A Round-up of Argyle News
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Argyle lost 2-1 at West Bromwich Albion, the goal scored by Rory Fallon after 70 minutes. Argyle: McCormick, Connolly, Seip, Aljofree, Capaldi, Norris, Nalis, Buzsaky, Halmosi, Gallen, Hayles. Subs - Fallon, Sinclair, Ebanks-Blake (not used - Timar, Summerfield,). Attendance – 19,894.
Argyle are waiting for confirmation whether Ryan Dickson, currently on loan at Torquay United, will need a double hernia operation. Ian Holloway said: "We are not sure how bad it is yet, but everybody is writing doom and gloom about it. That's not exactly factually true yet. We are getting the experts to have a look. We have had a scan done and there were a couple of little bulges on there, but we don't know yet whether it needs treatment. I would prefer it if we didn't tell the experts what's wrong with him until they have told us." Holloway insisted Dickson's loan spell with Torquay would not necessarily have to be cut short, adding: "It might be something he can play on with until the summer. We don't know the severity of it yet, so don't jump the gun. He's in a tad of discomfort but he has done ever so well. I don't think he wants to stop playing, and I don't think Torquay want him to either. Let's wait for a top specialist to tell us exactly what's wrong."
Tony Capaldi will not be frozen out of the Argyle first team squad by Ian Holloway even though he seems set to leave Home Park in the summer. Holloway said: "I have got now until the end of the season to better our offer or he will be walking out on a free in the summer. I don't think he will lose any of his enthusiasm. He likes what we are doing and he likes how he's playing. He likes the team and he's definitely part of it, but this is just the modern day, I'm afraid. The rules are bananas and they should change them back. I know we are all in the same boat, but it's absolute rubbish. How can you tell me that a 23-year-old has got a value to a club when he runs out of contract and you offer him a better deal, but a 24 or 25-year-old hasn't? I can't understand it. He has had much better offers if he was on a free in the summer than we can pay him, which is understandable, but it's disappointing. If we are flying by the end of the season he might well want to stay and be part of it." When asked if he would still include Capaldi in his first team plans, Holloway replied: "Of course I will, why not? Gary Sawyer was ill on Saturday and it was a good job I had Tony."
Bojan Djordjic has talked for the first time about the severity of the facial injury he suffered against West Brom on December 23rd. He said: "I have been at Plymouth Argyle for two years and it has been up and down - more down than up. It has been eventful, to say the least. I think Plymouth Argyle will be a special chapter in my life from now on, whatever happens. The last month has not been the easiest. It was my first operation after 24 years and it comes as a shock to the system. Especially with everything I have been through since I have been at this club, it piles on all the negativity. But I have been down before and I have come up again, so this is just another thing for me to take on board. I even went back on the pitch but I said to myself 'this is not working.' I was seeing seven right-backs instead of one and I was in a bit of danger. I went straight to the Nuffield Hospital at Derriford and they told me I had broken my cheekbone and nose." Djordjic had his operation on December 27th and it was a 100 per cent success, although not without complications. He said: "The surgeon did a perfect job on it, but the problem was the injury was so bad the blood didn't have anywhere to go so it ran behind my eye. He thought that if he left it there and just let it dry it would maybe damage my vision. So he said: 'Let's take him back to the theatre and drain the blood out. It may take a little bit longer to recover, but at least his vision will be 100 per cent.' So I had two anaesthetics on the same day, but I didn't have two operations." The timing of the injury was particularly cruel because for the first time in his Argyle career Djordjic was starting to establish himself in the first team. He added: "This happened when I was just finding my feet and knocking some critics back as well, by showing I can play football. It was hard at first, but I will be back soon. I have been training for two weeks and I have been doing a lot of running and a lot of fitness work. I want to make sure when I come back that I come back properly, because before the injury I was going in the right direction. I had scored a few goals and I was getting picked by the gaffer (Holloway). He showed some faith in me after everything that had happened. I want to repay him, and repay myself, for everything I have been through here. I have to train with a mask when it's contact, and I can't head for another few days. But my next check-up is on my birthday, February 6, and if I get a green light then next week I can train normally with the boys."
Ian Holloway is in buoyant mood ahead of tonight's trip to face West Brom. He said: "We are in fine form at the moment and I have got some decent choices. It is another test for us - a big test. We got ourselves 2-0 up against them and it was 2-2 by half-time, which goes to show what they have got in their ranks. They beat Wolves 3-0, so it is a tough test for us but one I am really looking forward to." Holloway admitted that Tony Mowbray's side is full of quality. He said: "I think where they have got any sort of weaknesses is our strong point, so it will be quite an even game for us. We have got to be on the mettle because they have got Premiership quality in their ranks." Argyle will be able to add to the squad which won at Barnet with Rory Fallon and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake both available. There is also Scott Sinclair to consider but Holloway is keen to keep expectations in check. "He's still learning his trade," he added. The Argyle squad will be staying up in the West Midlands after tonight's game as they play Wolves on Saturday. The squad will use the training base at Birmingham City as they prepare for the game at Molineux. "The team will be staying up and I think the training base will be at Birmingham City," said Holloway. "I can't see the point in getting back on Thursday and then going straight back up there. It is like having your braces caught." With three away games in eight days to cope with, Holloway is happy about the reduction in travelling for his squad. "It was forced upon us," he said. "It would have been crazy to come back." The date change caused problems for some Argyle fans, who have had to change travel and work plans, but Argyle were powerless to prevent the alteration. Michel Dunford said: "We are sorry if any of our supporters have been inconvenienced by the decision. However, the matter was totally out of our hands. The Football League told us the game had to be moved to the Wednesday because the Cup tie was moved at the insistence of local police, and not because of the demands of television."
Rory Fallon will be a spectator for the rest of Argyle's FA Cup run, but the striker is eager to play a big part in their push for success in the Championship. He said: "I'm definitely looking forward to the League games coming up, and hopefully I can play a part. The lads are doing really well, so I can't complain if I have to wait. The guys up front, Barry Hayles and Kevin Gallen, are brilliant at the moment. They're really good players, and I can learn a lot from just watching them. As long as we keep winning, I'm happy. It's a team game, and I'm just willing the lads on to do well. It was hard, not going with the boys to Barnet, but that's life. I'll be cheering the boys on." Fallon is settling in well in the Argyle dressing-room. "They're a great bunch of lads, and they've made me feel welcome," he said. "I've not been on the bus with the boys yet, and I'm looking forward to it."
Argyle's reserve fixture against Swindon next week has been brought forward by 24 hours to Monday, February 5th, at 7pm
Gary Sawyer is a major doubt for tonight's trip to West Brom as he is struggling to shake off the bug which ruled him out of Saturday's FA Cup win at Barnet. Ian Holloway said: "He is in training but he is certainly not alright. He is hacking and coughing like a mule - a mule that has been smoking for ten years. I don't want him spreading whatever he has got." There was better news concerning Mathias Kouo-Doumbe, who has been struggling with a back problem. Holloway said: "Doumbe won't be taken but he has trained for two days without a reaction, so he can hopefully get a reserve game next week. It will be nice to have him back and it gives me a few more options." Bojan Djordjic is also on the road to recovery and Holloway added: "Bojan might be given the green light to go and play next week. He is looking very sharp in training and it is nice to have his handsome self back with no other problems."
Ian Holloway has paid tribute to the professionalism of Anthony Barness. He said: "I have got no problems with Anthony Barness, never had and never will. He will be a fantastic player for somebody. I just saw that I had Danny Gosling coming through and Paul Connolly, and felt that was the way I wanted to go. I wish him all the best. He is a great pro and I still think he will get a very good club."
Romain Larrieu has rejoined Gillingham for a second loan spell, and Ian Holloway said: "He needs to get as many games under his belt as possible. After missing pre-season, it is absolutely vital for our run-in that he feels more confident about the games and the training he has got under his belt. Obviously, the team is doing very well and he won't get a chance here at the moment, so I need to take a risk and let him go out on loan to Gillingham. I think it will do him the world of good and Gillingham are very fortunate to get a top-class goalie, who has had a bit of a raw deal this season."
Argyle and Gillingham are understood to be finalising a loan deal which will keep Romain Larrieu in Kent for a further month. Argyle will be able to recall him with a day's notice, should they need to, and there is no prospect of the loan turning into a full transfer as Larrieu wants to remain at Home Park. Gillingham manager Ronnie Jepson is delighted with the 'keeper, and wants to keep him for a while longer. "Romain has been smashing for us," he said. "He has looked comfortable in everything he's done, and I'm really pleased with him." Larrieu is already feeling the benefits of his two games in a Gillingham shirt. He said: . "I needed this. In the few games I played for Argyle at Christmas, I wasn't happy with the way I played at all. I didn't enjoy myself. The gaffer told me I wasn't going to be in the team at Peterborough in the FA Cup third round, and then I got injured on the same morning. It was really, really annoying. I talked to the gaffer for about one hour then, and I told him that when I was fit again it would be good for me to play proper games, and not reserve games. At Plymouth, reserve games have been very annoying and frustrating for me. I don't think they've prepared me to be back in the Championship. He accepted that, even though he said it would be a gamble to send me on loan somewhere. When I came back from my ankle injury, I was flying in training from the first day. I felt really, really good. He saw that, and then he told me that Gillingham needed a goalie. I didn't think twice. I was ready to go. I wanted to redeem myself, in some way." There was no time for a training session with his temporary team-mates before last Tuesday's game at Swansea, but Larrieu did his best. "We had a very difficult time, because they were on top of us for almost the whole game," he said. "I was really busy, but I felt my all-round game was good." Larrieu did manage to train with the Gills last Thursday, and the following day impressed on his home debut against Tranmere. "We managed to keep a clean-sheet, which hasn't happened much for Gillingham this season," he said. "I feel a lot better about myself than I did at Christmas, and I hope that will show when I'm given my chance to play for the first team at Plymouth," he said. "It took me a while to get to the Championship, and that's where I want to play, at least."
Argyle's Championship match at Sheffield Wednesday has been rearranged for Tuesday, March 6th at 7.45pm
Argyle have been drawn to play Derby County, at home, in the fifth round of the FA Cup. Hasney Aljofree said: "Derby are a very good team - they are top of our league and doing very well - so I'm glad we've got them at Home Park. Paul Connolly agreed: "It's always nice to get a home draw," he said. "It would have been nice to get one of the big boys at home, but we all see it as a chance of progressing to the next round. It will be a tough game. We beat them 3-1 down here but they have got a lot stronger since then. They have signed a lot of players for a lot of money but, hopefully, we can try to put up a good performance and get through to the quarter-finals. Aljofree added: "We played them not long ago at their place and I thought we coped well with them without really threatening them too much. But I fancy us at home - we're quite strong at home. Hopefully, we can get the right result." Ian Holloway said: "I'm happier knowing somebody will have to travel to us. They beat us at their ground; we beat them at ours - we'll both feel we've got a chance of getting through. They are top of our division so, obviously, they are more consistent than we are at the moment. What is good is that a team from the Championship will progress to the quarter-finals. We've got to do our best to make sure it's the Green Army." Aljofree, who has scored penalties in the last two FA Cup ties, said he would be happy to take responsibility again if the situation arose. "If the manager's picking me and I'm on the pitch, I am confident of taking penalties," he said, "and I would like the chance to pop one away if that was the case."
Anthony Barness has left Argyle after his contract was terminated by mutual consent with immediate effect
Cherno Samba has joined Wrexham on loan for a month. Ian Holloway said: "Wrexham have got four or five games in the next month, so it will be good for Cherno. I'm taking a bit of risk, with Reuben being away as well, but I feel it will benefit him."
Argyle's game at Sheffield Wednesday scheduled for 17th is set to be postponed due to Argyle's participation in the fifth round of the FA Cup that weekend. No date has yet been agreed for the re-arranged fixture
When asked about the prospects of signing Scott Sinclair, Ian Holloway said: "He belongs to Chelsea. I won't sign him long term, will I? I won't be able to. They are not that stupid, are they? Hopefully, Jose will not be watching the TV tonight. You can be at Chelsea, Arsenal or Man United and you will get frustrated because you are not going to get a chance. When people are buying 30-year-old players for £30 million sometimes you get blocked up. Hopefully, clubs like ourselves can nick them, borrow them and help them on with their career."
Argyle beat Torpoint Athletic 3-0 in the South Western League on Saturday, the goals scored by Anthony Mason (2) and Toby Davis. Chris Souness said: "It wasn't a classic but the side got the job done. Although I was pleased with the team's attitude, the players must learn to adapt to game situations that are thrown at us in this league and that we are not used to in the professional game. I thought we competed well in the first half but gave them two sloppy goals early in the second half. The players must learn to be more streetwise - to be fair Torpoint got to us a bit in the second half but we toughed it out as a team and deserved our win in the end." Argyle: Saxton, King, Laird, White, Kendall, Duggan, Smith, Hopkinson, Davis, Mason, Watts. Subs – McCrory, Malsom (not used - Byrne, Petnehazi, Joyce)
Romain Larrieu has returned to Argyle after his one-week loan spell with Gillingham
Ian Holloway made a plea for Scott Sinclair to be left alone after his breathtaking goal yesterday. "Please don't blow him out of all proportion," said Holloway. "He's scored one goal: 'Well done, son, good start, calm down and concentrate on your football.' The goal was a joy to behold for any football supporter. It was a terrific run and a terrific finish. Tony Capaldi said 'I think that's the best goal I've ever seen with my own eyes' and he just rolled him the ball. I had him when I was ten years old at Bristol Rovers. The fella who gave him to me said 'I think he might be as good as Michael Owen one day'. To be manager of him when he scores his first goal is marvellous because he's a wonderful kid - he comes from a fantastic family - and he's a credit to his profession. He wants the ball; he's lively and quick; he's one of the reasons why I packed up playing - if you're taking ten-year-olds who can run like that, what chance have you got when you are 37? He knows what the score is; he's only trying to learn his profession - he has an awful lot of what the modern game is all about: great feet, great balance, and he's like Dash off that film the Incredibles. Thierry Henry is probably the master of it. You have got to be an athlete. There were a lot more than Scotty Sinclair out there today. The lads helped him through it, made him feel calm, made him feel wanted. It's about getting the balance right - fresh, hungry people, and experienced, calm influences." Barnet gave Argyle a few frights, and Holloway added:
"To win here is exceptional because, out of their last nine home games, they have won eight and drawn the other one. We didn't get tight enough to them, we didn't do things right but, being 0-0 at half-time, I thought we had a bit of a chance. I knew what we had on the bench. I wasn't nervous. I felt it was a very good game. I would have taken the draw, and I was glad the second goal went in. The minute we got the penalty, I could see us getting another one. It was a very, very tough game and I'm delighted to come out still in the hat. Hopefully, we'll get what we deserve, which is a big team, a big draw, and we'll see what we can do."
Hasney Aljofree has no doubts who he wants to see Argyle draw in the fifth round of the FA Cup. He said: "I want to play Man United away - I'm a Man United fan, I'm from Manchester. I think we deserve it. The club has come quite far in a short space of time - it would be good to get a great team, home or away - Man Utd." Aljofree opened the scoring at Barnet with a penalty almost exactly three weeks to the minute after having scored from the spot in the third-round at Peterborough. "I had it in my mind which way to go," he said. "A couple of players said to me they knew which way I was going and the goalie did as well. I felt 'I don't care, I'm going to put it in that corner.' The goalkeeper dived that way but it went in, luckily enough. I thought we deserved the win, especially in the second half. In the first half, it was backs to the wall at times, Barnet were coming at us at times, but we defended well at times and managed to come in at 0-0." Aljofree admitted he was not surprised by the quality of Scott Sinclair's second strike that sealed the victory. He added: "On his first day in training, every single one of the back four looked at him and said 'I don't want to mark him'. He's quick, he can run with the ball, and he's got a trick as well - I think the world is his oyster, isn't it?"
