: "Now the financial side of things at the club have got sorted, I'm sure the gaffer and the coaching staff have got plans to bring more players in. We have had trialists here, and Craig has come in. Hopefully, we can strengthen the squad and start moving up the league. Fighting for places is what you want as a player because it lifts your own game as well. It's definitely what we need."
Carl Fletcher will take his squad to Stourbridge’s War Memorial Athletic Ground this morning so they can see for themselves what to expect, and so there are no surprises in the final build-up to kick-off tonight. The team travelled to the Midlands yesterday, and stayed overnight at a hotel owned by James Brent. Fletcher said: "We are going to go to the ground this morning, just so everyone knows what it's all about. We will have a look at the changing room and have a look at the pitch. The lads can make sure they have got the right studs for their boots, and then we don't have to worry about that when we get to the game in the evening. That will be our first look at the ground, and we can assess it then. From the reports we have had back, it's not the worst pitch in the world, so there is a chance we can try to play some football on it." Argyle have gone six games without a win, so the trip to Stourbridge promises to be a tough test of character. Fletcher said: "If anything, we might even be underdogs. Everyone is expecting a shock, and they did well in the first game. It's about preparing right and doing the right things on the pitch. Hopefully, it will be a fantastic cup tie like it was last time. We have got to go there and do our jobs the right way. It's exciting. It's the FA Cup and it's a chance for the lads to go out and show everyone watching on TV what they can do. We will be looking to put in a good performance and get a good result, but we know it's going to be tough."
Carl Fletcher did not try to hide the pain of defeat after Argyle lost 3-1 at Torquay United on Saturday. "I'm devastated, if I'm going to be honest," he said. "It's tough. I hate losing at the best of times, at anything I do. It's really disappointing and it does take you time to get over it. You have to analyse things and get it clear in your head, so to speak. But you can be assured we will all be ready and raring to go for Tuesday." Argyle were in disarray after Torquay took a 3-0 lead in the 69th minute, and the situation was worsened by a prolonged argument between centre-backs Ben Gibson and Curtis Nelson. "I will discuss that with them tomorrow," added Fletcher. Argyle could be without Warren Feeney for the FA Cup replay against Stourbridge after he suffered a shin injury against Torquay. Fletcher said: "Warren got a nasty one on his shin in the first half. It was a bit of a nasty tackle, I think, but I didn't see it myself. He has got a lot of stud marks down his shin, it has swelled up and it's obviously sore. Hopefully, it's just bruising and we can get him sorted out for Tuesday, but it's a bit too early to tell at the minute." Torquay took the lead in the 47th minute through Eunan O'Kane, who scored again a couple of minutes later, sending a dipping shot over Romain Larrieu from 35 yards. Larrieu had been off his line, but Fletcher did not attach any blame to the player-coach. He said: "Did you expect him to shoot from there? No, neither did I. It was a good strike from the lad. He also hit the first one very well, and all credit to him for that." Torquay went 3-0 up after a misplaced pass from Luke Young and hesitation from Curtis Nelson. Fletcher said: "Players make mistakes loads of times throughout a game. Sometimes they end in a goal, sometimes they don't. We will learn from it." Argyle went into the match without three suspended players and Fletcher added: "We knew it was going to be a tough test here today. We had three players out, and with the size of the squad we have got that made it difficult for us. I thought we were quite comfortable in the first half, and looking to push on in the second half, but it didn't materialise that way."
Argyle are making a renewed attempt to sign Millwall centre-back Darren Purse, who has been on a one-month loan to Yeovil Town which ended after their draw with Exeter City on Saturday. Reports suggest Argyle want to sign Purse on loan until January, and then complete a permanent move for him on an 18-month contract. Argyle first tried to sign Purse before their game against Accrington Stanley on October 8 and all of the paperwork was completed, but the Football League put a block on the proposed move because Argyle were still in administration.
The Argyle Youth team drew 1-1 with Oxford United at Haye Road on Saturday, the goal scored by Tyler Harvey. Argyle: Walton, Watson, Bradley, Bentley, Pearce, Allen, Copp, Elcock, Harvey, Gallagher, Harper-Penman. Subs – Gostling, Vickers
Carl Fletcher hopes that Craig Sutherland's promising debut is a sign of good things to come. "He did okay," said Fletcher. "He set up the goal, and you could see little glimpses of his pace. He's able to beat players with that pace. Hopefully, we can utilise it a lot more in future games." Sutherland arrived from Blackpool on Friday but fitted in well with his new team-mates, who lost the game against Torquay in the first four minutes of the second half when they conceded two goals. "I thought we did okay today, we just lapsed for a couple of minutes after half-time," said Sutherland. "We talked about it after the game and it seems to be something that has happened a few times before. In the second half, we came out and dropped the tempo a little bit. Hopefully we have learnt our lesson that, especially in a derby, you have got come out and play the second half like the first half, because there was nothing in it between the teams. It's always difficult with a new team but I think I understand the way the guys play and I think gelled well with the team and hopefully, from now on, it keeps getting better. The guys are looking forward to Tuesday to show that they can get further in the cup and make up for this loss today."
Argyle lost 3-1 at Torquay United, the goal scored by Will Atkinson after 78 minutes. Argyle: Larrieu, Bignot, Nelson, Gibson, Bhasera, Daley, Walton, Young, Atkinson, Feeney, Sutherland. Subs - Vassell, Lecointe (not used – Cole, Blanchard, Berry) Attendance - 3,983.
Jarrow Roofing striker Aris Guerin-Lokonga, who has been on trial with Argyle, has returned to Tyneside. After setting up two goals in the behind-closed-door match against the Nike Academy, he turned an ankle in training and has subsequently returned to his club. Guerin-Lokonga's agent, Wes Saunders, said: "Aris played against the Nike Academy and set up two goals, but he went over on his ankle last Friday in shooting practice, and he hasn't been able to do anything. Aris just gets on with things, but this injury has knocked him back a bit. The aim is still to get him somewhere until the end of the season."
Carl Fletcher goes into his first Devon derby as manager aware of the local rivalry, but unaffected by it. "They are doing well at the minute," he said, "but you have to be prepared for every game, so it will be a good challenge for us. We go through the same processes and it's no different this week. We're all looking forward to it. In terms of the teams we've played recently in the league, a lot of them have been near the top: Oxford, Swindon, Crawley, Morecambe. We just see at as the next team we have to prepare right for and do the best we can to beat them on the day. We will try to everything we can to give the players the best opportunity to get a result. To play down at Torquay, it's always a tough place to go. They have knocked one of their main stands down so the three stands will be full to capacity and it will be an exciting atmosphere, a derby game, so we have to be prepared. From the fans' point of view, it probably adds a bit of spice and we shouldn't have any problems whatsoever motivating players, we never do, to be honest. I'm sure, as usual, our Green Army will be in great numbers and great voice again. Hopefully we'll give them something to cheer about." Argyle will be without Robbie Williams, Conor Hourihane and Fletcher himself, due to suspensions, but the boss admits his selection problems this weekend could have been worse. He said: "Last week, before the game, both myself and Walts were on four bookings so we did run it through our heads, thinking would one of us not play. We thought suspensions would come, but we didn't see the two sendings-off as well. It's one of those things. It's a small squad. Whenever there are suspensions, there are opportunities for someone else to come in and do well."
Argyle have signed French defender Maxime Blanchard on a short term deal until January next year. The former Tranmere centre-back has been on trial at Home Park and has impressed Carl Fletcher enough to win a contract. Fletcher said: "Maxime has come in, he's hungry and he wants to do well. He can play at centre-half or in midfield and he was at Tranmere last season, and it's worked well for both parties because he doesn't take up a loan space. We've got him here until January so there's an incentive there for him to go and perform, and if it works well for both parties, then I'm sure that can be extended."
