A Round-up of Argyle News
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David Fox is looking forward to seeing the best from Turkish striker Nadir Ciftci after positive signs in Argyle's loss to Scunthorpe last week, saying: "He's settled in fine; he looks like he's a good lad; he's getting on fine with everyone; he'll get used to the way we play and we'll get used to way he plays. There were certainly signs, when we got a bit of quality into him, that he's going to be able to look after [the ball] and bring others into play, which is great. Hopefully, we can give him some chances because, ultimately, he is going to be judged on goals and it is up to us to make sure he gets those chances. I'm sure, if we do that, he will score goals."
Fox also echoed the words of his manager Derek Adams in saying that there would be no barrier to ensuring Argyle bounce back from the disappointing defeat: "You've got to show that you've bounced back and you've got it out of your system. You can't let it linger and hover around the place. The next game is coming up quick and you've got to have a better week next week on the back of a good result. That's what we're looking to do on Saturday to get a result to put that 4-0 to the back of your mind. While it was 1-0, and even with ten men in the second half, we were playing really well and in the game. We probably went for it a bit too much; even at 2-0, 3-0, we were still throwing men forward because that's kind of what we are about. Even at 2-0 down, we've gone two up front with ten men and we've tried to get something out of the game. It's frustrating. You can talk about the sending-off being a big factor but that doesn't automatically mean you get beaten 4-0. It shouldn't have got to that point and we were disappointed with the manner of goals that we conceded but, for large periods, we were very competitive and I think that's what we've been in every game so far, and that's a good sign. I think we're probably a couple of points short of where we should be. At any point in the season, it's all about points, rather than performances, and we have got to start turning some of the positives we are getting in games into points."
Derek Adams insisted that his Argyle side are not downtrodden from Saturday's 4-0 loss to Scunthorpe yet also warned that Walsall having players out on international duty would not necessarily be a gamechanger for Argyle. Adams said: "We have to move on. It's disappointing how the incident came about; disappointing for Antoni himself; and disappointing because the game does change on that decision. We were going to find it difficult to get back into it after that. When they scored their second goal, it deflated us a wee bit because we were on top of the game. We are in good spirits. We don't change our attitude from week to week.
"We've played against a lot of the top teams in the division; we are going to play a side who drew 3-3 on Saturday against a team who has been in the play-offs. We've got Antoni Sarcevic suspended; we've got Oscar Threlkeld and Ryan Taylor out injured, too. So I think we've got more experience out of our squad than they have because of international duty."
Adams has also welcomed new plans that would see the transfer window closed before the opening day of the season, saying it is currently an unneeded distraction. Adams said: "I do think it should be closed before the season starts. It is very difficult for a manager to work in both sides where we've got a month after the season starts where the window is still open. I think it should close in July and everybody has their same squad until January. Then we can trade again for a period of time; it might not be as long as four weeks and then we have our squads to go for the whole season. It will be important that all the consequences of such a decision are fully considered, as the requirements of our clubs are different to those in Europe's top flight leagues."
Adams went on to admit that the final signing he is looking for may not happen as deadline day looms but that he is still looking to get a new player into the club: "It doesn't stress me out because I've already got in place what I'm looking for. And if it doesn't come off, it doesn't come off. It doesn't matter to me when I sign someone. The window is open until 11 o'clock on Thursday night. If it's two minutes till eleven then it's two minutes till eleven. If it's not going to happen then it's not going to happen. But we're not going to just take in a player for the sake of it. It's been going on for a while now and simply the reason it's lasted this long is because other clubs are just waiting to make decisions."
Jamie Ness' full debut for Argyle against his former club Scunthorpe can only be described as bittersweet. He played a full 90 minutes after his comeback from injury and put in a good performance on an individual level but the day was darkened by Argyle's 4-0 loss. Ness said: "We knew that we had to dig in because, obviously Scunthorpe are a good team that will be up there agin this season, but we knew that, if we stuck in there, kept working hard, kept moving the ball, that we would get chances; we just had to stay in the game. We did have chances. I was a bit disappointed I didn't get more on the header when it was 1-0. That totally changes the game, but it didn't go in so we have to regroup and go again. I don't think the score reflects the performance. We have to try to look at it that way, look at the goals we conceded and try to stop them from happening next week, build from that and try to take as many positives as we can. It's very frustrating because all the goals, we felt, were preventable, even the goals at the end. We were stretched a little bit, with ten men, but we feel we can defend better than that, as a team. So we'll go away, look at that, and look at things we can do better."
Derek Adams admitted that Antoni Sarcevic's sending off against Scunthorpe turned the game against Argyle and said that whilst he did not see the incident himself, Sarcevic was wrong to get so drawn in. Adams said: "The sending off puts us on the back foot. He supposedly made contact with the player, and he's let his teammates down. He's let myself down, because we're down to ten players. After that it becomes a difficult afternoon, because in a game where I thought we were just getting into and controlling, we're down ten against eleven. "I didn't see it as it happened. It was difficult for me to see at the time, but I've obviously been told it was. He shouldn't be getting involved. I didn't know how much contact there was, but if somebody makes contact with somebody nowadays, the other person in the team is going to fall down and use it to their advantage. That's something that's creeping into the game which is not nice to see. I don't know how much contact there was so it's difficult to say, but by the people I've spoken to, there wasn't but there was a motion there. My player has done that, and the opposition player has taken it upon themselves to fall to the ground. In that instance, the referee has no decision but to send him off. It's a huge loss; he's one of our most important players. He's one that's done really well for us."
