A Round-up of Argyle News
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Greens on Screen's Daily Diary is a compilation of Argyle news, with help from these and other Argyle-related sites.
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Also included on the three most recent days, facts from Argyle's history.
Argyle have lined up a game against sixth tier opposition from Germany during their pre-season training camp in The Netherlands. The Pilgrims will play SV Schermbeck at their Volkspark Arena on Tuesday, July 24, with a kick-off of 6.30pm local time, 5.30pm BST. Argyle's Dutch training camp will be held for the third successive year in Delden. They will travel across the border into Germany and travel around an hour to the town of Schermbeck, which is in the Rhine-Westphalia area.
Chief Scout Greg Strong has given an insight into how Argyle go about their recruitment process, as they proceed to sign a series of new players for the upcoming League One season. Strong said: "Things are progressing. I'm sure the manager wouldn't want me to talk too much because he likes to keep his cards close to his chest. When things are done and dusted then he likes to announce it, but we are all working very hard. We are very positive about the people we are speaking to. We are hopeful that, similar to last year, some of the people coming through the door will make a difference. That's all we ask of the new players – come in and make a difference. Hopefully, with the ones we are speaking to, that's what they can do. We do have competition for players, whether it be someone from higher, someone who can pay more or someone which means they do not need to move their families. We sometimes are fighting against a lot of different things to get the players in. But ultimately the lads who come in, want to come in, and we want them. That says everything you need to know. Yes, we might miss out on two or three players, but the ones we get, we do want them and we do see them as coming in and making a big difference for us. "It can sometimes be two or three times a day, and sometimes it can be a day or so without speaking.We are constantly messaging each other as well, but that doesn't change throughout the season. We are exactly the same, whether we are talking about when the transfer window closes or whether we are talking about next week's opposition. That is a continuous thing, but at this time of the year, if we are trying to arrange a meeting with an agent or a player, we talk two or three times a day, if not more."
"I'm constantly meeting agents here, there and everywhere to speak about the strengths of our club and them to speak about the players. We are hopefully getting down the road with players, but times have changed. It's something that the manager and myself have spoken about, and Wottsie as well. When I was a player, you wanted to get a contract signed as soon as you could and go and enjoy your summer. You had the peace of mind knowing that your future was sorted and you would know where you were going to be for however long. But times have slightly changed now and people seem to want to hold on a little bit longer, perhaps because they are being told other clubs are going to come in. That makes it more difficult for us because I think we are quite transparent as a club. We make offers that we feel are good ones and then we feel sometimes it might be taken around and people wait for a better offer. When you want to get business done early, it does make it difficult. You can offer something that makes people ooh and aah and they can snatch your hand off, but we can't do at this moment in time. It's difficult to get some of the lads to commit because they know that if we like them a lot of the times other people like them as well. That's the issue we have at this moment in time, just trying to get things over the line."
Argyle and the Green Taverners have come to an agreement regarding a supporter's bar facility with supporters group the Green Taverners. GTs leader Gary Maguire said: "This is a huge moment for the Green Taverners and for Argyle. Our new bar, which covers two storeys, will have great facilities and wonderful views across Central Park. It will build and improve upon the many things that we've done in the past – including our famous Fan Fests. I'd like to thank the many supporters of our club who have come together to make this happen, and to the club, who have now repaid all of the monies that the Taverners raised and loaned the club [to accelerate payment of amounts owing to staff that had accrued during the administration. Every penny of this will be reinvested into the new supporters' bar."
Derek Adams has agreed an enhanced five-year contract to continue managing Argyle. As part of the new deal, Derek will become the Pilgrims' Head of Football, with an overarching club-wide football development role. The Pilgrims' boss, who took up the Home Park reins in June 2015, was halfway through a four-year contract which is now superceded by his latest deal that runs until the summer of 2023. As well as taking responsibility for the first-team, Derek will oversee all aspects of Argyle's playing structure, including the Pilgrims' Academy. Argyle chairman James Brent said: "The Board is delighted that Derek has agreed, not only to carry on managing Argyle for the next five years, but also to become the club's Head of Football. Under Derek's management, and with the support of the Board, the club – and not just the first-team – has made great strides, and we look forward with every confidence to this continuing. With the grandstand development gathering pace, Argyle's off-the-field future is maintaining momentum with the achievements on the pitch. These are exciting times for the Green Army."