Craig Sutherland is relishing the opportunity of making his Argyle debut in the Devon derby at Torquay tomorrow. He said: "I play up top or out wide and I'm fast and like to get in behind defences and create opportunities for myself. To get a few goals, that's the target I've set for myself. I'm excited to be able to play, the guys tell me it's a big game and the ground is sold out. Everyone's said the fans here in Plymouth are great." Sutherland accepts his lack of experience means he is down the pecking order with Blackpool, meaning he has to look to loan spells to get the necessary game-time. He only learned he would be heading to the south-west on Tuesday, and said: "I'd spoken to the gaffer about going out on loan and I was just waiting for him to find me somewhere. Genuinely, it was just three days ago the gaffer came up to me and said, 'Get yourself down to Plymouth'. I said yes straight away and drove down the next day. Plymouth are a good club and a big club, looking to improve and I'm trying to get games and, hopefully, help them out. I was not hesitant at all. Yes, Plymouth is far away from where I was but that doesn't really bother me, I just packed my bags and got here." Sutherland sent DVDs of himself to clubs, which persuaded Ian Holloway to give him his first professional contract. "I just got lucky with Blackpool," he said. "If you tot up the minutes, I'll have played about four matches in total so far, but it's been a great experience and I've really enjoyed it. Blackpool have brought in some experienced players who know the English game a little bit better than me. The gaffer is happy with the way I'm playing, and just wants me to get some more experience. He said if he could buy me 40 games then he would, but this is something I have to do myself." Sutherland added that Paul Bignot's impressions of Home Park had been positive and meeting up with a familiar face would be mutually beneficial. He added: "Biggie is a good player and like me he's looking to get games. He said it was really good down here and that the team has been playing well, but unlucky."
Argyle go into tomorrow's game at Torquay United boosted by new signing Craig Sutherland but without three key players, Carl Fletcher, Conor Hourihane and Robbie Williams, who are all serving one-match bans. "Craig's come down from Blackpool and is training with us which is pleasing and is another new face around the place," said Fletcher. "Obviously, we've done our homework on him and are really pleased to have him down. Craig brings something we haven't got in the team, pace, and he adds another dimension and another option. Ian Holloway has helped us out a lot which is nice. Yes, we've got three suspensions for the game at Torquay, which is not ideal, because we've got a small squad anyway. However, whenever there are suspensions, it does give someone else the opportunity to come in and do well." Fletcher said, apart from Ladjie Soukouna, Argyle have a fully-fit squad which means Jake Cole could resume his place in goal. He said: "Torquay's always a tough place to go. It's going to be full to capacity and a derby atmosphere so we have to prepared. But every game is a challenge and this one is no different. We're all looking forward to it." Torquay manager Martin Ling believes his side will start as favourites but Fletcher thinks his side, despite still being at the bottom of the table, are battle hardened against the form teams in League Two. "In terms of the teams we've played, like Crawley, Southend and Morecambe, they've all been near to the top," said Fletcher. "We don't see Torquay as favourites. We just see them as the next team we have to prepare for."
A deal which could see Argyle ground-share with the Cornish Pirates has been agreed, should the Pirates win promotion to the Aviva Premiership for next season. The deal also rests on whether the proposed new Stadium for Cornwall in Truro is delayed or incomplete at the start of the campaign. Following talks between the two clubs, and also involving Plymouth Albion, it has been agreed that the Pirates may nominate Home Park as a stadium which they can use for early fixtures in the 2012-13 season in the event that the Pirates achieve promotion from the Championship. They currently head the Championship table by a point, with Albion in ninth position. The in principle agreement is subject to a number of conditions, including: the new stadium proceeds to construction; the Pirates achieving promotion to the Aviva Premiership; the approval of Home Park by rugby's Professional Game Board as an acceptable temporary stadium; recognition by the PGB that Argyle's Football League fixtures will take primacy; commercial agreement being reached by Argyle and the Pirates and satisfactory arrangements being put in place to minimise any damage to Plymouth Albion's revenues and to compensate them for any resulting material loss. Peter Ridsdale said: "If the Pirates win promotion to the Premiership, Argyle would be delighted, in principle, to host them on a temporary basis. It is important, however, that the terms of any deal are not only fair to Argyle - and through the club, to its employees, past and present, who would receive part of the unbudgeted income - but also protect the interests of our friends at Albion. If the Pirates win promotion, this is good news for sport in Devon and Cornwall, and we wish them every success." Rod Coward, Chief Executive of the Pirates, said: "In the event that the stadium at Threemilestone proceeds but could not be completed for the start of season 2012-13, then we are delighted that Argyle are willing to host our early games, should we be successful in winning the Championship and meeting the minimum standards criteria required of clubs seeking promotion to the Premiership. Discussions are taking place with Plymouth Albion to reach agreement on a compensation package."
Argyle are hoping to follow the addition of Craig Sutherland with another loan signing in time for the Devon derby at Torquay United. Peter Ridsdale said they had been 'tracking Craig for some time' and are confident he has the 'right qualities needed to improve our squad'. He also confirmed Sutherland was not one of five trialists who played in two behind-closed-doors friendlies at Home Park recently. "Sutherland is not one of the trialists and we will not be pursuing our interest in any of those players," said Ridsdale. "We had been aware of Craig for a while and were tracking him separately, as well as having players here on trial. He has played in the Championship this season with Blackpool and, hopefully, he will be able to demonstrate that sort of quality for us. We need to get players in but they must be of the right quality, it's no use bringing in players who cannot improve our squad. But we're also running out of time to strengthen the squad as the loan transfer deadline is next Thursday. With that in mind we're hopeful of signing another player on loan before Saturday's match at Torquay. We're working hard trying to get the right man in, and that has to be the criterion, whoever it is. He has to be right for us. Craig comes to us with a reputation of having pace as well as ambition, but we'll only find that out by seeing him play for us, and his first chance will come on Saturday."
Argyle have signed Craig Sutherland on loan from Blackpool until January 28th. The striker joined Blackpool this summer from the North Carolina State University. He will not be available to play in the FA Cup first round replay with Stourbridge however, as he was not signed prior to the initial tie.
Argyle will not sign players for the sake of it, Peter Ridsdale has promised. He and Carl Fletcher are only interested in recruits who they believe will strengthen the squad, but Ridsdale hopes there will be a couple of new additions before the game at Torquay United on Saturday. Ridsdale said: "We are desperately trying to land the targets we have in mind in time for Saturday's game. It's crucial we bring in players who can add value to what we have got, and not just for the sake of it. Obviously, with that quality control in mind it takes a bit longer, but we are spending parts of every day talking to clubs, managers, players and agents. We know who we are trying to get, and I sincerely hope there will be new faces for Saturday." An Argyle XI containing four trialists lost 4-1 to Southampton in a behind-closed-doors game at Home Park yesterday. One of those being assessed was striker Aris Guerin-Lokonga, who has been training with the club since last week. Meanwhile, Ridsdale admitted it was 'good news' that Argyle would be receiving a TV fee for ESPN's screening of their FA Cup replay. He said: "All non-budgeted income gives us a further opportunity to start accelerating payments due to staff and players. Fifty per cent of the non-budgeted income is set aside for that purpose. What we would ideally like is to have more of these non-budgeted income opportunities so we can get the historic debt paid off and we can concentrate on building a cash war chest for the January transfer window."
Peter Ridsdale believes Argyle must maintain the ‘almost inseparable’ relationship between the club and their fans now that administration is in the past. He admitted that the Fans’ Trust, Green Taverners and PASOTI played crucial parts in the survival of the club before James Brent completed his buy-out. Ridsdale said: “I think this is a true reflection of the fact that, in times of adversity, the relationship between a football club and its supporter base becomes almost inseparable. I think what we have got to do, going forward, is to make sure we maintain that relationship, now we have put the bad times behind us.”
Argyle youth team goalkeeper Christian Walton is being given time off school to pursue his dream of a professional contract at Argyle. Walton attends Wadebridge Community College and, since January, staff have allowed him to attend Home Park every Thursday under a work experience scheme for extra tuition with coach Rhys Wilmot. Head of youth development, Gordon Bennett, said: "Christian was first spotted by our Football in the Community coach Jason Chapman at a soccer school run at St Minver Primary School, near Wadebridge. Jason immediately recruited Christian for our Bodmin Advanced Development Centre and was his first goalkeeper coach there."
Argyle's FA Cup first round replay at Stourbridge has been chosen for live coverage by ESPN. The tie will still be played next Tuesday, November 22nd, but will now kick-off at 7.15pm. Each club will receive £33,750 as a result. Argyle's players and staff stand to gain, as part of the agreement when James Brent completed his buyout of the club was that 50 per cent of non-budgeted income such as TV appearance money will be used to speed up the repayment of wages they are owed. The winners of the replay will also pick up £18,500 in prize money and be at home to Stevenage in the second round.
