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.
On This Day:
Also included on the three most recent days, facts from Argyle's history.
Stand-in captain David Fox does not believe that much or anything about his game has changed as a result of wearing the captain's armband whilst Gary Sawyer is out injured. Fox mused: "I don't think anything has changed. I try to do the same sort of things, maybe little bits here and there, but I don't feel any different. I like to keep as normal as I can and make sure it does not affect you because you have got to perform. I'm not like that, someone who shouts. It is a hard one because you don't want to be too happy and smiley but, also, you can't be walking around with your head down because that doesn't help anything. IIt's a really difficult medium you have got to try and find where you have to stay positive but you also have to realise the situation that we're in. You have to make sure everyone is at it. There are other lads that try and do that as well. You can't just have one who wears the armband and says everything, you need other lads to take responsibility as well."
Paul Wotton cited the game against Liverpool as inspiration for Argyle ahead of the cup tie against Oxford. He remembered: "You haven't got to go too far back in the memory banks for the Liverpool game and that is motivation enough. It is a home game and hopefully we can progress to one of the big teams in the next round, but we're under no illusions that it will be a tough game on Saturday. In rounds one or two, playing against opposition of your level or below, they are all winnable games and I'm sure Oxford will be thinking the same thing. There are tons of benefits from getting through and we will be desperate to do that. They have been on a decent run of late and they had a good win on Tuesday night beating Rochdale 4-2. They play good football, they've got an attacking threat. Obviously, Jamie Mackie, I know very well and know what he will bring. They've got Curtis Nelson at the back, so two players Plymouth Argyle fans will know. They've got good footballers and we have a good idea of the shape they will play. Jamie is a winner and has always kept himself very fit. He works very hard in training and, when you do that, there is no coincidence when you look at his career."
Regarding injured players, Wotton added: "I think Yann will be ok. Yann Songo'o is a winner, simple as that, and wherever we ask him to play, he goes out and does his best on the pitch. I would say he has been one of our more consistent performers. He's been with us for a couple of seasons now and has never let us down. I don't envisage the squad being massively different to the Shrewsbury game. Every day, injured players are getting better. I don't know the exact timescales but they're working hard, and the sooner they are back, the better."
"Every position is up for grabs, there is a competition for places with Joe coming back in at right-back. There is also competition between Taylor and Ladapo as a forward, Carey, Grant, Lameiras. If there isn't competition for places, we wouldn't be doing our jobs, and Tafari Moore has been very good in certain games for us this season. He is a young player learning his trade and competition for places is what football is all about. He did really well on Wycombe last year and Tafari Moore has got lots of attributes, some very good ones as well, he'll have a long career in football."
Paul Wotton cited individual performances and inconsistency as being the main reasons for Argyle's disappointing loss to Shrewsbury. The assistant manager said: "It's quite simplistic really. After they scored, we were poor and disappointing after a good performance on Saturday. It's now Thursday, FA Cup to come on Saturday and a while until our next league game, so it's important we put it to the back of our mind, and put Oxford in our minds. It consistency is a hard thing to adjust because you can't control if players play well or don't perform to the levels they've performed in previous games. It's quite frustrating but you keep working hard, chipping away and consistency will hopefully come. Consistency is a big thing for a football player. If you can get ourselves a seven out of ten every week, you will be a value to the team. We can sit there all day and look at why we didn't perform at Shrewsbury. You either play well or you don't, and we didn't, but we now look forward to the FA Cup on Saturday."
Ahead of the game against Oxford, David Fox said: "They are a good team, we know it will be a different game from the league game, they have some good technical players. They have good experience as well, with boys who have been there and done it. Oxford are in a bit of good form at the minute but we fancy ourselves to bounce back. We seem to be a different team at home for lots of different reasons. Having home advantage is a big one. We need to put on a good performance and the incentives are there to try and win. I have seen on numerous occasions what a good third round draw can do. That's what every League One and Two club wants, to try and get in that third round, and we are no different. We will be doing everything we can to make sure we are in the third round."