Adams himself said: "I am delighted to have been offered the opportunity by the Board to continue to try to take the club forward, as I have done over the last three seasons. I said, when I came to Argyle, that I felt it was the right club for me and nothing since has indicated to me that I was in any way wrong. After a play-off final, promotion, and a season in which we were in the League One promotion hunt until the final day, it still feels that way. My brief from the Board has always included looking after the whole club, and not exclusively the first team. I feel I have done that and I am pleased that the new contract formally recognises that contribution. There is still more that this club can achieve together – city, Board, staff, players and the Green Army – and the challenge is now continuing the improvement of recent seasons."
Long-standing green as first a player and then a coach Paul Wotton has been promoted once more to the role of assistant manager at Argyle after the departure of Craig Brewster. He said of the long transition: "I'm really, really happy. I love the football club. It's nice to be wanted, and to get a little promotion is great. If you've been a fan and stood on the terraces, and played for the club, it does mean an awful lot to have an association with the football club. It's something that the manager obviously wanted in his coaching staff. I think the fans like fans to be involved, as well."
"You do miss playing, in certain games, but I've really enjoyed the role, and you're learning all the time as you go along. It's important to be yourself. My personality comes out in my coaching, as it did when I was a playe. "Different coaches have different personalities and it's exactly the same as being part of a football team – everyone brings their own things to the table, same as being part of management/coaching team. Touch wood, it's been very successful so far, regarding results. Long may it continue. It's a team that works. Everyone knows their place."
After last being involved with the first team 5 years ago under the leadership of Carl Fletcher, newly promoted coach Kevin Nancekevill is as well placed as many to assess the progress made under Derek Adams' leadership. He said: "From the last time that I was involved with the first-team five years ago, the club has just moved on completely. We're in such a good place now, it's exciting times. I've been working with the Academy for the previous three years as Head of Academy Coaching so I've been responsible for the coaching programme in the Academy, the development of all our coaches. In line with that, I've been helping to run the South West Peninsula League team and the reserves, a little bit. The gaffer asked me to step up over the Christmas period and things have progressed from there, so I am delighted to carry on from where I was.
"It's great that you have got continuity all the way through the club – we're all supporters at heart and have got a real passion for the club. Hopefully, we can bring that to the coaching side of it. The form we showed from Christmas onwards can only bode well for the future. Next season will a difficult one for us, but everyone is optimistic and excited about getting going."
In other news, part-time goalkeeping coach Rhys Willmott has announced that he is now stepping up to a full-time role with Argyle. He said of his new job: "When the manager said he wanted to raise the bar with the goalkeeping department – to get a full-time goalkeeping coach – I knew I could do the job for him and it was a no-brainer for me. I'm really committed to going full-time with the club. Football is in my blood and especially Argyle is in my blood – I've been here, coaching on and off, in different roles; with the Academy all the time, and on and off with the first-team. I'm a little bit biased but I think it's the most important position in the team; if you've got a good, solid, goalkeeper in the spine of your team, it is definitely going to help. We've had that for a few years with Luke McCormick – he's been a great servant to the club – and, previously, we had Romain Larrieu, who was a solid goalkeeper as well. I don't think any of the goalkeepers have been spectacular, but solid, and that's the most important thing. You don't want a 9/10 one week and a 3/10 the next – you want a nice, solid 7/10 every week. My main theme of goalkeeping coaching is to work technically. All my keepers, from a young age, are grounded in a good technical basis of goalkeeping and I've used that philosophy right through to my first-team goalkeepers. They've all responded well to the training sessions that I've put on. I've got an idea; I've stuck with it; and I think it works."