On Argyle's general performance, Adams praised Argyle for large spells of the game but blasted the defending, saying: "I thought that we controlled large spells of the first half. I thought we were the team that looked like we were in control. I don't think anyone would say otherwise. We had a lot of possession, a lot of good opportunities. Scunthorpe score with their first run down the side and chance of the game. Other than that, we coped well. We didn't allow Matt Gilks to play out from the back, which they like to do, then launch it down the sides. We stopped that happening. We used the extra man that we had in midfield very well. In the second half we came out and, again, I thought we were the better team, but then it goes 2-0 and it becomes Scunthorpe's afternoon after that. The sending off doesn't allow us to have the domination that we did have. We had the extra man in midfield, and when that goes out the window, they have the extra man somewhere else on the pitch. We had to score the goal at 1-0 to make it 1-1. We didn't do that. We had a lot of good play in and around their penalty box, and I thought all afternoon that the players looked very fit. We controlled large spells in the game. We passed them off the pitch and create a number of opportunities. But, that's not what they're going to say; they're going to say they've won 4-0, and that's the nature of football."
"The goals we've conceded are shocking goals. The first one is a ball down the side. It's a crossed ball into the box and we've lost a runner in the middle. The second goal: we get done in the 18-yard box, turned inside out, a cross ball again and we don't match a runner in the middle. The third and the fourth are not good defending from our point of view. The goals are defendable; we haven't defended well enough."
Argyle have lost 4-0 at home to Scunthorpe United in a scoreline that as disappointing as it looked, did not fully reflect the outcome of the game. Argyle matched the visitors for the first half until the red mist descended on midfielder Antoni Sarcevic when he was red-carded for a headbutt on Paddy Madden. Argyle kept in the game until midway through the second half when the floodgates began to open on an exhausted Argyle. Argyle: McCormick, Miller, Edwards, Bradley, Sawyer, Sarcevic, Fox(Ainsworth), Ness, Jervis(Blissett), Carey, Ciftci(Lameiras). Subs: Cooper, Taylor-Sinclair, Songo'o, Grant.
Derek Adams has revealed that Jamie Ness has made a strong case for himself to be more involved in first team action with his gradual accumulation of minutes since returning from injury. He said: "He is making good progress. He is pushing to be involved against Scunthorpe. For Southend, I left him behind to play 90 minutes (for the reserves) and he got 60 minutes against Chelsea. It's just to give him some extra match time. I didn't want to take him to Southend and get 10-15 minutes out of him when he could have played more. Jamie is a very good player. He's one who will do really well this season. He's had good game time over the last week."
Derek Adams spoke about tactics for countering the threat of Scunthorpe United before talking more generally about Argyle's adaptation to League One football, saying: "They play with two wingers, so to speak. We'll have to deal with them. In the midfield as well, centrally, they are very good. We'll look to try and stop the supply to Josh Morris. That's one of the areas you always have to be aware of, if somebody has a good goal-scoring record. But we've seen it with a number of players already this season. That's why it's never important to have a 20-goal a season striker and have nobody else scoring them.
"It's important to spread the goals throughout the team because if you man-mark one player out of the team where do the rest of your goals come from? We've got a team with players who can score goals from a variety of positions so other teams will find it very difficult to man-mark four or five out of the game. I think the league is very different for us now. It's a lot quicker than League Two. In the games that we've played it's been end-to-end at the start of the season. That might slow down; it did in League Two. We found that at the start of the season a number of teams went a wee bit quicker and then slowed themselves down.
"We have to guard against that and look at the situation where a team like Scunthorpe, who are trying to push for promotion, do come on to us and leave space. I'm not one for controlling possession of the ball all the time. I think it's important that we have possession but when the opposition do have it, we'd rather they had possession in their own half of the park and we don't really worry if they pass it 10 times there. They can have all the possession they want in that area and then we nullify the space and pick them off after that."
Development plans for the future of Plymouth Argyle's home and a new ice arena for the city have been formally lodged with the council. The club have submitted the application to Plymouth City Council with more than 100 documents available for the public to browse ahead of a decision. The forms submitted form a hybrid application which request full planning permission for the refurbishment and extension to the Grandstand and the erection of a new ice arena. Secondary to this, the club is asking for outline planning permission on the mixed-use development which includes food and beverage units, offices, a gymnasium, a hotel and a veterinary surgery. Among the details for the proposed ice arena there will be spaces for 1,100 spectators, a reception, skate hire, lockers, toilets, bar and café.
Nadir Ciftci has revealed he primarily joined Argyle because he felt wanted by Pilgrims' manager Derek Adams. He also spoke of previous connections with members of the Argyle squad: "Talks have been going on a little while and I felt the will of him to bring me here and bring me back to the stage I am the best at. I felt wanted again. That was the most important feeling I had to have, wherever I was going, and the gaffer gave me that feeling throughout the period he was talking to my agent. It felt really comfortable, really good, straight away and I am happy to be here to work with him, for sure. This is a journey. It is destiny; I believe that; it is meant to be how it is and you take it on the chin and go for it. Maybe everybody sees it as not working out for me, but it is experience and, in the past two years at Celtic, I had good times and made good friends. It's still been good, maybe not in the football way that I haven't played many games, but I have experienced lovely people at the club, a massive club, and I have a lot of things to thank them for.
"I shared a room with Graham Carey at Dundee United. We were both on trial and because we were both trialists, when we went away to Germany and Spain, we were together in the same room until we came back to Scotland. He went to Ross County and I stayed."
He went on to speak of his style as a footballer, saying: "I try to be skilful," he said, after setting into his first training session as a Pilgrim. "I hope to score goals, but what I like to do most is to set up, rather than just score yourself, because I believe it is altogether, rather than just individual.vI like to use the body and be strong, as well. Hopefully, I will bring that and a lot more in the coming games. I hope not to be too old school but hopefully I can do the physical part and, next to it, the technical side, as well, which I like the most. I will do my best. I will always have the fire in my belly to do well and have the passion in me. I like the fire inside, but you have to be good on the pitch to help your friends with the fire that you have got and be good in a football way."
Argyle's long awaited search for a striker is over, having completed the signing of Celtic striker Nadir Ciftci on a season-long loan. The 25-year-old arrives at Home Park after having played in the top flight, not only in Scotland, but also in the Dutch league, his native Turkey and Poland.