After plenty of praise following Saturday's victory, Derek Adams blasted a poor performance that saw the greens beaten by two goals to nil at Shrewsbury. The manager moaned: "It was an extremely poor performance from us. The players haven't performed well. They performed well on Saturday but, tonight, Shrewsbury were better than us. They were first to the ball; they passed it better; and they got more opportunities on goal. Over the 90 minutes, we didn't have any performers that did well. It was a strange performance from Saturday to today. It was a big difference. If you look at it, we had a lot of running power on Saturday – tonight, we didn't have that running power. We were out-run by Shrewsbury at times; on Saturday, we out-ran Fleetwood. We just didn't have the head of steam that Shrewsbury did have. They were at home and they got the first goal; if we had scored the first goal, it might have been different. They got the first goal and we were having to chase after that, and we didn't do the chase very well.
"We were on top of things on Saturday and the players were bang at it; tonight, they haven't put in the performance that they did on Saturday. All players want to play every game – it is up to them to be consistent in every game. Consistency from football players is only really good at the top level; at this level, you do get ups and downs. It's something that we don't try to do – we try to win the games but tonight we weren't able to play to our levels. We're still well in striking distance and we have been able to pick up a number of wins recently to do that but, if we perform like we did tonight, we are not going to be able to give ourselves that opportunity."
Regarding the shift of formation to a diamond 4-4-2 shape at half-time, Adams added: "It didn't work. We tried it because we were trying to get ourselves back into the game. I didn't think we were going to get back into the game by playing football because Shrewsbury pressed the game very well and we didn't use the ball as best as we could; we didn't move it as quickly as we could. So we had to become more direct – get more crosses in the box and get the ball forward. That's why we tried that. Maybe, in hindsight, we shouldn't have gone there, but if I hadn't gone there and played the two up front when you are 1-0 down at half-time, then questions are asked. I've tried it for 45 minutes and it hasn't worked. I was tempted to leave it – it was a difficult one but I thought that, if we gave ourselves 45 minutes to get back into the game, it was better than giving us half an hour to get back in the game. You have the options on the bench and you hope that they are going to come on and change things, but it didn't happen. I don't think we were any better in the second half. I don't think we did anything near enough in the final third. We put two strikers up the pitch – I didn't see any of the two have a shot at goal; I didn't see Carey have a short at goal. I don't see it helped us. We didn't do enough."
Argyle's topsy-turvy recent form continued, going down 2-0 at Shrewsbury. A goal each either side of half-time consigned Argyle to defeat in a performance that never truly got going. Argyle: Macey, Moore(Riley), Songo'o, Canavan, Smith-Brown, Fox, Ness, Sarcevic, Lameiras(Carey), Ladapo, J Grant(Taylor). Subs: Letheren, P Grant, O'Keefe, Jephcott.
Derek Adams maintained his faith in the value of perseverance, after the Fleetwood win came with only one enforced change from the 5-1 loss at Luton. He said: "We made one change from the team from last week. It was an enforced change. So that tells you how I think this team can play. There were probably many people who would have written a lot of them off. That's why I have got the full confidence of the squad. Everybody looks at it in a different way. We, unfortunately, last week didn't deal with the threat of Luton. Saturday, we have dealt well with the threat of Fleetwood. I don't think that last week's performance was as bad as everybody says it was, but the scoreline was. That's why everybody gets carried away.
"That's why a football manager doesn't get carried away and supporters do, from all over the world at all different football clubs; they will look at the scoreline. As a football manager and a football coach, we have got to look at the game and think: 'What could we have done better?' We know what we could have done better at Luton: we conceded poor goals; we gave away a penalty-kick before half-time, but I only made one enforced change against Fleetwood. We lost bad goals; the scoreline flattered Luton, there is no doubt about that. Over the 90 minutes, possession-wise, we had more possession than Luton, but they had more chances than us – they scored at the right time, and, in football, the most important thing is scoring goals and not conceding. Today, we have scored more goals than Fleetwood and conceded less.
Ahead of the midweek game against Shrewsbury, Adams stated the importance of winning on the road as well as home turf: "We have to pick up away from home, we have to get wins and draws. We have had a very good away record over my time here and we have to get back to that. We have probably not had a team selection that has been consistent, we are getting that now, it has allowed the players to get to know each other very quickly and we have to get back to what we did in previous seasons by winning away from home."