Argyle are facing a player shortage after escaping a shock FA Cup defeat against Stourbridge on Saturday. Argyle finished with only nine players after Robbie Williams and Conor Hourihane were sent off in the closing stages, and both will be suspended for the game at Torquay United on Saturday. Carl Fletcher will also be banned for the Devon derby after he was booked for the fifth time this season. Fletcher said: “It’s crying out for ex-professional footballers to be referees. If you have played the game, you know what a bad tackle is and you know when someone is trying to get the ball and mistimes it. It’s disappointing because it’s tough on the lads. It’s their livelihood, at the end of the day. They are going to miss out on a game, and you never know where that could lead to in football. Someone else comes in and does well and they may not play again until the end of the season. Their contract could be up and they don’t get another one, all because a referee wanted to book him because TV cameras were here.” Argyle’s replay against Stourbridge is set to take place on Tuesday, November 22 but there is a possibility it could be chosen for coverage by ESPN, which would earn both sides a five-figure sum. Argyle were without injured goalkeeper Jake Cole for the visit of Stourbridge, which saw 16-year-old centre of excellence prospect Christian Walton named among the substitutes.
Argyle twice trailed in the second half against Stourbridge on Saturday, and Carl Fletcher praised the fighting spirit of his side as they came back to force a replay. He also paid tribute to the visitors for their performance. He said: “It was a game which embodied the excitement of the FA Cup really. There was a lot going on. Full credit to Stourbridge, they came here and gave us a big test. From our point of view, there were some things that were good, and obviously some things that were disappointing, which we will address next week. Coming back twice, the last time with ten men, just shows the fighting spirit of the lads in the changing room. We prepared properly for the game, and we did everything we possibly could to be ready for the game. Sometimes it happens for you, sometimes it doesn’t. We were comfortable in spells of the game, and at other times we were uncomfortable, but I don’t want to take away too much credit from Stourbridge because I thought they were great.” Argyle made a good start to the tie, with Warren Feeney heading home a cross from Paul Bignot in the fourth minute. Fletcher said: “It settled us down and I would say we were in control for the first 20 to 25 minutes, but Stourbridge then got back into the game. It’s tough when you are playing at home against lower opposition than you and things don’t go the way you want them to. You have got the pressure of the crowd, and your own pressure of wanting to do well, and I think at times we didn’t really cope with that as well as we could have. But all credit to the lads for coming back, and the main thing is we are in the hat for the second round.” Stourbridge went 2-1 up before Fletcher equalised in the 70th minute. His long-range shot took a deflection off an opposing player and looped into the net. Fletcher said: “To be honest, my first thought was to try to slip Matt Lecointe in because he was in space. But I didn’t think I could get a proper ball through to him where he could finish. At the end of the day, if you don’t shoot you don’t score. We had a few shots which rebounded out and I was disappointed we didn’t get anything off them because we work a lot on that in training.” Stourbridge had taken the lead in the 53rd minute with a superb lob over Romain Larrieu. Fletcher said: “When we came out for the second half, I thought we put them under a lot of pressure and got a lot of crosses in. We got the ball wide, which we wanted to do, and I think their goal came against the run of play. You have to take these knocks and roll with them, and then come back, which we did. Like I said, certain things were good and other things were not acceptable, and we will sort them out.” After Fletcher put Argyle level, Stourbridge went ahead again in the 82nd minute from the penalty spot, after a foul which resulted in a red card for Robbie Williams. Fletcher said: “It’s hard when it’s bobbling about and things like that, but, to be honest, I didn’t really see it.” Argyle seemed destined for defeat until Onismor Bhasera stormed into the penalty area and drove a low shot into the goal. Fletcher added: “Bas has always got that in his locker. He’s strong and quick and he can get past people. To score it when we were down to ten men is a massive testament to the lads’ character, but I don’t want to take too much away from Stourbridge. They did really well and we know what we are up against in the replay.” Williams was preferred to Ben Gibson as the centre-back partner to Curtis Nelson having recently lost his position at left-back to Bhasera. Fletcher said: “Willo deserved his chance. Bas has come in and played in his position, but he has done really well in training and has worked hard.”
Warren Feeney admitted that Argyle's draw against Stourbridge was disappointing, but was buoyed by the fact that the team remained in the competition. Feeney put Argyle ahead after four minutes following good work from Will Atkinson and Paul Bignot, who supplied the cross for a powerful header. "We worked at getting crosses in," said Feeney. "It was a great piece of play from Will and Biggie. You get crosses like that and you want to get something on the end of it, and I was pleased it went in. We probably scored too early. We started the game well. After we scored, for the next 10-15 minutes, we looked on our game, but then they went through a wee period and they scored. Fletch said his piece at half-time and, come the second-half, we started well, again, for 10 minutes, and then we were just chasing the game." After conceding a second, Argyle got back into the game with a wildly deflected goal from Fletcher before Stourbridge went ahead for a second time in the final ten minutes from the penalty spot. "I've always said 'If you don't shoot, you don't score'," said Feeney, of Fletcher's strike.” You’d take anything. It was probably at the right time and I thought we'd go on and win the game. The character of the boy's showed, though, and Baz has got us out of jail with what was really a great goal. It probably took us going behind to start really putting our foot down and getting on with the game. All round disappointing but I've been here before, and the thing is we're still in the hat." Like his manager, Feeney was full of praise for Stourbridge. "They were decent," he said. "You're on a hiding to nothing in these games. You're expected to win easily and, if you don't, you're getting abuse for getting beat. They knew what they were about; the lad up front looked lively all game and took a good goal, as well. He'll be full of confidence. They knew their jobs, every single one of them. Obviously, they got a bit tired, but that's to be expected." The replay comes after next Saturday's derby at Torquay and Feeney said: "It's going to be a character-test. I've been in a similar position with Swansea when we drew Horsham in the cup, and it was the same kind of place. They made it horrible for us. After the Torquay game, the boys have got to know they are going to be in for a fight because Stourbridge are going to fancy their chances now they have got us back at home. It's going to be a good game and one that we have to make sure we're equipped for. We have got to pick ourselves up. There's a derby coming on Saturday. It is nice to go on cup runs and I want to go as far as I can, but the league's the bread and butter because we want to keep this team in the league. We have got to look forward to the game next week, put the cup aside for a week, and dust ourselves down. It'll be another character-test for us. At the end of the day, these are the games that you want. It's one that I'm looking forward to because I'm sure we'll take a good crowd down there. We want to get up this league as quickly as possible so it will be a good place to make a response."
Argyle have been drawn to play Stevenage at home in the Second Round of the FA Cup, should they win their replay against Stourbridge. The potential match will take place on the weekend of 3rd and 4th of December.
Carl Fletcher has a limited squad to choose from against Torquay next week, after the FA Cup draw with Stourbridge led to three players being suspended, including himself. Robbie Williams was sent off for a challenge which gave the visitors a penalty, while Conor Hourihane was dismissed for a second booking in the dying minutes. Both will receive suspensions which rule them out of the visit to Plainmoor, as will Fletcher for receiving his fifth booking of the season. Although obviously frustrated, Fletcher is reluctant to criticise his players for their disciplinary record. "I think it's enthusiasm to try and do well, and to win the ball back," he said. "If players were shouting and swearing at the referee, then I would have a problem. It was slippery towards the end the ball's bobbling around, people are wanting to die to make a tackle and get a block in. Every tackle seemed to be a booking today." Hourihane was booked in injury time for a lunge which ended a Stourbridge counter attack. When asked whether it was a rash moment or a match saving intervention, Fletcher said: "It's hard to say, because if he doesn't slide in, does the guy have a free shot at goal? If he has a free shot at goal and it goes in the top corner I'm going to ask 'why are you not putting your body on the line?' It's just players wanting to do well, putting their bodies on the line trying to win the ball back for the team. It's just one of those things that seems to be going against us at the minute. He could have made that tackle and the ref could have not booked him. He could have just given a free-kick and got on with it. He's probably made two fouls all day and has got booked for both of them."
The Argyle youth team beat Stourbridge’s youth team 3-2 at Haye Road yesterday, the goals scored by Sam Gallagher (2) and Andrew Elcock. Argyle: Walton.R, Watson, Bradley, Pearce, Clarvis, Elcock, Hart, Allen, Harvey, Gallagher, Harper-Penman. Subs - Bentley, Wheatley (not used - Knight, Hannah).
Argyle drew 3-3 with Stourbridge in the FA Cup first round tie at Home Park, the goals scored by Warren Feeney after 4 minutes, Carl Fletcher (70) and Onismor Bhasera (88). Argyle: Larrieu, Bignot, Nelson, Bhasera, Williams, Fletcher, Walton.S, Hourihane, Atkinson, Feeney, Lecointe. Subs - Vassell (not used – Walton.C, Berry, Young, Sims, Gibson, Copp) Attendance - 6,173.
