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Tuesday 30th September 2003
Paul Sturrock has appealed to the club's floating fans to give his team another chance. He said: "The big disappointment for me, and as a football club, is that we have managed to get these fans to come out on a Tuesday night and they haven't seen us at our best. What I would like to say to them is 'yes, be disappointed, but come back.' We need that kind of crowd every week and I think they will see more wins out here than defeats. We were very sloppy on the night, we never got into our usual rhythm to the game. You have got to give credit to Bristol because they made it very difficult for us early on. It meant we had to kick a lot of balls to Mickey and I just felt there were one or two players who didn't play to the standards of Saturday. From the first whistle a couple of them looked off the pace and when that happens against a team like Bristol, who are a good side, you're in trouble. We didn't take our chances when they came along and their goalie had a couple of good saves. I thought he was excellent. He came out and punched in the right areas and their back four battled very hard."
Argyle lost 1-0 to Bristol City at Home Park. Argyle: McCormick, Worrell, Wotton, Coughlan, Gilbert, Norris, Bent, Adams, Capaldi, Keith, Evans. Subs - Sturrock, Hodges, Stonebridge (not used - Beresford, Aljofree). Attendance - 13,923. The usual excellent coverage can be found on Greens On Screen and Ian De Lar's match report is here
David Friio is unlikely to be fit for Argyle's game against Bristol City tonight. Paul Sturrock said: "He has had treatment but it didn't respond as well as we thought over the weekend. He will have a late fitness test but it's the same scenario as before. We will not chase him on unless he convinces me he's 100 per cent."
Peter Gilbert has agreed to extend his temporary loan stay at Home Park until next May. Paul Sturrock said: “I’m very pleased he’s signed. I think a lot of people have looked at this player from a different perspective, because he comes from the Premier League. He has been under the microscope. He got off to a bad start in the Colchester game, in which no-one really played well, and that affected his confidence a wee bit, but, since the Brentford game, we have seen a better Peter Gilbert, and I’m sure he will get better and better - and you have to remember that he’s only just 20.” Gilbert said the intention had always been to extend his loan, “It all depended on how things went and how the manager felt I was doing, how I felt,” he said. “Both parties were very happy, so I’m pleased to stay for the rest of the season. I didn’t expect to come straight into the team. I’ve had to work hard. At first, it was hard getting adjusted to everything. I think the more you play, the more confident you get, the happier you are.”
Luke McCormick will continue to deputise for Romain Larrieu on Tuesday night. Paul Sturrock is still seeking to add another ’keeper to his squad while Larrieu convalesces, although he has conceded he might alter his objectives. “I’ve been on the phone all morning, but doors keep closing,” he said, “so the search goes on. We just keep phoning up and phoning up until somebody eventually says ‘Yes’. Nothing will happen before tomorrow. I’ll probably have another go during the week again, and then I might have to cut my cloth and go for a younger type to give us the extra cover. I’ve always been looking for a reasonably experienced goalkeeper. I have had offers of 19, 20, 21-year-old goalies, and I much prefer experienced goalkeepers, but it might come to the stage where beggars can’t be choosers. I don’t feel we can go on indefinitely.”
Following yesterdays win Paul Sturrock said, “I’m delighted with the overall performance of the team, defensively and offensively. We mustered a clean sheet, let’s hope we can go on get a few more. I thought Peter Gilbert had an excellent game, very competent defending, I’m very pleased for him.” Of the injured David Friio he said: “We’ll give him every chance for Tuesday, but it makes my decision-making difficult because everybody put up a good case in their performance today.”
Argyle's under 19's lost 2-1 at home to Cardiff City today and the under 17's drew 2-2 at Swansea City. Youth tables and results will be updated here
Argyle beat Barnsley 2-0 at Home Park with goals from Graham Coughlan in the 38th minute and Mickey Evans (75). Argyle: McCormick, Worrell, Wotton, Coughlan, Gilbert, Norris, Bent, Adams, Capaldi, Keith, Evans. Subs - Sturrock, Hodges (not used - Beresford, Aljofree, Stonebridge). Attendance - 8,695. The usual excellent coverage can be found on Greens On Screen and Ian De Lar's match report is here
Paul Sturrock will make a decision on whether to extend Peter Gilbert's loan period for the rest of the season in the next couple of days. His initial three-month loan ends on Tuesday, after the game against Bristol City. Sturrock said: "It's something I have still got to deliberate on. I think what people forget about Peter Gilbert is that he's a 20-year-old laddie. Paul Connolly comes under the same scenario. I have been very softly softly with Paul Connolly because he lacks experience. Peter Gilbert has probably been scrutinised more by the fans than Paul Connolly but they are at the same level of development. I like some of the things Peter Gilbert brings to the football club. He's a very solid defender."