"It was an important one for us all because we have been able to close the gap between ourselves and the ones above us. It brings more teams into it [the relegation zone] and that's what we want to do. It is tight until mid-table, you look at Fleetwood who are roughly in mid-table they have won six games, we have won four games this season, that shows you how tight it is. We have to turn the defeats into wins to move further up the league. As we know in previous seasons, winning football matches certainly gets you moving quite quickly."
Meanwhile, Freddie Ladapo spoke of how he was greatly enjoying his scoring success this season and surprised even himself with the magnitude of it. Ladapo said: "I definitely didn't think I'd have 10 goals before December. I didn't even think I'd be starting by late October. I was hoping by then to score a relative amount of goals to the games that I have played in. Teams coming here really have nothing to lose, its do or die. They're really coming at us. To have that two-goal cushion gives you belief and something to hang on to.
"We won a couple of games, then we lost to Sunderland, but the performance was very good, then beat Stevenage. When we went to Luton, it was a shock to lose in that way. Now we've won again, so everyone's back up again. We look ahead to Tuesday against Shrewsbury "
Derek Adams felt his Argyle side were good value for money as they beat Fleetwood 2-1 to close the gap between his side and the survival zone of 20th place. He said of the display: "Both sides, at the start of the game, were looking at each other and seeing who was going to make then first move. Fortunately for us, we did that. In the second half, we got a goal, and a well taken one at that, from Freddie, and went on to get a second goal, which gave us breathing space. We could have got a couple more – we hit the post twice with header and a shot – but, over the 90 minutes, a thoroughly deserved victory for us because we contained Fleetwood to diagonal balls, which they were very good at, trying to get a knock-down. We dealt well with them in wide areas, which is a threat; and also dealt well with them when the ball was going into the hole. They are all things that Fleetwood are very good at so, tactically, we did well to stop the threat and then, offensively, we got at them down the sides or directly through their centre-halves.
"In football, you can never tell. It went a wee bit to and fro at times and you always felt that they were capable of scoring. They have got some exciting players in their side who are capable of doing that – with Madden and Evans up front, they are a potent strike force, and they had the wide players in Wallace and Hunter, who have always created chances this season. We dealt well with that threat because we picked up the second ball; we played forward; we got the ball into Freddie in the second half and deserved to get the lead. We felt that the players had the game by the scruff of the neck, but we had to get that goal to have the confidence to go on.
"We've got Freddie, who gives us that outlet; in the midfield, they were very good – Fox, Ness and Sarcevic got about the two in the middle of the park; the way that we found forward passes, as well – Joel Grant always gives us an outlet going forward, but defensively does very well; and Ruben came off the side and had some good bits play, as well. They can get about the football pitch very well and when they are on it, they are up there with the best midfielders in the league."
After praising the midfield, Adams then turned his attention to the strikers in the hope that the elusive 20 goal a season striker had arrived at his Argyle side. He said: He could have had the match-ball," said Derek. "He's one that I've taken into the football club to score goals and that's what he's done. He's high in confidence and has been able to get a good number of goals this season. He smashed one of the post; he had a header; he had a shot. He is always in position to get in a finishing position in the box. That is what we did very well, we found ourselves in good areas inside the 18-yard box. He takes the ball in for us; he takes us down the sides. We want to get goals from all over the pitch, but Freddie scoring goals gives us that platform to go forward. We might have the 20-goal striker that everybody wants."
"When Ryan comes on, he gives us a great outlet because he gets flick-ons; he takes the ball in; defenders want to foul him; he takes us further up the pitch. Freddie is always one who can run in behind; run off the shoulder of defenders; and get an opportunity on goal."
Ladapo himself said: "As long as I'm scoring, I'm happy. Whenever a hat-trick comes, it come. I'm not too fussed. I'm obviously aiming for a goal and the first one I tried to bend it to the right, and it's crashed onto the post, I'm thinking I'm just unlucky. The second chance I thought I'd just go the opposite side this time. When it went in, I could just see everyone feeling that weight off their shoulders. That obviously helped to get the second goal as well. It's a massive three points and the more wins we get, the happier everyone will be, but we need the games to keep coming round we need to give ourselves the best opportunity to get the three points. We all know we are still in the relegation spot, games help us get out of it, we need to win those games."