Jamie Griffiths is convinced Carl Fletcher can lead Argyle out of relegation trouble. Griffiths returned to Ipswich Town this week, after a two-month loan stint at Home Park, and did so with a huge amount respect for Argyle and Fletcher. Fletcher highlighted the professionalism and work ethos of Griffiths, both in training and in games, and the midfielder appreciated the comments. He said: "It meant a lot for someone like Carl Fletcher to think that of me. I just want to thank him and all the staff for what they did for me, and on what a good job they have done. I think he is doing an excellent job. He has got the respect of all the players and his organisation is really good. If anyone can keep Plymouth up, he can. He loves the club and only wants the best for it." Griffiths joined Argyle just as players threatened strike action in protest at the continued non-payment of their wages by administrators. He said: "It wasn't really that difficult. All the players kind of got on with it. We had a job to do and we concentrated on that. I didn't realise the extent of the trouble the club was in until I got down there, but all I wanted to do was play football. I loved every minute of it. The lads are a great bunch and they made me feel so welcome. I definitely think there is enough quality in the squad to get Plymouth safe. Things haven't been going for them lately, which is what happens when you are down at the bottom of the table, but you have got to keep going and it will go your way eventually." Griffiths might have had his loan spell at Argyle extended for a third month had it not been for a red card he received in the defeat at Cheltenham Town. He said: "I was absolutely devastated. I hadn't played up front before and I just wanted to work hard and do my best for the team. I think it was just a bit of over eagerness to win the ball back. All I have gone to do is block it because their lad was trying to put the ball back in our box, and I was late. These things happen in football. Everyone has done it in their career. The important thing is you have got to learn from it, which I will do." Griffiths admitted he would be open to the idea of returning to Argyle at some point. He said: "It's a great club. Who knows what will happen in the future. I will see out my contract at Ipswich and see if I get offered new terms. I will keep myself fit and see what happens in January."
Argyle's squad need no further incentive for beating Stourbridge than avoiding the ignominy of becoming only the second Argyle side to be dumped out of the competition by a non-league club at Home Park. However, with the promise of backpay being accelerated through unbudgeted income, such as a cup run, there is at least one more reason for winning. "It's massively important," said Carl Fletcher. "There are opportunities for financial gain, you can come up against teams that you watch week in week out on the telly. Everyone loves the FA Cup. Maybe, at the higher divisions, it's lost its appeal somewhat because the Premier League and Champions' League are at the forefront. But, definitely for the lower league clubs, it's a massive time. FA Cup day is always a special day, no matter what team you play."
Kevin Nancekivell has admitted being asked to become first team coach at Argyle came as a complete surprise to him. However, he was thrilled to be given the chance by Carl Fletcher and is determined to make the most of it. "It has been a long time coming really, to move up the ladder," he said. "I have been at the club for quite a few years now, coaching at the centre of excellence, and, like anybody, you want a little bit of progression and you always want to challenge yourself. So I was absolutely delighted when Fletch and Romain approached me to become first team coach." Nancekivell only got to know Fletcher when the midfielder was appointed as caretaker manager in September. "To be fair, Fletch was very actively involved with the kids," said Nancekivell. "He went to the centre of excellence and watched us quite a bit, and asked us advice. We got to know each other in that period, but to be asked to be first team coach was, to me, a surprise because I didn't see it coming, but a very nice one at that." Fletcher and Larrieu both played against Morecambe, leaving Nancekivell alone in the dug-out, but that did not present any problems for him. He said: "The preparation of these guys is second to none. We knew what we were doing. Potential substitutions and managing the game had already been talked about, so we were all very much singing from the same hymn sheet. So it wasn't difficult for me at all. We were very organised and we knew what to do in every circumstance. Hopefully, I have been in football long enough to be able to manage a game, and obviously Fletch and Ro had enough trust to let me see it as it was. It's very much a team effort. Fletch is the manager, Romain is his assistant and I'm the coach, and we do it all together." Until his promotion, Nancekivell had been coaching the under-14s, as well as assisting Kevin Hodges with the under-18s. As a result of all of this, Nancekivell knows a lot of the young players who have broken into the first team squad this season, and believes that is a benefit. He said: "Some of the boys have been with me since they were under-12s, Matt Lecointe and Isaac Vassell, for example, so that does make a difference and it has helped a little bit. However, they have got to realise that I'm the first team coach now, and perhaps the arm around the shoulder approach isn't always appropriate. There is no favouritism at all." Nancekivell signed as a player for Argyle in the summer of 2000, when the club were also in the bottom division of the Football League. He said: "It's very similar to how it was then. We are near the bottom of the League and, financially, we haven't got a lot of money to play with. However, I think there is a really good feeling about the place, which might sound strange because of the league position we are in. I can only speak from my short time involved in the first team, but on the training pitch and in the changing room everyone is buzzing and can't wait for the next game. There is no doom and gloom among us at all. We can't wait to get to work, and everyone is smiling when they are on the training pitch and buzzing when they come off it. That's all you can ask. I think if we can keep that going and take that into games, hopefully we will get the rewards we deserve."
Carl Fletcher has admitted the pressure is on Argyle to beat Stourbridge in the FA Cup tomorrow and insisted the team had prepared in exactly the same as they would do for any other game. He said: "If you win, everyone expects you to win, and if you lose then you get hammered for it. It's part of football. We know it's going to be a tough game and we aren't taking anything for granted. If we did, then I wouldn't find that acceptable. If anyone treats this game any differently then they won't be at this club. Why should you treat that differently to a league game?" Fletcher has had Stourbridge watched in their two matches since the FA Cup draw was made and believes they have done as much homework on as they could do, given the circumstances. But he is also convinced the outcome of the match will rest solely on Argyle's level of performance. Fletcher said: "They have only had two games since the draw so we couldn't have done any more. We had a scout at both games, and Peter Ridsdale went to Kendal because it's very close to his house up north. We got good reports back, covering all the areas we needed. You can do all the homework you want on the other team but, at the end of the day, if you aren't right then it doesn't make any difference. It's getting the right balance, making sure the players are aware of certain things on the opposition but also making sure we are right for the game. You have to treat your opponents with respect, and we know we have to be properly prepared and right on it to have any chance of winning the game. I'm pretty sure, from their point of view, they are probably thinking they can come here and cause an upset. We have got to be fully focused that doesn't happen. They have got some good players we have to be aware of, and, like I say, we will be treating it the same as any other game." Fletcher kept his cards close to his chest when it came to his team selection. Jake Cole, Ladji Soukouna and Luke Daley were all ruled out of the draw with Morecambe last Saturday but all Fletcher would say about their chances of being available for the tie against Stourbridge was ‘we will see’. Soukouna returned to France to spend some time with his family after receiving treatment for his injury and being unable to take part in training. Meanwhile, Fletcher would not divulge any details about the five trialists who played for an Argyle XI in a behind-closed-doors game against the Nike Academy at Home Park on Wednesday. All he would say about the trialists, who have spent the week training with the squad, was that they were free agents and he had yet to make decisions on them. The manager has also been looking into making loan signings, but bringing any in before the FA Cup game has proved difficult. Fletcher said: "The main problem you have is that a lot of teams don't want their players to play in the FA Cup, which is understandable. The rule is you can't play for two teams in the FA Cup in the same season. That's one of the issues you come across."
Argyle are reported to be the favourites to sign highly rated striker Aris Guerin-Lokonga of Northern League side Jarrow Roofing. He is thought to be one of five trialists who played for an Argyle XI against the Nike Academy in a behind-closed-doors friendly at Home Park yesterday afternoon, which Argyle won 3-1. The Democratic Republic of Congo-born striker has had a trial at Sunderland, while Torquay, Preston North End and Bristol Rovers have also been monitoring him. Meanwhile, Carl Fletcher was at Plainmoor on Tuesday watching the Torquay reserves play Brighton.
James Brent’s Green Pilgrim Limited company has changed its name to Plymouth Argyle Football Club Limited. Brent formed Green Pilgrim in October and used it as a vehicle to takeover the club but has now changed the name of the company to reflect the ownership of Argyle.
Jake Cole is expected to be fit for Argyle's FA Cup tie against Stourbridge on Saturday. Argyle physio Paul Atkinson said: "Things are starting to settle down and, hopefully, he will be available for selection on Saturday. Where it is makes it a really awkward injury, especially for a goalie, because of the diving they have to do."
Peter Ridsdale has confirmed that there has been a very positive response to inquiries Argyle are making about loan signings. Five players are on trial with the club this week, but there has been no confirmation of their identities yet. Carl Fletcher, meanwhile, went on a scouting mission yesterday, after taking the first team squad for training. Ridsdale said: "We have got a clutch of players that we have been offered to us and Carl is sifting through them and deciding what his ideal choice would be. Then we will try to persuade them to come here. There are also quite a few players on trial, and they are not totally speculative. They have been checked out. What has struck me since we came out of administration is the tremendous amount of goodwill there is in football for our club. We are getting clubs going out of their way to try to be helpful, which is very encouraging. There is a lot of affection for Plymouth Argyle in the eyes of many people, and I think what we have been through recently has only enhanced that. I must have spoken to 30 managers in the last three or four days and everybody has said they will try to help."