Derek Adams proved his versatility by changing Argyle's shape to a 4-4-2 system rather than his favoured one up front against Southend. He spoke about the importance of adapting to circumstances: "I'm delighted with a point. It's a difficult place to come, against a team at the top of the table. If I had known the pitch was going to be in the condition that it was we wouldn't have picked the team we started with because we became direct in the second half. We couldn't pass the ball. It looks more like a rugby field that a football field. It cut up during the warm-up. You can see from both teams that it was not a pretty game to watch. It was end-to-end. We had to do exactly what Southend did to us in the first half. I thought, over the 90 minutes, the point was fair. We had to play in a different style, especially in the second half. It was about getting the ball to the full-backs and centre-halves and getting it forward as quickly as possible. There was no way you could get into a passing routine. We had to miss out the midfield and it was about winning the second ball and getting the ball wide to the likes of Carey and Ainsworth, and we were unfortunate with Carey having an outstanding shot and a great save from the goalkeeper. Blissett, as well the goalkeeper actually sits on the ball and Jake Jervis as well, so in the end we could have scored more but we've got to take a point."
"To go away from home and lose a goal after six minutes is disappointing. It was preventable; Gary Sawyer got caught on the left hand side and Sonny had to divert it into his own goal. We dealt with them very well. We only conceded from an own goal today. We scored from a set play and we probably could have scored a couple of others. We've got a lot of very good flair players but we've also got ones that can do the dirty side of the game very well. We'll have to recharge our batteries. We've been on the road for quite a bit. It's a week where get the players back to Home Park and work with them for a longer period of time on the training field."
In spite of his unfortunate own goal, Sonny Bradley was spoken very highly of after the game by his centre-back goalscoring partner Ryan Edwards. Edwards spoke of the partnership that the pair are already beginning to forge. He said: "We spoke about it, in training, about getting a good start, which we did last week. We knew they are a direct team, and we knew it would be down our throats, and we'd be heading a lot. It's unfortunate; Sonny tried to clear it and it went in. It can happen to anyone. His reaction was brilliant, because he went on to have an outstanding game, and showed what a good player he is."
"I'd take not scoring if it meant winning the game and a clean sheet but we knew it would be ugly at times, not pretty on the eye, and we prepared well for it. Both teams had a go, it could have gone either way, but I think a point it fair to both teams. A point's a point, and we'll go back, work for next week, and look to win at home again. If we got one goal, we knew we could get the momentum. They came off a big defeat last week, so we knew they could be a bit shaky. We got the equaliser, we were on top, but they had some chances, too. A point was a fair result. We've shown various ways we can play; we've come here and been ugly, when we knew it was going to be ugly. They thought they might bully us today, and we've shown they couldn't. You've seen the footballing side of us, the patient side of us. We stood up and been counted.
I knew, from playing against him, that Graham Carey has got great delivery. If he says he is going to put it somewhere, he will. We'll have success from set-pieces this season, with G's delivery, and Jake's and others in the squad. I attacked that space, had the run on my man, got up early and bulleted a header into the back of the net in front of our fans! Hopefully there are many more to come. It took us six or seven hours to get here yesterday, and I'm told there were more than 700 of them, so fair play to them. That's cracking support. It's enjoyable playing in front of them, even when you're down. We were 2-0 down at Peterborough and they were still non-stop. That's what you want as a player, It drives you on that bit more."
Argyle have racked up 4 points from their first three games in League One with a 1-1 draw away to Southend United. The home side had the better of the first half, going 1-0 up early on via a Sonny Bradley own goal. It was his defensive partner however, Ryan Edwards who levelled from a corner after the interval and the spoils were shared. Argyle: McCormick, Miller, Edwards, Bradley, Sawyer, Fox(Songo'o), Sarcevic, Carey, Jervis, Grant(Ainsworth), Blissett. Subs: te Loeke, Taylor-Sinclair, Lameiras, Wylde, Fletcher.
Derek Adams spoke about the thorny issue of youth integration and said that whilst he would like to bring young players through whenever possible, the immediate priority always has to be fielding the strongest team to get results. He said: "I can safely say I've not one who I have let go who has gone on to do any better during my managerial career,. You've got to back your own judgment, and as a manager, at this football club, we've looked at every player that we've released and we feel they don't fit in to our plans at that moment in time. It's up to them to go and prove we're wrong. At this moment in time it hasn't happened. Will it happen in the future? You might get the odd one or two wrong, but it's up to the player then. In my time here, youngsters coming through from the under-18s, that have been training with the first-team and been out on loan, haven't moved on to anything better. It's something we have to look at doing better getting youngsters through the system and keeping in the first-team. It depends how you run your football club. The supporters of this football club - we had 11,000 at home against Charlton want us to be successful and they want to see a winning team. If the youngsters are good enough they will play in the side. Exeter have a different model. They are a yo-yo club, and quite happy to be in League Two, maybe flirt with League One, and take in income for selling a young player. The ethos at this football club is different because of the fan base that we have. We have to try to do both if we possibly can: win games and take through the youth. But they have to be good enough. We had Alex Fletcher the other night, playing against Chelsea's under-21s, and scoring two goals. That is great for him. Now he had to continue that development. He's a young player that has done well, and has a good future ahead of him if continues to progress."
Fletcher himself spoke fondly of his big breakthrough, saying that it was a long time in the making: "To bang a couple of goals in was in my mind, definitely but it's one thing thinking it and one thing actually doing it. The fact that they both came so late in the game proves it's not over 'til it's over you have just got to keep going; anything can happen in football. "To be in the match-day squad, you have got to have a bit of confidence about yourself you know you are good enough to be there and that the manager trusts you enough for you to be there but, with it being my full debut, I still had the butterflies. Obviously, I wanted to make a good impression for the manager and everyone watching so I was trying to ease my way in, do everything right that I could.I wasn't trying to beat the world in the first ten minutes. I thought it was important to find my feet. I think I did that quite well and, as you settle into the game, you get more confident. The quality of the player that I was playing against was very high they are the champions of England and I've never come up against an Academy set-up as well regarded as Chelsea. It was a big thing for me to play against the best in the country for my age-group, anyway but the more experienced pros around me helped me in what would usually be a very tough game for me. I held my own against some very good quality opposition."