Oscar Threlkeld has spoken of his good working relationship with ex-manager Derek Adams and the importance of having that kind of relationship in a football team. He said: "Me and Derek had a strange relationship. When times are serious we were serious but when there are times to have a laugh, me and him had a laugh. I remember one of the first training sessions in pre-season last season, he came over and put me in a headlock and I pulled him to the floor. The new lads that came in were wondering what they had got themselves into, with me pulling the gaffer to the floor. It is all fun and games but he is hard to work under when it is serious, when it matters. He can totally switch, he can leave you out of games. You could be the best player on the Saturday before and have a rubbish training session through the week and then you won't start. Everyone has a chance to get into the team and it is down to you to have a good training session through the week and then make him have a headache. "His training sessions were tough, which benefited us leading up to the games and then they became easier throughout the season. That shows with that big unbeaten run we had. "He made me into the player I am today and I can't thank him and the backroom staff enough for that. It comes in abundance how good he is as a manager. I think you need to have that switch where you go from being serious to having a laugh with the lads. I can't think of anything worse than a manager who's always stressed, who is always on you and you can't have that laugh with him. Even if it is something he has said, it doesn't have to be fighting with him and pulling him to the floor, you can just have that banter knowing that he isn't going to take it too seriously and then not play you the next game."
Oscar Threlkeld will be leaving Plymouth Argyle this summer after confirming on his Twitter account that he is joining Belgian top flight club Waasland-Beveren. Rumours surfaced yesterday that the former Bolton Wanderers youngster had undergone a medical with the Jupiler League side and his signing would be announced once had had passed it. These were confirmed, with the right-back saying: I want to thank everyone associated with @Only1Argyle who have helped me with my 3 seasons of being there, the support and guidance has been overwhelming! "At this point in my career I have chosen to take the option to play abroad which is something I've always wanted to do. To the fans for your amazing support not just to the club but also to me as a person, you have made me feel at home with your warmth and acceptance and for that I will always be eternally grateful. I wish derek and the boy all the very best for the up & coming season!! Looking forward to a massive challenge and new experiences with @WaaslandBeveren and cant wait to get started."
Luke McCormick has said that he bears no hard feelings towards manager Derek Adams in spite of the latter drawing a close to McCormick's long era at Home Park. He said: Wherever I end up, I feel I will have a point to prove to the people there. I think that's probably when I play my best football, when I have a challenge. I have found that throughout my career. I have got nothing but thanks and gratitude towards the manager for keeping me on and giving me the opportunity to play here for longer until the age of 34. I saw the Gaffer at the start of the new year and he was honest with me, which is all I could ask for really. That did give me a bit of time to be able to prepare myself and think about the future really. Also, it allowed me to take my time with regards to my rehabilitation from ankle and shoulder operations. I was glad I had that. If I was finding out now it would have been a bit trickier, so it has been good for me and my family."
"It was amazing after the Rotherham game. It was nice to be able to try to give my appreciation back to them. The fans were outstanding and I'm just so grateful for that. It was very emotional. I think there were a few tears that crept out, but that's how much it means to me. The place has done so much for me over the last few years so I'm not ashamed of having a few little tears at the end there."
Meanwhile, Adams himself looked ahead to the new season, speaking of his recruitment strategy: "We have had a lot of games in League One where we have got more time on the ball. It hasn't been as frantic as League Two and that suited us. We have changed out style of play. We became a narrower team, which helped us. I think if we can get the players in that we want to get in we can be even stronger next season. "If you look at my first season here, Sonny Bradley didn't come in until later on. He was without a club. David Fox was without a club the following season and came in very late. I always like to try to get players in for the start of pre-season training so they are with the group and with us on the tour."
Argyle have released their new home kit for the 2018/19 season, going with green and black stripes for only the third time in the club's history. The kit will have white shorts and white socks. The images can be viewed in full on the club's official site.
Argyle have announced their pre-season schedule for the 2018/19 season, kicking off with a friendly at Plymouth Parkway on July 7 and ending with another overseas tour. The full schedule is as follows:
7 v Plymouth Parkway 3pm
10 v Torpoint Athletic 7.30pm
11 v Callington Town 7.30pm
14 v Helston Athletic 3pm
14 v Tavistock AFC 3pm
17 v Torquay United 7.30pm
18 v Bideford AFC 7.30pm
21 v Yeovil Town 3pm
22-28 Overseas Training Camp
Argyle have offered new contracts to eight of the first team players who took them to the verge of the League One play-offs this season, releasing seven senior pros of which Luke McCormick and Gary Miller are the most notable. The full list is as follows:
Under contract: Lionel Ainsworth, Graham Carey, Michael Cooper, Ryan Edwards, Joel Grant, Ruben Lamieras, Jamie Ness, Antoni Sarcevic, Ryan Taylor, Gregg Wylde.