Tony Capaldi has overcome an injury scare and will play against Barnsley tomorrow. Capaldi returned to training today after three days of treatment for a calf injury and a dead leg. Paul Sturrock said: "Tony dropped out of training on Monday with a couple of wee knocks but he came through a fitness test yesterday so he should be okay for tomorrow." Sturrock is waiting on the fitness of David Friio before deciding on his team and said: "David will be given every opportunity, he didn't train yesterday but feels better. I think it would be inappropriate to push him and then find he's out for five or six weeks though. He will have to really convince me and the medical team that he's 100 per cent. I think he's desperate to be involved." Martin Phillips continued his comeback on Wednesday but will not be considered for the visit of Barnsley. Sturrock said: "Buster played 80 minutes and by all accounts he did very well until he tired. It's going to be a softly softly one with him. He will have to play two or three solid reserve games in a row before we would start to think about him again." Lee Hodges could retain his place at left-back tomorrow even though he played for the reserves on Wednesday. Sturrock said: "Lee didn't play to the standards I would expect from him on Saturday and I felt he had to get that out of his system by playing for the reserves."
Romain Larrieu has returned from seeing a specialist in France. They haven’t reported anything more than what was already known. He has ligament damage and will have to wait until his brace comes off before Argyle's medical staff can ascertain how long he will be out for
Final orders are now being taken for Pilgrims’ Way bricks and will be taken up until January 1 2004, or until the last spaces of 300 bricks have been sold, whichever is the sooner. Order forms are available from the club or can be posted to you by contacting the club on 01752 562561
Argyle are drawn away to Bristol City in the first round of the FA Youth cup
Martin Phillips played for 80 minutes of Argyle's reserve game at Bristol City. Reserve team manager Stuart Gibson said, "Buster did very well, he held the ball up for us and, to be honest, I probably left him on longer than I should have done. I was so wrapped up in the match that I forgot, but he was also really delighted that he came through 80 minutes without any problems. Lee Hodges also did well and showed tremendous character. Given that he was effectively dropped after last Saturday's first-team game at Wrexham, his response was great. He might have let his head drop, but instead he encouraged the younger players and was a real example for them right through the match. Kenny Schofield pulled off two great saves in the first half, and Hasney and Matt Villis were absolutely solid in defence. We got the basics right and when you do that, the rest will fall into place. I'm really pleased for them."
Argyle's reserves win 1-0 at Bristol City, Hasney Aljofree scoring the goal from a penalty. Eugene Kangulungu failed a late fitness test with a thigh injury and therefore missed the game. Argyle: Schofield, Connolly, Villis, Aljofree, Hodges, Phillips, O'Sullivan, Steward, Beresford, Lowndes, Yetton. Subs - Coxon, Trudgian (not used - Sawyer, Parish, Entwisle)
Joe Broad has joined Torquay United on non-contract terms
Argyle are set to play Sheffield United in a charity match to raise funds for the youth development trust. Neil Warnock has accepted an invitation to bring his side to Home Park with the date still to be finalised. Warnock has said that the trust is very close to his heart and that he would be willing to bring his team down at short notice. "The youth development trust means such a lot to me, " he said. "When we first talked about setting it up, I don't believe people thought it could be done, but Kevin Blackwell and myself worked very hard on it and we are delighted that it has turned out to be so successful. We would be willing to come down as soon as there is a free weekend. I'm always willing to do anything I can to help Plymouth Argyle." In addition to the charity game, the trust are staging a sports dinner at the Moat House Hotel on Plymouth Hoe on Saturday, November 22. Tables for 11 people cost £440 and there will be an Argyle player or member of staff on each one. Individual tickets are also available at £40 per person. For further information about the sports dinner contact Ken Jones c/o Plymouth Argyle Football Club, Home Park, Plymouth PL2 3DQ
Sales of tickets for Argyle's game at Sheffield Wednesday have been suspended due to work being carried out on the Lower West Stand at Hillsborough where away fans are normally housed. If the work has not been completed before the match then the Upper West Stand will be used for away fans instead. Tickets already purchased will be valid for whichever stand is used
Paul Sturrock has no immediate plans to break up the centre-back pairing of Paul Wotton and Graham Coughlan. "If and when we lose there might be a debate, but I'm a great believer that you don't change things for the sake of it" he said. "Hopefully, the things we are worrying about will rectify themselves." Sturrock has criticised the Argyle defence on several occasions this season for mistakes they have made, but that will now change. "Starting today, that stops," he said, "I will have in-house debate but I will not make it public. I just feel that it's time to get on with it and I will not be discussing it in the papers any longer." Hasney Aljofree has only made one start for Argyle this season and Sturrock was far from impressed with his performance that night. "Football is all about what you see is what you pick, Hasney can be very disappointed he didn't make the first game of the season after his performances in the last two pre-season matches but his performance at Colchester was not to the standard I would expect and that has put him down the pecking order. It's up to him to turn my head in training and reserve games so that it forces me to contemplate selecting him. He is an excellent player and a good footballer but he has got to really grab his game by the scruff of the neck and force me into selecting him."
David Friio missed training yesterday because of his calf injury and will not know until later in the week whether he will be fit for the game against Barnsley. "He had treatment on Sunday and Monday and we will see how he is as the week goes on," said Sturrock
Martin Phillips continue's his comeback from injury by starting the reserves match at Bristol City. Eugene Kangulungu is also expected to get another run-out. Paul Sturrock said: "Martin is set for another game and I will again be using the reserves' game to play all the first-team squad players who have not had a game at the weekend. After this game we have not got another reserve game for a month but it gets busy for us over the next few weeks with the first team, so there's places to be played for."