Regarding his immediate future at Argyle, Fletcher said: "I feel like I'm in a good place. Whatever the manager decides goes. I know I got the two goals the other night, but I'm not saying I should be starting, or sitting on the bench, every game. I know it takes a bit more time and trust than that. One game is one game. You can't go too over the top about it. It was a good full debut for me, and I'm proud to look back and think that I have done that, but that's in the past now and I have got to crack on and get as many minutes as I can in that first team. I know there's more games to come, hopefully, and this is just the start for me. I trust his judgment and it's up to him completely. If he sees it fit that I stay here and fight for a spot with Bliss, that's great. We're a bit light on the ground at the moment and, until the manager potentially brings someone else in, I am going to be pushing as hard as I can to take that spot. I feel like I'm in a good place. Whatever he decides goes. I know I got the two goals the other night, but I'm not saying I should be starting, or sitting on the bench, every game. I know it takes a bit more time and trust than that. The manager goes out of his way to make sure you feel like you are one of the senior pros when I've only been in the first-team changing-room for two months now. That's huge. For me, as young lad, coming in, you have got to feel part of it, otherwise you have got no chance of succeeding because you have to feel like you're a pro and you're valued. I feel like I've settled in well. The training here is second to none but, similarly, if he thinks game-time is a better option for me obviously at a reasonable standard, then I'll be more than happy to go out and ply my trade somewhere else, because that's the most important thing at the end of the day, getting minutes under your belt. Tuesday night was great, but I am not unaware that they are few and far between for me at the moment."
Injured right-back Oscar Threlkeld will miss about a month's action following the news that he received a hairline fracture of the fibula. Derek Adams said: "Oscar Threlkeld has got a hairline fracture of the fibula, so he's going to be out for between three and four weeks. It's a huge disappointment to me, and with Ryan Taylor being out for three months it's difficult to take at the start of the season. It's difficult at the start of the season. It's a heavy schedule but there is not much you can do about a broken ankle and a hairline fracture of the fibula. I have still got the possibility of taking in two players before the window shuts. The injury to Threlkeld: "It's difficult to know what to expect. They had an excellent result against Blackburn. To beat a team that have just come down from the Championship shows you they are a good side at home. Against Rotherham it could have been a freak result. They are a team that have done well in League One and have strengthened year on year. They have got a lot of good experienced players in their side, such as Simon Cox, who plays up front. They have signed Rob Kiernan from Rangers, they have got Anton Ferdinand at the back as well, and they have got Nile Ranger, who has just come back in and signed for them."
Derek Adams offered words of encouragement to young striker Alex Fletcher following 'an excellent night' for him and encouraged him to push on in his development, saying: "It was an excellent night for him. He's so happy. He's been nervous throughout the day. He's got two goals to his name and I said to him before the game that they go down as first-team goals, and that's important for him. He's still got a lot to learn. It's not easy, but he's shown that, when the ball is in and around the penalty area, he can score. We are still looking to help his development. He's 18 years of age and he's got a game to develop. He's not up to speed yet we saw that for the majority of the game. He'll learn by getting the experiences he had tonight. Take nothing away from him he took his two goals very well. He got his two goals. I think he probably only had two opportunities in the game and he scored a well-timed one, the first one, off the goalkeeper he was there to pounce; and his second one was excellent, late in the game, to get his foot around it and put it in the corner."
Argyle have gained 2 points from their first group game of the Checkatrade Trophy, winning the penalty shootout under the new ABBA system following a 2-2 draw in 90 minutes. Alex Fletcher scored two late goals on his full debut to pull the game back to a draw following Chelsea going 2-0 up in the second half. Fletcher himself then converted a penalty for Argyle, as did Carey, Wylde, Fox and Ainsworth to ensure the Greens won the shoot-out 5-4.
Derek Adams revealed that youngster Alex Fletcher will start the Checkatrade Trophy game against Chelsea and could then be set for a move out on loan. Adams said of Fletcher: "Alex Fletcher will start up front because he is looking to try to push his way into the first team and there is a possibility of clubs looking to get him on loan. It's a good avenue for him to be seen before he possibly goes out on loan. He will be going up against a Chelsea side that do very well in their system and it's good for him that he'll get his start alongside a lot of first-team players. Jordan Bentley is suspended he was due to take part, as well as Callum Rose, who's got a thigh strain; he felt it after the Peninsula League game on Friday;Threlkeld is injured he misses out; so does Ryan Taylor. Whoever else plays on Tuesday, the match is an opportunity to showcase their talent against some very gifted opponents."
Derek Adams had praise for all areas of his team, calling the 2-0 win over Charlton 'a perfect day'. He said of his Pilgrims: "I'm delighted, obviously, to get our first win of the season to win 2-0 against an excellent Charlton team that'll do well this season. Everybody knows with my teams that we like to not give a lot of space to the opposition team, but we like to play on the counter attack and we've done that today. We have players in and around the squad that can score goals, but we've got players who have a good knowledge of the game. They work hard and they want to defend, but not only that; going forward we created a lot of good opportunities as well. The all-round performance was excellent. We sat in; we sat deep and allowed Charlton to have the ball in areas that we didn't felt they were going to trouble us. We had Luke McCormick make an outstanding save in the first half, and all in all, it was a perfect day for us. It was an unbelievable save. He's parried the first one down and the opportunity came back again for the player, and it was terrific reflexes. It was a top save. I don't know how he was able to get his hand to it and tip it onto the bar but that's what Luke McCormick is very good at. His reflexes are excellent. I think it's very important that you get up and running. It's a tough league; we've seen that by the results today. We've played against two very good teams in Charlton and Peterborough, who've both been in the Championship before, one been in the Premier League, and we've acquitted ourselves well. I haven't been disappointed with the start of the campaign, because against Peterborough we played very well and we should've won the game. Our league campaign is the most important thing, and we look forward to next week against Southend. This was the important match. We've got a long campaign and our first home league game of the season was important. I rested a lot of players for it, and they thoroughly deserve the praise they get today, because I've been able to rest them and get them ready for this match."