Chris Webb, Argyle’s newly appointed club president, hopes to help steer the club back towards its roots and into the hands of the community, through his new 'ambassador-style' role. He said: "This has been one of the proudest days of my life. I've supported Argyle since I was five years old, home and away and this means everything to me. It would be an honour to take on this role on behalf of the supporters of Argyle. We now aim to give Argyle back to the community, to make it all about what it should be about, its loyal staff, players and fans. We want to unite the city and the region." Webb recently took a step back from his role with the Argyle Fans’ Trust, as he felt 'his work was done'. He said he chose to accept James Brent's offer on behalf of fans after consulting with many people, including, the Green Taverners, PASOTI and the contingency group that backed Brent’s takeover. "We are on the brink of something special and the appointment of myself shows James Brent wants the club to come back to the community," he said. "The last five years the club lost its way with talk about Japanese investors and bids for the football World Cup which took talk away from the actual club. The club forgot its roots. But this appointment shows what he thought and thinks of the fans saving the club and the role we might have in the future. Football can be a tainted game, shrouded in shadowy figures but we now expect transparency, integrity and trust. I feel proud to be part of that and in taking the club forward. I wanted to thank James for recognising the supporters and myself." Argyle Fans' Trust's newly appointed interim chairman, Warren Bowden, said: "This is fantastic news and is testament to the leadership role Chris played in helping to ensure that the Green Army still has a team to watch every Saturday. We are confident that this appointment will help the club to cement a new bond with its fans, and the Trust looks forward to working with Chris and James Brent to make sure the voice of fans is represented in the decisions that affect our future."
Argyle will not find it easy when they face Stourbridge in the FA Cup first round at Home Park on Saturday, Peter Ridsdale has warned. Ridsdale knows the visitors will be determined to score an upset and believes it is important Argyle try to make the most of home advantage, and secure a victory which would earn them £18,500 in prize money. He said: "The first thing you want in any FA Cup draw is to be at home, and we are at home. The next thing you want is to move through to the next round, and the only answer to that will be at 10-to-five on November 12. Stourbridge have got this far so they are clearly on form. What we have got to do is use the FA Cup as an opportunity to start winning some home games if we can, but it won't be easy. The most difficult thing, I find, about playing teams like Stourbridge is you can't find out a lot about them. You don't know what to expect so it's going to be very tough, but we are at home. Let's see what happens on the day. There is no easy tie in the FA Cup. Stourbridge will come here and treat it like a massive opportunity to upset the team at the bottom of League Two. We have got to make sure they don't do that." Argyle sent a scout to watch Stourbridge draw 3-3 at home to Kendal Town in the FA Trophy on Saturday and Carl Fletcher will study a DVD of the game as part of his preparations for the FA Cup tie. He said: "We will treat them just the same as we would do any other team we play."
Argyle today announced the appointment of Chris Webb as Club President. Webb, the former Argyle Fans Trust Chairman, played a key role in rescuing Argyle and the club felt it important to recognise his efforts, and therefore, the efforts of fans in helping save the club. While the role is honorary, the club hopes that Webb will continue to play an important part in driving Argyle forward. Peter Ridsdale said: "The contribution of the fans was second only to that of the club's employees in saving Argyle. I am delighted to recognise Chris in this manner as a 'thank you' to him and the fans." James Brent said: "It is no exaggeration to say that, were it not for Chris and a number of other dedicated Greens, Argyle would be no more. I am delighted that the club is honouring Chris and the Green Army in this way. I would emphasise again, however, that our job has just begun; we, collectively, have a lot of work to do to return our club to its rightful position." Chris Webb said: "I am both humbled and honoured to accept the position of Club President. I see this as recognition for the whole Green Arm and the role that the supporters played in saving Argyle. Now we look to the future and pulling everyone connected to Argyle together as we strive to return to our rightful place. I am ready and willing to play my part in building a new Argyle based on values of honesty, integrity and transparency." Webb replaces previous Club President, Yasuhiko Okudera.
Carl Fletcher was surprised that five minutes of stoppage time was added on at the end of Argyle's draw against Morecambe on Saturday, which led to Morecambe equalising deep into time added on by the referee. He said: "I'm not too sure where the referee got five minutes from. They say they add on 30 seconds for a sub, and we made two and they made two, so that's two minutes. I don't know where he has got another three minutes from. Presumably, when someone gets injured and goes down, he stops the watch, so that time shouldn't be added on." Fletcher, although disappointed by the late goal, was encouraged by Argyle's display. "The lads put in a good shift and I'm really pleased with their effort and the way they played," he said. "It's just disappointing when you lose a goal right at the death. I think it was in the 94th minute. The lads work so hard and we are trying to get that winning mentality into them, with everything we do at training. The world we live in, winning is everything, and that's what we expect. Everyone worked their socks off, and worked well as a team, and we can't ask for any more than that." Argyle took the lead in the 31st minute with a superb shot from Simon Walton, and Fletcher said: "It was a good strike from Walts. I thought we played well in the first half. We kept the ball well, which I was pleased with because we have been trying to improve when we are in possession. I think, at times, we have been turning it over too quickly in other games." Paul Bignot made his debut against Morecambe, despite only arriving in Plymouth late on Friday. Fletcher said: "All the lads here are similar ages, and they made him feel welcome, and you could see that in his performance. It looked like he had played there for years and years." Warren Feeney returned from a groin injury to lead Argyle's attack with Jared Sims and had one of his best games for the club. Fletcher said: "Warren isn't a typical big target man but he works so hard for us. He holds defenders off and gets throw-ins up their end. It's all those little things that contribute to the team and help the rest of the players out. He has been injured for the last couple of weeks and I was pleased to have him back. He looked very fresh." Fletcher was booked for dissent in the 35th minute after the referee would not allow Conor Hourihane back onto the pitch after he had received treatment for an injury. Hourihane had to wait on the touchline for some time, to the annoyance of Fletcher, who received his fourth yellow card of the season, one away from a suspension. Fletcher said: "I'm not sure why they wouldn't let him on. The ref told me he couldn't let him on while the play was that side of the pitch. I have never heard that before. If it stays there until the end of the game does he never come on? I put my arm out to try to get the ref's attention as he ran towards me and pushed him, which I probably shouldn't have done. But I was trying to make him aware we had a player off the pitch because it looked like he had forgotten." Morecambe's equaliser came in the 94th minute, just as it seemed Argyle were set to win. Fletcher added: "We felt pretty comfortable, but that's football. You can never be totally comfortable until the final whistle goes. It's just disappointing it was so late. The lads worked so hard and did what we asked them to do, and not getting their rewards is a shame. But one point is better than none. Morecambe are a good, strong side and you can see why they have not been beaten away from home all season. They have got six six-footers in the team and are full of experience."
Paul Bignot believes he would have been ‘stupid’ not to have taken up the opportunity of joining Argyle on loan. He said: “I went in for training on Friday morning and the assistant manager pulled me and asked if I wanted to go to Plymouth. The next thing I was on the way down. I left Lytham at 12.30 and arrived here at 7.30pm. It’s a good old trek, but it has got to be done.” Bignot is staying in a flat with on-loan Middlesbrough defender Ben Gibson and had to wait to meet the rest of the squad until he got to Home Park a couple of hours before kick-off. Bignot said: “It’s like being the new boy at school but, to be fair, they were all welcoming. I didn’t find it any problem. I’m not playing at Blackpool at the minute, and you can’t beat games. Plymouth are a massive club and I would have been stupid to have turned it down. Obviously, they have gone through a hard time recently, but I think we can get out of trouble.” Simon Walton shot Argyle into a 31st minute lead against Morecambe, but the visitors equalised deep into stoppage time at the end of the match. Bignot said: “They are up there in the league and didn’t outplay us or anything. I thought we looked good. You have just got to see it through to the end and we got punished, which is a sickener. We felt comfortable in the first half. They were always going to come at us in the second half and pump balls in the box. I thought we dealt with it well, until that last little bit.” Bignot has been added to a young, inexperienced squad at Home Park, but was struck by the ability of the players. He said: “There are a few youngsters, but I would say they are very promising. I had Youngy playing in front of me and I was impressed with him. I thought we worked well together, and I like the look of the centre-halves.” Bignot, was pleased with his own performance and added: “It would have been nice to have won, but I feel like I will get better and better with games.” Bignot was also optimistic about the coming weeks and months. He said: “It’s going to take hard work and graft, and everyone sticking together. All it takes is a little run of results, and there is no reason why we can’t do that. But, obviously, talk is cheap. We have just got to do it.” Bignot was impressed with the support of the Argyle fans in what was the first game since the club exited administration. He said: “The support was tremendous, and we are at the wrong end of the table at the minute. It would be great to see what it would be like if we were up there and flying.” The arrival of Bignot could prove the first of many for Carl Fletcher, but he insists he will not rush into making more. He said: "It's something we'll have to have a look at. The situation I've got is that you're only five loans in your squad on a matchday. We have to manage that, but it's not just about bringing people in, it's about bringing the right people in, the right ones that don't upset the squad. We'll have a look at what's about, see if it's better than what we've got and then make that decision. It's a new situation for me trying to get players in. You work so hard trying to get the right ones and then they say 'no', so the process starts all over again. It's another challenge but it's a lot of fun. It's a long day, there's lots of phone calls but it's a lot of fun.