Paul Sturrock is pleased Argyle have extended their unbeaten run to seven matches before the luxury of two home games. Following the 2-2 draw at Wrexham, he said, "When you draw your away games and win your home games you are going to do something in the league. We have just had two away games and taken two points. We've now got to go and do our business against Barnsley. If we do then we climb the league again." Sturrock reported no new injuries from the draw at The Racecourse Ground
Paul Sturrock was today continuing his efforts to sign a goalkeeper on loan. "It's important we get another goalie in but do you panic and take somebody you are not sure of, or do you wait on one or two recommended players becoming available?" he said
Yesterday, Argyle's under 19's won 1-0 at Swindon Town. The under 17's game was postponed. Youth tables and results will be updated here
After today's game Paul Sturrock said, "It's hard to believe I can sit here after eight games and still not have a defence. We must have one of the worst goals against columns and one of the best goals for - but while I can assure you it may be good for the fans it's not good for people sitting in the dugout. We need to get on the training ground and iron out the defensive problems so we can get back to having a defence like the Great Wall of China like it was before."
Argyle draw 2-2 at Wrexham with goals from David Norris in the 31st minute and Tony Capaldi (48). Argyle: McCormick, Worrell, Wotton, Coughlan, Hodges, Norris, Bent, Adams, Capaldi, Keith, Stonebridge. Subs - Sturrock, Evans (not used - Beresford, Aljofree, Gilbert). Attendance - 3,945. The usual excellent coverage can be found on Greens On Screen
Eugene Kangulungu has spoken about his move to Argyle. "I am very happy to be here and am very impressed with the stadium and also Argyle have good players," he said. "Sure, the style is different from the way I'm used to playing, but I think I can handle it. For example, Argyle have two French players, Romain and David, who told me the same, that it was quite difficult at the beginning. But, it encourages you to work harder. I will manage, you know, I am confident. Also, I'm sure it will be easier for me having David and Romain here, because they can give me advice, to help me and to teach me. There's no secret, I think if you work and I will, and listen to what the gaffer says, I will manage it."
Jason Bent has been called up by Canada for a friendly in Finland on October 11. It is also likely that Tony Capaldi will make his final appearance for Northern Ireland under-21s in Greece on October 10
Eugene Kangulungu has signed a three month deal which will see him stay at Home Park until the international transfer-window re-opens in January. “He’s a very much a French defender, very continental in style and there’s a lot of work to be done by him to waylay the fears I have in my mind before I put him in my back four,” said Paul Sturrock. “It’ll be up to Eugene to convince me over the next three months that he can adapt to the British game. Saying that, he definitely has some good attributes – he’s very quick, he’s very aggressive and he’s got a good range of pass. I’m excited about what he’s got. If he can add the British style to it, I think we might have an exciting player.”
Paul Sturrock said today that would be delighted if his team played badly, as long as they remained successful “I think I’m a bit of a perfectionist,” he said. “I would love to play well and win, and when we don’t do that, I’m the type of person who looks into these things. But, to be perfectly frank, if we were to play absolutely rotten yet win all our games, I’d be happy.”
Argyle are likely to have a largely unchanged squad for the visit to Wrexham although David Friio and Jason Bent are both doubtful. Martin Phillips is still short of full fitness and will not be considered for the trip. “I wouldn’t want to get to the stage where Buster couldn’t handle the pace of the game and we were stuck with that situation,” said Sturrock, who said that he would give Friio and Bent “every chance” to prove their fitness. Luke McCormick will continue in goal. “The goalkeeping situation is pretty serious at the moment but it’s been very difficult this week to shift yourself from being on the phone all week to being on the pitch,” said Sturrock, “so we decided to put it on the back-burner until Monday. It’s frustrating because we could finish up with Luke falling over and with only a kid for our goalkeeper.”
Argyle will not be pursuing any interest in two un-named trialists who have been at Home Park this week. The pair played against Yeovil Town. Paul Sturrock would not reveal their identities but said: "We will not be taking either of them. Technically, they are very good players but I don't feel they are the type we need at the football club."