Jake Jervis meanwhile, called the victory a 'statement', arguing: "It's a big statement, beating a big team. We've played teams that are supposedly going for promotion both weeks; we gave a good account of ourselves at Peterborough and today I think we have done extremely well on the counter-attack, keeping a good shape we have shown how good we can play like that. Sometimes, if you play teams that are expected to be down the bottom from the start, you get a bit comfortable and when you start playing the bigger team, it's a bit of a shock. To get them early doors and do so well against them is a good thing and it gives the boys confidence to go on to the next games.
"Bliss has done excellent today, He's got a job where he's got to throw himself around sometimes it doesn't look nice but he's doing that job for us and keeping the centre-halves occupied, which gives us a chance, out wide, to get on the ball and get in behind. To be honest, I think I'm more effective out wide. I can play up front, of course, but I'm more spin in behind. Bliss can get hold of it a bit more and we need someone that can hold the ball in there, and me playing out wide has been effective."
Jervis also admitted it was particularly important to regain the feel-good feeling after Tuesday's dire showing at Bristol City: A lot of our fans weren't happy with Tuesday, so getting a win against a team who are one of the favourites or up there is good for the fans and gets the feelgood factor back again. Any time I score, I'm happy. To get two on the first home day for all the fans after Tuesday is a big thing. Our fans away, home, wherever they are bring a good support and never stop singing, so today we gave something back to them. It's something I appreciate. It's the best fans I have played in front of; they are always behind me, singing my name. Hopefully, it continues."
"Luke has set a precedent, making that save. That's kept us in the game, given everyone a boost. That's what Luke's done since I've been here and he'll continue to do that. He's kept us in it and we've done well off the back of it. He's nice and calm in the changing-room as well; he gets the boys settled down if everyone's a bit panicky or something like that. In terms of being a captain, he's been excellent since he's got it. As a goalkeeper, you don't have to question him at all; off the pitch, he's helping all the new boys, as well."
Argyle have got their first points of the season with a 2-0 home victory over Charlton Athletic. An even first half saw the teams go in goalless though the half was notable for a world class reflex save from Luke McCormick. Argyle pushed on in the second half and got two goals, both from Jake Jervis. Argyle: McCormick, Miller, Edwards, Bradley, Sawyer, Fox, Sarcevic, Carey, Jervis(Ness), Blissett(Lameiras), Grant. Subs: te Loeke, Taylor-Sinclair, Songo'o, Ainsworth, Wylde.
Derek Adams reflected on Argyle's 'tough' start to the season and looked ahead to Saturday's first home match of the season against Charlton, saying: "We've had a difficult start to the season, being away to Peterborough and away to Bristol City, so it's nice to get back home and have a home game. It's a good game for supporters to come and see, and it's a tough test for us. Charlton are a big football club in League One. They have been here for a number of seasons, and they will want to get back into the Championship, but we're at home and looking forward to it. We had a very good performance away to Peterborough in the first league game of the season we really needed to take our chances in the first half when we were really on top of the game and now we're back to business at home."
"If any fan thinks we're going to have the same season as they had last season, they are in a different world to the one I'm in. We're in a new league, a tougher league we are certainly not going to win as many games as we did last season. We've shown how well we played against Peterborough. We're delighted to be in League One and we want to try to pick up as many points as we possibly can. Our priority is to push on and not to get ahead of ourselves. The first aspect of any campaign is to have stability that's the nature of business, as a whole, and football's no different. You have to have a foundation and that's what we want to have at this football club. We don't want to get ahead of ourselves; that's happened in the past and it hasn't helped."
"Oscar Threlkeld has got a dead leg. He's missed a few games before with slight injuries and I would be disappointed if he didn't make it for Saturday. Jamie is back in full training, which is great, and I'm looking forward to giving him some game-time very soon. He will start off playing in the Peninsula League and then will work his way into the first team. Jamie is a very talented player. He will be an excellent acquisition for this football club. He has got good experience, playing at the top level in Scotland; in the Premiership, he was with Stoke; and last year, playing in the play-offs with Scunthorpe. He would like to try to be part of things as quickly as possible."
Gary Sawyer reflected on on particular unwanted blemish to his name after Argyle's opening week of the season- the fact that Peterborough's opener was (through no fault of Sawyer's own) given as an own goal. Sawyer said: "I don't know," said Gary, when asked what happened. "There's no words for it. I got texts from my friends saying: 'You scored an own goal on your first game!' When they've seen it, they can see what it is, but I can't see how I can credited for that. They should have just given it to the lad crossing it. I didn't want it! I think that was the feeling after the game," said Sawyer. "The first game is always tough, especially having gone up a league. It was good to play a team that most would say would be up there. I thought the boys did really well Saturday. We created more chances than we did in a lot of the away games last season, we just didn't get lucky enough to get a second goal when we needed it. We didn't start the second half too great, let the goal in, and then the game went a bit ragged, a bit frantic. We gained control back and deserved to get something, but it wasn't meant to be unfortunately. If we play like that every game we'll win a lot more than we lose. We have to go again on Saturday and get to the same level."
In spite of making almost 200 appearances for Argyle, Saturday's loss to Peterborough was Sawyer's first in League One- having played extensively in the Championship and League Two beforehand. Sawyer said of the season ahead: "It's what you want. We fought all last year so we could have bigger games this year. I think the club is where the club wants to be, aiming in the right direction, getting clubs like Charlton down here, and looking to get a bumper crowd. It was only the Championship when I was here before, and then League Two when I came back. I have probably played the majority of my football in League One if you were to dissect through my career. League One's a good level, and it's nice, after a successful year last year, to play in League One with this club. I'm pleased to have done the leagues with Plymouth it's just unfortunate it was never the top one! It's a big game for us. Charlton are a massive club as well. They will be geared to be up there at the end of the season. It's all about points. We'll go for the win, as we do in every game, and hope that we can get it. The fans always turn out, which is really good. It will be nice to play a home game, considering the journeys we've had in the last few weeks! It's an exciting one, and we're looking forward to it."