Argyle won 2-0 in the FA Cup fourth round at Barnet, the goals scored by Hasney Aljofree from a penalty after 67 minutes, and Scott Sinclair (83). Argyle: McCormick, Connolly, Seip, Aljofree, Capaldi, Norris, Nalis, Buzsaky, Halmosi, Hayles, Gallen. Subs - Sinclair, Summerfield (not used - Timar, Gosling, Hodges). Attendance - 5,204.
Paul Wotton started rehabilitation from his cruciate knee ligament operation within hours of the surgery being carried out. Paul Maxwell said: "The operation went really well. The surgeon was different class. He let me watch the operation, which was fantastic. I have seen them in the States on video at seminars, but to go in and watch it was superb. Wottsie was doing some gentle exercises in his room later that day. The aim was to get his leg as straight as possible as quickly as possible. Now it's a case of keeping the movement going."
Peter Halmosi is settling in just fine as an Argyle player, and has been on the winning side on both his appearances so far. He said: "I've enjoyed both games so far, but the pitch was much better in the first game. The team have done well, and I am very happy that we have won two times." Halmosi is due to have his first taste of FA Cup football today, possibly along with Krisztian Timar, who will be in the Argyle squad for the first time today. Timar and Halmosi are aware about the importance of the FA Cup. "We have watched FA Cup finals on television in Hungary, and we know about its history," said Timar. "I am OK now, and I have trained for one week. Every exercise, I can do it, and my fitness is going up all the time. I can play, if the trainer wants me to."
Nigerian international central defender Obinna Nwaneri has been on trial with Argyle this month, but left Home Park last week. Ian Holloway will not be inviting him back, and said: "He might have been a very good player, but his attitude wasn't what we were looking for."
Ian Holloway doesn't agree that his team will be favourites to progress from the FA Cup fourth round game at Barnet today. He said: "They have won eight out of nine home games and I don't think there are any favourites in the Cup. We have to go there and be professional and resilient. They pass the ball really well. They enjoy their football and they are a bright and lively side. Their manager is one of the best to have not had a higher league club. He is superb and a lovely fella as well, and we will have our work cut out. It is something I am really looking forward to. I believe in my team. We are a pressing and closing team, and we will need to do that on Saturday. We have done very well so far but this is a Cup game and anything can happen. Whatever does happen I expect my team to deal with it. If there is a shock early on, I want us to ride it, play our football and try to score some goals." Argyle go into the game at Barnet on the back of Monday's victory over Coventry City and Holloway sees no reason why he should make any changes to his team. He said: "If things are not broke, why try to fix them? I will be thinking of the team I need to pick against them. They have got Liam Hatch who is a big fella and they normally play with two shorter sharper ones. Most of them have played at very good clubs, so they are fully respected by us but when we get there, we won't show them any respect. We will get in their face. We will get in their shorts. We will try to get tight to them. We won't underestimate anybody. We want them to play the best they can. We will play the best we can and may the best team win." Holloway is convinced the arrival of five new players in the transfer window has proved a huge boost to his squad. "It is a nice feeling winning games is a nice habit," he said. "The minute my team saw some new players coming in and the quality of them in the training sessions, I feel they responded. Some of the ones that have come in the past were not as good as the people we already had and that caused a major problem. Now, I am hoping that will not be the case and these players will get some help, which they have deserved over the years."
Akos Buzsaky is determined there will be no slip-ups when Argyle play Barnet in the FA Cup today. He said: "We haven't been this far in the FA Cup since I have been here, so I'm looking forward to it. We didn't play well against Barnet last season, but this is a completely different squad and we are in much better form at the moment than we were back then. I think we are the favourites, but we have to prove we are a better team than them." Argyle have won their last three matches,but Buzsaky added: "Those games are in the past. I'm looking forward to the next one. I will try my best and give 100 per cent. Hopefully, the team are going to play well and we will win." Many of the Argyle squad will be playing at Underhill for the first time today, and will have to adapt to the nine-foot slope from one end of the pitch to the other, but Buzsaky does not believe it is that significant. "When you are playing you are just concentrating on the ball and the team shape," he said. "For example, against Coventry the pitch was awful but it didn't really matter for us. We played some good football. Our confidence is high, and since I have been here we have never won four games in a row so that's our next target. We can't think about being in the fifth round. We have to focus on this game, and then we should be fine."
Krisztian Timar will be included in an Argyle squad for the first time for the trip to Barnet tomorrow. Nick Chadwick and Bojan Djordjic are unavailable for the game, although Djordjic is recovering well from his broken cheekbone. Ian Holloway is hopeful that a recent injection will aid Chadwick's recovery, and said: "Chadwick has had an injection and he will now have to wait a week. Hopefully, that will improve a frustrating situation for him. He was very frustrated the other day. No players wish to be injured and then he has seen other players coming into the club but I need a strong squad and a strong bench to keep our hopes alive. Matty Doumbe and Bojan are on the mend. Bojan's eye looks much better and the doctor will look at that again, so that will hopefully be very positive for everybody."
Tony Capaldi has been recalled to Argyle's squad for the FA Cup fourth round tie at Barnet tomorrow. Capaldi's future at Home Park remains up in the air, with Sunderland, Stoke City and Crystal Palace all said to be interested in signing him. Argyle will take on Barnet without Rory Fallon, who is cup-tied, and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, who is banned, and that opens the way for Capaldi to return to the squad. Ian Holloway said: "I showed him what it's like without his position and I don't think he liked that very much. I know what I'm trying to build here and I want him to be part of it. I find it quite ironic that Stoke City might want to take him in the summer. We will have to wait and see. He has played very well for us in the past, way before I was here. I think he's an excellent Championship player who I want to keep. Unfortunately, his contract is running out and he's trying to weigh up his options." Holloway confirmed there had been interest from Roy Keane about the player. He said: "Sunderland have got a huge ground and huge expectations. Any player would want to play in front of 40,000 people at the Stadium of Light. I have rung Roy Keane and told him what I would accept. Roy was going to ring me back within the next couple of days. He hasn't yet, so I really don't know what is going to happen. I think they had all sorts of other options, but if I was Roy Keane I would be signing him. One or two clubs asked about Tony and offered me swap deals for other players, but I was not interested in any of them, and they have not rung me back." When asked whether Capaldi would be in the squad against Barnet, Holloway replied: "I think I have proved my point. We won without him on Monday and he saw us play very well. Hopefully, he will appreciate what he did have, and what he could still have. I have got a good footballer and, with one or two out, I would be crazy not to involve him tomorrow. People think I'm mad, but they don't know me. If you know me, a lot of the things I talk about do make sense. This one is a situation where I have got a very good player and if he does choose someone else I would prefer to sort it out now. I think it makes much better sense business-wise, but I have got handcuffs on. I have tried to do what I can do, and we will see. Hopefully, it will go one way or the other. Other than that, we will have a bit of confusion between now and the end of the season. If I was him, I wouldn't be too happy with that because anything can happen in any one football match or any one training session."
Reuben Reid today completed his loan move to Rochdale
Argyle beat Torquay United 3-2 in a reserve team friendly at Lux Park, Liskeard, on Tuesday afternoon. Luke Summerfield scored two of the goals and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake the other. Ian Holloway was very grateful to Liskeard Athletic for allowing them to use their pitch, and has promised that Argyle will play a pre-season friendly there later in the year. He said: "Our groundsman, Colin Wheatcroft, went down with the Liskeard people. I'm going to play a pre-season friendly against them because they worked so hard to get the game on. I thought it was fantastic, but gracious me, once you get frost coming out of the ground it all gets tacky and sticky. It looked like a big rice pudding. It was a very entertaining game considering the conditions." Krisztian Timar played his first match for Argyle after recovering from illness, and Holloway added: "He has got to learn quickly about our referees and our rules. He would have probably been sent-off if it had been a league game. He's just so uncompromising it's unbelievable."
Ian Holloway has insisted Argyle 'will have their work cut out' when they take on Barnet in the FA Cup tomorrow. He said: "I think we have got to go there and be professional, and try to be resilient. Barnet pass the ball around, they move it really well and they enjoy their football. They are a bright, lively footballing side and I think their manager is one of the best at that level. He's a lovely fella as well. We will have our work cut out, but it's something I'm really looking forward to. I believe in my team. We are a pressing and closing team, and we will have to be tomorrow. You take nothing for granted in this life. We have done very well lately but this is a cup match and anything happen. Whatever happens, I expect my team to deal with it. If there is a shock early on, then I want us to ride it, keep playing our football and try to score some goals." Argyle go into the game with three consecutive victories, and Holloway added: "Winning games is a nice habit to be in and it spreads confidence. But I feel my players have responded to some new faces coming in, and the quality of them. Some of the ones who came in in the past weren't as good as the people already at the club and that caused a major problem. I'm hoping that will not be the case now and we will move forward. Barnet are absolutely fully respected by us and we will not under-estimate them, but when we get there we will get in their face and try to get tight to them. May the best team win, that's all I'm looking at. I know we have got one heck of a game on our hands, but it's one I'm totally focused on."
Reuben Reid is in talks with Rochdale about a loan move to Spotland. The proposed deal will be a 93-day emergency loan that will see Reid at Rochdale until the end of the season, but Argyle will be able to recall the striker after the initial 28-day period. Negotiations are still ongoing, although the deal is expected to be finalised tomorrow
Ryan Dickson is relieved to be playing again, and injury free, after the problems he has encountered over the past two years. Dickson is currently enjoying a one-month loan spell at Torquay United and scored the first goal of his career at Notts County last Saturday. He said: "I got a break in the team when I was 17 and played a few games, which was great, but shortly after that they found I had a defect in my back. That put me out for 16 months I think, but I have come back this season and I have got better and better. My back is a lot better and, physically, I'm feeling stronger. Now I just need to get some games under my belt." When Dickson was sent on as a substitute in Argyle's defeat at Derby County in December it was his first league appearance for 26 months. He admitted: "It was good to be involved again and I just tried to do my best. It is depressing when you are injured because you want to be out there training and doing well. But, when something stops you, you have just got to keep positive. Maxie keeps me positive and the manager is an extremely positive person as well. At the end of the day, you have just got to keep your head and get on with it. My back is fine now and it's feeling really good, but I have still got to look after it and do my exercises." Despite his injury problems, Dickson was given a one-year contract extension by Holloway earlier this season. "The manager is very encouraging and he's always going to give you a chance," said Dickson. "He has got the right balance because he has brought in some experienced players and it's great to learn things from the likes of Barry Hayles. The squad is probably looking as strong as it has ever been so, hopefully, we can push up the table now."
Kevin Gallen is ready to repay the faith shown in him by Ian Holloway by helping Argyle into play-off contention. He said: "It was very pleasing to score on my home debut. I think every club I've played for, I've always scored in my second game. It was very tough conditions out there and the pitch was very heavy. However, I felt we deserved to win the game. We have got six points in two games, so it's been a great start for me at the club. I just hope it continues to go as well. Certainly the play-offs are a possibility, there is no doubt about that, but it's alright talking about, it's the three points that really matter." Gallen knows the next fortnight is a crucial period for the club. "We've got some tough games coming away from home, especially West Brom. They are as good as anyone in the division, especially attacking wise," he said. "We'll have to see what happens in those games, but at the same time continue to pick up points at home." Having experienced the long trek down to the Westcountry as a visiting player, Gallen admitted it was different to experience Home Park as an Argyle player. "It was good to be on the other side of things," he said. "It's a long journey for a lot of teams coming down here and it's one that teams don't relish. It definitely gives you an upper hand and you have to make the most of it." Gallen has settled well to life in the Westcountry and working again under Holloway, and added: "This is twice now that Ollie has come and got me when things have not been going well for me. The first time we were together was at QPR, who were having a bad run at the time. He took me back there and I went and played some of my best football. We sort of helped each other out, I helped him and he helped me, so hopefully it will be the same again. Obviously Plymouth weren't in the same situation as when I went back to QPR, but I know Ollie will help me. I have a lot of trust in him and I will try and repay that to him." Gallen's arrival, plus that of Rory Fallon and Scott Sinclair, has given Holloway options up front, however, Gallen insists he's ready to battle for a starting spot. "I think we've got a mix of everything," he said. "It's good to have competition for places as it keeps everyone on their toes. It means whoever is starting knows they have to play well because there are people on the sidelines waiting to come in. Hopefully, scoring a goal tonight, might help me keep my place for Saturday." Home comforts, like his link-up with Holloway is something Gallen is glad to have back in his life - and is a far cry from the surroundings he has left behind in West London. "The lads have been magnificent and the team spirit down here is tremendous compared to where I've just come from, where it was almost non-existent," he said. "Everyone is pulling together and I have to say it's a credit to the club and the players."
Paul Wotton will have his cruciate knee ligament operation in London tomorrow. Wotton said: "I'm excited about it really because once I have done it I will know then the cruciate has been fixed. Then it's a just case of the rehab, which is going to be a long, long road, but I'm looking forward to it in a masochistic kind of way. Let's go on with it. The sooner I have the op the better. I like setting myself little goals and trying to meet them, and I have got a great physio in Maxie to work with. We have talked about things we want to do, but it's just day by day really. We are not going to look at other players who have had the same injury and say: 'He was back in such-and-such a time. I will be back when I'm back. But, as from tomorrow, the countdown starts." Wotton does not believe he will be nervous when the time comes for the operation. "I have got every faith in the surgeon and all the medical staff," he said. "It's an everyday procedure now. Once it's fixed, we can start making it strong so I'm looking forward to it." Dr Williams, Wotton's surgeon, has carried out ACL operations in the past on Lawrence Dallaglio and footballers Clarke Carlisle and Danny Shittu. Wotton said: "You will not get three bigger blokes than them, and they are back playing now, so that does fill you with confidence. I did some stuff on an exercise bike last week and the knee seems in pretty good shape at the moment. I also started some upper body circuits with Maxie. It has been great to be able to get a bit of a sweat on. But, obviously, as soon as I have the op I will be back in the knee brace and on crutches again. It has just been nice to have some normality in my life and to be back in the changing room with the lads."
Michael Dunford has explained the events behind the delayed kick-off for the game against Coventry City at Home Park on Monday. The match kicked off at 8pm, instead of 7.45pm, after two power failures. Dunford said: "We experienced a sudden surge in electrical demand about an hour before kick-off. The problem, which was nothing to do with the presence of the Sky television cameras, was quickly identified. The situation was immediately addressed and has now been remedied."
Ian Holloway hailed striker Barry Hayles, following last nights win over Coventry. He said: "I would love him to be 24, but strikers are going on and on these days. Look at Teddy Sheringham. Haylesy is a rare breed because he has still got his pace and power, and I think he has got his desire back. That bloke doesn't want to lose a game of tiddlywinks, I'm telling you. He wasn't himself last season, I don't think. He possibly went to Millwall for the wrong reasons, and that isn't him. When I bumped into his lovely wife, Maxine, down the Barbican after about three weeks, she said, 'Thanks ever so much Ollie, I have got my Barry back'. He never played football for money. He played football because he wanted to win. That boy still wants to win, and I can't thank him enough. I couldn't be more proud of him for what he has achieved in football. Real Madrid could come in for him now, and he wouldn't want to go there." Last nights televised game was played in a bitingly cold wind, while the pitch cut up badly after all the rain over recent weeks. Holloway said: "Considering the conditions, I don't think I have ever seen a team of mine play that well. I was delighted with some of the football we played. I thought we were aggressive in our attitude and were positive in what we did." Kevin Gallen and Peter Halmosi were both included in the starting line-up whilst Scott Sinclair and Rory Fallon made their debuts as second half substitutes. Holloway added: "Considering I have only just got these people and thrown them together, I thought the quality of our play was very pleasing. I know I will be given the time to work with these players and improve them. I will get the quality of my staff right - which I have done - and the quality of the facilities right, and these players know that we will work with them. I'm expecting them to get better, not worse, and to get all sorts of wonderful goals out of them like we are starting to see. Winning is a very good habit and, right from the kick-off tonight, I felt we were going to win."