Argyle have been boosted by the return to fitness of winger Martin Phillips. Buster scored in the 3-2, behind-closed-doors, friendly win against Yeovil Town at Home Park, to the delight of Paul Sturrock. "Martin played 45 minutes and scored. We thought he might not be ready for Saturday but we will have to wait and see now," he said. "Marino Keith also got in 45 minutes and the pleasing thing about the game was a lot of the squad players got run-outs, which is what I want." Eugene Kangulungu played in the match and there was rumoured to be another trialist involved
Tickets go on sale next week for Argyle's away games at Sheffield Wednesday and Wycombe Wanderers. Although neither match is actually all-ticket fans will save money by purchasing tickets in advance. Prices at Hillsborough are: adults £14 (£15 on the day), over-60s and under-16s £8 (£9). There are no student concessions. Wycombe tickets will cost: adults £15 (£16 on the day), senior citizens and students £12 (£13), juniors £11 (£12). Tickets for both games go on sale to Green Members on Monday, September 22; to Tangerine Members on Wednesday 24; to White Members on Thursday 25; and on general sale from Friday 26 onwards
Paul Sturrock was disappointed by the performance in the draw with Peterborough. "It's been a strange road for us since the start of the season," he said. "I do feel we have lost our way completely as far as what Argyle are all about. I put that down to one thing - the losing of so many bad goals so early on in the season means we've had to chase games and finished up playing long balls to Mickey Evans, which, surprisingly enough, has brought us back into quite a lot of games. We seem to have reverted to this totally. We have got to get back to the routine that was very successful away from home last season and the season before in the Third Division, of getting it down and getting our full-backs on it and passing the ball. We have just lost our way. In the second half, I tried to force the team to pass the ball much more and put the ball in. We did get passes in the box and get crosses in the box but we didn't do it enough. We've got to be pleased with the point, to come back after going 2-1 down, to come back to get an equaliser. I think the turning point for us was Friio going off with a calf strain. David Friio, is a very, very good player of football. He and Jason had taken the ball at the start of the game and we actually got around their box. Capaldi put one past the post, Stoney put one round the post and Mickey got through. The game-plan was working. David goes off and we finish up reverting when we go one nothing up to the long ball again and it just means its coming back to you. We didn't stop enough crosses coming into the box." Of some individual performances last night, Sturrock said: "David Worrell has been indifferent, to say the least, in his performance consistency this season. We saw the Jekyll and Hyde of him again. In the second half he was absolutely outstanding, defensively, but the problem is his mental approach to the game has not been right. It takes a rollicking from me to gee him up to give us that performance. Tony Capaldi is a very talented player, but the problem is the game is passing him by as he is not playing to the pace of the game that he should be. I think he is finding the 2nd Division torturous as far as when we play away from home. It is getting to the stage where he is going to have to adapt very quickly. He's played too long as a reserve in the Premiership, there's never any tackles, there's never any body contact. I thought the boy Gilbert did his task tonight, but that was the problem, the first half and for 80 minutes of the game their two full backs dictated play."
Regarding the goalkeeping situation Sturrock said he was pleased with the performance of Luke McCormick, and did not blame him for Peterborough's scrappy second goal. "I thought he should have punched it, but he tried to grab the ball around the player. We have tried to teach him that when he goes in amongst all that he has to punch, but they put a lot of pressure on him and he never wilted. I have tried again today to bring in a keeper but so far I was unsuccessful. I am looking at all opportunities to find a goalkeeper."
Argyle draw 2-2 at Peterborough United thanks to goals from Paul Wotton in the 9th minute (penalty) and Tony Capaldi (84). Argyle: McCormick, Worrell, Wotton, Coughlan, Gilbert, Norris, Friio, Bent, Capaldi, Stonebridge, Evans. Subs - Adams, Sturrock, Keith (not used - Hodges, Beresford). Attendance - 4,183. The usual excellent coverage can be found on Greens On Screen
Paul Sturrock has reportedly tried for a second time to take Ipswich keeper Andy Marshall on loan, but as far as Marshall is concerned he is not prepared to join the club. He said: "Just over a year ago I was playing in the Premiership and last season in Division One. I know I'm good enough to carry on playing at least that level and am looking to stay in Division One or join a Premier club. Sturrock may yet land another Ipswich player even if he fails with Marshall. Sturrock was at Aldershot to watch the Ipswich Town reserves play Chelsea on Monday and even though they lost 4-0 he may make a move for one of Town's promising young defenders, Aidan Collins, Gerard Nash or Chris Hogg. Other reports though, suggest Sturrock was there to run the rule over a teenage Chelsea midfielder. Sturrock admitted Marshall had been one of his targets, along with former Burnley goalkeeper Marlon Beresford. The 34-year-old Beresford was ready to sign a short-term contract for the Pilgrims until Bradford City stepped in after two of their shot-stoppers were injured. Sturrock said: "I'm sure other names will be bandied about. At this minute in time, I'm looking at all opportunities to get a goalkeeper."
Argyle have arranged a behind-closed-doors game against Yeovil Town at Home Park for Wednesday afternoon. The team for the match will probably include trialist Eugene Kangulungu. "It will enable the rest of the first-team players to get a run-out," Paul Sturrock said. Argyle are set to sign Kangulungu on a short-term contract until the New Year. "I have talked to the agent and I think we are going to get everything sorted for when I come back on Wednesday," said Sturrock. "I think we will be signing him on a short-term deal. That's what we have put forward and they are deliberating at the minute."
