A Round-up of Argyle News
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Peter Reid is clear that trimming Argyle's bloated playing staff is one of his higher priorities. Most of the squad underwent fitness tests today, and their pre-season training schedule commences tomorrow at University College Plymouth St Mark & St John. Reid, accompanied by Paul Mariner and John Carver, will have his first chance to assess what he has to work with. The new manager said: "The squad does need cutting. We all know that. When I was going to speak to the board of directors, I got on the internet and looked at the squad list. I kept on seeing more and more players. I couldn't believe how many players there were, and that's a fact. There are too many to work with. I'm all for wanting pressure to be put on the board to buy players, but there are too many. I need to trim it down, without a doubt, and that's with no disrespect to anybody." Reid will hope to make good use of his contacts to try to find new homes for the club's surplus players. He said: "There are ways of wheeling and dealing in the transfer market, and that's what I'll have to do. I think there have been negotiations about certain players going out, but I've said that has to stop for now. I deal with all that, which is the only way it can be. As a manager, I want to stamp my authority on the squad." Reid added: "I have to work within the budget, which is right, but I want to see the players. I want to get my assessment of them, because I have certain ideas about how football should be played." Reid was honest enough to admit that disagreements will be inevitable from time to time within the dressing room or on the training ground. He said: "We will fall out, we will have our ups and downs, but, once I've had an up and down, the next day it's over with. Everyone gets a chance. It's up to them. I don't pick the team, the players pick the team, by playing well or by playing badly." Reid wants to give the men he is inheriting opportunities to prove their worth, before he turns to the transfer market. "I have ideas on players," he said, "but I might have players here who can do the job. I'm a great believer in basic things in football, like strength through the middle. A good goalkeeper, strong at the back, in the middle of the park and up front. If we have players here who fit that criteria, then they'll get in the side, but I'm sure there will be comings and goings during the season."
Deputy chairman Paul Stapleton believes that exciting times lie ahead at Home Park, and that Peter Reid has all the credentials to make Argyle a force within League One this term. "He is so experienced, he's got a lot of contacts in the game and he knows what he wants to do, and that's what we need," the former chairman said. "We need someone to handle the players, somebody to get the buzz back and get a bit of fun into football. We've had two years of relative doom and gloom and it's time now to turn over a new chapter and look forward to exciting times." Reid's positive approach – both in his interviews for the job and again at Monday's first media call – has won favour with Stapleton, who will take a particular interest in the future of his son-in-law, Marcel Seip. "Marcel will report back this week, the same as the other players," added Stapleton. "I know from speaking to him he still wants to be a Plymouth player. He has a house down here, but who knows what is going to happen in football? A lot was made of what happened at Blackpool last season, but that was nothing to do with Marcel. He's a footballer at the end of the day, and was just doing his job."
The Pilgrims' away game at Bristol Rovers next season has been moved from Monday 3rd January to Tuesday 4th January to avoid bank holiday policing costs.
Out-of-contract left-back Gary Sawyer, who made it clear some months ago that he saw his future away from Plymouth, has signed for Bristol Rovers.
Argyle's players return to pre-season training tomorrow, so Peter Reid will not have to wait too long to take a closer look at the squad at his disposal. One man who will be absent, however, is striker Rory Fallon, who has been given an extended break following his exertions at the World Cup finals with New Zealand.
Argyle have confirmed seven pre-season friendlies, including some previously unannounced games. A trip to Torquay United on the evening of Tuesday 13th July has been added to the list, three days after the now traditional opener at Truro City on Saturday 10th July. The Greens will depart for their pre-season tour of Holland on Friday 17th July, facing top-tier NAC Breda the following day. On Thursday 22nd July, they will meet Dutch side SC Cambuur, with one further tour fixture yet to be announced. After returning to England, Reid's men will complete their season's preparations with trips to League Two club Hereford United on Wednesday 28th July and Saltash United on Monday 2nd August.
Argyle's youth-team head coach Mike Pejic has left Home Park to join Ipswich Town's Academy. The former England full-back has guided the young Pilgrims to unprecedented success in the FA Youth Cup, as well as delivering promising players to the first-team squad. An Argyle spokesman said: "Mike has come to the end of his contract and, although he was offered another one, he decided to move on. We thank him for his hard work on behalf of the club, and wish him well for the future. A replacement will be sought under manager Peter Reid's leadership. In the meantime, Centre of Excellence manager Allan Evans will look after the Pilgrims' apprentices until such time as a permanent successor is appointed."