Argyle returned to winning ways with a 2-1 victory over Fleetwood at Home Park. Antoni Sarcevic and Jamie Ness started the game in spite of being injury doubts but it was two goals from Freddie Ladapo which won the day for Argyle before the cod army grabbed a late consolation. Argyle: Macey, Moore, Songo'o, Canavan, Smith-Brown, Fox, Ness(O'Keefe), Sarcevic, Lameiras(Taylor), Ladapo(Riley), J Grant. Subs: Letheren, P Grant, Jephcott, Wylde.
Simon Hallett will make his first visit to Plymouth on December 1 since replacing James Brent at the Home Park helm on October 31. Derek Adams said of the future relationship: "It will be run the same way because we are not going to be a club that's able to spend money on large transfer fees that's for sure. We have got a stadium to build, that has cost more money than everybody envisaged. The money has got to come from somewhere and we have got to work within the constraints that we do. For the foreseeable future, we will work how we have been working for the last seven years out of administration. I'm not going to comment on that. It's something for other people to speak about, the Chairman has done that. I haven't had the chance to have a sit-down with the new chairman because I have not been over to America. I have had a number of chats with him in that time because he needs to be part of the football club across here. Michael Dunford and myself speak to him to keep him up to date with what's happening here.
Adams also gave a situation report on the number of injuries and unavailabilities currently plaguing Home Park: "Joe Riley, Scott Wootton, Gary Sawyer, Ryan Edwards; we have a back four there all out injured. We have doubts about Jamie Ness this weekend and an issue with Antoni Sarcevic, who has a knee injury. We have Graham Carey suspended as well, so, from our point of view, that's seven that are possibly going to be out for this weekend. Its progress for Luke Jephcott, he's been playing for the Welsh team. Unfortunately, they got beat by Scotland, which was disappointing for them. It's good for him that he's in the Welsh team, he's progressing well, he started the first two games and was a substitute in the last game. We know each other well, we have been part of each other's company a good number of times since he became a director of the football club. "
Argyle have announced that 43 year old chief scout Greg Strong is leaving Home Park to pursue other opportunities, having been part of the Argyle set-up since 2015.
Finally, Adams looked ahead to the crunch game against Fleetwood that would be crucial in determining Argyle's 'bouncebackability' after the 5-1 thumping at Luton. He said: "We lost bad goals against Luton. We had more possession than Luton but they had more opportunities than us in the game. They had 447 passes, we had 440, so that tells you there wasn't too much in the game but they had 27 attempts to our four or five. That tells you they were more effective than us in the final third. That's where we didn't do well enough against Luton; defending our goal and going forward trying to score goals. They have taken in some different players on loan, so they have youth and some good experience in their team. They have got a new manager and they have changed their system a number of times during the season. They are quite fluid in the way they play. They play with wide players, who come in off the sides and they have got good competition for places. They like to start the game well. They have scored a good number of goals in the opening five to ten minutes of games, so we have to be wary of that. We also have to do what we have done against the likes of Stevenage, Scunthorpe and Gillingham, and take the game to them. "
Derek Adams was delighted to learn of the new EFL TV deal, which will see Sky Bet League One and Two clubs receive extra financial income. He does, however, have sympathy for those higher up the footballing pyramid who are set to lose out, despite being watched more often by the public. He explained: "Any increase for a League One or Two club is valuable because we always want to increase our revenue. If clubs further down the pyramid are getting extra money from a TV deal, as, rightly or wrongly, we don't feature much on Sky, it's the Premier League clubs and the Championship clubs that filter the money down to us because they are trying to look after the game. We probably get more money than we are due. We don't have a lot of live games, a lot of Championship clubs and a lot of Premier League clubs do. The TV rights are sold to watch them. We have got to be fair. If you had to look at other nations, we have got to remember we are the third and fourth tier of English football, we probably get more than a second-tier, or even a first-tier team, in another country. The best teams are the ones that people want to watch. You will never keep everyone happy, any increase in revenue is appreciated by myself, as a manager"
Derek Adams blasted a poor performance by his players in the 5-1 loss at Luton, claiming he feels let down by the efforts of his playing staff in the game. He argued: "I take all the responsibility because I am the manager of the football club, but, at times, the manager needs his players to perform in the game; we have had that in recent weeks but today we came up against a team that was better than us, and that sometimes happens. We've all had to travel to Newport on a Tuesday night to allow them to get fresh and ready for the game, and they have put in a performance like that. The players have got to take a great deal of responsibility for the result because they couldn't have been prepared any better than they were for the game. There was a multitude of things that we could have done a lot better. They just weren't at it and obviously giving them Tuesday night off at Newport to get them ready for the game on Saturday backfired and they haven't repaid me with a performance today. That's disappointing because they were fresh and ready to go, but I thought Luton were very good, the way they played, the way they passed the ball, the way they ran forward, the creativity they had in the team – they were excellent. There weren't many opportunities in the first half, but they took them when they came along.