Out of contract, offered new contract: Alex Battle, Jordan Bentley, Sonny Bradley, Alex Fletcher, David Fox, Kyle Letheren, Dan Rooney, Gary Sawyer, Yann Songo'o, Oscar Threlkeld.
Out of contract, released: Nathan Blissett, Simon Church, Luke McCormick, Gary Miller, Paul Paton, Callum Rose, Aaron Taylor, Aaron Taylor-Sinclair, Robbert te Loeke.
Loan expired: Moses Makasi, Remi Matthews, Zak Vyner.
Apprentices offered professional contract: Harry Hodges, Luke Jephcott, Ryan Law, Cameron Sangster.
Apprentices released: Billy Craske, Elliott Crawford, Harry Downing, Matt Ward
Chairman James Brent gave his personal verdict on Argyle's successful first season back up in League One. The owner said: "In the first two seasons I was at Argyle we were in relegation battles and then in the next year it was stabilisation, so we came 10th. "Then the next three were promotion battles, and we finished in the play-offs in two and then came up automatically. We had all of that this season. Thank God it started off badly and finished well. "If we had started off well and finished badly that would be a different story. I'm still relatively new to football but it's clearly a game of small margins. It is very much a team sport and confidence plays quite a part. It was very odd to have five red cards very early on and then to go through a period of seven games without a yellow card, which was a club record. So there were some very odd bits that occurred during the season. I think in the second half of the season the players probably agreed with Derek that we could beat any team that was out there, and went out and won many more than they lost, so it was great."
Brent also gave a progress report on Argyle's new grandstand, work on which has already began: "It is a tight timetable but there are some positives to the way that we are doing it. If we had totally knocked everything down and dug out all of the concrete we would be at the risk of adverse ground conditions. So we might have found a stray German bomb from the war. Part of the benefit of not ripping out the foundations, and taking it right back to base but not below that, is that some of those risks are eradicated. "The contract we are entering into is a fixed-price one. There will be penalties in there for failing to hit the date. And we have got a very good project director, who is part of my group, who is overseeing it. We signed a contract for the enabling works but the main contract is due to be signed in the middle of June. It's a standard agreement but the schedule is very complex. For every single room there is what is called a room data sheet, which identifies where every plug socket goes, the quality of the carpet and so on. What you try to do is to make sure that you don't miss anything. There is a lot of diligent work and each of those room data sheets are being signed off by the head of operations Jon Back and the head of each department in Argyle. It has taken time to get it so everyone is being really encouraged to make sure it is accurate."
"There is quite a lot of ripping out I think that will happen during the close season. I don't think we will see the new roof, or anything like that, during that period. We did initially try to come up with an arrangement that would have enabled us to keep supporters in the grandstand by effectively building the lower deck and moving everyone down, and then building the upper deck and moving everyone back up again. You could have done it but it would have expanded the timetable to actually complete it by about 50 per cent again. So my apologies to all the supporters in the grandstand that we are going to have to have a temporary relocation. We have done that as best we are able, and clearly when they come back we will give them some preference on seats. They will be much more comfortable seats and hopefully with improved sight-lines. It's a short-term pain for longer-term gain, I think. The directors will be providing the buffer between the home and away fans."
"If we had tried to cantilever the roof, it would have created a very complex engineering solution so we are still using pillars to hold the roof up. The initial advice we had from the engineers was that we could repair the roof. But when we looked at it in further detail and they did their tests on the steel, we could still have repaired it but it would have been very expensive and it probably would have had a 15-year life. Whereas, if we spend a bit more money than the more expensive repair job that we would have had to have done it will last for a very long time. The additional cost from where we thought it was going to be, to where it is, is just shy of a million pounds. So it's not that complex but it is quite expensive. It's a big roof though – it goes another four metres out, I think."
Brent also gave a ringing endorsement of Argyle's two newest directors, Jane Chafer and Jo Cubbon following the start they have made to their careers at Home Park: "I know there has been quite a lot of focus about the fact they are women, and it was a stated ambition when we started the process that we wanted to have some diversity on the board. It was very male, pale and stale and we wanted to freshen up the board. Gender diversity was one of the ambitions and that's not a personal thing. There are piles of evidence that mixed gender boards are more successful than single sex boards. There was an agenda there but we still went out and recruited anyone who was interested in the roles. Jane and Jo won those roles hands down, and not because of their gender. The two areas that we were focused on, one was someone with marketing and communications skills at board level, and the other was in terms of strategic people skills. We have got two really talented people there. They are making a real impact from the outset."