Ian Holloway admitted yesterday that he did not want to see Tony Capaldi leave Home Park, but would drive a hard bargain if he was determined to move on. Capaldi was omitted from the squad as Argyle beat Coventry last night, and Holloway said: "Tony is a great bloke, I don't want to lose him, and he has been an integral part of what we have achieved but, if his heart is not in us, then let's move on. I have been polishing that car since I have been here and, unfortunately, I did not buy it off the forecourt straight away. In other words, he was out of contract and there was only a certain amount of money left in the budget and I decided to give it to Chuck, who won everything last year, so it made sense to me. I am not going to start a war. If I was here last year, there is no way I would have let David Norris or Tony Capaldi run out of contract, but I have inherited the situation and I am trying to make the best of it. I have got ten days to sort it out. I don't know if Sunderland, or anybody else, wants him. I have made him the best offer I can and I don't think it is anything like what some of the clubs might offer him. If he thinks he can wait until the summer like his agent might want him to do, then he has got another thing coming and a rude awakening. I am not going to polish a car and let someone rip it off my drive in the summer for nothing because I think that is bad business. Someone is going to have to buy it off me and I might have to push it off my drive if it does not want to go. Either he revs it and drives it into my garage, or I push it off my drive. I don't know what is going to happen. I have spoken to the managers concerned and told them what I would accept for that fella, and we will have to wait and see. He has given us fantastic commitment up to now and all I am saying to him is that the olive branch is there, but I might rip it away soon. I think we have made some great new signings and we are trying to move on, so that boy has got a lot to think about, and the truth is some other Championship sides pay an awful lot more than we do. I think Tony is a left-back and not a left-winger but I have just proved my team can win with or without him and my team is going forward."
Ian Holloway feels safe in the knowledge that he will be given time to improve his players because of the backing given to him by Paul Stapleton and the board. Holloway said: "I know I will be given time unlike some clubs because my chairman is rock solid. "He never puts on any pressure and a few other people should ring him and ask how he does it. I know will be given time to work with theses players."
Kevin Gallen introduced himself to Home Park with the first goal in the win over Coventry City, and Ian Holloway was delighted with the contribution of his new signing. He said: "He is a good player and a good fella. He is getting fitter, has a great brain and can play absolutely anywhere, and I thought it showed in those conditions where you have got to know what you are doing." Rory Fallon made his first start in the game, and Holloway added: "Rory is a young fella who I am going to work with and he deserves as good as chance as any. He won a few headers. He is a number nine and he needs to get hold of the ball play it simple and then get in the box. I love the kid and I think he is fantastic. These players link things for the team and head it out for the team. I thing he is the right type for what I want and I think he needs to believe in himself a lot more and I am the man to help him do that."
Argyle beat Coventry City 3-2 at Home Park, the goals scored by Kevin Gallen after 18 minutes, Akos Buzsaky (32) and Barry Hayles (48). Argyle: McCormick, Connolly, Seip, Aljofree, Sawyer, Norris, Nalis, Buzsaky, Halmosi, Hayles, Gallen. Subs - Sinclair, Ebanks-Blake, Fallon (not used - Hodges, Summerfield). Attendance - 9,841.
Romain Larrieu has joined Gillingham in an emergency-loan deal. He will join the Kent outfit for seven days and be available for the Gills' next two games at Swansea on Tuesday and at home to Tranmere on Friday, which means he will not be available for Argyle's FA Cup tie with Barnet on Saturday
Argyle could have as many as four home debutants when they play Coventry tonight (7.45pm). Kevin Gallen, Peter Halmosi, Scott Sinclair and Rory Fallon all seem set to be involved, either in the starting line-up or on the bench. Asked how many new recruits would be involved, Ian Holloway said: "Whatever I think is right to try to beat Coventry. They haven't been brought in to replace people; they've been brought in to strengthen us. I'll have one of the strongest benches I've ever had in my career as a manager, and you need that in this division. I've got some selection problems, so to speak, but now I can pick any type of team I want. If I want a big man and a little man up front, if I want pace on one side or the other or if I want a rock- solid team, even without Paul Wotton in it, I think I can select people for that from who I've got." Holloway admitted that there were bound to be some disappointed players when he announced his line-up. He said: "I'm sure with my experience as a manager I'll be able to deal with the disgruntled looks I might get. They'll realise they're part of something that's moving forward. Hopefully, the quality of the people I've brought in will show in our results immediately. That'd be fantastic, but I'm not expecting it to be immediate. I'm expecting it to be gradual. I'm trying to build for the future here. I'm committed to it, and I think the players I've brought in have already proved they are, by wanting to be here." Fallon has made an immediate impression on Holloway. He said: "He's been fully fit all season and he's a different type of player to what I've had at my disposal so far. I think he's fitted in an absolute treat. He's had two days' training and was superb. There's no edge to him so, with this group of people, he'll slot in with no problem. It's like he's been here all his life." Krisztian Timar has been suffering from flu since his arrival from Hungary but now seems to be on the mend, and Holloway added: "I don't consider him to be totally fit yet. He's been ill and he's short of our level of fitness. He's going to have some extra work before I consider him fully fit. I want to try to win the match. I've got some big decisions to make and I can't possibly pick everybody I'd like to, but I will guarantee them one thing; I'll be paying them their wages by the end of the week. People will have to realise I'm not snubbing them. I'm picking a team or squad for any particular fixture I've got coming up. I've got some options and I'm looking as this game and the next one. We're in the fourth round of the FA Cup and we're seven points off the play-offs, with a game in hand, so I'm really excited by the run-in we've got."
Coventry-born Luke McCormick has finished on the winning side against his home-town team once this season - and is looking for a repeat performance tonight. "It was a brilliant performance up there," he said, "and we'd be delighted with another one like it." McCormick started the season as the first-choice 'keeper but lost his place to Romain Larrieu just before Christmas. However, following an ankle injury to Larrieu, McCormick was restored to the first team. Ian Holloway has expressed his view that his goalkeepers need to have top-class competition for the jersey before they can be at their best. Asked if he agreed with that, McCormick said: "The way you try and play every week is the same. At the start of the season, I hadn't played for a long while and I needed five or six games to get back into the swing of things. It would probably have been the same for Romain, but it probably does sharpen you up if there is someone breathing down your neck." McCormick knows that he could have done better in his last two games. "Last week wasn't the best of weeks for me, to be honest," he admitted, "but I'm just trying to knuckle down and work hard, like I usually do. When you're going through a sticky time, it's hard work that's going to get you through it. Concentration and decision-making have been the problems in the past week, but it isn't something that bothers me in the slightest. Every player makes a mistake once or twice in a while, and it isn't playing on my mind one little bit." Coventry have not won a match since early December, a run which led to the departure of manager Micky Adams last week. "They've got an awful lot of quality in their squad," McCormick said. "The expectation levels are high there, and with them not doing so well over the last few weeks I think it was only a matter of time before Adams went." Unlike Coventry, Argyle are in good shape going into tonight's televised encounter, and McCormick added: "There's a lot of competition for places all over the park now, because of the new players the manager has been bringing in. The lads who get the shirts have to work hard to make sure they keep them, and that can only be good for the team."
Neither Nick Chadwick nor Bojan Djordjic are very close to fitness and a return to action, and the same may apply to Mat Doumbe, who is being bothered by a back injury. Ian Holloway said: "I don't know what's happening with Mat, and it's starting to bug me insanely. What is, nobody knows. We need a scan, because he's an exceptionally fit young man and to see him run and then lock up is a bit worrying. We'll get to the bottom of it, but it might give Timar his chance, when he's fit. Timar is short of our level of fitness at the moment, I think, so he's going to have to do some extra work before I consider him. Hopefully, that will happen by next Saturday."
Former England international defender Mike Pejic is set to become Argyle's youth team coach following the appointment of Gordon Bennett as the head of youth development
Nigerian international defender Obinna Nwaneri has been on trial with Argyle this week.The 24-year-old is currently with Tunisian side Esperance
Argyle today confirmed the signing of Rory Fallon from Swansea City in a deal which equals the club-record transfer of £300,000. Fallon has signed a contract up to June 2009. Ian Holloway said: "You can tell he is a Plymouth player. He is a normal person with no airs and graces. He is not arrogant about how good he is and he just wants to do well for the Green Army. That is all the lads ask and I have had a good week. It is about his desire and I am delighted that he is here. He is 24-years-old and, if you look at facts, you are like a bottle of wine when you are a big number nine. The longer you are there, the more you learn, the more effective you become. You only had to watch Micky Evans to see that. He ran less in his later years but he was more effective. My team knows that we sometimes need to put the ball in the box late in games, especially if we are behind. When you look at some of the chances we have had, we have been crying out for someone like him. It gives me all sorts of options and I am delighted by his enthusiasm to come. There are still lots of improvement in him and I feel that there are not too many of his type around. Early in the season some teams forced us to go long from the back to the front and we have tried to deal with it the best we could. That is part of his game and I think the rest of the team will benefit and hopefully he will soon feel settled. I have told him that we have got a great bunch of lads. I think they realize that we have not got anybody else like him in the squad, so he is not replacing someone. We have missed Micky for the last few months. He was terrific for us and a huge part of what we did. Hopefully, Rory will take on the mantle. He is excited about playing in the Championship but I am aiming for the Premiership. You need different ingredients to get there and he is a vital piece of the jigsaw. It is all about people and I am delighted to have him working for our company. I think his personality will go down a storm with the lads. He is a great fella. He works exceptionally hard and he knows the work we will be doing to polish him up, so he can play in the Premiership and hopefully that will be with us." Holloway praised the ambition shown by the Argyle board in matching the clubs record transfer fee, and insisted that Fallon will not be put under pressure by the fans. He said: "It is a big fee for us but it is a minute fee compared to other clubs. There is no pressure on this young fella. I want him to enjoy himself and feel part of it, and settle down as quickly as he can. I am delighted that we have come to an agreement with Swansea and the chairman has backed this as our record signing, and I am delighted that the lad came down yesterday and he wants to get working. Gary Penrice and I have been scouting for players and we have watched Rory's career since he was with Barnsley and Swindon. My good friend Kenny Jackett has had him at Swansea, so we have been monitoring the situation and we feel that he is perfect for what we want and what we need. I took him around the town yesterday and he saw my passion for the place and, to be fair, I did not have to sell it to him. It is all about baby steps and working towards where we want to be." Fallon had a topsy-turvy twelve months with Swansea. He replaced Lee Trundle in the starting line-up and helped the team to a place in last season's League One play-off final. "He went there and Kenny Jackett left Lee Trundle on the bench," said Holloway. "Lee Trundle is a legend in the minds of Swansea people. Kenny wanted to do things differently. He signed Leon Knight and Rory, and they got to the play-off final with Lee Trundle on the bench. You know what it is like with a fans' favourite and it can be very difficult for the player coming in and he had the challenge the whole time he was there. They did not get promoted and their fans did not see it as a good season. I have explained to him that will not happen here. We do not expect too much. We help our players and support our players."
Rory Fallon is looking forward to competing for his place after joining Argyle. "Every good team has competition and I am not afraid of competing for my spot," he said. "I would rather do that than just be selected because there is no-one else here. I want to be competing because that will make me a better player and help the team more. I have still got to learn and I will not stop learning until I finish. I just want to get better. There is no ego with me and I will work my hardest. It was a big thing when I joined Swansea for £300,000. It is part and parcel of the game, so I am just going to get down to training and focus on what I need to do." Fallon admitted that the move to Home Park had come about very quickly, after he was first informed of Ian Holloway's approach by Kenny Jackett. He said: "I first heard about it from Kenny Jackett at Swansea. That was only recently and then I woke up in the morning and saw it in the papers. It happened so quickly and I needed a bit of time to think about it. It took about one day and it was sorted as soon as I spoke to the gaffer. It sounded like a great place and I have played here before, and I know it is a hard place to play. It just sounds like it is going in the right direction. The gaffer is enthusiastic and positive about things, and that is what I want to hear. I want to kick-on and be a better player, and I thought this would be a great move for me. I just want to work hard, get my head down and do as well as I can with no distractions. I am not the sort of person to look at the past - I just look to the future. I always get asked if I remember games and I honestly don't. I just want to look forward. I have been in the lower leagues and I really needed this to help me kick-on. I feel this division will suit my play. It is harder to play in the lower league because it is tougher and you get less time on the ball. There is more quality the higher you go and I think it will suit me." Fallon is grateful for the experiences he had at Swansea, although he did concede that his time there was not always easy. He received some harsh criticism from after replacing fans' favourite Lee Trundle in the starting line-up but insists that he has learned from his time in South Wales. He said: "I think it was good because it made me stronger mentally. I got a bit of stick from fans but it just made me stronger and toughened me up. I am still young and I enjoyed Swansea. I have no regrets going there and everyone was good to me but I am looking at Plymouth now."
Ian Holloway is not planning to make any more additions to his squad in the transfer window following the arrival of Rory Fallon. He said: "I think we have got a decent balance. That might be the lot for now but we will keep looking at it. You get injuries and suspensions, so might have to get some emergency loans when the window closes. I have had nine players out over recent weeks. We have drawn against some of the top teams, lost to one or two. Hopefully, when we face them again we will be able to compete a lot better. The target is getting a side that can sustain a challenge and get to the Premiership. I believe we can do it and the people I bring will help me do that. I have got massive ambition and I want to be up where Neil Warnock and Aidy Boothroyd are. If they can do it, then why can't we? We have not been outside the top half of the table all season, which is a new experience for us."
Argyle's game against West Bromwich Albion, scheduled for January 30th, has been put back by 24 hours to Wednesday, January 31st. Argyle agreed to the postponement at Albion's request after their FA Cup game with Wolves was moved to Sunday, January 28th, at the insistence of local police
Scott Sinclair has spoken of how much he is looking forward to his first taste of Championship football. "It's going to be a great experience," he said, after joining Argyle on loan from Chelsea . "It will be better than playing in the reserves week in, week out, at Chelsea. I just found out about the move a couple of days ago, after a reserve game, and it's just kicked on from there." When Sinclair first arrived at Bristol Rovers, he worked with Ian Holloway. "I first knew him when I was eight or nine, and he was coaching the school of excellence sides at Rovers," Sinclair said. "He's a good guy. I wouldn't say a bad word against him. I'm glad to be here with him again. I'll keep working hard in training and I'll hopefully play in some games, but we'll have to wait and see what the manager thinks. I normally play wide-left, but if the manager wants me to play anywhere else then I'll play there." Sinclair's capture was hailed as a coup by Holloway, who said: "Gary Penrice was talking to people at Chelsea about the availability of bigger strikers, and they told us that Scott might be available. We went: 'Yes please!' He was always a centre-forward before he went to Chelsea. They've converted him to a wide-left player and I know Jose Mourinho loves him, but Scott doesn't love playing in reserve football. It can get you down. Scott can run with the ball at 400mph, do about 15 million step-overs and then when he gets through he puts the ball in the net. I think he's a breath of fresh air and the lads will love him. He hasn't stopped smiling since he's come down here. We know all about him. I used to train him years and years ago and he's an absolutely marvellous kid." Sinclair's arrival could lead to loan moves for one or both of Reuben Reid and Cherno Samba. "They're going to need some games," Holloway said. "I might be able to loan them out, but I haven't brought Scott in to replace anybody. We've got lots of different options now, and I'm trying to prove to people that we're moving forward. I want to bring Premier League football to Plymouth Argyle, and I'm intending to do it. Everyone thinks I'm mad, but I don't."