Derek Adams reiterated that he is still keen to add at least one new striker to the squad following Ryan Taylor's injury but added a cautionary note that Argyle must be sure to work within their budgets. He said: "You look at the amount of money that is getting spent. James Collins went to Luton for a lot of money; Swindon big transfer fees; Charlton speculation of them and big transfer fees. You have got to remember where this football club is and where it's come from we are not in a position to pay large transfer fees for players. The supporters have got to understand that. They have seen their club be in the depths of administration and you can't quickly turn that around. It has been in a difficult place, but it is now in a very good place and we are moving along nicely we don't need outside pressures to spend money that we don't have. The supporters that have followed us for so many years are happy with the progress that the football club is making, without being a club that goes bust. That's something no-one wants to see.
"Income needs to be generated. We did pay compensation very small as it is for Nathan Blissett and Ryan Edwards. The football club has to be on a sure footing. We are trying to build a new stand, which the finances are there for but we are not in a situation where we can go out and spend six figures for a striker. That will maybe come in the years to come. We've got the two of them vying for that position until we take another striker in. They have played there and scored goals; it gives them that opportunity. Nathan Blissett scored a good number of goals when he was with Torquay and was able to put a run together. It gives the two of them the opportunity to try to vie for the striking berth that we have. He has to take the ball in; he has to link the play up. He's more than capable of doing that; he's got a very good presence; he's quick; he's strong; he's excellent in the air. The other night, against Bristol City, he gave their back four when we did have possession of the ball some problems. In pre-season, Jake Jervis has played in that role up front a good number of times, and did very well at it."
Derek Adams held his hands up and accepted blame for Argyle's 5-0 loss at the hands of Bristol City, in spite of goalkeeper Robbert te Loeke coming in for criticism from some for the defeat. Adams said: "It wasn't his fault that we lost the game," said Derek, in defence of his custodian. "It was everybody's fault that we lost the game; I include myself in that because I'm the manager and I make the changes and I take responsibility for that. He should have done better for a couple of the goals but he didn't get help from around about him at times. He left himself open and he had to make a couple of good saves but, in the end, we are disappointed that we have lost so many goals. I've made too many changes and it didn't work out for us. Over the 90 minutes, Bristol City obviously deserved to win the game; they scored some really good goals and we didn't defend well enough. Making the changes that I did from Saturday's game against Peterborough hasn't made it easy but I still had enough quality in my side that I thought was capable of competing and giving Bristol City a game, but we didn't do that. After 19 minutes, we were 3-0 down and there was no way back. They players were in a wee bit of shock. To be fair to Bristol City, they pressed us very well when we had the ball they are a very good side but, in the end, we didn't do well enough when we had the ball. We didn't do well enough defending, as well. We had probably too many attacking players on the park. When you have that against a better standard of opposition, it doesn't help.
"I made nine changes because I wanted to keep my players fresh for Saturday's game. It's important we have a successful league campaign. Cup competitions are important, but they are not as the league competition. It's an important game we've got on Saturday. The league campaign is important and I didn't want to pick up injuries, but those that didn't play tonight have to perform on Saturday because I have given them a rest. It's up to the players who didn't play tonight to give us a good performance."
Argyle have excited the Carabao Cup with a whimper, going down 5-0 to Championship side Bristol City. Argyle played a weakened side and were 4-0 down going into the interval. One more was scored in the second half and to round off a miserable night, Derek Adams confirmed that Ryan Taylor will miss at least three months with a broken ankle. Argyle: te Loeke, Miller, Sokolik, Bradley, Taylor-Sinclair, Songo'o, Carey, Lameiras, Ainsworth (Threlkeld (Edwards)), Wylde(Sarcevic), Blissett. Subs: McCormick, Sawyer, Jervis, Grant.
Derek Adams said he has four pending offers on strikers that he aims to bring to Home Park and stated he is trying hard to bring in the striker that we badly need. He also went on to speak of Ryan Taylor's injury. Adams said: "We have four offers outstanding at this moment in time. It's not as easy as just finding that man, but the club that the player is at has to want to release him, under the right terms. It's difficult, but we'll hopefully get there eventually. We're always looking. We have made a number of offers over the summer for loan players or free players, but nothing has been accepted. We can't do anything other than make offers. If our offer is not good enough, we have to move to the next one."
"We're waiting to hear back about Ryan Taylor. He's damaged his ankle; we're waiting to hear the full extent of it. Until he's had an MRI scan we'll wait and see. You're always hopeful it will be a short term injury, but we'll wait and see to see if it is something other than that."
Graham Carey echoed the words of teammates Ruben Lameiras in saying that the two players can play alongside eachother- and was full of compliments for the Portugese playmaker. Carey said of Lameiras: "Ruben is great. His quality is there for everyone to see. The way he gets on the ball is probably a bit similar to me. He likes playing in little holes and creating things for other players. He's a great lad as well and I think he will have a big future at the club. You can see that Portuguese in him, in the way he plays. He just loves to get on the ball and create things for other players. Hopefully we can get a big season out of him.
I enjoyed playing with Ruben in pre-season. We are on the same wavelength and kind of think alike. As long as we are not in the same position at the same time then there is no reason why we can't play together. I think we are both clever enough to do the opposite of what each other is doing. As long as we do that we will be fine. With the amount of travelling that we do, it's important we do have a team and a squad that gels well, and I think he has done it again this season."