Sir Roy Gardener introduced Peter Reid as the club's new manager at a press conference at the city's Mount Batten Centre today. The 54-year-old has agreed a two-year contract with the Pilgrims, heading up the coaching team of Paul Mariner and John Carver. Sir Roy said that the club is hoping the appointment of Reid will help revitalise Argyle after the disappointment of last season. "It's taken seven or eight weeks to sift through the applicants that we had" he said. "But at the end of the day, it was down to the guy who really demonstrated the most passion for taking the manager's role at Plymouth, and that was Peter. With his playing career and his managerial career, people will have a lot of respect for what he's managed to achieve and I think he will enthuse the people around him. You can never be overly confident (about promotion) but we have a great coaching staff now, so we've got the platform right and we've just got to get the playing squad sorted now."
Introducing himself to the press, Peter Reid expressed his delight: "When the opportunity arose to join a club like Plymouth Argyle, which has got tremendous history and a great catchment area, I was delighted to accept the opportunity and I'm really excited. It is a great football club and I want us to try and improve, and get back in the Championship. I played here as a youngster against Paul Mariner and Billy Rafferty, and Bobby Saxton, who was my number two at Sunderland and a great friend of mine, and he speaks so highly of the area and the football club." The new manager went on to express his belief that the path to success comes from an adherence to the basics of the game. "People over-complicate football at times" he said. "I want to get back to the basics of when you haven't got the ball, you have to work hard to get it back. When you've got it, you try to keep it, create chances and score goals. From a park pitch to the Premier League, that is still the way to go."
Reid will meet up with his coaching staff of Paul Mariner, John Carver and Geoff Crudgington before the players return from their summer break on Wednesday. Fitness will be a pre-season priority for Reid but the balls will also be introduced as he begins to assess his new squad. "It is not that I don't anything about the football club, the ambitions and the support. I know Paul Mariner and John Carver as coaches, and I'm just looking forward to getting started. You always learn. You can go on every coaching course in the world and I've got every badge, but nothing can teach you about being in that hot-seat. I have had that experience and I expect players to give everything in training and on match-days, and I don't think I'm asking a lot. To be 100% fit is the very least. You're not going to play well all the time but as long as you give everything you have on that park for the shirt, you will have no complaints from me. If you don't, then you've got a problem. I like my teams to be fit. As a professional athlete who is getting paid, you should be fit and you should give everything. It's quite simple really."
One of the first issues Reid said he will deal with is the size of the squad at Home Park, with 27 players currently on the books. He said: "There's a lot of players at the football club - in fact I think there's too many and it needs trimming down. Everyone starts with a clean slate so I'll assess it, see how we go and then hopefully move on from there."
Tony Pulis has given a ringing endorsement to Argyle's new manager Peter Reid. "His enthusiasm for the game, and his contacts, are second to none," said Pulis. "He's such a bubbly character and the people at the football club, and the players that work with him, will be bowled over by him. Peter has been really keen to get back into management for some time and have a go again. I think he has got something to prove, and not only to the people at Plymouth. It's very important to him that he does well at Plymouth and gets them going. I'm convinced he will do that." The Stoke and former Argyle manager added: "If you take a look at Peter's record, it's fantastic. He did really well at Manchester City and Sunderland, and kept Leeds United in the Premier League one year when they were in financial meltdown. What happens as a manager sometimes is when you keep over-achieving at clubs you end up getting tired. I think when Peter was at Coventry he was worn out from his experiences prior to that. But he had some time away and he's refreshed now — and I think Plymouth will see the benefit. He's a great lad." Pulis had no hesitation in recommending Reid to take up the chance of becoming Argyle boss. "Peter asked me what it was like at Plymouth and I told him it was a good club to manage," said Pulis. "I had a great time down there and I think the world of the football club and the people."
Rory Fallon's World Cup dream has ended. He appeared for New Zealand in all three Group F games, including a stunning 1-1 draw against World Champions Italy, and ended his summer in South Africa without being on the losing side. New Zealand finished third in the group, ahead of Italy.