Argyle are thought to be close to signing striker Rory Fallon from Swansea City, with the player reported to be at Home Park for talks this afternoon. Ian Holloway said: "He's 6ft 2 and the type of centre-forward we need. We have had to play all different types of football this season. Anytime we have had to hit the ball in the box there has been no-one there to head it in, and he's certainly good at doing that. It's all about the overall options I'm trying to get." Swansea were reluctant to let Fallon leave but when the player found out from reports in the Welsh media about Argyle's interest in him, he told Swansea manager Kenny Jackett he wanted to talk to the club. Holloway said: "Who let the story out I don't know, but the player read the stories and went in to speak to his manager and expressed a preference to talk to us. So his manager - who is one of my best mates ever - said, 'Look, I understand the situation, you can now talk to them. I spoke to Fallon late on Wednesday night and I told him how many times we had watched him, what I think he's good at and what he needs to work at, and why he would fit into my squad. So he drove down yesterday hoping his agent had sorted out a deal with Michael Dunford. I want it to happen very, very quickly because normally what happens when I sign a striker is that someone else jumps in and tries to hoodwink the deal. That's why I don't like people knowing who I want. We have had lots of success with centre-forwards in the past and the last thing I want is everybody out there trying to steal the ones I'm after. Nobody from our club has mentioned that we have offered anything for Rory Fallon because it's unprofessional, and I don't deal with my mates like that."
David Norris is hoping Argyle can embark on a memorable FA Cup run after beating Peterborough on Tuesday. "I don't think we could have a better chance to progress, certainly on paper," said Norris. "People will be expecting us to go through and if we do a professional job we will go through. It's just a matter of making sure we are in the right frame of mind on the day." Norris insists he and the rest of the Argyle players would love a good cup run. "We don't usually get far in this competition," he said. "But we are in the fourth round now and we go to Barnet, which is a great opportunity for us. We could find ourselves in the fifth round and who knows after that? To be fair, if we did get through to the fifth round there will be a lot of big teams left in and, for me, just to hit a big team would be great. It would be nice for the fans and the players alike. Realistically we are not going to win the FA Cup, but we just have to try and get as far as we can. I think the furthest I've ever been before was the fourth round, and that was only as a bit part player at Bolton. I have not had the best of luck in the cup down here. This is the furthest I've ever been. This is a massive trophy and anyone can beat anyone in it. You often see big upsets. It's the type of tournament that lower teams raise themselves for because they want to take a big scalp. And the further we get the more we become the underdogs and we'll be hoping to get a big scalp." Argyle know what to expect from next opponents Barnet, having been dumped out of the Carling Cup last season by them. However, Norris is just hoping Argyle can do what they did to Peterborough. "Tuesday was not the prettiest of games, but the main thing was making sure we got through," he said. "Everyone expected us to, but we still had to do the job. So we're very pleased to have done that." Argyle did it the hard way by going behind after 14 minutes. "We tend to keep doing that - going behind at home," Norris added. "That just makes it much harder for ourselves. But again we showed good character and we were back in front before half-time." Norris scored just nine minutes after Barry Hayles had pulled Argyle level. "I remember just as I passed the defender placing it towards the corner and seeing the keeper at full-stretch," he said. "It just crept in at the far post. It was nice for me. I want to increase my goal tally, so that was pleasing." But Norris knows he upset a few of friends and family scoring that goal. "I will have a few texts, that's for sure," he said. "I'm sure I will be getting a bit of stick of the locals."
Argyle are set to name Gordon Bennett as head of the youth department. Bennett is currently with Stoke City but will leave at the end of the month to move to Home Park
Lilian Nalis is confident that Argyle have a squad of sufficient depth to cope with an extended FA Cup run as well as a push for a play-off place in the Championship. He said: "The FA Cup is a fantastic competition, and we have something to play for in the League as well. That's good, because everyone is going to be involved and everyone is going to enjoy all the games." Argyle will travel Barnet in the fifth round of the cup, and Nalis added: "We have to be confident and we have to be professional, like we were against Peterborough. We have to make sure we get a win in the end. " Tuesday's win against Peterborough was not a classic Cup tie, but Argyle did what was needed to reach the next round. "We drew at their place and they scored first here, so it was never going to be an easy game," Nalis said, "but we managed to come back before half-time and get the job done. It was a great win for us on a difficult pitch. It was very wet and there was a strong wind. The pitch was like a sponge, and some areas are good and some are not, but it was the same for both teams." Peterborough's goal on Tuesday was the result of a lack of communication between Luke McCormick and Hasney Aljofree. "It was a bit of a misunderstanding, but that's what happens when you don't talk enough," Nalis said. "After that we tried to play football, and although we weren't at our best we managed to score twice before half-time, which was a great thing for us." Nalis has not missed a match since August and his continuing fitness seems vital to the teams hopes of progress this term, and he has no worries on that score. "I'm still 25 years old in my head," he said, "so, if I can keep my body in the same state as my head, then everything will be great. I can still run and enjoy myself, and with the spirit we have in the dressing room it's a pleasure to play for this team this season."
Argyle have signed Chelsea striker Scott Sinclair on a month's loan. Ian Holloway has known Sinclair since he was a schoolboy at Bristol Rovers, and said: "He can play numerous positions. He's quick as lightning. He's someone I knew and trained when he was ten years old. He left Bristol when Chelsea secured his signature and we've been monitoring his career for the last seven or eight years. I feel, with what we've got in the squad, he will offer us fantastic cover. Chelsea have let us borrow him now they are out of the FA Youth Cup. He's a great lad, a good family, and gives me more options."
Argyle got through to the fourth round of the FA Cup for the first time since 2000 by beating Peterborough last night, but Ian Holloway admitted they had been nowhere near their best. He said: "I wanted us to make it a nice, comfortable night, and we go 1-0 down. They spanked the ball over our heads, we got it slightly wrong and before you know it their little sharp fella, who looks a handful, has stuck it in an empty net. It was a very bitty game all round, really. I don't think the state of the pitch or the wind helped any of it, but we carved out two fantastic goals. It wasn't fluent and we didn't play anything like as well as we were planning to, but we are through and we haven't been in this next round for seven years. We have got Barnet away, who beat us there in the Carling Cup last season, so we might have a score to settle." Luke McCormick had to make a couple of saves late on to prevent Peterborough from taking the tie into extra-time, and Holloway added: "That was a very tough fixture considering the injuries we have had. I'm asking people to come back semi-fit, like Sylv, but I still think we looked capable of going on and getting a third goal." Barry Hayles has scored in his last three matches and Holloway said: "He has always scored goals and he always will. He has got a lot of pace and he hasn't lost it. He's strong and horrible to play against. He might have the worst game ever, but he pops up in the 89th minute and scores. I have got some young strikers and I think Kevin Gallen will help him tremendously. He could do with a bit of a rest, I have to say. You have got to be careful with him because he's 34, but he's still enjoying it." The Home Park pitch cut-up after recent heavy rain, which made it difficult to play with any fluency. Holloway said: "These boys don't make excuses, but they told me 'If you watch it, no-one can run with the ball. It's popping up'. I haven't enjoyed the last couple of weeks, weather-wise, down here. It has been raining far too much and I have got half an ark built in my garden, and I'm seriously thinking about carrying on and finishing it just to make sure. I'm just very relieved and happy to be in the next round. I felt we deserved it on the night, although it wasn't our best performance by a zillion, grillion miles." The problems with the pitch are temporary but Holloway is more concerned with the pessimism and lack of belief around the club - an issue that seems to have more permanence. Holloway is aiming for the very top and he also revealed that there may be more new faces arriving to help him achieve that. He said: I think everybody has to believe in themselves more - the whole club. A bloke said to me earlier 'keep us up will you' and I told him 'I will do more than that you nugget'. It is about whether I can build a team to get to the top echelons of this league and get into the Premiership - that is what it is all about. I have to be very careful over the next month not to leave us short because Sylvan is now suspended. I think the board will allow me to strengthen in the areas that I need. I need some more people to come and help this wonderful badge."
Tony Capaldi's contract saga is still to be resolved, and Ian Holloway said: "The transfer window will be closing soon and he will have a decision to make. I am not moving. I am not budging. I thought he was terrific tonight, sliding in for tackles. I need to support him and help him, and be there for him because I still want him. There was one other club interested and I have been upfront with him and told him who they are. I think he is absolutely terrific for this club. He has played his way into being one of the higher quality left-backs in this division. It is confusing. Do you want to move your family? We could have done things earlier. We could have done it the same time as David Norris. He has been one of my best players and most reliable players in two different positions, so I would be mad if I did not want to re-sign him. I feel for him and I am trying to run this business correctly. I think some of his passing and calmness would be sorely missed and I don't want him going anywhere."
Argyle beat Peterborough 2-1 in the FA Cup at Home Park, the goals scored by Barry Hayles after 18 minutes and David Norris (28). Argyle: McCormick, Connolly, Seip, Aljofree, Sawyer, Norris, Nalis, Buzsaky, Capaldi, Hayles, Reid. Subs - Ebanks-Blake, Summerfield (not used - Samba, Hodges, Clapham). Attendance - 9,973.
The win at Norwich has given Ian Holloway huge confidence with Argyle battling back from a half-time deficit to score three second-half goals, and he was particularly delighted with the way his relatively small defence coped with the aerial threat of Dion Dublin and Chris Brown. He said: "The long ball can be really difficult to deal with but I thought we coped fantastically well when Norwich went really long on Saturday, and some might have thought that we would not have coped so well. We still have not got that monster, maybe Timar is the monster, but I still believe we do cope very well for a bunch of shorter players. It is about reading the flight and getting your head on it. Hodges, for example, has been out for a long time but he is always in the right place. You don't have to be that big if you have got decent defenders but there is always a worry and pressure. Teams are generally massive with giant players and I understand that we have got to work towards that eventually. However, the players we have got at the moment are getting better and better at reading things and I think Gary Sawyer is improving with every game." The win at Norwich has lifted Argyle to within five points of the play-off places and Holloway is looking to go higher. He said: "If you consider that we have not been lower than 13th all season, which is vastly different to last year, then I am very pleased. I want to end up much higher in this division than we are at the moment. We have had a lot of draws over the Christmas period but we have played the top six. I am very happy with the new additions and I think they will strengthen the areas where I need competition. I will be doing very well to stop the charge of some of these young players wanting to be in my team every week. What more can I ask for as a manager? It is not about what you spend, it is about what you get for your money and we have always had massive value for money down here."
Luke McCormick has shaken off a knee injury and will play against Peterborough United tonight. Had McCormick been sidelined, it would have meant a first team debut for Josh Clapham because Romain Larrieu is still out with an ankle injury. McCormick was hurt in a collision with Norwich striker Dion Dublin on Saturday and Ian Holloway said: "I haven't seen it again, but I wasn't very happy with the start of it. I thought Dublin just made a beeline for him. But, obviously, without seeing it, it's difficult to comment. Luke had a bag of ice on his knee yesterday, when the lads came in for a warm-down. He should be OK, but otherwise it will be a chance for Josh, won't it? " Tony Capaldi and Paul Connolly are both available again after serving one-match suspensions and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake is set to start after sitting out the last three matches with an ankle injury. Holloway also hinted there could be recalls for Lee Hodges and Luke Summerfield. He said: "I have got to make sure I pick the right team so I don't overstretch anybody and maybe play one or two who haven't been playing to catch them up. Maybe Lee Hodges, maybe Summers. I will have to think about it. It's whether I rest one or two of the other ones but, unfortunately, I'm not totally blessed with choices up the middle. Haylesy has got very sore toes at the moment, which he used to suffer with, but it's just whether I can actually go into this game without him. I'm not sure about that. I'd prefer to be already in the fifth round. This is a tough game for us. It would have been nice to have had a decent week to train with the squad without another game. We've got a chance to reach the fourth round, but we've got a big run-in to the end of the Championship season as well." Argyle will start the replay as favourites, but McCormick is not taking anything for granted. He said: "We will go into the game and fancy ourselves to win, but we know it's not going to be as easy as that. I thought Peterborough were very positive in the first game, especially for a team that has not had such good results over the last month. Fair play to them, we were the Championship side coming onto their territory and they had a good go at us. We expect them to do that tonight as well."
Ian Holloway will continue to pick Tony Capaldi even though his future with Argyle is still unresolved. Holloway said: "As far as I'm concerned, he has earned the right to take his time and think about his long-term future. I hope it's with us, but I'm not going to bully him or say, 'Do this or you're out'. It's not about that. I want him to choose us for the right reasons. If someone else comes up with a fair offer of what he's worth I will sit down and talk with him. But, in the meantime, we will get on with it. He will be in my thoughts because he's a very good player who I don't want to lose. This isn't a David Beckham situation is it? I think he has been fantastic. He's a very nice lad, I have to say, and I have got a lot of time for him. He's very shy and hard to get to know, and I'm only just getting there, but I want him to feel right. I have been a footballer and it's not nice when you have got to up-and-move your family and traipse all round the place. I believe he has played fantastically well for this club and has probably been under-paid for the job he has done. He will not be if he decides to sign this contract, which is fair enough." Argyle play Peterborough tonight, having drawn at London Road on January 6th. "I thought it was a particularly hostile crowd up there, which we did very well to cope with," said Holloway. "Even the stewards were quite hostile, which isn't right, but I want my team to cause them all sorts of problems. It's all about your mental approach and your attitude in these games. And I'm sure our approach will not be wrong. It's just if we create some chances, which I'm sure we will, will we take them? If we do, it will be a much more comfortable night. Hopefully, we will limit ourselves to hardly any mistakes, but no game at any level is ever comfortable. And I have to say I thought Peterborough were a very tough nut to crack at their place. They had already beaten Ipswich there in the Carling Cup, and we had lost here to Walsall, but I think we have improved greatly since then."
Peter Halmosi made an excellent debut for Argyle on Saturday and hopes to continue to impress. Speaking through an interpreter, his agent Vladan Filipovic, he said: "I'm glad to be here and I hope I can show my best performances, like I have done with Debrecen and the national team. I hope the style of English football will be okay for me."
Ian Holloway does not expect to be disciplined by the FA after his recent comments about Sepp Blatter. He said: "Nothing was meant to upset Mr Blatter at all. If you look at the context of my interview somebody has made a mountain out of a molehill. The interview itself will be sent off to the FA and I'm sure I will not hear anything more about it."