On Derek Adams, and the chances of him being poached by another club, Brent added: "There is not anything we can do to avoid him becoming linked to other clubs. As he knows, I haven't tried to hide his light under a bushel. I think he is a very talented, very driven, very able person. All we can do is try to make sure that the opportunity for Derek and all of the talent within the club is better than the opportunity that is available from most other clubs. If that truly exceptional offer comes in then clearly he would go as a friend and with my full respect for what he has done. It's what I call a quality problem, and I think you should aspire to have quality problems.When I was an investment banker we built the best team in the world and all the other investment banks were desperately after my bankers because they were the best. It was a wonderful challenge to have to retain them. We weren't the best payers then, but we had such a strong team and it was such a good place to work, people just bounced off each other. Everyone liked to be the best in the industry and so we kept a very good team together. We lost very few people despite the fact they were being offered large amounts of money to leave. I'm sure Derek recognises the environment within this club is very special, in terms of how it is progressing and there are more things to come that have not been publicised yet. You can see clubs that are providing better than fan service than we are and you can see clubs that are playing at a higher level. But if you look at the rate of improvement, I can't think of another club that is progressing as quickly as we are. So I think it's a really exciting opportunity for everyone associated with the club to grow themselves and grow their contribution to Plymouth Argyle."
"A defining attribute of his is that he is detailed beyond belief. He doesn't believe in luck and chance. He believes in creating opportunities. I think he has got a good eye for players and, with his backroom team, he coaches and motivates people very well. I'm not sufficiently well qualified to comment on tactics, but if you go into half-time and you are under pressure and losing, I always believe we will come out and win it. I guess you have got to put that down to the manager's tactics. Whatever happens in the changing room seems to reshape and we go on to win quite often in the second half."
Finally, Brent gave fans an update on the search for a new CEO and the work of interim Mark Lovell: "The recruitment process closes in the middle of May. We are getting very strong interest from a very wide church. It's not just football club executives. "The long-listing, short-listing and then interview process concludes by early June. I would be amazed, given the quality of the applications, if we don't get an appointable candidate. We would hope to appoint in early June and then clearly it is very much a question on notice periods. I'm really delighted that Mark has stepped up to the plate."He's not just holding the portfolio. He has come forward with some areas he would like to drive forward and improve during his tenure. I think we are going to see a great burst of energy from Mark. So if it takes three months to get in the new chief executive then we are going to be very well looked after in the interim by Mark. "They are seeing everything that is happening, and this isn't just people in Plymouth, or Devon and Cornwall. This is people around the country, and even some international applicants, who are clearly researching what is happening and they are really excited by that. This is a community club, it is not a rich person's play thing. It doesn't mean it's going to be an under-performing club, totally the contrary. We believe you can be a club that exists for its community, supported by its community, that is also excellent on and off the pitch. What we want in a chief executive is someone who is going to really drive the club forward to a new level. It's not holding the fort. It's not maintaining the status quo. And they know they have got backing from what I think is a good board with a great manager."
Ryan Taylor and Antoni Sarcevic have agreed new deals to stay at Argyle next season, and beyond. The pair, influential in Argyle's good run of form after Christmas, will stay at Argyle until the summer of 2020.
Regarding Taylor, manager Derek Adams confirmed that he has had an ankle operation after recurring the injury that kept him out for the first half of the season, but that Adams expect him to be fit and ready for pre-season. The manager said: "He was due to go in at the end of the season but we took it forward. It was the same ankle he had injured at the start of the season. He had a bit of floating bone in there so we took that forward, knowing his right ankle was injured as well, so we can get him back earlier for pre-season training."
Adams did however, rule out loanee Moses Makasi signing for Argyle over the summer, explaining: I wouldn't have thought so. Moses has got a bad knee injury. He was in on Monday to collect all his kit, his boots etc. He has got a brace on his leg and he is looking at a prolonged period out so I don't see him being back for pre-season training. He's out of contract at this moment in time but I know West Ham have offered him one."