Argyle have arranged their LDV Vans Trophy 1st-round tie at home to Bristol City for October 14
Paul Sturrock expressed his total confidence in Luke McCormick after confirming that the 20-year-old will play in the game at Peterborough. Sturrock has already taken the decision to boost his goalkeeping options despite not yet knowing the true extent of Romain Larrieu's injury. One possibility was ruled out yesterday when Bradford City signed Marlon Beresford and that means that Kenny Schofield has travelled to Peterborough as Argyle’s cover. “Luke will be in goal tomorrow,” said Sturrock. “It’s been very difficult to contact managers over the weekend. I’ve been in touch with several today, some have fallen through, some others are mulling things over, so at this moment in time, we are no further up the road. We can’t go through the rest of the month without at least a cover goalkeeper. The next one down, who’s having to travel tomorrow, is Kenny Schofield. Whether I put him on the bench or not is something I’ll mull over overnight. I have got total confidence in Luke. That’s what he’s there for, what he’s employed for. I’m very confident he will do the job again tomorrow night. He was very competent on Saturday, although he didn’t have that much to do, with his kicking and his handling. He came and took a cross in the last minute of the game, which alleviated a lot of pressure. He has his faults, like any goalkeeper – Romain has his faults – but we’ve worked very hard with him. I’ve got no qualms. My problem would come if he falls over. That is why we are working hard to get someone in.” Ipswich goalkeeper Andy Marshall has turned down an offer to join Argyle on loan for 'personal reasons'
David Friio is confident goalkeeper Romain Larrieu will return from injury better than ever. He said: "It's a big blow for the team because he has done very well for us and it's a big blow for me also. We have been here for nearly three years and we knew each other even before we came to Argyle so I'm really disappointed about this, but that's football. I'm sure Romain is strong enough to pass this and come back even better. He's a competitor and a very hard worker. You can see that in training and it's reflected in games. It's going to be a tough time but I know he will get through it. All we can do is wish him to come back as quickly as possible. I think it's going to take five or six months but he will be back before the end of the season, and maybe for the promotion run-in, hopefully"
Luke McCormick was delighted with yesterdays win: "It was an incredible comeback. We didn't play well but we put a lot of balls in the box and created chances. We would have felt very hard done by if we had come out of the game without anything. I didn't play as well as I would have liked to in the first half. My kicking is normally one of the strongest parts of my game and it definitely wasn't up to standard. Apart from that, I was quite happy, although I didn't have an awful lot to do. It's in my hands and hopefully I've given myself a good chance of playing on Tuesday. We got the result and that's what matters". McCormick sympathised with Larrieu, who watched the game from the directors' box, and wished him a speedy recovery. "Romain has been playing very well and it's a real shame for him," he said. "I hope he's not out for too long."
Romain Larrieu missed today's game as he has torn cruciate knee ligaments. It is thought he could be out for the rest of the season. Paul Sturrock said: "We don't know the extent of the injury until we've talked to the Doctor and Physio. It's a big blow to the club and I've got to get someone in quickly." Sturrock also said that he had tried to bring in a loan player and would continue his pursuit in time for Tuesday’s game. “I have had a few irons in the fire and I’m just waiting for word back. We can’t have just one goalie so we are trying to bring a goalkeeper in.”
After the game Paul Sturrock said “We were very lucky to gain anything out of the game. I’m very disappointed with the performance, probably the worst performance I’ve seen here. We never really looked at the races from start to finish. My problem is that I’m near-enough treating that as a defeat and I should maybe be walking away from here with a bit of euphoria, saying ‘That’s three points and us climbing the league’, but I can assure you that, if we keep having performances like that, we won’t win games. My heart ruled my head. I knew that team is not a home team. - I knew that team was more an away side. I went with it because of my comments about not changing winning teams, but we had no width and no pace. In hindsight, I should have played the two or three others that I was contemplating. It would have been unfair on some of the players, but it near enough cost us the result.”
Argyle beat Luton Town 2-1 at Home Park with goals from Mickey Evans in the 82nd minute and David Friio (90). Argyle: McCormick, Worrell, Wotton, Coughlan, Hodges, Norris, Adams, Friio, Gilbert, Evans, Stonebridge. Subs - Sturrock, Keith, Bent (not used - Beresford, Capaldi). Attendance - 9894.
Argyle's under 17's beat Bristol Rovers 2-0 and the under 19's defeated Cirencester 5-1.
Martin Phillips could make his comeback from injury for the reserves away to Bristol City on September 24. Phillips has not played since mid-March but has now returned to training. Paul Sturrock said: "We don't have a reserve game next week so it gives Buster a full week's training. We are going to target him for part of the game against Bristol City."
Argyle are drawn at home to Bristol City in the first round of the LDV Vans Trophy.
Argyle could complete the signing of defender Eugene Kangulungu in the next couple of days. "We are still chatting to him and his agent," said the Sturrock. "I would say it's going in the right direction. The agent is across the water so it always takes a lot longer, with faxes and everything else. We have given him all the options of what we feel is the right way to go about it and he's chatting to his agent and getting back to us." Kangulungu could initially be offered a short-term contract to allow Sturrock more time to assess him. Sturrock revealed the defender would not feature in the Argyle squad against Luton even if he signed on the dotted line today
Paul Sturrock can choose from a near full-strength squad for the visit of Luton Town after the club's injury crisis eased. He also has Tony Capaldi available again after he returned from international duty. However, Sturrock is unlikely to make many changes after the win at Brentford last Saturday. Marino Keith and Nathan Lowndes have returned to training after suffering ankle injuries but the best they can hope for is to be named among the substitutes because Sturrock will stick with the in-form Mickey Evans and Ian Stonebridge up front. Jason Bent has also shaken off his ankle injury and comes into consideration. Bent will have a fitness test before a decision is taken whether to include him in the squad. Blair Sturrock is also an option for the bench, even though he has not trained this week. He has been cycling and swimming as he tries to build up his muscles to overcome a persistent groin problem
Brian McGlinchey is to join Torquay United on a months loan. McGlinchey will join in training with the Gulls tomorrow and is expected to play on Saturday at Cambridge. Paul Sturrock said: "There's only one reserve game during the next month and I thought it would be in Brian's best interests if he could get himself playing regular football, especially if it's it someone's first team." His move to should allow Sturrock to complete the signing of defender Eugene Kangulungu on a short-term contract.