Argyle's youth side lost 4-2 to Crystal Palace in last nights FA Youth Cup tie. The goals were both scored by Martin Watts. Argyle: Sandercombe, King, Kendall, White, Laird.J, Smith, Gosling, Hopkinson, Watts, Davis, Mason. Subs – Joyce, Duggan (not used – Saxton, McCrory, Petnehazi)
David Norris wants to spoil his home-town club's dreams of FA Cup glory this evening. Norris knows that the luck of the draw has given Argyle a fair chance of extended progress in the tournament, and he said: "We were looking for a big club when the draw was made, but now we know it's Barnet if we win. We're the big club out of the three, and as a Championship team we should beat Peterborough and then go on to beat Barnet, but Peterborough will be looking at it the same way. It does give one of us a possible route into the fifth round. Peterborough are going through a transitional period. They're spending money and bringing players in, but it's going to take time for the new lads to gel. It's only a matter of time before the tide turns, though, and they'll be right up for it when they come here. They'll look at us as a big scalp to take." Norris knows that Argyle have already lost against League Two opposition this season, when Walsall knocked them out of the Carling Cup. "It will be difficult, like it was when Walsall came down here," he said. "They stayed strong and it was hard to break them down, and it could be the same tomorrow. We'll attack, as we're at home, and we'll do our best to break them down." Argyle came from behind to earn a fine win over Norwich City on Saturday, and Norris added: "It was a great result for us on Saturday. We can take a lot of positives from how we approached the game. We've got the players, like Akos, with the exuberance to open up teams, and that's what we'll be trying to do tomorrow." The win at Norwich was achieved despite the absence of nine members of Argyle's first-team squad. "It was testament to the boys who have come into the side, especially the young lads," Norris said. "We always dig in for each other and that's how we got a result on Saturday."
Argyle are reported to have made a bid for Swansea City striker Rory Fallon
Argyle beat Porthleven 4-2 in the South Western League on Saturday, the goals coming from a Sam Malsom hat-trick and Sean Morrison. Chris Souness said: "I was particularly pleased with the way our back four played and it was remarkable considering the average age was barely 16. I was hoping that we could get something out of this game, but with such a young side I never expected them to play so well - so credit to them. I think people who understand football will know what this young side have achieved today. All the hard work of the last few weeks, when we have been a bit stretched both on and off the pitch, goes to show what this football club is capable of achieving." Argyle: Saxton, Cayford, McCrory, Morrison, Fenwick, Petnehazi, Malsom, Groves, Wright, Joyce, Edwards. Subs – Grant, Gearing, Skinner (not used - Brett, Elphick)
Argyle under-18s take on Crystal Palace in the FA Youth Cup tonight - hopefully with Dan Gosling in the side. According to Kevin Nancekivell, one of the coaches of the under-18s, it will be up to Ian Holloway whether Gosling appears at Selhurst Park. Nancekivell said: "It is a big game for the club, as it is a fourth-round tie and we are now down to the last 32 teams. Playing against bigger clubs in the FA cup is a great opportunity for the lads - they are switched on and looking forward to it. Palace are a strong side, but being away from home may help us, as there is less pressure on the team. Whether Dan Gosling is in the team or not is really down to Ollie, as the first team has their game against Peterborough." Should Argyle win tonight they will face a trip to either Manchester United or Southampton in the fifth round
Ian Holloway believes Akos Buzsaky can take his talent all the way to the Premiership, but that we will not see the best of him until next season. He said: "I have had to do some difficult things over the last couple of weeks, and take one or two risks, having people I wasn't quite sure of, or didn't know very well. I think it's paid off already because I have never seen Akos so happy as he has been in the last couple of days. I know it with my daughters and the language barrier they have to face. When you are a young person on that pitch who talks one tongue that is your natural tongue, it is very difficult; I think the two Hungarian lads who have come are good players and have made Akos feel at home probably for the first time ever at Plymouth. I thought he showed that in the second half. It's great to have someone else with him who talks his natural tongue so he can relax. I believe that you have to enjoy yourself to be any good at what you do and he had an injury in the summer, he didn't have a full pre-season - you won't see the best of him until next season, I can guarantee that. I believe the world's his oyster - he can go as high as he wants to - and, if you are enjoying yourself, it's great. I wouldn't have done what he has done, I wouldn't have come to a foreign country without my family. I was never brave enough to do that. I always lived in Bristol - I wanted to stay with my mum and dad. So I take my hat off to him and it's great to have these lads come over because certain people think we are not a fashionable club and that does my brain in because I love the place, I think it's fantastic." The two free-kicks he scored yesterday were Akos's first goals of the season and Holloway said: "He does that day in, day out in training, and, since I've been here, he hasn't produced it in matches. Hopefully, it's all about confidence, all about being part of what we are trying to do and I am delighted. It's all about that belief and I think that having Péter Halmosi there is just brilliant. I thought he looked terrific. He hasn't played for at least a month and when we get him as fit as we want him........In the second half, he showed class when he kept hold of the ball, did the right thing, didn't waste a ball and we don't even know each other yet. The more we play together, the better we'll get, the more together." Holloway also had plenty of praise for Kevin Gallen, who made his debut. "It was great to see Kevin Gallen play for me again," he said. "He's helped me in the past and he looked sheer class. Funnily enough, Haylesy didn't probably play as well as he has done all year for us, so it was great to be able to take Barry off and put young Reuben on knowing I had the experience of Kevin there. In the first-half, with a couple of new people and a young kid playing at right-back, out of position, against arguably one of their better players, I didn't think we kept the ball anything like well enough. It looked like we were strangers out there. So I asked them to believe in themselves, get the ball down and relax, pass it to an Argyle badge, and I was delighted with the second-half performance considering we've all just met each other. I thought it was terrific. We have got some talent here and I am delighted they are starting to show it. I think we have got to work hard together and make people will remember our name. Hopefully some of the people who saw us play in the second half will think we're not a bad unit. We've got Connolly coming back, we've got Capaldi coming back. I might have a decent chance to roll my dice a different way if I need to because I've asked too few people to do too much."
Akos Buzsaky hopes his free-kick double at Norwich will help put Hungarian football on the map. They came at the end of the week in which fellow Hungarians, Peter Halmosi and Krisztian Timar, have joined Argyle, a move welcomed by Akos. He said: "It's very nice because everybody knows that Hungarian football is not the best nowadays and it is very good to feel that Plymouth needs Hungarian players so they can prove how good they are and prove that Hungarian football is a lot better than people think. Peter is a professional footballer, an international, so he knows when he played well and he didn't play well - I think he knows he played well today but he said he can play even better. It's nice to play with someone I have known for years, somebody here who is a big mate." The goals were Akos's first of the season and he said: "I have never scored two free-kicks in the same game. That was the first time, and I'm really pleased. I am always practicing. You can ask the lads. Sometimes I practice too much and they take the mick, saying that I always practice but never score. I had the answer today. It has been a long time since I scored a goal and I am really pleased I did today. In the first half, I think Norwich were better than us and we came into the dressing-room and knew we had to change our game in the second half. We came out and I think the lads played really well in the second half, and we deserved to win. Barry's was a really important goal. Barry always scores important goals, so it's no surprise." Akos faced an agonising wait before his second free-kick, which bounced off the crossbar behind the goalkeeper, was awarded by the referee. He said: "When I hit the ball and saw the linesman put his flag up and run back, I was waiting for the referee to give the goal or not so I was a little bit between 'goal' and 'not goal'." Akos is now having the time of his life and believes that team-mates like 16-year-old Dan Gosling mean that Argyle's fortunes can only improve. He said: "I was happy in Porto but I'm happier now in Plymouth because we have a very good squad, we are together, and I am sure we are going to get some more very good results. Gos is only 16 years old and has a very bright future. That's why I'm really, really optimistic about the future at Argyle."
Ian Holloway revealed that Luke McCormick had taken responsibility for Norwich's goal in the 3-1 victory yesterday. Holloway said: "Luke left it because he thought it was going wide and he didn't want to concede a corner against their giants, because Dublin's a handful, however old he is."
Ian Holloway substituted Dan Gosling at Norwich to save him for Monday's FA Youth Cup tie at Crystal Palace. Holloway said: "I think he's desperate to play because, if we beat Crystal Palace, we get Man Utd and it's everybody's dream to play against them away. We'll have to wait and see. He belongs to me. I don't care how old he is, if he's good enough, I will play him. I felt, two or three times in the first half, Danny got in good positions. Without Connolly, he is the only person with the legs to get forward. He's hardly ever played there; he's actually a central midfield player. I felt he was the best one to attack the other way because Huckerby likes to attack people but doesn't track back. Once or twice, positionally, he wasn't quite right but, considering what Huckerby can do to people, we nullified it in the second half and we came out on top. So well done, Danny. In my position, you have to be brave and have to give people their opportunity, and show belief in them. Hopefully, they will repay you by the effort they give you, and this lot couldn't try any harder."
Argyle won 3-1 at Norwich City, the goals scored by Barry Hayles after 59 minutes and Akos Buzsaky (63 and 75). Argyle: McCormick, Gosling, Seip, Aljofree, Sawyer, Norris, Nalis, Buzsaky, Halmosi, Gallen, Hayles. Subs - Hodges, Summerfield, Reid (not used - Laird, Clapham). Attendance - 23,513.
Paul Stapleton has rejected suggestions that Argyle's lack of a permanent signing smacked of a lack of ambition at the club, and defended the decision to opt for loan signings and refusal to be rushed into paying inflated fees for players during the transfer window. "Well, some deposits have been paid," said Stapleton, referring to the Hungarians. "What you can do is to try and get the players in you can get. We've looked at Krisztian and Peter, they're willing to come over for the initial period to see if it works out for them - and the same for us. We have agreed fees for them and I think you know the level of the fees. There's always critics out there, we know that, but all you can do is to do your best. But what we have done over the past few weeks is make record offers for players which far outweighs anything we've made before. You can make any offers you want but then it's down to other clubs if they accept - which in two cases they have. Then, it's down to the agents and the players, before even Ian can work on them. So what you've got to do, is to keep working on them on that side of things. You know very well that we don't spend money just for the sake of it. We could go out tomorrow and get a record signing. But if he's not the right person or the person Ian wants, what's the point of that? We have made significant offers in the last few weeks - we've not necessarily shouted about it. That's because before a deal is done, we don't like to." Stapleton endorsed Holloway's view that in the transfer window, prices become greatly inflated as clubs chased too few quality footballers in a bid to strengthen. He said: "Ian has used the analogy that it's like everybody's birthday and everybody is trying to buy the same gifts. There seems to be some mystical figures going around for people, for Luton, particularly. We're trying to look at what players we can get, so let's wait and see. If we'd turned up last week with a significant forward, you might say now your critics can go away. It's a process and it's not easy, as you have to jump over all these hurdles. The right way to do it, is to speak to the club first - it doesn't always work that way - then the agent, then the player." Holloway echoed Stapleton's views, and said: "This is the madness of the situation now, and it literally is. Everybody has been scouting, scouting and looking at the same players. So that when an offer is accepted, they all jump in and these players will have a choice. The reality of the situation is that they might not choose us: no matter what I say, no matter what I think. They may not think we are as big a club as we actually are. That's their perception of it and they're welcome to it. I wouldn't want them anyway."
Paul Stapleton admitted Argyle 'jumped at the chance' to sign Kevin Gallen on loan from QPR. He said: "It all happened very quickly. Kevin and the manager and various people were talking and the opportunity came for Plymouth Argyle to have Kevin down here for the rest of the season. To be fair, we jumped at the chance because I remember Kevin Gallen scoring against us when we lost up at Loftus Road. He has been a name we have recognised and admired from afar for a long time. We just felt with the amount of injuries and suspensions that are happening at this football club at the minute that we needed to strengthen in terms of experience and a goalscorer, so we are pleased we have got Kevin with us." Meanwhile, Holloway believes Akos Buzsaky will have an important part to play as Peter Halmosi and Krisztian Timar settle into their new surroundings at Home Park. Holloway admitted: "I think Akos being here was a huge part in why they wanted to come and play for us. Not only have we got Akos but we have got Mark Petnehazi as well. I don't care where you come from. It's where you want to go that matters to me. That's what I have always said. I think you can tell they have got the hunger and desire to do well and we can only benefit from that. With the types that they are and the experience they have already had, they will only make us stronger."
Kevin Gallen would be keen to secure a long-term deal at Argyle, but knows he will have to impress during his six-month loan stint to achieve that. He said: "It's good to be back with Ian Holloway and people I know. I'm looking forward to working with them again, I've missed them." Gallen also said he held Argyle and the supporters in high regard. "I've been involved in some really, good battles and Home Park is always a tough place to come to," he said. "I've got a lot of respect for the players - they look like an honest, hard-working bunch. And the supporters have always got behind the team. I remember the first time I played Plymouth at QPR, and being surprised that there were so many away supporters, given the distance of the journey. One game up at QPR, in particular, sticks out in my memory. It was a 2-2 draw and Plymouth had been leading 2-0, but we equalised with a last-gasp goal. And then four seasons ago we were both going for promotion and fortunately we both went up. So, yes I've enjoyed my battles with Plymouth over the years." Gallen said that while he has been employed both in midfield and in attack by Holloway in the past, he had not discussed specific roles with his manager. "To be fair, I haven't really talked about it yet, so we'll have to wait and see," said Gallen. "But I'm here to play games and help Ollie and help myself, really. It's been a bit of an up and down season for me, so I'm really looking forward to working with people here, without the politics and stuff that was going on at QPR - which basically made me want to leave." Gallen admitted that making the switch from the capital to Plymouth would not be easy. "It's going to be different for me as Plymouth is a long way and a lot different from what I'm used to. But my parents are from Ireland and spent months of the year there. So I've been to places which are lot quieter than here. Plymouth is not an outpost as far as I'm concerned. Plymouth are in the Championship and ahead of the team I was at, in the league." Gallen added that Holloway did not have to work hard to persuade him to join Argyle for the rest of the season. He said: "Basically, he asked me on Wednesday night, 'do you want to come' and I said 'yes'. So, here I am, it's as simple as that, really. When you come away to play at Plymouth, you know you're going to be in a game.There's a good atmosphere - but Home Park can be quite hostile as every decision that doesn't go Plymouth's way will be contested by the supporters. I see Plymouth as a team on the up - I thought that when the team were promoted that they could go on to do better things. And also as Plymouth are the only big team in this part of the country, they have a massive catchment area and also massive potential. Hopefully, I'll be part of the club for a while. It just depends on how I perform on the pitch. I'm not going to say 'I'm going to do this or do that'. Given a run in the team, I've no doubt that I can do a good job here. So, I've just got to go out and prove it. I'm here until the end of the season - then we'll see what happens after that. Hopefully, I can do what I should be able to do."
Krisztian Timar has had to put his Argyle debut on hold, after illness prevented him from joining the trip to Norwich. Timar turned up at Home Park yesterday morning with a sore throat and was sent back to his hotel, as much to stop whatever virus he has picked up affecting any other players as for his own benefit
Paul Stapleton revealed yesterday that Argyle's search for new players has led to them tabling bigger transfer bids than the club has ever made before. He said: "We have made record offers for players in the last weeks that far outweigh anything we have offered before. We don't spend money for the sake of it. We could go out tomorrow and make a record signing but, if he is not the right person or the person Ian wants, then what is the point in that? We have made significant offers in recent weeks and I think that has been mentioned. We have not shouted about because we don't like to until a deal is done. You can make whatever offers you want but it is then down to the other clubs. If the other clubs accept, which at least two of them have, it is then down to the agents and the players. There are some mystical figures going around for people from other clubs but we are in there trying to look at what players we can get. It takes a process and it is not easy. You have to overcome a lot of hurdles. Ian Holloway added: "We are still putting offers in for different players but it is absolute madness at the moment. Everybody is scouting for the same players and when an offer is accepted, they will all jump in and these players will have a choice. It is like everybody is having a birthday at the same time and we are all waiting outside the shops to buy the same gift. I know what I definitely need and I am working on that, but you can only get good players when they crop up."