Romain Larrieu started in goal on Saturday, his first start since he and Carl Fletcher were promoted to management responsibilities, and Fletcher admits he is not sure when Jake Cole will be fit to return. He said: "He had a scan on Thursday. We had to make sure but he's still sore so we'll see next week. It's nothing too much, just some quite bad bruising and the possibility of a little tear, but it's going to be one when we just have to wait for it to settle down and he'll tell us when he feels better."
Argyle’s youth set-up has never been more important than it is now and Kevin Hodges has taken satisfaction from four apprentices making the step up to the first team squad. "Our objective is to produce players for the first team," he said. "The emphasis isn't on results. But, obviously, we want to produce winning types of players who are capable of stepping up to that level. With that happening, it has given us an opportunity to bring some of our younger players through. The likes of Ben Purrington, Christian Walton, River Allen and Sammy Gallagher have stepped up from the under-16s to the under-18s and have done very well. So it's a progression all through the levels."
Argyle drew 1-1 with Morecambe at Home Park, the goal scored by Simon Walton after 31 minutes. Argyle: Larrieu, Bignot, Nelson, Gibson, Bhasera, Fletcher, Walton, Young, Hourihane, Feeney, Sims. Subs - Atkinson, Lecointe (not used – Vassell, Williams, King) Attendance - 5,409.
Carl Fletcher believes things at Argyle are definitely on the up. "In terms of the performances, we're getting better," he said. "On Saturday, I thought we were better in possession when, in other games, we've maybe not been so good. The lads worked hard. At times during the game, we looked comfortable. Obviously, there are things we can improve on, and we were disappointed to lose two late goals. No game you ever play is going to be perfect but it's getting the two together, defensively and in possession, to be a successful team and we're trying to progress that through in every game we play." With so much going on off the pitch, Fletcher has found time to focus his young squad on the visit of Morecambe to Home Park. "It's been a tough, and exciting week, a busy week, but all of our focus is on a tough game against Morecambe on Saturday," he said. "You can start to put everything behind you now, forget about all those off-field troubles, and look to the future. Now it's all done and dusted, it should be a really great atmosphere and a good day. It's another game that we can go out there and try and show people what we can do. Morecambe are a good strong side; they work hard for one another. The manager has really got them well organised. They're a very experienced team, know their jobs, and have got some good players so it'll be a tough game for us. After the disappointment we had last Saturday, they'll be a lot of positives to take from the game and build on them for this week, but, it's the same as every game, we'll have to be at our best to go out there and get a result." Fletcher and Romain Larrieu are using their experience as players to ensure the team will be at their best. Fletcher said: "I know the players and I know what it's like from their side of things in terms of day-to-day, what's good for them. Every day is different. You try and accommodate for how they're feeling, physically and mentally, and we change the way we do training and what we do in training. You go in every day to try and get the best from them and do the right training to get the best from them. Me and Ro are still involved ourselves and some days they are harder to get out of bed than others, but every time we've been out there, the lads are lively and, if they're not, it doesn't take long to for it to be addressed and then every session they come off, they've worked hard and done well."
Last Saturday Argyle’s starting line-up at Cheltenham contained six teenagers, including three products of the Home Park youth system: Curtis Nelson, Luke Young and Jared Sims. Another two, Isaac Vassell and Jordan Copp, were on the substitutes' bench. Carl Fletcher said: "We're not going to go out and spend lots of money on players. Like a lot of clubs, we're going to have to rely on the youth and bringing them through the Under-15s, Under-16s, and the youth team with Hodgy, up to the first team. It's a good progression and a comfortable transition because they know all the coaches. You get the best out of people when they're comfortable in the environment they're in." Fletch saw the current youth team knocked out of the FA Youth Cup on Tuesday, losing 4-2 at Bournemouth after fighting back from a 2-0 half-time deficit to take the game into extra-time. "The lads didn't do too well in the first half," he said, "but in second half, it wasn't just their effort and work-rate that was impressive, it was the way they played that was really pleasing. It's just a shame it went into extra-time, and, after they conceded the third goal, it was always going to be tough to come back. But the character they showed and the way they performed were very pleasing. But it's not about results at youth-team level - it is about how they're progressing as players and as people and it's pleasing to see that, when the chips were down, they can pull themselves out of it. It shows a lot of character. Character, desire and determination are things that people very rarely look at these days -it's about how many tricks you can do and how fast you can run - but you need the other side of it to end up having a career in football."
A week of new experiences for Carl Fletcher ended with him making his first signing, Blackpool defender Paul Bignot. "When we first took over, we couldn't bring anyone in, so it wasn't something we had to deal with," he said. "We had to focus our attention on other areas. This week, there's been a few more 'phone calls. Sometimes it's good; sometimes it's frustrating; sometimes it's not so good. We've got to make sure we bring in the right people and not just anyone willy-nilly. Obviously it's a new situation for us, but it's been fun, it's been enjoyable, we just enjoy every day we come in. It's exciting; it's hard and it's long hours, but we love it. The general consensus is: 'We've come out admin, let's go and get loads of players', but it's not like that. In terms of keeping things together and keeping things the right way for the future, we've got to pick the right people and we'll take our time on it. It will take time. Sometimes, it might happen overnight, but others take a bit longer. It's just nice that we don't have the embargo hanging over us so we can make inroads into things we want done. Even the best teams in the world are looking to improve their squad. You've got to look at the all-round package. It's not just a case of bringing someone in for the sake of it, it's got to be right for the whole team and the squad as a whole. We've got good players and all the players want to do well, so we don't want to bring in bad eggs that are going to disrupt that. We want players who can add and bring something to the team."
Paul Bignot has become the first new recruit made by Carl Fletcher as Argyle manager and he wants to further bolster his small squad, especially when it comes to attacking options. A list of possibilities, mostly young players at Premier League clubs, has been drawn up. They will now be checked out by Fletcher, Romain Larrieu and Peter Ridsdale, who said: "I have spoken to just about every Premier League manager over the last few days and they have all been very supportive. Carl, Ro and myself will be going to games all over the place at the start of next week." Other players are being invited for trials at Home Park as part of the search. Meanwhile, Fletcher believes Argyle can at last draw a line under the club's financial collapse now the takeover has been completed. He said: "We can start to put things behind us now, forget about those off the field troubles and look forward to the future."
Argyle have signed Blackpool defender Paul Bignot on a three-month loan deal, and he will go straight into the squad for Saturday's game with Morecambe. The signing of Bignot has added to Carl Fletcher's selection options with Ben Gibson agreeing to an extension of his loan from Middlesbrough, and Simon King returning to Home Park after injury for a final game. "When Ben first came here, he was quite young and it was a new place for him," said Fletcher, "but he's really knuckled down, taken on board what we've tried to tell him, and it's started to show in performances." Warren Feeney and Matt Lecointe are back in contention after injury, but Luke Daley is a doubt. Jake Cole limped off at Cheltenham with a hip injury, and Fletcher said: "He's not trained at all this week, but that's not a big problem. He's played a lot of games and, in terms of fitness, he's a goalie, so we're not worried about that. We just need to assess him. He's still sore, so we'll see how it goes".