Argyle's opening game of the season at Southampton will be shown live on Sky, with a 12.15pm kick-off.
Sir Roy Gardner announced today that Peter Reid has been appointed as the successor to Paul Mariner. Sir Roy said: "The Plymouth Argyle Board of Directors are delighted to have secured a manager whose high reputation precedes him. Peter has a wealth of experience after a lifetime in the dressing-room and dug-out which made him the stand-out candidate to progress the club on the pitch. We look forward to many years of success together." The Argyle Chairman added: "We said all along that we were seeking a man with proven experience who could help us realise our aspirations and ambitions - we want to get back to the Championship and, after that, move on. Peter fits that criteria perfectly. He is an international manager and player, and, domestically, he has achieved success in both spheres at the highest echelon. He also knows how to mix it outside the Premiership, winning lower league titles on the pitch and from the sidelines. He is well connected, commands respect, and has a depth of knowledge of the game that few of his peers can match."
As a player, Reid made more than 600 senior appearances, the bulk of which were for Bolton Wanderers, Everton and Manchester City. Whilst with Everton, he won the old First Division twice and FA and European Cup-Winners' Cups, and was the Professional Footballers' Association Player of the Year in 1985. The same season, he was fourth in the World Soccer Player of the Year award, behind Michel Platini, Preban Elkjaer and Diego Maradona. Reid also won 13 caps for England and was a key member of the 1986 World Cup team in Mexico. The 54-year-old Liverpudlian began his managerial career in 1990, when he was appointed Manager of Manchester City. His next job came at Sunderland, where he spent seven seasons, taking them up to the Premier League twice in 1996 and 1999. He left the Stadium of Light in 2002 for a brief spell at Leeds United, and his last domestic managerial position was at Coventry City, where he left in 2005. Since then he had a spell in charge of the Thailand National side before his latest role as Assistant Manager at Stoke City.
Reid's predecessor in charge of team affairs, Paul Mariner, will remain at the club as Head Coach, and Mariner's assistant, John Carver, will also stay on the Pilgrims' coaching set-up. Sir Roy said: "As I said last season, Paul and John did a good job, without getting the results, and Peter's appointment is about improving what we have. Peter's arrival now gives Plymouth Argyle a management and coaching set-up which boasts unrivalled experience and knowledge. We need to utilise that experience as a launch-pad from which to move forward."
Reid leaves his post as assistant to former Pilgrims' boss Tony Pulis at Premier League Stoke City to take up the reins at Home Park, and will be formally introduced as the new Argyle manager at a club Press Conference next Monday.
Sir Roy Gardner has said that the announcement of Argyle's new manager is close to being made, probably before the end of the week, with Peter Reid still reported as the favourite to be offered the job. Reid, 53, became Stoke's assistant boss last August, after resigning as national team manager of Thailand. Stoke chairman Peter Coates has admitted that Reid would take over at Home Park with the blessing of everyone at the Premier League club. He said: "Peter has been a valuable member of the management staff over the past season, but there was always the possibility a man with his experience and record would get an offer from somewhere. He has always expressed an interest to return to management if an appropriate opportunity arose, so he would definitely go there with our best wishes." Gardner said last night that the club were on the brink of making an announcement. "We are in the last throes now and we will probably make a decision tomorrow," he said. "I'm still hopeful we will make an announcement by Friday. If not, then on Monday. We are really quite close."
Argyle have abandoned plans to stage a pre-season game against 'high-profile English opposition' on Saturday, 31st July. The new £500,000-plus Fibrelastic Turf pitch at Home Park will not be used until the Pilgrims take on Notts County in the Carling Cup first round, almost certainly on Tuesday, 10th August. Work on digging up the old playing surface started on 9th May, and the seeding of the new one was completed on Saturday. Chief operations officer Tony Campbell said: "There will not be a game on the new pitch prior to 10th August. It was something we had looked at, but we have decided, taking everything into consideration, it's probably better to leave it until the season starts. The longer we can leave the pitch the better all-round. The weather we have got at the moment is perfect and we aren't anticipating any problems at all for the pitch being ready for the start of the season. It could have been a problem playing on August 10th had there been any delays, but everything has gone smoothly."