Tony Capaldi will come straight back into the reckoning for Saturday’s game against Luton Town. Lee Hodges is expected to drop back to his more familiar left back role at the expense of Peter Gilbert and several other players are returning from knocks. Hasney Aljofree and Brian McGlinchey, played for the reserves this week and both Marino Keith and Nathan Lowndes have resumed training. Paul Sturrock said, “The time has passed now that some of the players that have been injured needed to get match ready. Hence the team could be much of a muchness to last weeks line up.I also believe that a team that has played well should be given the chance to show they can continue where they left off. Saying that Marino and Nathan have both resumed training and Jason is due to start again on Friday. They may pass muster for Saturday, even if it is just for the bench."
Paul Sturrock is delighted with the progress being made by his young side in the Combination League. Despite losing 1-0 to Cardiff, Sturrock said: "We fielded a very young side and they fielded a very experienced side, that was fine by me. The idea of this league for me this season is all about development, bringing through the young players. Last season when we had a squad of 27 we had enough senior pros to play in the league. This year with the squad being reduced it gives the young pros and third-year apprentices an opportunity to play at a good standard and that's what we want. It's all about developing the younger players - and giving the senior players who are not getting in the first team a chance to tick over with regular games."
Tony Capaldi played at left-back last night as Northern Ireland's under-21 side defeated Armenia 3-1. He will report for training at tomorrow without having picked up any injuries during his trip away. "I'm fit and available for selection for Saturday but we will have to see what the manager decides to do after a good win on Saturday," said Capaldi. "I'm really enjoying it at Plymouth and I'm looking forward to getting back. It has been a long week and Ukraine wasn't the nicest place to visit." Northern Ireland play the last of the European Championship qualifiers in Greece on October 10. It will be the last time Capaldi will be eligible to play at under-21 level and he will miss Argyle's game against Tranmere Rovers
Argyle's reserves lose 1-0 to Cardiff City's reserves at Home Park, despite the boost of Hasney Aljofree and Brian McGlinchey returning from injury. Argyle: McCormick, Connolly, Villis, Aljofree, Sawyer, O’Sullivan, Martin, McGlinchey, Beresford, Yetton, Watkins. Subs - Coxon, Steward, Trudgian (not used - Schofield, Evans D). Reserve table and results and youth tables and results are available by clicking on the links
Paul Sturrock is hopeful the injury to midfielder Jason Bent will not keep him out of action for too much longer. Bent has already started jogging but will not be fit enough to play for the reserves tonight. Sturrock was cautious about making any predictions on when Bent could make his comeback. "It's too early to say," he said. "It's only a few days since the injury but he's jogging on it. We will wait and see." Marino Keith, Nathan Lowndes and Brain McGlinchey all sat out training again yesterday and were not expected to play for the reserves tonight. Martin Phillips was close to selection, however, as he continues to recover from a groin injury. "He trained yesterday but we decided this game has come too soon for him," said Sturrock. "He has only had three or four training sessions. We could play him for 20 minutes but we would have probably had to start him and then it knocks the shape of the team out. I would much prefer to wait until he can handle half a game and then we will start him back on the reserve trail." He added: "Our team tonight is going to be very young again, against what I would imagine will be an experienced Cardiff side." Congo-born defender Eugene Kangulungu is also unlikely to feature against Cardiff. The trialist has returned to France although Sturrock has not ruled out the chances of the 27-year-old from returning to Home Park. "Eugene is in Paris at the moment but we are still in negotiations with his agent," said the Argyle manager, "That's as far as it has gone. I have been in discussions with agents a lot of times in the past and nothing has ever happened."
Paul Sturrock will check the fitness of Eugene Kangulungu before deciding if he will play in the reserve game against Cardiff. Sturrock said: "Eugene is coming back to us for further discussions but I'm not sure whether or not he will play. It depends if he is fit or not. We'll have some of the boys in the side who didn't get a full game on Saturday like Paul Connolly, and then it's a case of seeing who else we've got."
On Saturday, Argyle's under-19 side defeated Bristol Rovers 1-0 whilst the under-17's beat Torquay United, also 1-0
Ian Stonebridge is brimming with confidence after scoring a goal in each of Plymouth Argyle's last two games. He said: "Although before I felt I was playing well the goals give you the confidence to go on and play a bigger part for the team, and I would like to do that, obviously. Mickey and I have played plenty of games together over a few seasons and I think we have got a good understanding with each other. All the strikers at the club have got that. It's a pleasure to play off Mickey because he wins so many headers. It's good. Sometimes he gets criticised for not scoring the goals but on Saturday he did all his other work and got a couple of goals as well." Stonebridge needed four stitches in a head wound after a clash with one of the Brentford defenders during the second half. "I don't know what part of the defender caught me," he said. "There was a little bit of blood but it was nothing too serious." Argyle were cheered on by 1,637 fans at Brentford. "The away support is always second to none," said Stonebridge. "It gives you a massive boost. They really got behind us in that period of the game when we were putting them under pressure."