Former Argyle midfielder Kevin Nancekivell has been promoted to a coaching role with the first team at Home Park, making the step up from the club's youth set-up after impressing Carl Fletcher with his work on the training ground. Fletcher said: "When me and Ro first took the job I saw Kevin quite a bit, working with the younger kids. I really liked what I saw, in terms of his personality, his coaching attributes and his enthusiasm. He's a young coach, he's 40, and he's hungry for it. He has come in this week to help us out and it's another voice in the office, and someone we can bounce ideas off. It has been good. The fact most of our squad have come through the youth team and know Nance anyway makes it an easy transition for him." Nancekivell has been coaching with Argyle's centre of excellence since 2005, and qualified for his UEFA 'A' licence in the summer of 2010. This season he has been the lead coach of the under-14s, as well as assisting Kevin Hodges with the under-18s. Fletcher said: "It only takes players two minutes to find out whether they like a coach or not, and whether they know what they are talking about. I have no concerns about Nance whatsoever. He knows his stuff, what to say and when to say it, and he's good at getting it across to people on the football pitch."
Argyle are continuing their attempts to add at least one loan signing to their squad before the game against Morecambe tomorrow. Carl Fletcher said: "When we first took over we weren't able to bring anyone in, so it wasn't something we had to deal with. It has been a little bit different this week. There have been a few more phone calls than normal, but it has been fun. It's exciting for me and Ro to come in every day. It's hard work and it's long hours but we love it. Sometimes, in football, things happen overnight, but other times it does take a little bit longer. It's just nice we haven't got the restriction of the embargo hanging over us so we can make in-roads into things we want done." Argyle want to increase their options at centre-back and in attack as they try to move off the bottom of the league. Fletcher said: "You have got to look at the whole package when it comes to signing a player. It's not just a case of bringing anyone in. It has got to be right for the team and the squad as a whole. We have got good players in there and they all want to do well. We don't want to bring in any bad eggs and disrupt what we have got in there. We want to bring in people who can add something." Argyle this week extended the loan spell of Ben Gibson until January 29th, and Fletcher added: "He has really knuckled down and got on with it, and taken on board what we are telling him. It's starting to show in his performances."
Romain Larrieu could be Argyle's goalkeeper against Morecambe tomorrow because of Jake Cole’s hip injury. Carl Fletcher said: "We are assessing him. He got a bang on his hip and he's still sore at the minute. We will see how it goes." Cole, who has started the last eight games for Argyle, has not taken part in training this week, but Fletcher said: "That's not a big problem, fitness-wise, because he's a goalie." Returning to the squad this week has been Simon King, following an ankle injury. Fletcher had thought King would not recover in time before the end of the second month of his loan spell from Gillingham, which is tomorrow, but yesterday said: "He did a bit with the physio earlier in the week and trained fully yesterday." Jamie Griffiths was sent-off against Cheltenham and is now suspended for three matches, so with his loan spell from Ipswich Town ending after tomorrow’s game he will not stay at Argyle for any longer. However, Fletcher has been very impressed with Griffiths, both on and off the pitch and with the player being out of contract with Ipswich at the end of December, there could be a possibility of Argyle making a move for him in the new year. Fletcher admitted it was a shame that Griffiths' time at Argyle had been cut short by his suspension, and said: "A lot of people probably don't realise he's only 19. But in terms of attitude and professionalism, Griff is right up there. He does everything right. He trains well every day, and gets his head down and works hard. It's a shame it ended the way it did. He came in and played out of position last weekend, did really well and took one for the team, so to speak. It's a learning experience for him, and I'm sure he will take it on board for the future of his career."
Simon Walton has admitted there are no more excuses for Argyle now they have finally come out of administration. He said: "It's hard to believe it has actually happened. The insecurity which has been hanging over us is out of the way, and there are no excuses any more. It's up to us, and up to the club, to make sure we are on the way up that table, and whether it be this season or the ones coming we get back to where, in my opinion, we deserve to be. It's definitely not a League Two club, and neither are the fans. I'm sure the new people who have taken over, and the players and staff, will be doing everything they can to make sure we get back to where we deserve to be." Walton believes the fighting spirit shown throughout the period in administration, collectively, will be needed now as Argyle battle to retain their League status. He said: "There were times when we were in administration when you thought 'how the hell can I go on?' It wasn't easy, but we battled through. We are bottom of the league, but we have kept in touch with the teams above us, and now we are on a level playing field with everybody else. As long as we keep the same mentality as a club that we have had through hard times, the fans, the staff, the players all pulling together, then we will go places. The positive thing you can take out of the last 12 months is the way everyone at the club has really rallied around each other."
Argyle have failed in a bid to bring Coventry City striker Freddy Eastwood to Home Park on loan. Peter Ridsdale admitted the 'question had been asked' of Eastwood, who rejected the offer. It is believed the long commute to Plymouth from his home in the Midlands, rather than dropping down two divisions, put off Eastwood. But Ridsdale is hopeful of bringing in one or two new faces for the Morecambe game. He said: "We must have made about a dozen calls already this week to try and help strengthen our squad with loan players. And Freddy Eastwood was just one of the players that we sounded out. So, yes, the question was asked, but for whatever reason, maybe the distance was a factor, he did not want to come down. It's no secret that Plymouth needs someone to put the ball into the back of the net and an experienced player at the other end to help us stop conceding goals. But we've got feelers out to a number of football clubs and I'm reasonably optimistic that we will have one, if not two, new faces in time for Saturday."
James Brent has revealed his five children are taking a close interest in his new acquisition, and so is his mother, who will be attending Argyle’s game against Morecambe at Home Park on Saturday. He said: "I have certainly been converted to an Argyle fan. I have absolutely loved it. I'm certainly planning to be at a lot of the games. It's great fun. My kids are getting involved and even my mother is coming down this weekend so that is another generation of the family as well." Brent has been especially struck by the passion of the fans, both when it came to the club's fight for survival and on matchdays. He said: "There would be absolutely no prospect of us being involved were it not for the support provided by the fans. It's very rare in the South West you have a group of people who are faced with adversity and say they are going to overcome it, come what may. All of the odds were stacked against Plymouth Argyle surviving, and it was kept alive by the staff and the fans."
Peter Ridsdale has praised the 'outstanding job' done by Carl Fletcher and Romain Larrieu since taking over control of first-team affairs at Argyle. Ridsdale also admitted there was the prospect of another coach being brought in to assist them, but would not comment any further on that. He said: "A number of things have impressed me about them, including their professionalism and work ethic. And there is no doubt in my mind the players are wanting to play for them. They have done an outstanding job. They have had no money. They have had no ability to bring in any new players. Young managers have got to start somewhere, and if you can't get a chance in League Two where do they ever get their first chance? I have been around football long enough, and I see Carl on a daily basis, and I'm very impressed. Therefore, he deserves his chance." Fletcher played for the first time since assuming his managerial duties in the defeat at Cheltenham Town last Saturday. Ridsdale said: "Carl knew on Saturday it was time to put himself back in again. I'm sure he will pick himself when it's right and proper, and will watch from the touchline when he feels able to us. He and Romain are contracted players and available for selection. It's down to the manager who he picks." No length of time has been put on how long Fletcher and Larrieu will be in their managerial roles, but both have playing contracts until next summer. Ridsdale added: "Given the state we are in at the moment, bottom of League Two, I would have thought we will all take stock of our positions at the end of the season."
Peter Ridsdale has confirmed that Jason Turner had been appointed as Argyle's club secretary. Turner, who formerly worked with Ridsdale at Cardiff City, has held an administrative role at Home Park over recent months. Martin Baker has also been appointed as Argyle's new finance director, following the takeover of the club by James Brent. Baker carries out a similar role for another of Brent's companies, surfwear brand Saltrock. Dave Jones was the acting finance director during the seven months the club were in administration. Ridsdale added: "Dave is assisting on the hand-over period to Martin for an indeterminate period of time, which has not yet been formalised. He has done an outstanding job, and I'm delighted to say he and Martin are working closely together on the hand-over."
Argyle’s youth team lost 4-2 after extra-time in their FA Youth Cup first round tie at Bournemouth last night, both goals scored by Tyler Harvey. Argyle: Walton.C, Hart, Bradley, Pearce, Purrington, Harper-Penman, Allen, Copp, Elcock, Vassell, Harvey. Subs not used - Bentley, Gallagher, Wheatley, Gostling, Walton.R.
Ben Gibson is extending his loan spell at Argyle until January 29th. He has also been given the go-ahead by Middlesbrough to play in the FA Cup. There will be an option to further extend Gibson's stay until the end of the season, subject to the agreement of all parties. Meanwhile, Argyle have confirmed they will not be renewing the loan of Ipswich Town midfielder Jamie Griffiths for a third month.