Kevin Gallen felt at home within minutes of arriving at Home Park. "I am delighted to be here, and it is great to see Ian Holloway," he said. "There are other people here I know from my time at QPR. Des Bulpin was my youth team coach at QPR, so I have known him since I was 14-years-old. I also know Tim Breacker and Gary Penrice from QPR, so it is just like old times. I hope I can show the form and play the way I played under Ollie when he was at QPR a few years ago. I can sense that this is a club with honesty, while I have been at a club back in London where it has all been politics. I am delighted to get a fresh start. I really hope it goes well and I am up for the challenge."
Romain Larrieu may be allowed to go out on loan as part of his rehabilitation from a health scare in the summer. Ian Holloway admitted that he may allow Larrieu to get some match practice at another club as Football League regulations allow clubs an immediate recall option on goalkeepers in exceptional circumstances. "He is not fit enough yet but I might consider letting him out and taking a risk with that one," said Holloway. "I have had a long chat with him and he felt that he needs to get some games under his belt, given the season that he has had. He has had an awful lot to deal with this year and he has dealt with it better than anyone I have ever met in my life."
Ryan Dickson is joining Torquay United on loan until the end of the season. Ian Holloway said: "I believe he's had some injury problems over the last couple of years, and I can see him coming through it. I gave him a long contract because I believe in him. He's delighted me with what he's done over the last couple of weeks and I need to get him fully fit for the start of next season so I can bring him in as a proper squad member."
Lilian Nalis has brushed off being hit by a plastic bottle during the FA Cup game at Peterborough United last Saturday. He said: "I felt it, but I thought it was someone jumping from behind and he had hit my head with his hand. It was only when I saw the bottle on the ground that I realised what had happened. It shouldn't happen in a football stadium but I do think we were partly responsible for it. I think Has understands what he has done and he has apologised for this. Life is all about learning, and Has has learned from this, so that's good. But, as I told him during the game, 'you have done that, but I have been hit on the head!' It was very unfortunate, but it's over and done with now."
Nick Chadwick faces at least another month out as he struggles to overcome a persistent groin injury. Ian Holloway said: "Chadwick is at stalemate. The doctors have told him to wait another four weeks and do nothing, which is horrendous. It makes me glad Kevin Gallen is here now." Sylvan Ebanks-Blake is still sidelined by an ankle injury and will not be involved in the game at Norwich tomorrow, and neither will Mathias Doumbe, although he is showing some improvement from a back injury. Holloway said: "He's a bit better and he ran around the outside of the pitch without it tightening up, but he's not fit for Saturday." Romain Larrieu is still out with an ankle injury while Bojan Djordjic is slowly on the mend after an operation on a fractured cheekbone. Holloway said: "Bojan joined in running yesterday but he will probably not be fit for another four weeks."
Lilian Nalis has admitted Argyle must start taking more responsibility for their actions on the pitch. The team have a poor disciplinary record this season, with 58 yellow cards and three reds, and Nalis does not believe that is simply because of poor refereeing. He said: "We didn't have our strongest team at Peterborough so I think that was a good result, with the replay to come at home. But I think we need to look a bit more at our discipline. Sometimes the referee has had a bad game but, at the end of the day, we should be responsible for what we are doing on the pitch. We need to calm down a little bit because every player is really important for the team in a period like this, when you have got a lot of injured players. Shelly and Tony are going to be suspended, so it's going to be tough against Norwich, but we have got a great spirit in this dressing room and some great young players." Nalis took over as Argyle captain against Peterborough but Barry Hayles will resume the role tomorrow. Nalis added: "I was a bit worried before the game because I wasn't sure of the English words to use for the coin toss. But, luckily for me, the referee didn't have a proper coin. He had one with a flag on one side and something else on the other. So when he said 'flag' I told him I would take that. That was funny, but, unfortunately, I lost the coin toss. It was great to be the captain for the first time and I tried to help the rest of the players, but now Baz is back." Nalis admitted all the Argyle players had a lot of respect for Hayles, and said: "Barry is a great player. He's always giving everything on the pitch and everybody in the dressing room has a lot of respect for that. He has been a good captain since Wottsie was injured. Barry has been outstanding since he signed here. He works really hard for the team and tries to show the kids what the Championship is all about. Day in day out, week in week out, he's always doing that. You can't find a better example than that." Argyle will be aiming for their first double of the season against Norwich after beating them at Home Park in September. Nalis said: "I think they are a team we can match. They like to pass the ball and if we are strong and on our game we can do something. It's going to be tough but, if you look at this league, everybody can beat one another, at home or away. We have just got to make sure we are up for it and play with the same spirit as we did during the Christmas period. It's going to be a good game."
Argyle have rejected an offer from an unnamed club for Tony Capaldi. Ian Holloway remains determined to try to keep Capaldi at Home Park, but claimed the player was 'confused' about his future. Holloway said: "There are five clubs actually talking to myself about Tony. I have made him the best offer we can and, at the minute, I have turned down one offer because I don't believe it's good enough. If the clubs don't match my valuation, and Tony knows what that is, then he will be re-signing for us." Holloway is frustrated that Capaldi could leave for no fee. He said: "The clubs know exactly what we would accept to get a very good left-back from us. I have to be very careful what I say, but I believe a player of his class and quality should not be able to leave my company on a free transfer. If he was 23 we could get some compensation for him, but we can't. From my position I find it very annoying. He has helped us and we have helped him and, all of a sudden, someone else can take him in three or four months time. I know you could say everybody is in the same boat, but I don't feel that is fair." Paul Stapleton claimed they had verbally agreed a new contract with Capaldi last weekend. But, following interest from another Championship club, Capaldi did not sign it as planned. Stapleton said: "At the weekend, we actually agreed a deal with his agent to be signed on Monday. But on Sunday the agent had a telephone call from another club in our league and that set the cat among the pigeons as it were. So on Monday, instead of coming in to sign, it was suddenly 'look, there is a lot more interest'. We thought we had got to a stage where we had been very accommodating." Holloway added: "It's a very awkward situation, but I work on commitment and I feel this boy is still very committed to us. He's just a bit confused."
Ian Holloway did not know much about Peter Halmosi and Krisztian Timar before they joined Argyle, but they came strongly recommended by Gary Penrice. Holloway said: "Gary Penrice has been sifting through DVD after DVD after DVD and I have left him to it. I have got on with the running of the club and trying to get the best out of the players I have got here. I went up to see Gary at his home the other week and he said 'I think you should look at these two Ollie'. I looked at the pair of them and I said 'yes, they will do' and we got them over, as simple as that. Gary is a very, very good judge and I told him what I was looking for. To be fair, I think he has come up trumps. That's what it's all about. It's not easy when I have been busy and I can't travel and see people for myself. So Krisztian came over and he could only stay for two days but I loved what I saw. I think he's a winner, he's an uncompromising defender who wins his fair share of headers, he's very strong and he scores goals from set pieces. Peter is a proper player. I think he's of a much higher standard than we have been used to and I can't wait for the people of this city to see him play. He's a great addition."
Peter Halmosi and Krisztian Timar completed their moves to Argyle today, and Ian Holloway revealed that it was their hunger for success that persuaded him to add the two to his squad. Current Hungarian international midfielder Halmosi has joined on loan from Debreceni VSC and could be in line to become the club's most expensive signing. The two clubs have agreed a £400,000 fee to make the move permanent when the loan concludes in the summer. Ferencvaros centre-back Timár has also been signed on a a six-month loan deal, again with an option for the deal to become permanent in the summer for a fee of around £100,000. Both players have agreed two-year deals, should their loans prove successful. Holloway said: ''Halmosi is a very experienced player, he scores goals, gets crosses in, can play left-wing or left-back. He wants to go to the Premiership, so we have got something in common, me and him." Timár spent last week on trial at Home Park and impressed the manager. "I liked what I saw," said Holloway. "He was here only two days, but it's about what I'm looking for and I feel he is an uncompromising defender who will add to our squad. He can play centre-half and right-back. He's a big strong boy and I think he's a perfect Plymouth-type player. He's very strong, and determined to do well, which he has managed to show me in a couple of days. When you take people from abroad, you do as much homework as you can and get them over and try to find out what their temperament is like." Halmosi has played for Hungary alongside Akos Buzsaky. "We played together in the Under-21s," said Buzsáky, "and in recent years we have played two or three times in the national team." Halmosi almost joined Everton at the beginning of last season but the clubs were unable to agree a deal, and subsequently had a trial at Celtic. Blackburn, Bolton and West Ham were also tracking his progress and Buzsaky said: "Because he has been linked with these clubs, he thinks it will be easier to step up later from England's second division, than from Hungary's first division. Hungarian football is different from English football, but he is a typical left-sided midfielder. He runs a lot, which is always good in England. He has to adapt a little bit but he thinks that is not going to be a problem." Timár said: "I am very happy. I will try to play as soon as possible, as soon as I pick up the style of play. I like everything about English football. It is good for me - a lot of tackling and heading. I enjoy it. I hope it's good for me." Both players are happy to see, not only Buzsaky, but also fellow Magyar Mark Petnehazi, a youth-team player. "It is easier for me and Péter that Ákos is here," said Timar. "He can help us with life and with football."
Kevin Gallen has joined Argyle on loan from QPR until the end of the season. It was Gallen's versatility that persuaded Ian Holloway to bring him to Home Park. Holloway said: "Kevin Gallen is one of the best players I have ever worked with and I've got him from now until the end of the season. He has played right-wing, left-wing, centre-midfield; he was my captain and hardly ever missed a game when I was at QPR. We're in the market for some more strikers and we've lost Wottsy from centre-midfield. He's somebody I know, somebody I trust, and I know he can put the ball in the net as well. I thought he covered a lot of options for us while I try to buy the other type of striket that I need - a big, strong fellow who can head things."
Luke McCormick believes his absence from the first team over Christmas and New Year could have been good for him. McCormick admitted he was 'gutted' when Ian Holloway picked Romain Larrieu to play at home to West Brom last month, but he was back between the posts for the FA Cup tie at Peterborough United on Saturday. McCormick said: "I was obviously made up to be back in the side at Peterborough. Although it was only a couple of weeks out of the side, it seemed like a long time. I just tried to take the positives from it and it gave me a good chance to step back and look at the whole picture. I have looked at what I can improve on and how I can become a better goalkeeper. I think it might have done me some good." McCormick lost his spot to Larrieu following a 3-0 defeat at Preston on December 16th. He said: "I was gutted. I didn't feel I had done too much wrong, but that's football, I'm afraid, at the end of the day. The manager is there to make decisions, and that's what he did. I have to respect that and get on with it. That's what I tried to do and, obviously, now I will be looking to keep myself in the team and not come out. As a goalkeeper, it can be frustrating when you are out of the side. It's not like you are a striker and you can come on for 10 minutes here and there, or anything like that. You really do have to sit it out, but it's something you have to deal with." McCormick thought Argyle could be satisfied with their performance against Peterborough at the weekend. He said: "With all the goings on during the game, I think we did come off the pitch quite pleased that we were still in the draw. It was a really good game. It was end to end stuff and a proper cup tie."
Luke Summerfield has signed a one-year extension to his contract, which commits him to Home Park until June 2008
Argyle have agreed a fee with Cheltenham Town for Brian Wilson but face competition for the defender or midfielder from Crewe Alexandra. Reports suggest Argyle are ready to pay £100,000 for Wilson, but Crewe are prepared to match that
In addition to Krisztian Timar, Argyle are also set to sign Hungarian midfielder Peter Halmosi. Like Timar, Halmosi is reported to be joining on loan until the end of the season, with a view to a permanent transfer in the summer
Ian Holloway has admitted he does not want to put too much pressure on the club's emerging young players, and so is aiming to add more experience and strength in depth to his squad before the transfer window closes. He said: "I think we have got some quality. What I need to do is get strength in depth and make sure I don't put too much pressure on these young fellas. It's my job to develop them, and to bring them in and take them out and actually make sure they are successful players for Plymouth Argyle in the future, to take us towards the promised land, which is the Premier League. Sometimes you ask too many of them, when they are not expecting it, to come into the fever of a cup match like the one on Saturday, away from home, and have expectations of winning it. But I thought they handled it terrifically well." Holloway was particularly pleased with the contribution of Reid against Peterborough. He said: "I have asked Reuben to do certain things and three, four, five days in a row he has been absolutely magnificent and done exactly what I wanted from him. And bear in mind he's only 18. I think Reid and Samba will both be good players." Holloway has been busy behind the scenes trying to entice new players to Home Park, with at least two 'substantial' offers being made. He added: "Hopefully, some things might happen because I'm trying to make a squad that's strong enough to have a serious challenge at getting towards the Premiership. We are a little bit short in certain areas, but I will have to make places for some of these young lads in my first team on a regular basis in the future. That's fantastic news. If it was about old farts running around I would still be playing. But it's about young fellas who are up for it and fresh. They are the future because they can run. Some of our boys are much better than I ever dreamed I would be picking up, so I'm delighted to work with them and make them the finished article, but that takes time normally."
Argyle reserves drew 2-2 with Cheltenham Town last night, the goals scored by Anthony Mason and Sam Malsom. Argyle: Clapham, Barness, Laird.J, Laird.S, Watts, Smith, Hodges, Gosling, Dickson, Mason, Davis. Subs - Malsom, White, Hopkinson (not used – Sandercombe)
Argyle expect Hasney Aljofree to be the subject of an FA enquiry following Saturday's draw at Peterborough. Michael Dunford said: "We have been advised that the Peterborough police have been asked to investigate the matter, having received a number of complaints from supporters in the area of the ground where Hasney and his colleagues went to celebrate. I would imagine, given the incident and the publicity it has received subsequently, that the FA will at least write to Hasney and ask him for his observations on the incident. Hasney very much regrets it. He had a long conversation with Ian about it - and Ian does not condone his actions, as he has publicly stated - and asked to make a written apology to the Peterborough supporters which Peterborough United Football Club have published on their website. It's unfortunate, heat of the moment stuff, and it's regrettable. The player has apologized and we hope common sense will now prevail."
Ian Holloway's latest round of contract talks with Tony Capaldi have been described as 'very positive.' Michael Dunford said: "Ian has made it clear that we can't allow this situation to drag on and on and is keen to see Tony remain a Plymouth Argyle player. We have been negotiating now with the player and his agent for more than two months. The most recent round of negotiations we had was this weekend and we left those discussions feeling very positive, although, in football, you never know what's round the corner. As always, the player will have the final say on whether he wants to remain at Plymouth Argyle or move to another club. If he decides his future lies elsewhere - and I'm not suggesting he does at the moment - then it's up to the club to maximize his value. Tony is an important member of our squad but, given that his contract is up in the summer, he could potentially walk out of Home Park for nothing and that must be avoided."
Ian Holloway could not conceal his disappointment at yesterdays FA Cup draw. He said: "We are the luckiest people in the world, aren't we? It's hardly the big team we were hoping for. We have just got to concentrate on knocking out Peterborough. That's all that matters now. It's a relief to still be in it, the way it was looking at one stage on Saturday. We had a lot of injuries to start with and then Paul Connolly was sent-off, but I thought everybody did very well. Let's see if we can get through, that's the important thing. It would be good for our confidence to get a win."
Argyle have arranged to play their Devon Bowl semi-final against Torquay United at Home Park on February 13th
Marcel Seip has been arrested, again, on suspicion of assault following an incident outside a Plymouth nightclub
Argyle are reported to be close to a loan deal for Hungarian defender Krisztian Timar. The Ferencvaros player is said to be flying to England tomorrow, and will join the club for six months, with an option for a two-year permanent deal. Timar told the Ferencvaros website: "The two clubs have agreed, only the signatures are missing from the contract. If everything is fine then I'll travel to England on Wednesday. I admit I'm looking forward to showing my qualities at my new team. I felt great at Ferencvaros but one should know that my dream has always been to play in England." Ian Holloway was pleased with what he saw from Timar during his trial at Home Park last week. "He was very impressive," Holloway said. "I thought he looked like a proper player. His concentration levels and his positional play made it look like he knew what he was doing. He was blowing a bit, because he hasn't played for three weeks, but he didn't put a foot wrong."