Further details of Argyle's pre-season tour to Holland have been released. They will play Dutch top-flight club NAC Breda at non-league SC Franeker on Saturday, 17th July, and then face SC Cambuur, a second division side, at the same venue on Thursday, 22nd July (not at their opponents' home ground as previously stated). Argyle were also scheduled to meet newly-promoted top flight club De Graafschap on Saturday, 24th July, but De Graafschap are playing a Turkish side on that date, so the Pilgrims' tour organisers are trying to arrange another game.
Rory Patterson has admitted his career has reached make or break time. He said: "This is the most important time in my life. I'm at an age where I need to be cracking on. I haven't played in League One before but I'm confident I can come in and do a job for Plymouth, and for the new manager." In addition to the transfer fee Argyle paid Glentoran, the Irish club negotiated a sell-on clause for Patterson, and also have first refusal on him should he return to play football in the Irish League. Patterson said: "I signed the pre-contract agreement for Glentoran because there hadn't been any interest in me from England. I didn't think anything was going to happen, and I was in the last six months of my contract at Coleraine. Then I had a good run of goals and made my international debut, and a few teams from across the water started to take notice. As soon as Plymouth came in for me it was no contest. I think Glentoran knew I was an ambitious person and, having broken into the international team, I'm hoping playing in League One for Plymouth will get me some more caps. No disrespect to the Irish League, but it would probably have been harder for me to do that had I stayed there. But, first and foremost, my job is to score goals for Plymouth and, hopefully, I can get off to a good start." In March he spent three days training with Argyle, and impressed both Paul Mariner and John Carver. Patterson said: "It went well. The training was fun and I got to know all the players and what the set-up was like. I was very impressed with it. It's hard when you go somewhere as a trialist, and the rest of the players have been there all year, and you are going in to try to get a place in the squad. But all the lads were very friendly and made me feel welcome." Patterson was not put off signing for Argyle, even though Mariner will revert to his role as head coach and there will be a new boss. "Plymouth are a big club, and I know Paul Mariner has still got an important role to play," he said. "He has played at the highest level for England and scored goals wherever he went. You can always learn off people like that." Northern Ireland have been drawn with Italy in qualifying for Euro 2012, their other opponents being Serbia, Slovenia, Estonia and the Faroe Islands. Patterson added: "As a footballer, you want to play at the highest level possible. We have got some big games in qualifying for Euro 2012. I would love to be part of the set-up because I have enjoyed every minute of it so far."
Argyle can apply for some of their games in League One next season to be postponed should they have three or more players called up on international duty from under-19 to senior level. There are no international breaks in League One or League Two, unlike the Premier League and Championship.
Argyle will play a pre-season friendly at Saltash United on August 2nd. The first pre-season friendly will also involve a trip into Cornwall, at Truro City on July 10th. Truro's new manager is Argyle legend Lee Hodges.
Newspaper reports suggest that Argyle's search for a manager could come to an end this week and that Peter Reid is rumoured to have been offered the job.
Rory Fallon started, and played for 62 minutes, as New Zealand drew 1-1 with Italy in their second World Cup game.
Peter Reid and Jim Magilton are the latest names to be linked with the vacant Argyle manager's job and both are reported to have had interviews with Roy Gardner this week.
Argyle reserves will not play Bristol City, Reading or Southampton in the Wales and West Division of the Combination next season. All three clubs have pulled out of the league, as have Salisbury City and instead, will arrange their own reserve team friendlies. It leaves Argyle with only six opponents in the Wales and West Division, including newly-elected Torquay United.
George Burley, a rumoured candidate for the vacant Argyle manager position, was yesterday named as the new boss of Crystal Palace. Another target, Steve Cotterill, has been confirmed as the new Portsmouth manager.
Argyle will play Southampton at St Mary's Stadium on August 7th to kick off the 2010/11 League One season. Argyle asked the Football League for their first match to be away to allow time to prepare the new pitch at Home Park. Argyle's first home game of the campaign will be against Carlisle United on August 14th. Other notable fixtures are the two Devon derby games against Exeter City, at Home Park on December 11th and the return at St James' Park on April 30th.