"I'm let down by the players, obviously I am, because I played them for the games previously and they have done well for us, but today, they have let me down. There's no two ways about it. I I can't come out and back them all the time. They have put on a very poor display here. I'm not taking anything away from Luton because they have done well, but our players haven't been at it at times. They have to do a million times better than they did today. They were very poor. I'm not taking anything away from Luton – Luton were very good – but our players didn't tackle; didn't show the desire to stop shots; and, in the opposition half, when we get in good positions, we don't have the desire to have a shot at goal.
"They could have stopped shots; they could have gone with their runners; they could have blocked the ball in from the sides; the wide players could have gone with their runners, as well, the full-backs; and they could have stopped the goals that went in. It was obviously a difficult day for us. To lose the goals we did in the first half was very poor, defensively, not just as a back four, but as a team, and it allowed them some really decent opportunities to get goals very quickly in the game and that set us back. We lost a penalty right on half-time to make it 4-0 and it's a long way back after that. We thought we might be able to get back into the game at 3-0 but to lose a goal right on half-time to 4-0, the game was finished and we did have to try to shut up shop in the second half. Did we attack much? No we didn't. When we did attack, we did have a few opportunities, but we couldn't allow the scoreline to get any bigger than it was."
Of individual players, Adams added: "Taylor came back into the team and did well; O'Keefe came on to the pitch and I thought those two helped us in the second half because of their experience. They were the two pluses for me. Ladapo wasn't good enough today, as simple as that. That's why he was taken off. That's why you make substitutions. He was Player of the Month and you don't become Player of the Month without doing things well. Today, he wasn't doing the things he had to. He has done well but you have to take the criticisms and the positives as they come along. Graham was stupid. He's put himself out for next week's game and if somebody else comes and does well, he's going to miss out."
Finally, the manager impressed the importance of adding new players to his squad in the January transfer window. He said: "Of course we need to strengthen and there are players that will have to move on in January for new players to come in. That's only natural. We're always busy in January. It's a month when we'll have to get players in, but we have to look to next Saturday first. We have got a long way to go until January, we have got the end of November and the month of December first. Planning is in place. We have to identify players, which we have done, but it comes with players who have got clubs and it all takes time. We have obviously got players we need to move out, as well. It might be players that are in the squad, as well; they might have to move on to free up wages for new players to come in. We have got to get injuries back, as well. We were without six players at Luton, as we have been for a good period of time - we have got a back four out; Conor Grant didn't recover from injury from last Saturday; he was a big miss for us – but we just have to get on with it. We have got Fleetwood at home next week and a Tuesday night game at Shrewsbury. We have to get things moving. There's nothing to suggest that we can't because we have done well in previous games, but, at this moment in time, you do not know which Argyle team is going to turn up."
Argyle were hammered 5-1 by Luton Town in one of the heaviest losses in recent years. The greens went in 4-0 down at half-time due to a series of errors, their last goal coming from the penalty spot. The fifth came after the interval before Joel Grant got one back late on. Argyle: Macey, Moore, Songo'o, Canavan, Smith-Brown, Fox, Ness(Taylor), Sarcevic, Carey(Lameiras), Ladapo(O'Keefe), J Grant. Subs: Letheren, P Grant, Law, Wylde.