Adams also confirmed that with two new contracts and the retained list yet to come, the preparations for next season were already well underway. He spoke of what that would entail, saying: "When that season closes a new season opens for me. I have got to sit down with the players which I did on Monday. We have had long meetings that day. With players we have offered a contract to, players we haven't and players who are still under contract. We have got to move forward with trying to recruit players for next year. I like to try and get them in before we come back for pre season. It is not always that easy. I like to do it so they can get into our regime quite early. A number of players will tell you it is different from other clubs and it is important they understand that at the start of the season. Financially It can cause us problems. Players want to come here and play, but that calibre of player might be out of our price range. We know that it is about trying to get the best player to fit our style of play, our budget and they have a wee bit of hunger about them as well. We have got a recruitment list in place. We have looked at all the out of contract players in the summer and have whittled them down and we will try and get the best ones for this club."
"Sunderland, Burton and Barnsley are coming down and they are three teams we haven't faced before," said Adams. "The three teams coming up -Accrington, Luton and Wycombe - we have. I spoke to all three managers last week to congratulate them and said I looked forward to seeing them next season. It was less frantic this year. There was a lot of good football players in this division and technically it was a lot better. That is a good experience and we have seen the crowds increase so they have enjoyed the football too this season."
Derek Adams admitted that his Argyle side had simply ran out of steam following the poor performance and result as Argyle's season juddered to a halt at Priestfield. He said: "We've ran out of players; we've ran out of steam, really. We have had to play a lot of games in a short space of time and I think the fixtures have worked against us towards the end of the season. I knew that Rochdale would win. Rochdale had to win to stay in the league and we've seen them play at home and do very well – we just didn't keep our side of the bargain. But we knew it was going to be difficult, limited to the choices we had. We ran out of players and there is nothing you can do about that. We have had a number of injuries to key players in the squad and it's been difficult to field a team. We had 12 senior players with us, that's all. We've got 11 injured at home. There were two postponed games. We had to play Rochdale away and Scunthorpe away and we've had to come to Gillingham on the last game of the season. If it was home, it might have been a different story. We just didn't start the game well enough, obviously. We lose a goal after six minutes and it was going to be an uphill struggle after that. It was always going to be the case that, if we did lose a goal, it was going to be a long way back after that. We fought back to try to get back into the game, but it was obviously a game too far for us. The boys that are here have put in a valiant effort throughout the season. There are players in the dressing-room just now that are knackered – they're gone. We have had an injury situation that has caused us that problem. We have had a huge travelling support with us today and it was as disappointing for them as it was for me that we've not won the game, we've not drawn the game, and the goals we conceded were very poor."
On the season overall, Adams mused: We would obviously have liked the season to have finished better, but we have had a fabulous season. To have finished seventh in our first season back in League One has been tremendous, and we've taken it to the last game. I think that everybody's had a really enjoyable time – the supporters have, as well. It's been a fabulous journey. It's been like at Disneyland, rollercoaster at times, and that's something, as a football club, you've got to enjoy. We have had massive improvement over three seasons – that's what you're looking for as a football club – and we're very proud of finishing seventh this year. Over the last three years, we have not finished outside the top seven in the divisions."
"It has been difficult, a lot of the time, to deal with the situations. That goalkeeping problem was hugely difficult because we took in goalkeepers, they got injured, and we had the seven-day ruling. We got through it. We came through a lot this season and finished above a lot of teams in the league. Listen – I keep on saying that we've overachieved and we'll do that every season that we keep on performing the way that we are doing. We're doing it again this season and that's testimony to everybody at the football club. I am going to take a rest; I think I deserve it. I am going to head back to Scotland and work from there and look to recruit for next year."
Regarding the debut of Alex Battle and the appearances of fellow youngsters Cameron Sangster and Alex Fletcher, Adams urged caution, saying: "We shouldn't get carried away – they are a million miles from playing in the first team. It's great for them to be in the first team. They have got a lot of learning to do, but it is good that they have progressed and got first-team game-time. But it is important that they don't get carried away; their parents don't carried away; the supporters don't get carried away. That sometimes happens and it's up to me, as a manager, to keep them on a level field. I've tried to play a lot of youngsters in my time here: Tyler Harvey and Louis Rooney have played in the first team; this season, we have had Michael Cooper, Sangster, Battle, Fletcher, Jordan Bentley. Over my time here, I have tried to give opportunity to them. They are only 17, 18, 19 years old and they'll take time to develop. That's the reason why I've put a reserve team in place for next year, to allow them to develop, with a coach, in a team, to make them better."