Rory Fallon has taken time off from his World Cup duties to back Argyle's plan to appoint an experienced manager. He said: "I'm still buzzing and on a high from our game with Slovakia and just being in the World Cup. But I'm definitely being kept up to date with what's happening with my club at Plymouth, too. I've heard from one of my mates back in the city, who is Argyle mad, that the board are close to making a decision on a new manager. That's got to be good news as the club need an experienced man to work with Paul and John. I've got a lot of time for Paul who is a really great guy and also a top coach and very good to work with. But there's no substitute for experience, particularly in English league football, which is hard. And that's the only factor that Paul is lacking."
Rory Fallon is keen for himself and his team-mates to build on their encouraging start at the World Cup, starting with their next game against holders Italy on Sunday. "Playing for New Zealand at this World Cup is like living in a movie, it's so amazing and just doesn't seem real," said Fallon. "Running out onto the pitch to face Slovakia, I had to pinch myself that we were about to play in the finals, so you can imagine what it felt like when our equaliser went in as the clock ran down in added time. Shane Smeltz did well to get the cross in and I was licking my lips at the far post behind Winston Reid as it floated towards us. But my room-mate did the business and after I got the goal that took us here in our play-off against Bahrain, I am starting to think maybe I have that effect on people! Anyone who saw the celebrations after he headed it inside the post knows what it meant to us all." However, Fallon insists the celebrations will now be replaced by a seriousness as they prepare to tackle the Azzurri. "We can kick on and do even better, that's the beautiful thing about our team – we believe we can do it," he added. "I personally believe that we can go through to the next round. I'll never go out onto a football pitch thinking I'm going to lose. I'll always go out onto a football pitch believing I can be the best and that we can beat the best, and I know that we've got a good enough team to do that. You saw with Italy against Paraguay that they struggled on crosses and diagonal balls and hopefully we can get into the game through that." But whilst Fallon admits his immediate focus is on the World Cup, he is also thinking of life back home. He said: "I just want to thank all the Green Army for their support. It's been a tough two years, but they've just got to keep believing as well. All of these things happen for a reason and with the Green Army going down I believe that they're in the rebuilding stage and it's like the phoenix from the ashes. It's just like New Zealand football, we've been in the ashes for a long time and we've been waiting to rise back up and today we've done it. But we've got to keep on believing and keep on working hard."
George Burley is reported to be on the final shortlist of three candidates to take over as the new Argyle manager. Newspaper reports suggest that Burley had a second interview with Roy Gardner in London yesterday. Paul Ince is also being considered for the post. Gardner hopes the new manager will be appointed by the end of next week. He said: "I'm in the throes of interviewing the final shortlist of three candidates. I'm hopeful we will be making an appointment, and an announcement, in about 10 days' time. But if we find that one of the candidates is absolutely outstanding then we may well accelerate the process. We had a lot of applications, and while we haven't seen all of them we have seen quite a few of them. We had a good list of candidates, and all of them met the criteria we set — of being a proven, experienced manager." Gardner has taken a hands-on role over the appointment of the new manager, after being criticised for his lack of involvement in the running of the club last season. He said: "Keith Todd and the rest of the board have taken part in various stages of the interview process. Not all of the interviews have taken place in London, I should add. It's a very important decision for us because we want to return to the Championship as soon as possible. That's why we are going with somebody who has got a proven track record." Burley would be prepared to work with Paul Mariner and John Carver as his backroom staff, which has been a stumbling block for several of the leading candidates to become manager. When asked whether Mariner and Carver would be staying at Home Park under a new manager, Gardner replied: "That's still the plan. That's what we are discussing with each of the candidates." The Argyle squad will report back for the start of pre-season training on June 30th.
Argyle will play Notts County at Home Park in the first round of the League Cup next season.
Rory Fallon played the entire game as New Zealand drew 1-1 with Slovakia in their first match at the World Cup yesterday, becoming the first Argyle player ever to appear in the World Cup Finals.
Argyle will not announce their full programme of pre-season friendlies until a new manager is appointed, which could be within days, according to newspaper reports. Truro City have confirmed that Argyle will play them at Treyew Road on July 10th and Argyle also hope to play a game against 'high-profile English opposition' at Home Park on July 31st, as long as the new Fibrelastic Turf pitch is ready for use.