Argyle staff and players were today due to receive their October salaries after nearly a year of no pay. James Brent was keen to pay employees immediately, but banking system delays mean the cash will land in their accounts today. Along with October salaries, workers will receive around 14 per cent of the money they are each owed by the club. The rest will be paid over five years, with the final half coming in a lump sum at the end of that period. Payments, which have been guaranteed by Brent's Natatomisam Limited, will be accelerated, however, in the event of unbudgeted income such as player sales.
James Brent has stated it was essential for the immediate future of Argyle that Peter Ridsdale remained at Home Park. He said: "It was absolutely critical. I think it would have been very bad for the club had I looked to change Peter. I'm just delighted he has agreed to accept this role. It's until the end of the season, and if he's keen to remain and it's all going well, that's brilliant. Peter is basically in charge of the football part of the equation and I will provide support on the corporate governance and financial side." Ridsdale has been at the centre of controversy during his career in football, and it has been no different at Argyle, with some fans dubious of his motives, but Brent is fully supportive of him. He said: "I have found Peter absolutely charming. He knows his business incredibly well and he's clearly a tough individual. He knows his mind and he's very assertive. That doesn't always go down well with people." Brent admitted it was very important Argyle did not drop into the Conference, and added: "We will do everything we can to avoid that. We have looked at would happen in the event the club was relegated, but the first, second and third business models are on the assumption we remain a League Two club this year and then go on to better things thereafter."
Peter Ridsdale has made an unashamed appeal for Argyle's stay-away fans to return now the future of the club has been secured. He said: "People have got to trust us to get it right on the pitch, because everything in football is driven from what happens on the pitch. The more successful you are, the more people want to come and watch you. But there are people out there who told us they were holding back on spending money with us until we got out of administration. We unashamedly now want them to come and spend their money with us. We want them to buy season tickets, which we are relaunching now, and we want them to spend money watching us even if they can't afford a season ticket. We want them to turn up in their droves. And I appeal to anybody out there who has got any ideas for sponsorship, whether it be for the stands, advertising boards, matchday sponsorship, whatever it is, to please come and spend your money with us. Every pound you now spend is coming into the football club, not going elsewhere, and it gives us the chance to have a financial base to get it right on the pitch. We are still going to try to get it right on the pitch anyway. But there were a lot of people who told me they were holding back on spending money while we were in administration, and now is the chance for them to come out and prove they are behind the new management, and to give us their hard-earned cash so we can rebuild this football club." Ridsdale admitted there were a few times when he feared the club would not survive. He said: "There was more than one occasion when I was told to send the staff home and shut the doors. We persuaded everybody to calm down and have cool heads. The danger is, when there is a successful outcome, nobody believes how close it was. Nobody should be in any doubt. It was very close. I know Brendan has come in for a lot of criticism, and I'm not going to personalise it to him, but there may well have been some companies who are administrators who would not have had the patience to see it through to a successful outcome. It would have been an absolute travesty if a football club of this size and age, and in a city of this size, had gone out of business. Woolworth's, for example, went into administration because, presumably, people stopped wanting to buy their products. This football club went into administration because of mismanagement. Had it disappeared off the face of the earth when there was the demand, the customers and the need for it to exist, I'm not even sure there are words which could have described that.The fact we are here means we have got a second bite of the cherry. What we have got to make sure of going forward is the management don't make the same mistakes, and we take the opportunity to rebuild from the base that we find ourselves in."
Carl Fletcher has warned potential new signings that they will have to work hard in his team. He said: "We don't want players, if we are going to make any additions, just to come and go through the motions and pick up a few quid. We want people that are here to prove something, that are hungry, that want to do well, because we've got those players in the changing room now. If we are going to make any additions they've got to be the right people. It's not just about a name or a certain size or certain attribute, it's got to be the all-round package. Bringing the right person into that group is vital because if you get that wrong it can very tough to get that out of your changing room. You don't want different factions in there, you want everyone to be together and at this minute in time we've got that."
Argyle have announced that Carl Fletcher has been appointed as player-manager of the club on a permanent basis. Peter Ridsdale released a statement which read: Further to the announcement of the takeover of Plymouth Argyle by James Brent and Akkeron Group, the Football League has confirmed that the football club has exited administration and regained their 'league share'. As a result of the above, it is important that we clarify the position of the football management, who have been undertaking their responsibilities on an 'acting' basis since Peter Reid's departure in September. I am therefore delighted to announce that with immediate effect Carl Fletcher is appointed player-manager of Plymouth Argyle Football Club and Romain Larrieu is confirmed in his position as player-coach. Both Carl and Romain have impressed since taking temporary charge of first team duties and they have earned the chance to undertake their responsibilities on a permanent basis. Everyone at Argyle will work together to ensure that we give ourselves every chance of maintaining our Football League status.
Carl Fletcher has vowed to carry on the hard work after being installed as Argyle manager. "Both me and Ro want to do well for the club and for everyone here to try and get the club back to where it belongs," he said. "We will continue to work hard day in and day out to try to get that done." Fletcher welcomed the backing that he and Larrieu have received from new owner James Brent in the days before and after his takeover of the club. He said: "James said has made it clear that he's not a football person, but I think he'd even say himself that he's got the bug a bit from being involved and watching games . That's what football does to you, it soon grabs hold of you. Obviously, on the bigger picture for the club, it's good that everything is taken over, and it's nice we can concentrate on the football side of things. There are things we wanted to change that we haven't been able to, considering the position of the club. Hopefully, we can get that sorted now. At the end of the day, me and Ro just give it our best shot, give it 100%, and have a right good crack at it. It's not going to change the amount of work we put in. Since we came in, we've worked our socks off, trying to give ourselves the best opportunity to win games. We'll continue to do that."
Carl Fletcher admitted he found it tough going on his return to playing duty for Argyle at Cheltenham Town on Saturday. He said: "I was blowing at the end, I have got to be honest. It was six weeks since I had last played, and I hadn't done as much training as I could have because I had been doing other stuff. It was nice to be out there, but it was disappointing not to get the win. Everyone worked so hard and we really wanted to give something back to the fans, and it was a shame we couldn't do that."
James Brent has given his blessing to Carl Fletcher becoming the full-time manager of Argyle. He said: "I have been very impressed by what Carl has done with very limited resources. I think it would only be appropriate, in my view, to give him a chance to prove himself as the full-time manager. As far as I'm concerned, he is the manager of Plymouth Argyle and my hope is that he will be the manager who takes us forward to much greater things. I think Carl and Ro are getting everything they can out of the team. I'm told it's a very able, but young team and there are probably some additions that need to be made. We are clearly not in the transfer window at the moment, so it will be by way of loan." Fletcher will want to add to his small squad and discussed that at a meeting with Brent and Peter Ridsdale yesterday. The Football League recently put a block on Argyle making any new loan signings while they were not paying their existing players. Now, after the exit from administration, the club are seeking clarification from the League on whether any restrictions remain in place on them. Argyle have been in talks with Middlesbrough about extending the stay of Ben Gibson until the end of the season but are not expected to extend the loan spell of Jamie Griffiths for a third month. Griffiths was sent-off on Saturday, and now faces a three-match suspension. The second month of his loan from Ipswich ends after the home game against Morecambe this Saturday. Argyle will be without Durrell Berry against Morecambe as he is suspended after receiving five yellow cards this season and Jake Cole could be a doubt because of the hip injury he suffered at Cheltenham.
Two members of Argyle's first team squad are expected to play in the FA Youth Cup tie at Bournemouth tonight. Isaac Vassell and Jordan Copp have been given the nod by Carl Fletcher to be involved in the tie but a hip injury means Matt Lecointe will not take part. Also, Jared Sims, has been withdrawn from the squad after initially being included in it. Carl Fletcher did not want to risk Sims getting hurt when Lecointe and Warren Feeney are already injured. Youth team coach Kevin Hodges was pleased that two of the apprentices were available to him for the game. He said: "That's a nice positive thing to happen to us for the game against Bournemouth. In fairness, I would rather the boys be with the first team than the youth team anyway. That shows we are doing things right and giving our young lads fantastic opportunities of playing first team football. And I have to say they haven't let themselves down at all." Vassell and Copp both trained with the under-18 squad yesterday and Hodges added: "I will be expecting them to prepare themselves no different to what they would for a first team game. It's a challenge for them when they come back down and play with the youth team that they do not change their approach to their football. I have to say that Matt, Isaac, Jared and Jordan have approached it in the right way and, hopefully, that will continue. And if they want to become established pros and have a good career they need that type of mentality." Hodges hopes his side will rise to the challenge of playing in the FA Youth Cup, and said: "I'm sure there will be a lot of people watching, and it's a window of opportunity for our young lads to go out there and make an impression, which they have been doing frequently in the past weeks and months."
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