After a lengthy spell out with an ankle injury, Ryan Taylor's return to fitness has given Derek Adams choices to make as to whether he fields Taylor, Freddie Ladapo or a combination. Adams said: "Taylor looks strong, didn't do as much in the second half as the first because of fatigue. To get 75 minutes under his belt and the way he took the ball in, and had a battle, was good to see. We brought Fred here and have Ryan Taylor to give us the different options. They're completely different players and good to have them. We have done that, played them together, at Walsall and it's not to say that couldn't happen again. The only problem is that we'd have to play a slightly different way behind them."
Ahead of the game at Kenillworth Road, Adams added: "It is similar to Bristol Rovers, a tight venue, probably tighter than Rovers, and the supporters from both ends make it a very good atmosphere. It's always an enjoyable place to play football. We've done well there in the past and want to continue that. Luton play with a strange way. They can pass the ball well from the back but can also play the ball forward quickly to the strikers. They mix it up very well and have experience throughout the side. They haven't changed much from League Two. They've added a few players but still set up in a similar manner. We want to play on the front-foot, take the game to Luton and try to win."
Following Argyle's improved form, stand in skipper David Fox articulated: "Sometimes, you have to hit rock bottom. It really got to us, as well as fans' reactions, which was understandable, but there was a real determination to show that's not what we're about "There is more optimism around the place now from everyone. I think supporters can see a team that is a lot more steady now. Performance-wise, it's been very good, with and without the ball. Defensively, we have been a lot more sound throughout the team. When we went there a couple of seasons ago, that's the first time I had ever been. The fans were very close, very tight and compact. It's a good place to play, they get a good turnout as well. It was a good atmosphere, a good game. It was very tense and very lively, I'm sure it'll be the same on Saturday."
As Argyle prepared to face ex defender Sonny Bradley for his new club Luton, David Fox spoke about coming up against his old ally. Fox: "Sonny, Jake Jervis and Oscar Threlkeld were a big part of the dressing room that I walked into, they were there for a couple of years and were big players for us. I wish him all the best, hope he gets beat and shake hands afterwards. It should be a good battle between Bradley and Ladapo. They'll both know they will be in for a tough afternoon. He will know about Freddie, but Freddie will know he's up against a good centre half. I'm sure that will have a big influence in the way the game goes."
"Luton are a good team, especially at home. They came up and have kept that momentum going, which a lot of teams that get promoted do. We know it is going to be tough, its up to us to repay the manager for giving us Tuesday off and make sure we are fit, fresh and ready to go on Saturday because that was the whole reason behind it."
Derek Adams added: "It's just another game from our point of view. We have players that move on to other clubs. We obviously have to come up against them now and again. He was given the best contract that we could offer him. Luton Town gave him more than we could afford. That's the business of the football club. There is nothing we can do about that. Luton Town have taken two of our players. They spent £100,000-odd on Jake Jervis, who is now on loan at Wimbledon. You look at Sonny, they gave him a three-year contract and X-amount of money. They have more money to spend than we do. We were speaking all the time. We did our best to keep Sonny Bradley at the football club. We can only pay what we can pay. We can't do more than that. He was given a very good offer by Luton."
After a string of high profile sackings in the football league and premier league, Derek Adams once again repeated the values of prudence as he now becomes the 11th longest serving manager in the football league. Adams mused: "It's becoming more difficult for people to get stability at football clubs. You have situations where managers have done well, the manager at Fulham got his team promoted, and then find themselves out of the job. They've done the work and that is difficult. Harry Kewell gets 14 games at Notts County and that is the difficulty of the job at this moment in time. Maybe the chairmen or chief executives at football clubs have to look at themselves as well and their role in employing managers, if a manager is only in for a short space of time. We all know it's the manager who gets the flak but it's not always his fault. There are clubs that don't have the resources and working to get the best of what they've got, but some fans will give a manager stick because of that. Prudence has been very good at this football club, we've had to work with constraints and will continue to do so. We're building a grandstand and that takes up a lot of money. Every time something new comes along, money has to be spent and that takes away from a first-team budget. We've not been able to spend money, we've paid two transfer fees since I've been here, so we're not on an even playing field but we've got a stable football club, supported by the Board. We've got a new chairman, following on from James Brent, who did a magnificent job over seven years to stabilise the football club. We're working on a way to keep Plymouth Argyle here for many years."