Rory Fallon says today's World Cup game with Slovakia is a 'massive opportunity' for him and New Zealand. He said: "I just can't wait to get started — it's such a huge game for us and such massive opportunity for everyone. We know that Slovakia are our best chance of getting something, although I'm sure they will be thinking the same about us. I'm not thinking about the Italy nor the Paraguay games yet, all my thoughts and focus is on Slovakia and getting ourselves off to a good start. Like all the other New Zealand guys, I just want to stay out here as long as possible — playing in the World Cup is every footballer's dream. And today I hope to be living it." The Jabulani ball which is being used in the World Cup has come in for criticism and unpredictability, particularly at altitude. Fallon has sympathy with the viewpoint, but admitted he is hoping to exploit it to the full during the campaign. "The ball pings all over the place and I'm practising hard at shooting from just outside the penalty area," he said. "I went to the official shop and bought one myself, so that I could have more time with it. If you can catch it right, the ball flies hard and straight — but if you don't it can go anywhere. That's the kind of problem all players are facing during the competition — not just goalkeepers — although I am sympathetic to their problem in reading the flight of the ball. But, I'll be doing my best to make sure any 'keepers I play against feel uncomfortable." Fallon is pleased with the playing surface at Rustenburg and the stadium itself. "It's a terrific stadium and the pitch is excellent," he added. "I've had a look around it and the grass is short and there doesn't seem to be any bobbles. It's certainly a lot better than the Home Park pitch I was playing on last season."
Argyle are still waiting for Karl Duguid and Yannick Bolasie to sign new contracts but club officials insist they are far from panicking over the pair not yet agreeing a new contract. A source said: "There's been no movement on either of the players' contracts, but there's no special deadline on either of them. It's not like it used to be — there's a lot of people to talk to about contracts these days. The club has made both players an offer, but we are not yet at the point of a serious deadline situation. It's not like the season is going to kick off tomorrow."
Rory Fallon is expected to line-up for New Zealand against Slovakia tomorrow and if he does he will become the first Argyle player to ever play in a World Cup. "We arrived in Johannesburg last Saturday and we have all caught World Cup fever," he said. "We don't play until Tuesday, but time is flying now and I can't wait for the tournament to start." New Zealand have only reached the World Cup finals on one previous occasion but Fallon insists they are determined to do well. "We are not going into these finals just to collect shirts," he said. "New Zealand have never won a point at the World Cup and only scored two goals in our other appearance, in 1982, but getting through the group is the goal. That would be success for us. I want to make history like my dad, who was a New Zealand coach last time. Before that my parents had nothing, and just qualifying gave my dad a job in football for the rest of his life. That has given me a job and at one point my brother Sean too. Hopefully I can pass it down to a son one day. We are full of ambition, but that doesn't mean we underestimate the size of our task. Every game we play will be David v Goliath." Fallon scored the goal that booked their place in South Africa and also netted in their recent warm-up game against Slovenia. But it was New Zealand's warm-up win over Serbia that sticks in Fallon's mind. "Our friendlies have been good, but facing Serbia at our Austrian training camp is the match which stands out," he said. "The dressing room was rocking afterwards. Maybe we can pull off a shock in South Africa." New Zealand are based on the outskirts of Johannesburg. "It's like a home from home," said Fallon. "We are in a gated community and there is a street of houses within it that have been vacated for us. I'm sharing a four-bed house and they are all huge with some nice personal touches. It is so much better than a hotel. If there is any frustration for us it is that we can't get to see the local people because of terror fears. There is an Aids orphanage out here and I want to visit to show my support. Hopefully, I can sort out the logistics but we are not really supposed to leave the main complex." New Zealand will be playing at altitude and Fallon has been working on his long-range shooting to try and take advantage of the conditions. He added: "The altitude isn't too bad for your breathing, you get used to it, but you ping the ball and your team-mate can't control it. And the goalkeepers have been all over the shop. Crossing and finishing drills are tough. You have to try to anticipate, get as much of your body behind the ball as possible — or knock it on the floor. I've tried to change my game a bit and have worked on my shooting from outside the box. It is definitely worth a gamble. As long as the connection is nice, it will fly, so you might see some spectacular goals."