Argyle have been drawn away to Barnet or Colchester in the fourth round of the FA Cup, should they beat Peterborough United in their replay
Argyle's FA Youth Cup fourth round tie at Crystal Palace, scheduled for January 16th, will now be played 24 hours earlier due to the FA Cup replay with Peterborough
Ian Holloway is facing possible disciplinary action from the FA after allegedly calling Sepp Blatter 'an idiot and a lunatic'. The FA have written to Holloway asking him to explain his comments and he could either be warned or charged with bringing the game into disrepute. Michael Dunford said: "Ian and the club have received a letter from the FA, asking Ian for his observations on comments he is alleged to have made following our game against Southampton. Ian has been given until next Tuesday, January 16, to respond to the letter and, once he and, possibly, his legal advisers have studied the contents, there will be an official response to the FA from him."
Argyle's youth side lost 5-1 at Oxford United on Saturday, the goal scored by Damian McCrory
Ian Holloway stood up for Paul Connolly after he was sent off during yesterday's FA Cup draw at Peterborough. "I didn't think his first booking was a booking at all," said Holloway. "He got there when he could, the fella just nicked it around the corner. Did he really need to fall over? I've never seen a bloke with as much mud on his gear. Shelly's just a competitive young kid who thought he could make it. How many more people do you want to send off? The last game I had to face, my team scored a fantastic goal and Southampton's goal stood and ours didn't and my captain was sent off for deliberate handball which never was. Now I've had another sending-off which is ridiculous." Holloway was also unhappy that referee Carl Boysen turned down two penalty appeals and handed out another four yellow cards to his players while Peterborough only had one player cautioned. "To get six of my players booked, and only one of Peterborough's, I would say the referee was shocking," he said. "We ended up with ten men again and I can't tell you how that can be right, and that can be fair; how my boys are getting yellow cards when we have tackled just like Peterborough have - if it's five each side, that makes sense, not five one side and one the other. C'mon. I think the referee should have refereed with some common sense, take the conditions of the pitch, and the circumstances of the game, into consideration. Why hand out cards like confetti? In the first half, when Tony Capaldi nicked the ball, that was a blatant penalty; and then, when Reuben did his happy feet and went through, that was more a penalty than the other one." Holloway paid tribute to his young side who overcame the loss of seven first-teamers through suspension and injury to earn a replay. He said: "I thought they handled it terrifically well, but I have got to make sure my senior ones calm down and get back and lead them properly. Today, I thought we were very, very good. We were balanced, we were organised - there were not enough goalmouth incidents but we had the majority of them and I thought, in the second half, we got better and better. We are a little bit short in certain areas but I am delighted that I will have to makes places in my first team on a regular basis for some of these young lads, which is fantastic news. If it was about old farts running around, I'd still be playing: it's about young fellas, up for it, fresh, because they are the future and some of our boys are much better than I ever dreamed of picking up. What we need to do is get some strength in depth and make sure I don't put too much pressure on these young fellas. It's my job to develop them and make sure they are successful players for Plymouth in the future, to take us towards the promised land, which is the Premier League. Sometimes you ask too many of them, when they are not expecting it, to come into the fever of a cup match like this, away from home, and have expectations of winning it. I have been quite busy and hopefully some things might have happened. I am trying to make a squad that is strong enough to have a serious challenge to get towards the Premiership."
Hasney Aljofree had sympathy for Paul Connolly following his sending-off yesterday. Aljofree said: "Shelly went up to win a header. I think it was a fair challenge. I don't think he went in with his elbow, or anything like that - he's an honest kid - but obviously the referee didn't think it was a fair challenge. I feel sorry for Shelly because he's a 100% player." Following the dismissal, Aljofree gave Argyle the lead from a twice-taken penalty only for Aaron Maclean to equalise five minutes later. "I thought Akos was going to get to the ball and clear it," said Aljofree, "but it skidded away from him, it was pulled back, and Maclean hit a great strike. I think it went underneath my feet. It was a great goal, but we were disappointed we conceded that. The boys did great after Shelly was sent off. We showed our true colours. Obviously, with ten men, we knew it was our backs against the wall but we did have that little bit where we thought we could get a goal. It wasn't to be, but we're looking forward to the game against them at our place now."
Ian Holloway absolved Peterborough supporters from blame after Lilian Nalis was hit on the head by a bottle during Saturday's FA Cup draw. Nalis was struck by the missile which was thrown from the terrace behind the goal in which Hasney Aljofree had scored a retaken penalty. Holloway said: "I thought our celebration for the goal was ridiculous. We should have just run back to the halfway line. Why disrespect their fans? They don't want to see us celebrating. They were incensed anyway. If I was over there, I would have hit him with a bottle myself. I've had a go at all of my players for the celebration, apart from Lil, who was trying to get them back across the halfway line. In those circumstances, we should have run back and not alienate the crowd even more. We should have tried to take the sting out of the situation." Aljofree was also apologetic. "Maybe it was a bit of overcelebrating," he said, "but it just got to me, having not scored for a while. It was an FA Cup game, a great game to play in. I celebrated at the wrong end, I think. A bottle came on. I turned round and it hit Lilian on the head, hit him flush. I saw another bottle fly past me. I thought 'What's going on here?' I should have just run off, but that's hindsight. It was the heat of the game. The manager might not be happy and, looking back, if I'd thought about it, I wouldn't have celebrated the way I did but it was a split-second decision." Aljofree would have had nothing to celebrate had not referee Carl Boysen ordered the penalty to be retaken, for encroachment, after Mark Tyler had saved his first effort. "I can't believe the goalie saved it," said Aljofree. "It was a great save. I thought I put it in a good position but he's a good goalkeeper. After that, I could hear the crowd going mad, so I tried to compose myself. A few of the lads were asking whether I wanted to take it again but there was no doubt in my mind." Holloway added: "To be honest, I wasn't asking for it to be retaken - and no-one is more biased than me. I was slightly embarrassed, because I thought their 'keeper made an absolutely fantastic save."
Argyle drew 1-1 in the FA Cup at Peterborough, the goal coming from a Hasney Aljofree penalty after 73 minutes. Argyle: McCormick, Connolly, Seip, Sawyer, Aljofree, Norris, Nalis, Buzsaky, Capaldi, Samba, Reid. Subs - Hodges, Dickson, Summerfield (not used - Gosling, Mason). Attendance - 6,255.
Ian Holloway does not expect Argyle to be given an easy ride when they meet Peterborough United in the FA Cup third round today. He said: "I have watched the Southampton game again and the performance was exhilarating. How we didn't win it, I just do not know, but we will need more of the same against Peterborough. This is a proper, proper cup tie. They will be right up for it. They have got a rich owner who is going to do whatever he wants to do. They will throw everything at us, including the kitchen sink, and we have got to go there and be resolute. It's probably going to be quite a young team, especially in the attack, but I think it's a great opportunity for them to show me they are ready and they want to be in my first team the following Saturday - in the Championship." Holloway admitted Barry Hayles would be missed, although Argyle have won games earlier this season without him. He said: "I don't think there are too many better players than him outside the Premiership, as centre-forwards. I think that has been shown in his performances this season."
Bojan Djordjic is recovering after an operation to repair his fractured cheekbone went wrong. Ian Holloway has revealed it did not go according to plan, and said: "There were some complications and it went wrong so they had to get him to go under again. When they moved the fractured cheekbone they trapped a blood vessel and his eye filled up with flood, and all sorts of stuff. He looks absolutely horrific, but he will be fine. At least he will go back to the good-looking lad that he is and, unfortunately, I'm stuck like this. He did tell me that last weekend! But you wouldn't want to meet him in a dark alleyway at the moment. He looks like Count Dracula's brother without any make-up. I don't really want to joke about it. It's quite a serious thing and I'm just glad he's healthy and he's okay."
Ian Holloway will make a decision over the next couple of days whether to pursue his interest in two trialists who have been at Home Park this week. One of them is Kamil Zayatte, a defender from Guinea, who is currently with Racing Club de Lens in France. The other is Hungarian defender Krisztian Timar who plays for Ferencvaros
Cherno Samba will make his FA Cup debut this afternoon, and a cup run is his target. "I'm really looking forward to the tie," he said. "It's my first game in the FA Cup and I hope we can go there and get a good win. We've got a great chance of making progress against Peterborough. We know it's a Cup game and anything can happen, but we're just going to dig deep and try to get the right result. We don't want to be on the wrong end of a shock." Samba will be the senior partner in a youthful Argyle front two at London Road, along with Reuben Reid. "Hopefully I can take my chance, and score a goal or two to help us win the tie," he said. "It's not nice seeing your team-mates injured or sent off, but that's the way football is and I've just got to do my best out there." Samba scored Argyle's winner at Coventry in September, but had to wait until the draw with Southampton on New Year's Day for his first Championship start. "I really enjoyed Monday's game," he added. "There was a chance in the first five minutes that I should have buried, but that happens. Top strikers miss chances like that, so I'm not worried about that. The main thing is that I was in the position to miss it, anyway, so I've just got to carry on doing what I'm doing and working hard on the training ground. Hopefully there will be more chances to come." Samba has no regrets about moving to the Westcountry. "Since I've been here, everyone has been so nice to me," he said. "I'm really glad, and I know I've made the right choice."
A decision on the future of Tony Capaldi could be made any time now. Ian Holloway had a meeting with Capaldi on Wednesday, and he said: "It should be sorted out by the end of the week, one way or the other. I don't want him to go and I don't think he wants to go. But he has played himself into a situation where he will probably be sought after and wanted by other clubs who can pay him more than us. There is no way I will let a situation develop where he signs a pre-contract with someone else and tries to play for us, because that's no good for him or me." It was put to Holloway yesterday that the situation was that Capaldi either signed a new contract or was put on the transfer list. Holloway said: "I will not need to place him on the transfer list. Everyone knows he's available because his agent has been ringing absolutely everybody under the sun anyway. Everybody will know that Tony Capaldi, who is a Northern Ireland international playing in the Championship and has been outstanding for this club for however many years, is available. There are parts of the deal that he has asked for that we can't come to. I have said what I can do and I have pushed it as far as I can. Now I have got to look at it, after our conversation on Wednesday, and try to see if there is anything more I can do." When asked whether he thought Capaldi would stay at Home Park, Holloway added: "It will go the right way for both of us - for Plymouth Argyle and Tony - but I don't know what that is yet. In an ideal world, he will be playing for me for the next two or three years and we will be moving on. Whether I can make that happen I don't know, but I'm always the optimist."
Cherno Samba and Reuben Reid will be Argyle's strikers against Peterborough tomorrow. Ian Holloway has ruled out playing only one forward, which could have seen Akos Buzsaky in the support role. Holloway said: "I would never play just one up front. It is a cup game and I want to play 4-4-2, and I want to win the game. We will probably have a young team in the attacking areas. It is a great opportunity for them to show me they are ready and they want to be in my first-team in the Championship on the following Saturday. They have both got all sorts of things in their locker and it gives me a fantastic opportunity to see them play because youngsters do get frustrated. It is about them stepping into the limelight and grabbing it. I sent Reuben out on loan to get him used to that and he is going to have to give the same sort of performance he did at Kidderminster because that was one of the best reports I have ever seen for a young player's debut. Hayles will be missed because I don't think there are too many better players than him outside the Premiership. We might have Anthony Mason on the bench. He did brilliant against Wigan in the FA Youth Cup the other day and he looks like a centre-forward in the making."
Lilian Nalis will be the Argyle captain for the trip to Peterborough tomorrow, and Ian Holloway said: "Lilian Nalis will be captain. He is the natural choice. He is a fantastic example of what young players should be like day in, day out, week in, week out. I thought the performance last weekend was absolutely exhilarating and I just do not know how we did not win that game. We will need a bit more of that because this will be a proper, proper cup tie and Peterborough will be right up for it. Peterborough have got a rich new owner, who is going to do whatever he wants to do. They will throw everything at us, and the kitchen sink. We have got to be resolute and up for it." Nalis himself said: "The manager has told us the way we are going to play and he has told me that I will be the captain. I have gone straight to Barry and asked me what I need to do because I have never done it in England. I will improve my language because I don't know the words for the two sides of the coin, so he has written it down and I have added two words to my English vocabulary. You have a bit more responsibility but I just want to do exactly the same job I have been doing every weekend. The captain is Paul Wotton but he is injured. The second captain is Barry Hayles but, if they are not here, then I will do it and that is it." Nalis accepts that it will be a difficult game at London Road, but refuted the suggestion that Argyle are under more pressure than their opponents. He said: "You do not have to put pressure on every game. You just have to do the job you have been told to do. It is all about concentration and doing what the manager wants you to do, so we will go there and try to continue in the same way we played in the Christmas period, and we are going to win. That is what we have to do for us and for the club." The FA Cup is a world famous competition and is closely followed in Nalis's native country. The French equivalent, however, does not have the same sort of reputation. "I am always looking forward to a football game and with the FA Cup, there is always more excitement with this competition," said Nalis. "This competition is massive in France and it was always crazy when we watched because you would sometimes have teams playing three games in a row with replays, as was the case years ago. The final is always a big event on French TV each year, so the competition makes a lot of sense to foreign people. The French Cup is still a good competition but it lost a bit of magic when the League Cup started in France because that involves massive money."
Ian Holloway is hoping for some good news in the transfer market before Argyle take on Peterborough United in the FA Cup tomorrow. He said: "We have put some written offers in for some people, but I can't tell you who they are. I'm trying my utmost to add to what we've got here. There are two offers lying on tables. I think one of them has been knocked back, and we might be revisiting it, and the other one I'm waiting on." Holloway would not divulge any names, but he did say: "A striker is a priority, obviously. One of the bids is for a striker. The other one is for a utility player who can play in loads of different positions." Asked if the bids were substantial, Holloway said: "They blow the spots off anything I've ever spent before in my life, but whether they'll be accepted or not - who knows?" Last month Holloway denied having made a bid for Oldham Athletic's Chris Porter, and when asked yesterday if that situation had changed, he said: "I wouldn't tell you if I had, because I don't give out the names of the people I'm going for. You can speculate all you like."
The opening of the transfer window will see a number of trialists arrive at Home Park over the next few weeks. The first batch have already arrived,and will soon be leaving Home Park. Ian Holloway admitted that one of the trialists was particularly impressive, although he refused to offer any more information on the identity of the player. Holloway said: "They will be leaving in the next couple of days and then we will have some more trialists in next week, and more after that. Gary Penrice has been working hard and I need to have a look at them. I would rather not say anything about one of them because he was very impressive and I have to decide what I am doing by Monday, but we have got lots of irons in different fires. I know the areas of the team that I want to sort out but I need to find the right sort of quality to do that." Holloway conceded that Plymouth's isolation has caused problems in attracting players in the past, but he remained upbeat about the situation. He said: "We have had some geographical problems in the past with attracting people, so that is an added worry. The moment I can speak to people then I don't think that will be a worry but I am waiting to talk to lots of people. It is exciting. Football is like a big kaleidoscope - one minute you turn it one way and then you turn it another, and you never know which way it is going to turn." Holloway has always insisted that he will not bring anyone to Home Park that he does not believe will fit into the unique Argyle approach. A visiting agent recently watched an Argyle training session at Harper's Park and he was pleasantly surprised by the intensity and the honesty of the players on show. "One of the agents I had here laughed his head off because Connolly ran into Sawyer and there were sparks," said Holloway. "You don't normally get that and I just said to him, 'Welcome to Plymouth'. The two players collided with each other and carried on. Thankfully, they just got up and got on with it, and that is what it is all about. It is the way things are down here and long may it continue. It is a wonderful, wonderful club and I am trying my utmost to add to what we have got here." Despite his delight with the current set-up at Argyle, Holloway could not hide his frustration with the present transfer system. He said: "It is absolute madness. I need to drag up youth team players to play in the first-team, so how can I play anybody in a trial match with my reserves? I honestly don't think these people understand what it is to run a team at our level, let alone teams below us - imagine what they have to do. I spoke to the Brentford manager, Scott Fitzgerald, who is a good mate of mine and you should hear what sort of trouble he has got - it is amazing."