Adam Randell, Michael Peck, Alex Battle and Ryan Law all started in professional football for the first time against Newport in the Checkatrade Trophy and Paul Wotton said that it served as a grounded introduction to the pro game. He argued: "There were boys making their debut and they acquitted themselves really well. On paper, we played against a stronger team than ourselves because they knew they would go through if they won. It's a learning curve for them and the senior pros were excellent. Gregg Wylde had two great efforts and we're really pleased with lots of aspects of the game. It gives the youngsters a tiny insight into what it's like to be a professional footballer. They made some mistakes, senior players make mistakes, but it's important they learn from aspects of the game. To be a professional footballer is very difficult, you have to fight and scrap for it. We're really pleased with how they dealt with it. The senior pros were great and the way they talked the young lads through the game was a credit to themselves."
Ryan Taylor was pleased to get some minutes back under his belt following his most recent layoff with an ankle injury. He said of the game: "It was nice to be back out there, obviously a disappointing result but fitness-wise, my ankle and everything felt good, so there are no complaints. It was good from that perspective but a disappointing result. I had the broken ankle last season, then I had the operation to have it cleaned out. That's all perfect now, it feels brand new, there's no complaints from that. My right ankle also feels good after the treatment I have had over the last six weeks. I would like to put that behind me now and get on with my football."
"It was a great experience for the young lads, I think they all did pretty well. They have got to push on from here, take that experience and keep working hard on the training pitch. Hopefully, they'll get more chances as the season goes on. It's totally different to playing in the Peninsula games or the reserve games, it's a man's game out there. It's a good experience for them and also myself, its nice to get some minutes under my belt.
"I just want to try and get back in the first team squad. Freddie has been doing superb. I'll try and push Freddie all the way and see what I can do." I love competition for places, last season there wasn't really that. I got injured and we struggled to replace me when I was injured. Freddie has done superb this season, he's been on fire, so it gives me that bit between my teeth and I'm ready to push him on now. I've had three or four days of training, so I'm pretty positive to get through 75 minutes against Newport. I'm not fully fit but I feel pretty good. It's been six or seven weeks, longer than we first thought. All the boxes are ticked and I'm ready to go. "
Derek Adams spoke about the latest of many chances that he has given to youth team players with the game and praised Michael Peck's ability to come back from what looked like a difficult situation after being booked early in the game. He said: "Since I've been here, I've given 11 apprentices their debuts,. In three years, that is a lot of youth players to get their debut, so the Academy can be very thankful for that. They've got a first-team manager who is going to give them an opportunity. It depends whether they're going to be good enough or not. It's not up to me, it's up to the players and the coaching staff to improve them. The players have to improve to a standard to play on a weekly basis in the first-team. All I can do as a manager is give them the opportunity and they have to take it."
"There were similarities to Jordan Bentley and his debut against Swansea, when he got sent off,. I didn't want that situation to happen with Michael and there was a possibility I might have to take him off, if he was going to cause himself another problem by giving a foul away. He didn't do that and showed good composure to come back from that. To play in a game with that attitude has given him good experience."
Paul Wotton also spoke about the grim realities of football management and gave a vote of confidence in the willingness and ability of his manager Derek Adams to turn things around. Wotton said: "It's the occupation we have chosen and we are lucky enough to be in. We are privileged to be in the position we are in because we are doing something we love doing every single day, but it brings a lot of stress and you have to deal with it in certain ways. It's definitely not as easy as people think, that's for sure. So many people think it's very, very easy but I tell you, it's not. Being a Football League manager is so, so tough. I know it's a cliche but the manager works 24/7 – literally."
Argyle have bowed out of the Checkatrade Trophy with a 2-0 loss to Newport which saw four young professional or apprentice players make their debuts and one more make their first start. They did not however experience a first win with Argyle exiting the competition with no goals or points. Argyle: Letheren, Smith-Brown, Peck, P Grant, Law, O'Keefe(Purrington), Randell, Ainsworth(Fletcher), Wylde, Taylor(Dyson). Subs: Cooper, Goulty, Garside, Lolos.