Argyle yesterday confirmed the details of their pre-season tour of the Netherlands. The squad will fly out to Schiphol Airport on July 16th and return on July 25th. They will be based at the Papendal National Sports Centre, near Arnhem. The club have lined up a friendly with Eredivisie side NAC Breda but the venue and kick-off time is yet to be finalised. They will then play SC Cambuur on July 22nd at their hosts' Leeuwarden Stadion and end the tour against De Graafschap, at their De Vijverberg home stadium on July 24th.
Rory Patterson is being tipped to become a big hit with Argyle next season. John Carver said: "When Rory came to us for three days back in March, it was obvious then that he was the best striker on our books, without doubt. He can shoot with either foot and heads the ball really hard — he's going to really excite the Argyle fans and also attract a lot of interest from other clubs. Rory is also physically strong and can hold the ball up well — he's a coach's delight to work with. And, Paul Mariner and myself quickly formed the impression that Rory was eager to learn and get up to speed in the English game. The reported transfer fee makes him a real bargain buy for Argyle. Like Joe Mason, Rory is a natural goalscorer, and Paul and myself are looking forward to working with him when we come back for pre-season on June 26."
Argyle may be waiting to see if Portsmouth hire Steve Cotterill before deciding on their new manager, according to newspaper reports. Sources at Home Park have also stated that Stan Ternent, Lennie Lawrence and Paul Ince have all been interviewed by the board of directors. There have also been recent rumours that Argyle have made enquiries about the availability of Nigel Adkins, although that has been denied by the Scunthorpe United boss.
Romain Larrieu has signed a new two-year deal. He said: "I'm obviously delighted because it will take me to over ten years with the club which is something that is very rarely achieved these days and to do that gives me a lot of pride. We've been working at different aspects of the contract and maybe waiting to have a manager, which I know the board are keen on resolving, and I wanted to stay here. It would have taken something really, really good to have tempted me away. League One is a league that I've played in and won. There are a lot of really good clubs in that league now but we should fancy ourselves. We need to prepare properly, have a good pre-season and then take every game as it comes."
Argyle's youth team have arranged a series of challenging pre-season friendlies this summer. Mike Pejic's team start with a game against West Bromwich Albion at their Birmingham Road training ground on July 9th and then face Chelsea at their Cobham training headquarters on July 17th. There are then two games within the space of three days - a match against Watford at their London Colney training ground on July 22nd followed by a game with Reading at their Finchampstead training ground on July 24th. They play Aston Villa at the Bodymoor Heath training complex on July 31st, Arsenal at their Bell Lane training headquarters on August 6th and finish with a visit to the Southampton Academy at Staplewood on August 11th.
Stan Ternent is rumoured to be a candidate for the Argyle manager's job, according to newspaper reports.
Rory Patterson will be determined to impress the new Argyle manager and also prove himself to be a bargain buy for the club next season. His agent, Steve Scott, said that despite 'having several teams interested in him' Patterson had no qualms about joining managerless Argyle. "Rory is very, very excited about making the move to Plymouth and is not in the least bit put off by the fact they have yet to appoint a new manager," said Scott. "Rory is fully aware he has to start from square one in that sense, but isn't fazed at all. It's a fact of life all footballers face at some point that they will have to show the new manager what they can do, and Rory's confident he can do that. He's also sure that he'll make the step up to League One standard and is definitely keen to make the move work. Rory has scored goals wherever he's been and sees the move to Argyle as a fantastic chance for him to help his new club and also to win more international caps. I tell you one thing for certain, defenders in Ireland will be delighted to learn that Rory Patterson won't be scaring the wits out of them next season."
Argyle today signed Northern Ireland international Rory Patterson for an undisclosed fee from Glentoran, on a two-year contract. Paul Mariner said: "Rory trained with us for three days in March and he just kept finding the net, whether it was right-foot, left-foot or his head. You don't often find modern players who can do that and, although he needs to work hard to reach the required standard, he has the hunger and ability to succeed." Patterson declared himself a delighted man after signing. "I am massively delighted to be joining such a big club," he said. "I have always scored goals and I can't wait for the challenge of hitting the net in League One. I just want to make the step up and impress." Patterson first came to Home Park in March and impressed the coaching staff with his finishing. "It was good to train with the Argyle squad and it was clear there are some very good players at the club," he said. "I have also enjoyed playing in the national team, alongside top players from England's Championship division and the Scottish Premier League. Now, I just want to be a success at Home Park."