Adams looked ahead to tomorrow night's cup tie at Bristol City, admitting he could shake up his team a little and expecting City to do the same. He said: "They have recruited really well over the summer. They got a very good victory at home in the first game of the season, being 3-0 up very early on. It is a club moving in the right direction. They have spent heavily because they have got the football and the rugby there and made it a sporting city. That is something I think all cities are trying to do at this moment in time. I would presume they would make changes to their team from Saturday because the league campaign is important to them."
Derek Adams refused to let the 2-1 defeat to Peterborough United detract from an excellent opening-day performance from his side. He passionately defended his side's performance, saying: "We were thoroughly outstanding, from start to finish. We annihilated them in the first half. We had chance after chance and we should've been ahead by four or five goals at half time. We were totally in control of the game and didn't see much from Peterborough. We knew we could cause them problems. We certainly did that with balls down the side and good link-up play, passing play. Possession-wise, we were better than Peterborough, and we didn't allow them to start out from the back. It shows you we've moved up a level, and we were able to compete with a team who have been at this level for a few years. We haven't scored when we should've, at times. We had good, gilt-edged chances from a number of players. The chances created were excellent. To do that against a team who are trying to get into the Championship is very good from our point of view. We should've scored the goals. We had great opportunities in and around the six-yard box and we had to finish them off.
"The second goal is a clear push on the touchline on Sonny Bradley. It was about 15 yards from where I am. The linesman is three yards away. Sonny Bradley's in control of the ball; the only way an opponent can get to the ball and past Sonny Bradley is to foul him, and that's what happened. In the end, that's how we've lost the three points. We get the goal and look like we could get the equaliser. Fair play to Peterborough; they could've gone and made it three as well, because we were playing on the counter attack as well as launching bodies forward. They started the better team in the second half, then we came into it again and took control of the game. The way we played was thoroughly outstanding, from the first minute to the last minute. You look at our fitness and the way we were running compared to Peterborough; it was quite scary at times. That's a good thing as well.
"Ryan Taylor went down and twisted his ankle. One of their players went up for the ball with him. He fell awkwardly and the player fell on top of him. He's got a twisted ankle; I'd probably say he's out for Tuesday night's game at Bristol City."
Gregg Wylde detailed Argyle's nightmarish trip to Peterborough on Friday, revealing how traffic disrupted their schedule on the road. Argyle were diverted way off the usual route due to a combination of roadworks and accidents as well as being hampered by volume of traffic. Wylde said: "It was unbelievable. I looked at the map and we weren't far north of Southampton at one point. We stopped at a hotel for dinner, which was good. The boys didn't moan about it. We just get on with it. It was a short weekend, to be honest we got to bed at 2.30am and when we woke up, we had a pre-match meal and the game, and that was it! When we got the hotel, some of the keys didn't work and Graham Carey and Gary Sawyer's room only had one bed, so I think they got to bed at 2.50am. But we didn't really think about it because we knew we had a game and a job to do."
Derek Adams added: "It took us about 14-and-a-half hours. We didn't get here until half past two this morning. We left at 12 o'clock. We've had a terrible journey. We stopped around seven o'clock and had to get something to eat. We went to a restaurant and hotel. We were there for 45 minutes and then had to get on the road again. After 10 o'clock, the motorways are closed to be repaired. We just had to go on so many detours. They're not all like that, but sometimes you have to deal with it.
"I was in contact with Jon Back. Jon was very kindly able to get in contact with the hotel and the manager there looked after us. It couldn't have helped us, but it didn't show on the pitch in today's performance. We showed that the character of the player is immense. To be fair to the players, last night, they were very good. They didn't moan and we just had to get on with it."
Gregg Wylde declared mixed feelings on a bittersweet Argyle second debut- happy to get a goal but disappointed to be on the losing side. He said: "We created more chances here then we did with Millwall, but it's two different games, two different clubs. I'm happy here, on and off the field, and my family loves it. When I went to Millwall, I enjoyed it and the manager was good with me, but, unfortunately, it didn't work out for me. I'm happy here now. We did well and we looked really fit. The manager keeps us in top condition; we do double sessions every day. We'll look forward to Charlton at home next Saturday, when hopefully we can get the support behind us. The support that came here was unbelievable. Hopefully, we can pay them off next time. I came here with Millwall. Millwall is closer to here than Plymouth, and we took more here than Millwall took. It is unbelievable support we take away from home, considering the travelling.
I had a few chances when I came on. With my first touch, I had a shot and then, obviously, I scored. Ruben Lameiras picked the ball up and was driving in before cutting it back. I said to Graham Carey that I wanted it through him and I put it into the bottom corner. I was delighted the goal went in but I would rather have had the three points. After that, we had a few chances. I thought we coped with the game really well, considering that we were playing a team has been in League One for many years. The manager had a formation to match Peterborough and he got the tactics spot on. I think the boys adapted to it really well. Everybody who is involved and who is left out just need to crack on and look after each other. We have got a good changing-room. When we went to Holland, there was a good bonding. Comparing this to my first season, it is the exact same."
Argyle have lost their first game back in League One, going down 2-1 to Peterborough, In spite of countless Argyle chances, Posh went 2-0 up with goals early in each half, the second of which looked dubious at best. Argyle had two penalty appeals but neither were ultimately given. Gregg Wylde pulled one back from the bench but it was not enough. Argyle: McCormick, Threlkeld, Edwards, Bradley, Sawyer, Fox, Sarcevic, Carey, Jervis(Lameiras), Taylor(Ainsworth), Grant(Wylde). Subs: te Loeke, Miller, Taylor-Sinclair, Songo'o.
In spite of being the elder statesman of the squad, Luke McCormick admits to still getting a tingle of pre-season excitement as we gear up to Saturday's big opener at Peterborough: "We're looking forward to - not necessarily the trip to Peterborough - but certainly the start of the whistle on Saturday at 3 o'clock. You look across the fixture list and there are no easy games. Peterborough are well set up in League One, we know that they're very good going forward so we're going to have to be at our best really to come out with a result. We go there confident in ourselves, in what we can do and it should be a good opener. We've spent a long time in League Two, longer than what we wanted but now we're out of that we've got a new test in front of us. We're looking forward to getting started and I'm sure the fans are to seeing new places. We're moving in the right direction and that promotion that we got last year is a huge part of that. There are more demands from us as players and the club as a whole but it's good, it means progression. We'll see what we can do this season. We're hoping we can continue with our momentum that we had from last year and take that on and equally with the fans backing behind us it's a huge push. We're going to have to count on that again this season."