Argyle's season ended with a whimper rather than a bang following a 5-2 loss at strugglers Gillingham. The home side went 1-0 up early on but were met with Joel Grant tapping him a goalline scramble. The hosts unfortunately established a three goal lead with a hat trick from Tom Eaves to thank. Argyle got one back from Graham Carey but the last word was Gillingham's, scoring their fifth in stoppage time. Argyle: Matthews, Miller, Songo'o, Vyner, Bradley, Sawyer, Fox, Songo'o, Carey, Lameiras(Taylor-Sinclair), Grant(Battle), Fletcher(Sangster). Subs: Letheren, Law, Rooney, Lolos.
Ruben Lameiras has said that the Argyle squad just need to do their bit on Saturday and let other results take care of themselves as the greens chase a 6 goal swing to make the final play-off place. The forward said: "For me we just need to go there and win regardless of the situation. We are disappointed from Tuesday but, we want to end the season on a high. That is the most important thing. We deserve it; the management and the staff deserve it and so do the fans, who have come to all the away games and all the home games making us a force to be reckoned with this season. They deserve a proper send off, so we go there and win the game.If we do our bit, we can only control what we control. If we go, there and get a good result and leave it up to Charlton. We just want to go there and win the game that's our objective. I don't see any reason why we can't go there and get a positive result. We have just got a few injuries at the moment but anyone can come in and do what's required. We just need to be nice and positive, start well and who knows what might happen."
"It is hard to come in and take the place of Tayls as he is a strong hold up player that allowed me and G to get on the ball a bit more. I think with all good things it just needs a little bit of time. There is no reason why anyone can't play up front: me, G or Joel. It was just about timing and playing with each other. Tayls has been unbelievable, but we work on that in training everyday. The front three have a license to try and score goals and win games. So, like I said it's timing and gelling together. The support has been fantastic. Since I came to the club the fans have been really welcoming. It is a growing progress, when this gets all done it will be something really special. But, it has been really good and I have enjoyed it this season."
Lameiras also spoke about his revival as a regular first team player for Argyle this season, admitting that he nearly left the club in the Winter. He said: "I just kept my head down and worked hard. I was always ready for when he wanted to call me; it is tough in football. The team wasn't picking up points and we just wanted to have a solid base and maybe the way we were playing I wouldn't fit in. Like I said, I was always ready whenever he needed me and when he did I took my chance. It's been great; it was a tough start. But as soon as I came into the team I set myself an objective to try and score and create as many goals. The fans helped me a lot, my team mates were always right behind me. It's been a great end to the season and I just need to take this momentum into next season. I think the gaffer looked at it like he had nothing else to lose. Even in the squad we had enough firepower, it's just about timing and being able to get together. We brought in quite a lot of signings over the summer. So, everyone was still trying to work out how we play. When it did click we were a force to be reckoned with. It's football at the end of the day; you have to get your head down and when you get your chance take it"
There will be a new football structure in place for Argyle next season with the re-introduction of a reserves side. Since we dropped out of the Championship eight seasons ago, the club has never had a set up reserve team. This season the Pilgrims have been playing in the Central League and the South West Peninsula League, as well their first-team commitments. That will continue next season but there will be a designated core squad to fulfil the fixtures. Argyle offered four apprentices and two development players contracts earlier in the week, on top of the contract already signed by Michael Cooper. They were: Cameron Sangster, Ryan Law, Luke Jephcott, Harry Hodges, Alex Battle and Daniel Rooney. There have been no more development contracts offered. Argyle manager Derek Adams believes it is a step in the right direction for the club's structure, explaining: "All the coaching staff sat down and we spoke with the academy staff and made a decision that these were the players that were going to go into a reserve team next year and help them develop. It is going to be a bigger squad rather than a development contract with three players. We are no looking at more than that so they can develop on a daily basis, play and train together. They would train with the reserve team. They will play in the Central League mainly and possibly go out on loan. They will play in the Peninsula League against the top teams and they will try and get some friendly matches against better opposition as well to try and help their development. It's difficult for them when they come out of under-18 football and straight into the first team, it's too big a gap and we have to develop them. If you look at other players in other teams you are looking at 20,21,22 year-olds that are playing in the first team. Everybody here thinks an 18-year-old should be walking into the first team and it rarely happens. I think that getting the likes of Cooper, Law and Sangster into the first team squad has benefited them. Now, they need to develop even further and now that is an opportunity they will have. That is not to say they will be with the reserve team all the time, if they progress and do well like they have done there is an opportunity to play in the first team."