Rory Fallon started, and scored New Zealands goal in their 3-1 friendly defeat to Slovenia yesterday
John Carver is being linked with a return to Newcastle United. Newcastle's reserve team coach Alan Thompson has quit and is expected to be part of the backroom staff at Celtic. Sources on Tyneside believe Carver is in the frame to fill the vacancy.
Roy Gardner and Keith Todd appear poised to increase their stake in the club. The two have options to add to their shareholding in the Argyle parent company but the start of next month is the deadline for any deals to be done with existing members of the board. Gardner and Todd last summer negotiated a 12-month option to increase their stake but, as yet, have not done so. Todd has, however, given a broad hint they intend to add to their shareholding. He said: "There is no more to add to that at the moment, but July 1st is the first anniversary of our involvement in the club and I think there might be some statements then."
Truro City have announced that they will play Argyle in a pre-season friendly at Treyew Road on July 10th.
Colin Lee almost became Argyle manager six years ago, an episode which cost him his job as Walsall boss. He has not, however, given up the quest and would relish being considered for the job at Home Park. "I would be absolutely delighted to have to the opportunity to manage Plymouth Argyle," he said. "It would be a massive challenge to take on a big club like Argyle, and try to turn things around. I think I could do a really good job for them, and it would generate interest being a local lad." Lee knows that Argyle are short of financial resources. He said: "Working with restrictions doesn't really concern me. It's all about getting the best out of players who are there." When Argyle declared a month ago that they were seeking a manager, they stated that they wanted whoever they appointed to work with Paul Mariner and John Carver. Lee added: "I tend to work with people, not against people. If those two are there, I haven't got a problem with it. In some respects, it could be an advantage, because they do know the players and they got some good results."
Newspaper reports suggest that Argyle have decided on who they want to be their manager and have agreed a deal, in principle, with their chosen candidate. However, it is believed the new boss wants to bring his own backroom staff to Home Park. That has delayed the appointment because Paul Mariner and John Carver are contracted to Argyle for another two seasons.
Argyle's head of sales and marketing, Steve Davies, has been made redundant as part of the cost-cutting measures being carried out by the club. Davies will, however, assist in Plymouth's World Cup 2018 bidding city campaign until August. He said: "After amicable discussions with Keith Todd, the club have decided to make the position of head of sales and marketing redundant. It's a shame after the three seasons I have been here, and the improvements to commercial income and facilities that I have been responsible for, but understandably times are tough."
Argyle could be ready to let Damien Johnson leave this summer, according to reports. Johnson is one of the highest-paid players at Home Park and the reports suggest he would seriously consider any offers from other clubs.
Newspaper reports suggest that Paul Mariner was in London yesterday for a meeting with Roy Gardner and Keith Todd and it is thought there will be further talks today. It is possible Mariner has travelled to London to meet potential candidates for Argyle's managerial vacancy.
It could be another two weeks before Argyle appoint their new manager, according to Keith Todd. He confirmed that some candidates had been already interviewed, with more to follow. Todd was reluctant to put a timeline on when the new manager would be appointed but admitted it would almost certainly be before the squad report back for pre-season training on June 30th. Todd said: "The process is active. We are trying to be careful not to rush it and to get somebody we think is right for the club. The start of pre-season training is a very natural deadline for a decision. But it would make a lot of sense for it to be concluded a couple of weeks before that, to give whoever is appointed the chance to make plans and assess the players before they turn up." Asked whether there was any possibility of an announcement this week, Todd replied: "You should never rule out anything, but I wouldn't expect there to be. There were probably 20 names that came our way. We have spoken to some candidates — I'm not prepared to say how many — and there are more interviews still to take place. Paul Mariner and John Carver have got pre-season set up, so we know what we are planning on doing. Whoever comes in might want to make a few changes to that, but it's not as if there is a blank sheet of paper." Todd insisted Argyle had not come grinding to a halt, despite the search for a manager, pointing to the fact that Bondz N'Gala had been signed and confirming talks were continuing with out-of-contract trio Yannick Bolasie, Karl Duguid and Romain Larrieu. He added: "We are in active conversations with all of them. I think the situation with each one is likely to be resolved before the new manager arrives. I'm hopeful of making some progress on these fronts, but it takes two to agree on certain aspects."
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