He did however on a more cautionary note, warn to be realistic about the season's expectations, adding: "I think the first season in League One will be a case of consolidation first and foremost and then anything after that will be a bonus. But, if you look at the clubs that have gone up, particularly the season before we've managed to do it, they've all done quite well. Oxford missed out on the playoffs by four points so it's there for us to go and get stuck into. It's great for the fans. It's a new season; no-one really knows what to expect so it's good that they can get excited and at times carried away. We as players, as a club, we have to be slightly more realistic. The fans have been brilliant over the last few years, they've really got behind us and we'll really need their help again this year, hopefully we give them something to shout about. You see the new teams that go into the Premier League, sides don't know what to expect. They don't know how you're going to set up necessarily or they're not familiar, they haven't come up against you so many times so we'll try and use that to our advantage. We're looking for a good season. We're confident that we're going to have a good season and be a bit of an unknown quantity as well which will certainly help us."
Luke McCormick says the club will reap the rewards of having such a large squad over the course of the upcoming season. Derek Adams has made eight signings during the summer so far - and has until the end of August to add more - but has as many as two players per position. McCormick sees this depth and strength in squad numbers a bonus. "That's what he tried to do last year as well and we saw the benefits of that last year. I believe that we're stronger than we were last year. We've strengthened and we've got that good competition all over. I think it's important. Even going into the first fortnight of the season, it's busy; it's stretched over three different competitions so everyone will get a chance early on.\"The start of pre season is always the hardest part in the first week and then you're looking for the first games," said Luke. "Then once the games start coming it's almost a sort of milestone. You're trying to do things in the games to set you up ready for the start of the season and that will carry you through. The new lads who have come in have been great," he said. "It's been evident for everyone to see already. For those that have seen the games have seen the quality that's come into the squad which will help us no end. They seem to have had no trouble settling in and have done it as well as I've ever seen to be honest. We're fortunate we seem to have a good group which we'll need throughout the course of the season. A lot of work has gone into the six weeks of pre season. As players we're really glad that the season is here and are itching to get going with it."
Derek Adams admitted that he would like to see the amount that managers have available to spend publicly known to fans- so it can be judged who is doing a good and bad job with the budgetary restrictions. Adams theorised: "It's a big step and everybody knows that the competition in League One is improving. The teams that have been relegated from the Championship are all excellent we've obviously got Blackburn in there who, not long ago, were playing in the Premier League and the teams that have come up from League Two have all done very well; the standard of opposition is certainly improving. There are going to be a good number of teams that will be strong in this division; I think you could go into double-figures. At the start of any season, we should have it out in the open what managers have to spend, cheque-book wise. I'm quite happy to have that, as a manager, because I know the constraints I work under and I know the benefits some other managers get. That would then show the good coaches, the good managers, from the rest, just to give an idea to the football fan how their club is spending the money. Financially, the chairman and the board of directors have put the club in a very healthy position, being able to break even and move into profit. That is not easy in this game because, if you look at the clubs with benefactors who are spending money they don't have, it becomes a challenging operation for any club chairman. The game has gone ludicrously mad at the top end and it filters its way down to the bottom end eventually. I do think there should be a bit more clarity in the public domain."
Adams also admitted to being excited at Argyle entering into a league that they had not been in for many years and looked forward to a tough test away to Peterborough, saying: "It's been a very good two years and now we are in League One and looking forward to a league where the football club hasn't been for six seasons. The aim is to continue the progress we have already had. Game by game, we'll sit down and look at the situation; we'll see where we are come December-time; and then decide what our logic is after that. We want to achieve on a weekly basis; we want to win football matches and, with that, we will gain the points we will require at the end of the season. You have to look for consolidation first; any person will tell you that you have to go into a new division a division that you haven't been in for six years and consolidation is the first thing you have to look at. Then you have to move forward from that. Building a house, you have to put the foundations down first and move forward from there; people who get ahead of themselves are people who fail and we're ones that want to get the foundations right before getting carried away with ourselves.
"You have always got a challenge when you're the manager of this football club. The first year I was here, it was a challenge to see what it was like, managing in England and to see if we could get ourselves in the play-off places. We were able to do that. Last year, we put ourselves under pressure to try to get ourselves into the automatic promotion places and we succeeded by getting automatic promotion. We're looking forward to it. With getting promotion last year, we're in a division that we haven't been in for a number of years and we're all excited about that prospect."
Ruben Lameiras has rejected any notion that he and Graham Carey are too alike to play regularly in the same side for Argyle. He cited the extent to which he, Carey and Joel Grant gelled effectively in pre season. Lameiras said: "In football it is important to feel confident and I'm a confidence player, so it's good. I'll be looking forward to giving some of that back to the fans in my performances, in my goals, in my assists. I still feel like I can do a little bit better I still feel, fitness wise, I'm nearly there. There's still a lot more to come. "There's a lot of competition. Everyone's really at it in training and it's good because it brings out the best in everyone. When everyone's performing, everyone's confident and it gels the team together. I feel confident. With the individual quality the gaffer's added to what was already here you may not always be able to showcase it in League Two, but in League One it's better pitches, better crowds."
Derek Adams said that whilst Jamie Ness has not yet recovered from injury to the extent where he is able to play in Argyle's curtain raiser at Peterborough on Saturday, he is making good progress and will prove to be a vital member of his side when fit. Adams explained: "He's a very good player. He has performed at a high level and will be an important member of the team when he gets over the setback. We have had a good number of games in pre-season and all the players have had very good game-time."
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