Paul Sturrock could not praise striker Micky Evans highly enough after yesterdays win: "I'm really pleased to get our first three points away from home and Evans was fantastic," he said. "If he could play like that every week he would be some player. He runs the line so well and always seems to flick the ball on to his partner but the only criticism people have ever had of him is that he does not score enough goals, but he did that today as well." Sturrock was also pleased with the contributions of Lee Hodges and Peter Gilbert: "I'm absolutely delighted for Hodges because he's moulded himself to be a full-back this season and has gone in and done a sterling job. It's been a very difficult week for us because we've had so many players out. We had to mix and match - we had players in positions they hadn't played for a long time - so I was very pleased with the way it worked out in the end. Gilbert's first game was a game from hell - at Colchester, when nobody really played well and, unfortunately for him, the team's not been losing since. He got his chance today and I thought he was very steady. He didn't let us down in any way." Paul Wotton was pleased that Argyle's pre-match planning had paid off. "We were very confident before the game," he said. "We knew that Brentford were tender, and we knew that they play for set-pieces, long throws, corners, and so on. We knew all about their game, and we matched them and thoroughly deserved the result." Sturrock also said: "We're trying to change the mentality of the players. I want them to go on and score two or three goals and really kill off a game when we get the chance. We had a chat at half time and in the second half we started to get in the right areas. I think we deserved the victory. We always create a lot of chances and we work very hard with all our set pieces."
Argyle win 3-1 at Brentford with goals from Ian Stonebridge (9th minute) and two from Mickey Evans (58 and 84). Argyle: Larrieu, Worrell, Coughlan, Wotton, Gilbert, Norris, Adams, Friio, Hodges, Evans, Stonebridge. Subs - Connolly, Sturrock, Aljofree (not used - McCormick, Beresford). Attendance - 5,688. The usual excellent coverage can be found on Greens On Screen
Jason Bent is revealed as the 'key player' that suffered an injury in training, twisting his ankle
Tony Capaldi played as Northern Ireland's under-21's lost 1-0 to Ukraine
Three new names have been added to Paul Maxwell’s workload. Paul Sturrock said: “John Routledge, one of our young kids, went up, went over his ankle, and has damaged his ankle ligaments. Another, Brinton Nute, had a huge gash on the back of his head and has had to take a whole load of stitches. One of our key players also had an injury in training yesterday and is now out. In fact, it’s got to the stage where one or two might have to play that I wouldn’t otherwise have pushed. If one or two others hadn’t gone down, I would have left these two off and, to be fair, with the kind of squad I’ve got going, I might still do that. That would take us right down to the bone. It might leave us with less than five subs. That’s something I will deliberate overnight, taking no chances on anybody.” The news on Eugene Kangulungu was relatively upbeat, “His cheekbone is fractured but it’s not severe in any way, nothing that a week’s rest won't help,” said Sturrock. “It’s something we’ve deliberated about and he’s quite happy to get on with it. We’re in negotiations with his agent. Let’s leave it at that for the moment.”
Argyle's match at Brentford on Saturday is now not all-ticket. Unsold tickets from Argyle’s allocation will be available on the day of the match. So far more than 1,000 tickets have been sold to Argyle fans
Argyle's away game at Bristol City has been rescheduled. The game was originally due to take place on Monday, April 12 but will now be played 24 hours later on Tuesday, April 13 (7.45pm kick-off) after a request from City and Avon Constabulary. The request was made to avoid the complications and costs of playing the game on a Bank Holiday
Paul Sturrock admitted he had no idea what his team would be for Saturdays game, despite a slight easing of Argyle's injury problems. Marino Keith and Nathan Lowndes are both thought to be very doubtful whilst Hasney Aljofree, Lee Hodges, David Worrell and Brian McGlinchey have also all been nursing injuries. Sturrock revealed another un-named player had also twisted an ankle in training yesterday but was hopeful he would be fit. He said: "Some of the injured players trained yesterday, but I'm not going to name them because I don't want to raise anybody's hopes. Some of them were very tentative, some started training and had to come out and some didn't make training at all, so we have got a mixed bag. Everybody will be given the opportunity to be fit for tomorrow. All the players will report this afternoon and we will have a look and see what we have got to go up the road with." Blair Sturrock will be included in the Argyle squad even though he is still troubled by a groin injury and despite sitting out training this week. Meanwhile, Martin Phillips has stepped up his training as he attempts to recover from the groin injury which has kept him out of action all season. Sturrock said: "Buster has seen a specialist and he's training one day and resting the next. We are just slowly building him up. He has looked very lively in the two days he has trained and has had no real reaction, so that's very pleasing."
Paul Sturrock believes Brentford will be fired up when the two sides meet on Saturday. Argyle are hoping to extend their three-match unbeaten run against a Brentford side that have won only one of their opening five league games and have conceded 14 goals. Sturrock warned: "They will be anxious to kick-start after a start like that but we have conceded nine and scored 10. You would think, looking at it, it has got 0-0 or 1-0 written all over it but football's not like that. We will be going there looking for three points and they will want the same so anything can happen."