The injury crisis at Argyle means Ian Holloway has just two fit strikers available for Saturdays game at Peterborough, as Barry Hayles will miss the cup tie through suspension. Holloway will draft in Anthony Mason as cover for the game, having verified his availability with the Football League. "Chadwick and Ebanks-Blake are both still out," said Holloway. "I have had to make sure Anthony Mason is signed on and can play in this cup competition." Romain Larrieu and Mathias Kouo-Doumbe both limped out of today's training session, Larrieu turned over on his ankle in training and Doumbe is suffering from a recurrence of the back problem that forced him off in the first-half of the Southampton game. Holloway said: "Matty Doumbe limped out of training and Romain has gone over on his ankle. Doumbe's back has tightened up and it looks like sciatica, and that can normally lead to hamstring tears and all sorts of stuff. He literally trained for ten minutes this morning and had to go off, so that does not look good. It is the sheer number of games and over-use." Paul Connolly, Lee Hodges and Hasney Aljofree will all be fit for the game and Holloway added: "Connolly is fine. I rested him, so he will be back in. The same goes for Hasney. He has recovered from a few knocks and bruises. Hodges is fully fit and he will probably be on the bench. Djordjic is absolutely nowhere near being fit. There were some complications with his operation and they had to get him to go under again. His eye filled up with blood and all sorts of stuff. When they moved it, they trapped a blood vessel and it looks absolutely horrific. You would not want to meet him in a dark alley. He looks like Count Dracula's brother. He will soon be back to the good looking lad that he is, whereas I am stuck like this, which is something he did tell me last weekend. I don't want to joke about it because it is quite serious but he is healthy and he is ok."
Akos Buzsaky and Tony Capaldi are united in their belief that Argyle are playing far better than their recent results suggests. Buzsaky said: "The Christmas period is over and we have drawn three and lost one of our four games. To be honest, we should have won all three of the draws. We were up two-nil against West Bromwich, we were leading at Cardiff, and on Monday we were much the better side against Southampton but we just couldn't get the second goal. We have a lot of young players, but it doesn't mean that we have bad players. I think we have a good squad, and we are playing well. If somebody is injured, then we have another player at the same kind of level. We have to get three points soon, because we are playing very well. Derby are one of the best sides in the League, and they weren't better than us last Saturday. They scored a goal from the only mistake we made in the whole game. It was very disappointing to lose there, and two days later we played Southampton. They have spent much more money than Plymouth have, and we were much better than them." Capaldi agreed that Argyle should have beaten Southampton: "It was a fantastic performance, and it was a shame we didn't get the three points," he said. "We're not really taking our chances as well as we should be, or as well as other teams are, but a little bit of the rub of the green isn't going our way at the moment. If we keep playing like that, I'm sure we'll get plenty of good results in the future."
Argyle had hoped to take a look at a couple of trialists in a behind-closed-doors friendly against Yeovil Town yesterday afternoon, but the proposed game was cancelled. One of the trialists, according to reports, was Kamil Zayatte, a central defender from Guinea who is in the first-team squad at French club RC Lens. Ian Holloway is also looking at transfer targets closer to home. He was at Whaddon Road on Tuesday to see Cheltenham Town play Crewe Alexandra
David Norris believes that Argyle can take out their frustrations by beating his hometown club Peterborough United in the FA Cup on Saturday. He said: "It's going to be a tough game at Peterborough and pretty physical, too. We're expecting them to be more direct and attack us and put us under pressure in the first 20 or so minutes. We've conceded early goals on a few occasions this season and had to come from behind. I'm sure Peterborough will know that but anyway they will look to unsettle us early on. They will be the underdogs and in that sense will have nothing to lose and will fancy turning us over. There will be a lot of my family and also my friends at the ground, who will be supporting the home side. I'm expecting a fair bit of reasonably friendly stick from them all, but they know my loyalties are with Argyle. It will not be my first time at London Road as I played up there in our Championship winning season three years ago when we drew 2-2. I think Argyle have a reasonable record against Peterborough, but that won't really count for anything on Saturday. It's their chance of causing an upset and picking up a good scalp in Argyle. But we think we've been unlucky, particularly in the Christmas matches, not to have won at least two of those matches. So, we've got a point to prove, too, and if we play as we have done against Derby, West Brom, Cardiff and Southampton, then I think we will be too strong for Peterborough. Having watched the draw for the third round of the FA Cup, I would love for us to be drawn out against one of the really big and glamorous clubs. Playing away at Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea or Arsenal would be fantastic. I'd love to play at one of those really big grounds. But we've got to beat Peterborough first and I'm willing to risk annoying my family and mates to do that!"
Ian Holloway is considering loaning out some of the youngsters in his squad in order to further their football education. Holloway said he is hoping to bring in experienced players to bolster his squad, which then allows him to use his young players more selectively. "I can't tell you how proud I am of those young boys - I've got to be honest," said Holloway. "I've got some young fellas out there trying to learn - even Cherno is only 21. I think the future's bright but what I've got to try and do is to bring some more senior players here to actually help me. Then, maybe loan some of these young ones out, because at 16, you can't play week-in, week-out. But what a future Gosling will have if he carries on like that. I've got to mould him but he's got to get stronger. It's all about time. At the minute, it's a very uncompromising division. But I'm very, very pleased at the minute."
Tony Capaldi has hinted that he is close to agreeing a new contract with Argyle. He said: " Nothing's been sorted out yet, but I'm going to sit down and talk with the gaffer. I've been trying to keep my mind on the football and not worry about what's going to happen. But now we've got this busy Christmas period out of the way, I'll be able to sit down and have a talk with him this week . We're not far apart now from sorting something out, but we've still got things that we would both like to change. So, we'll have to see what we can come up with over the next couple of weeks. But I've not been talking to any other club and I'm enjoying my football at the moment." Holloway has described Capaldi's displays in the festive fixtures as 'spot on', and Capaldi himself is also satisfied, but nonetheless frustrated that Argyle's performances have amassed just three from a possible twelve points. But although disappointed overall and particularly with the Southampton draw, Capaldi is optimistic Argyle's luck will take an upturn. He said: "Yes, I'm frustrated in one way, but the performance was excellent. It was a good home performance just like the West Brom game. I thought we dominated the first half, the second half was a bit more even, as a bit of tiredness crept as it was our second game in three days. Performances have been good, but the rub of the green isn't going our way and it's just a shame we couldn't get the three points. Capaldi is now looking forward to Saturday's FA Cup tie at Peterborough United. He added: "Well, ever since I've been at the club, we've never really been a good cup side. We've had a lot of upsets so we won't take anything for granted. I think it'll be a different type of game - it'll be quite physical and direct. Yes, it's one that we should really win and we'll be going there to win. Hopefully, we'll get the right result."
Barry Hayles is counting the cost of both his and Argyle's bad luck at the hands of officials during the draw with Southampton. Hayles watched in disbelief as his side's 'winning goal' from David Norris was ruled out, before he was then sent off. "I'm very disappointed with the whole of that situation, definitely," said Hayles. "What happened was the keeper dropped the ball down in order to clear it and I anticipated him doing that. So, I ran at him and closed him down. Now, no-one runs trying to close the ball down with their hands fixed firmly by their sides. The linesman seemed to have his flag permanently up. He's flagged for deliberate hand ball and well, I'm just very disappointed." Hayles feels that a number of decisions made by the officials left a lot to be desired. He said: "I thought we played really well. The manager said at the start of the game that it would take a mistake for the first goal to happen. Then we put a lot of pressure on them and we were by far the best side, I thought. The linesman gave a few offsides which when you look at them again, they probably weren't. The 'goal' which Norris scored I thought he was clearly onside. We pressed them and I scored and then we thought that we would then go on to win it. We were definitely unfortunate not to get all three points, but that's happened in a number of games this season."
Barry Hayles' disciplinary record since joining Argyle has been poor and Ian Holloway feels he must curb his frustration on the pitch. "He has got to stop arguing so much but I do think he was arguing with some poor officials today," said Holloway. "He gets frustrated and he has got to realize, as a captain, you cannot show dissent by your actions, and he consistently shows dissent by his actions. He has been absolutely outstanding since he came here and you have to have passion but also discipline. I hardly ever got booked when I played." Holloway was forthright in his assessment of the decisions which led to Hayles being sent off yesterday. He said: "Hayles shoved Ostlund and it was a blatant foul but he was getting frustrated because there was a lot wrong out there. The second was unbelievably harsh. It has to be deliberate handball to get a yellow card and there's no way it was. The referee said he mouthed off to him afterwards but he didn't swear at him. I'm sorry, but I would have gone ballistic with him because Hayles had only blocked the ball. He chased a lost cause and he nearly got there, so what more do I need from him there? To be honest, I know what I would like to do with that linesman's flag. I would like to take it away from him and never give it back. I will try to find it in his bag and stamp all over it because I thought that bloke had a terrific game for Southampton." Hayles will be suspended for the FA Cup tie at Peterborough United next Saturday
Ian Holloway singled out Dan Gosling for praise following yesterdays game. He said: "Gosling is a 16-year-old kid and he can play right-midfield or right-back. I picked him because I needed to rest certain people and I wanted a positive, attack-minded, get-your-foot-in type team. I thought the kid was absolutely outstanding, at right-back or right wing, and I was absolutely delighted. What a future he has got." Holloway did not want to run the risk of Paul Connolly suffering a recurrence of his recent injury, and so saved him for the FA Cup tie at Peterborough United on Saturday. Hasney Aljofree was on the bench for the same reason. Holloway said: "I left Connolly out so he would not get injured. My physio is probably the best around and he has just done another course. Maxwell said to me that we would get away with first week but in the second week he will be fatigued and there will be an 83% chance of him getting injured again. I have got to try and keep him for Saturday, so he was rested. I told him my decision and I told him why. I left out Hasney because I'm thinking about Saturday as well. He has had so many knocks it's a joke. He has been whacked here, whacked there, whacked everywhere. I just thought with him struggling with his fitness I would leave him out. I tried to freshen it up, and I just feel totally and utterly sick to my boots really that I'm not sat here with two more points in the bag."
Ian Holloway thinks that the offside rules introduced by FIFA in recent years cost Argyle all three points against Southampton. He said: "The officials said it was the second phase of play. Hang on a minute. He was already in behind my defence and it goes to him, and he sticks it in the empty net. I don't blame them. I blame FIFA. The old rules should come back in. If you are offside, you are offside, whatever phase you are in. you can stick your phases in your ear-hole. It was a hard game for him with the pitch and all the tackles flying in but make it easy for these gentleman. Sepp Blatter: you are an idiot. Put the rules back to what they should be. He is a complete lunatic. It is impossible to do it fairly because you have human error. The offside rule is complicated enough anyway." Argyle dominated the game and Barry Hayles scored an equalizer in the second-half before David Norris seemingly secured the victory. "Akos has hit a shot and it has come out to Chuck," said Holloway. "How can that be offside? What I am saying is that I still think it is the same phase of play. So, if they are going to allow their goal, they should allow our goal and we won 2-1. I don't know if Southampton even know why that second goal was not given." Despite the decisions by the officials, Holloway did concede that Romain Larrieu must accept some responsibility for Rasiak's goal. "I said the team that made the least mistakes would win the game," said Holloway. "Unfortunately, Romain should have just kicked it out with his left foot but I still believe it was an unfair goal. Rasiak was offside from the first pass. I thought the linesman needs some glasses because I was sat level with him." Holloway was overall happy was the performance produced by his young team. He said: "I did not anticipate us playing that well. I thought we were terrific. I think we have been robbed. The performance was absolutely fantastic but it is not going our way. I thought we got better and better." Holloway even had some praise for the referee Kevin Wright after he allowed the game to go ahead, despite torrential rain. Holloway said: "Well done to the ref for playing it and I thought it was a fantastic game of football. Everybody has traveled a long way and it was wet, it was horrible but what a great game."
Argyle drew 1-1 with Southampton at Home Park, the goal scored by Barry Hayles after 66 minutes. Argyle: Larrieu, Sawyer, Kouo-Doumbe, Seip, Gosling, Norris, Nalis, Buzsaky, Capaldi, Samba, Hayles. Subs - Summerfield, Reid, Dickson (not used - McCormick, Aljofree). Attendance - 15,377.
Ian Holloway was asked after the defeat by Derby whether fans should be optimistic about new arrivals during the transfer window. He said: "Hopefully, something will breeze in our window that will help us. I think our fans should be very optimistic anyway. Some of the football we are playing is a joy to watch at times, but today some of our passing was a little bit tired. We need to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves down and have a right good go at Southampton." Holloway refused to comment on the specifics of any transfer targets. He said: "I don't want to talk about that. That's for me to know and you to keep asking. You aren't going to find out from me, are you? It's another one of those questions that never gets answered. Do you want me to be like a politician and walk all round the houses and never answer it? Good question but whack, whack, oops, our survey says. I would like 20 million players. There you are. I would settle for a few players and a few more bums on seats at our ground. That will help me more than anything. Come and support the lads. We are trying to move forward as a club and we need the fans cheering on the boys. I think the players have been absolutely terrific for me so far."
Marcel Seip is adamant that Argyle are still pursuing a place in the play-offs, and are desperate to start the new year with a victory over Southampton today. "We need to win or we'll lose touch with the play-offs," he said. "We need a win urgently and we need a good run to keep our goal of making the play-offs alive. The last three games have been very disappointing, because we have played some very good football and we didn't get what we deserved. "We battled well with Derby, which we had to because they had a couple of big blokes up front. We got things wrong only once and they punished us straight away, so we were a little unlucky." Argyle looked secure until their right flank was penetrated late in the game by Derby. "We talked about holding the line at the back," Seip added. "In the last two games it was too high and they played it in behind us. We didn't want to do that again, and I think the back four was solid today. I hope we can keep that going. It's easier if you stay in one place the whole time and you have the same back four, but you have to deal with injuries and you have to do what's best for the team. I just want to play, and I don't mind if it's at right-back or centre- back. Our squad isn't that big, but I still think we have a good side."
Argyle drew 1-1 with Goonhavern in the South Western League on Saturday, the goal scored by Toby Davis. Chris Souness said: "Yes, the conditions were horrendous and yes, we spurned numerous chances, but we were looking for a bit of character from the lads. They should have imposed themselves on the game but we were very much reactive and not proactive. The lads must ask themselves how many of them would play in the first team after that performance. The one good thing that we could not complain about was the number of quality crosses that Dan Smith supplied from the right wing. Somewhere along the line we have to be prepared to get hurt and score goals." Argyle: Clapham, White, Tozer, Laird.S, Laird.J, Smith, Hopkinson, Davis, Watts, Malsom, Mason. Subs - Grant, Joyce (not used - Elphick, Fenwick, Edwards)
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