Adams also admitted that whilst his budget was inferior to Argyle's play-off rivals, it was the budget he accepted he had to work with as manager of the football club, philosophising: "You can't be happy because I don't have the money to spend that other people do.What I have got is a budget that the football club can afford. As a manager, I understand the board and what they have got to work with, and I get on with it. It always helps if you have got finance to back you, but that doesn't make you a good manager. A good manager is one that has got no finance similar to other clubs. We have got less finance than a lot of clubs that are below us this season. We are over-achieving. My supporters don't like me saying that but it's reality. We are over-achieving as a football club in relation to the budget that we have compared to others. I know where this football club has been. I have worked with financial constraints throughout my managerial career. I have over-achieved every season as a manager and that's what you have got to do. We know what the budget is going to be next season and we move forward. It's going to be more because we have taken in money through transfers and we have increased the gates. You are going to increase the budget because we have done well."
Derek Adams admitted that injuries were a key factor in the fall of Argyle's dwindling play-off ambitions, with even the 'fit' players walking wounded. He said: "We ran out of players tonight and eventually, it tolled. We didn't perform to the standards we could perform. We've had a lot of games to play; we've had a lot of travelling to do. I think if we had a fully fit squad, then we'd have had a better opportunity to finish in the play-offs. Injuries and suspensions have caused us a lot of problems, illness as well, and we just have to deal with it. We'll see how we are before Saturday. We are struggling. There's many of them who aren't fully fit. We're finding it difficult now to get fully-fit players on the pitch. It's getting to that point in the season now."
On Alex Fletcher, Adams added: "I thought he did well. I thought he led the line very well tonight. He won flick-ons, took the ball in, ball retention was a lot better, and I thought that he performed well. He probably has earned a start against Gilingham, yes."
"I said at the end of the game that, at the start of the season, my remit was to keep us in the league. We've done that, and we've gone ahead of all the promoted teams last season, and we go to the last game of the season, still with an opportunity of getting in the play-offs. The strongest team will go out on Saturday to win the game. We want to win by as many goals as we possibly can, to give us that possibility of still getting in the play-offs. I can't give up if it's mathematically possible. We're three points behind Charlton. The goal difference is six, I believe, and you never know."
"I didn't think it was our best performance. We had good spells in the game. We probably should've scored when they were 1-0 up, just into the second half and even in the first half. But, we came up short tonight. We could've defended the two goals a lot better. The first one, we could've blocked; there were three or four players who could've blocked the shot. The second one, we could've stopped the cross and we could've stopped the player getting in front of the defender. So they were all areas where we could've stopped the two goals. It was live on Sky television, we wanted to perform, but at times we just didn't do that tonight. Tonight was one of those games where we didn't do enough to win it."
"They've had a lot of travelling to do this season, especially in midweek. We had Rochdale last week and Scunthorpe tonight. We've had great support this season, home and away, and I'd just like to thank them for that this season. We can go to Gillingham and win, and Charlton can go to Rochdale and lose. That's a possibility. Rochdale are fighting for their lives. They're a good team who can score goals, and we'll wait and see. If you'd said at the start of the season that we could get into the play-offs with the last game of the season, I'm sure every single Plymouth Argyle fan would've taken that. We need to go there and score goals, and hope Charlton lose."
Argyle's play-off hopes were virtually ended with a 2-0 loss in the six pointer against fellow contenders Scunthorpe United. Argyle, forced into another change due to Jamie Ness' injury, went behind shortly after the half hour mark and the loss was confirmed on minute 60 after a brief Argyle fightback. Argyle would now need a 6 goal swing on the final day of the season over Charlton Athletic to make the play-off places. Argyle: Matthews, Threlkeld(Miller), Vyner, Bradley, Sawyer, Fox, Songo'o, Sarcevic(Fletcher), Carey, Lameiras, Grant(Ainsworth). Subs: Letheren, Taylor-Sinclair, Sangster, Rooney.
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