Congolese trialist Eugene Kangulungu and physio Paul Maxwell are the latest casualties of Argyles current injury crisis. Kangulungu damaged his face in Tuesday’s reserve match while Maxwell has been laid low by a bug doing the rounds. The injury has delayed a decision on Kangulungu's future at Home Park. “Unfortunately, Kangulungu is injured, he took a blow to his cheek,” said Paul Sturrock, “so we’re in the throes of getting to the bottom of that. He’s seeing a specialist tomorrow to assess how severe the injury is. Until that happens, there’s nothing to be discussed. There’s no debate to be had about contracts or anything else until we get to the bottom of it.” Argyle's injury list includes: Hasney Aljofree (thigh), Lee Hodges (thigh), Nathan Lowndes (ankle), Marino Keith (ankle), Brian McGlinchey (knee) and Buster Phillips (pelvis), while Blair Sturrock is still less than fully fit. Wednesday’s training-session was attended by just seven players. In addition to the injuries several squad members have been affected by the bug.
Trialist Eugene Kangulungu played in last night's reserve fixture and was impressive, first at centre-back and also when moving to left-back later in the game. The 27 year old defender made his debut for the Democratic Republic of Congo in June but is more practiced in lower league French football having played for Fontainebleau, Le Havre, Red Star 93, Noisy-le-Sec, Pau and his current club, Louhans-Cuiseax. On Kangulungu, Argyle boss Paul Sturrock said: "He had a very pleasing game for a trialist. He looked match-fit and very athletic. He never looked out of sorts. I'm meeting him and his agent tomorrow, but there a lot of things I have to think about before I make a decision on him."
Argyle reserves lose 0-3 at home against Bristol City in their first Combination Cup fixture. Argyle: McCormick, Connolly, Villis, Kangulungu, Gilbert, O’Sullivan, Adams, Steward, Beresford, Watkins, Yetton. Subs - Coxon (not used - Schofield, Sawyer, Entwisle, Guppy)
Paul Sturrock has said that none of the injured players who missed last weekend's game are guaranteed to be fit for Saturday. Marino Keith, David Worrell, Hasney Aljofree, Nathan Lowndes and Martin Phillips were all absent and yesterday Sturrock revealed that more players have joined his casualty list, Lee Hodges missing training with a thigh strain, Paul Connolly with a virus and Brian McGlinchey has a knee ligament problem. Tony Capaldi will also miss the game as he is away on international duty
Argyle may have a foreign trialist in their team for tonight's reserve match against Bristol City. "We might have a trialist playing," said Paul Sturrock "He's a free agent and a foreign player who has clearance in this country." Sturrock and his coaching staff will be on the road tomorrow night on a scouting trip, and his scouts will be taking in other games this week, next week and beyond. The plan is to compile reports on long-term targets and to watch players that Argyle might wish to take on loan, if necessary. "We're looking at targets who have been recommended to us by coaches at other clubs, players they feel would benefit our team," Sturrock explained. "So I'm going to have a look. We got David Norris and Tony Capaldi from these kind of forays, so they're always valuable."
Argyle have apologised for inconveniencing some of their supporters following the draw against Brighton. A number of fans leaving the main grandstand were prevented from making a quick exit when they were held up by a camera crew filming a documentary about Michael Foot. Argyle vice-chairman Peter Jones said: “We’re really sorry. We had given the television company access-all-areas permission, but we simply hadn’t realised how much inconvenience it would cause. They’ve finished now, so it won’t happen again, but we really apologise to all the people who were inconvenienced by what happened.”
Paul Wotton yesterday admitted he was relieved to have only been booked during Saturdays game: "The ball has gone under my foot and, to be fair, you don't even think about it. You can see he's in and you just grab hold of him. I don't think there was anybody covering so I was lucky he stayed on his feet. I will take a booking there. The referee told me 'I have got to book you for it' and I said 'fair enough.' It was my mistake. If he had gone down I'm sure there would have been a good case to send me off. It's a good job he's a strong boy. He just kept going. He obviously fancied trying to score. I was fortunate." Brighton manager Steve Coppell backed the referee's decision not to show the red card to Wotton. He said: "Did it effect the scoring opportunity? No, it didn't. But it seems sad in an age when we are condemning players for diving, the chances are we would have won the game if he had dived. I think the referee did the right thing. He let the advantage go. A fourth goal then would have put us out of sight but, if you look at it, they scored a further two and then hit the woodwork."
Paul Wotton praised striker Mickey Evans for his role in the Argyle fightback. "I thought he was absolutely phenomenal, he was smashing their two centre-halves all over the place. They will not have a harder game than that all season. I thought we were going to score at every set piece." Paul Sturrock said: "Mickey will always be the criticised one because of his lack of goals but what people don't understand is what he gives to the team." Sturrock also said: "I'm delighted for Stoney to get a goal because that's the criticism I have had of him. His linkage has been second to none and he puts himself in great positions for us, but he hasn't given us enough goals. I felt in the reserve game the other week, against Swindon Town, he had lost a wee bit of confidence. But he scored a great header today and, hopefully, he now realises goals are the important thing to him, as much as anybody else."
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