Argyle have been drawn at home to Oxford United or Forest Green Rovers in the second round of the Emirates FA Cup. The game at Home Park is scheduled to be played on the weekend of November 30-December 3.
As Argyle head into their final and ultimately meaningless pre-season match, Paul Wotton said that it would be professional pride that ought to inspire Argyle into a top quality performance. He said: "It's a game you have to get your mind around, and go and perform. When you pull on the jersey, whether it's first team, reserves, under 18s, right down to under 9s, you are representing Plymouth Argyle. It's a game you have to try and win. It is what it is, we know we can't qualify; we have conceded too many goals and have not scored a goal yet. Let's try and win the game, score some goals, and not concede goals, that's the objective of the game."
Matchwinner Ruben Lameiras said that he was hoping his good performance and goal off the bench against Stevenage would incentivise Derek Adams to pick him again in the starting eleven, following recent spells of starting from the bench. Lameiras: "I want to play every minute I can and the only way of doing that is to cause the gaffer problems in the way of making him pick me. I've been shooting a lot more and it was an instinctive one to take it on my left and try to put in the corner. I scored six last season and already on four [this season]. I'm trying to work on it and I just want to play as much as I can, score goals and create chances for the team. We all like to inter-change and take up different positions. We kept doing the right things against Stevenage, kept moving the ball and it wasn't any panic. The boys are playing with more self-belief, we've started to play a bit more football, everyone's getting on the ball and the benefits of that can be seen in results. There is a lack of frustration now and we had some players at the beginning of the season who were probably a bit anxious. Even in training, it's gone up a gear and there is a real buzz about us at the moment. We can cause teams problems if we get into the right areas. We're creating more chances and scoring more goals. We just need to concentrate on every game and see where it takes is. We can't get carried away with a few good results but, for me, it's about the performances and good performances will turn into good results. The boys are playing with confidence and long may that continue."
Derek Adams expressed his delight at the late victory: "We are delighted to be in the next round. With the performance over the 90 minutes, we deserve to be. The chances we did create over the 90 minutes were very good. We probably should have been ahead in the game in the first half. We had a number of chances through Joel Grant, Graham Carey and Freddie Ladapo, but in the end we had to use Ruben off the bench to get us that victory. Stevenage were resolute, they worked ever so hard as a team and came here to try and frustrate us, which is always going to be the case when you come away from home and you are a club from the lower division. They did that well. Ruben is one that can start in the starting 11 or come off the bench. At this moment in time, he has found himself an important player for us because he can change direction very quickly, he can open up defences and he can score goals. When we had the long injury lay-off, it gave us an opportunity to get the goal; we were still creating a number of opportunities. We probably didn't pick the final pass at times, or it's good defending by Stevenage. I'm delighted because, on any day, Graham can take on full-backs. He was going inside and outside of the full-back. They did have to double up at times and he was still able to get past them. From his point of view, he will be delighted with his performance. We do a lot of travelling throughout the season, a home tie would be hugely beneficial."
Argyle have progressed to the second round of the FA Cup with a 1-0 victory over Stevenage due to a stoppage time winning goal. Ruben Lameiras came off the bench to spare the greens a replay. Argyle: Macey, Moore, Songo'oo, Canavan, C Grant, Fox, Ness(Lameiras), Carey, Sarcevic, J Grant, Ladapo. Subs: Letheren, Smith-Brown, P Grant, O'Keefe, Jephcott, Taylor.
Freddie Ladapo is the official League One Player of the Month for October, as well as winning the supporter voted award following a month where he bagged six goals. Ladapo said of the award: "It's a very big deal for me," said Freddie. "This is probably the first proper award that I have actually received, it's probably one of the best moments I've had so far. It's a fantastic month for me. Obviously, it took a while to start off at a new club – I just signed this summer – but the players, the fans, the management, they've made it easy for me to settle in. I'm enjoying my football a hell of a lot. Coming here as a new player, you want to just hit the ground running and get going. I think the goals I've scored have given people a lot of confidence in me and playing in front of 10,000 fans every week is fantastic. That was the 'weight off the shoulders' moment," said Freddie. "Once one has gone in, I don't need to worry, stress or lash at things probably like I would have done if I didn't score."
"The first goal in the Burton game was my favourite. I have always said that is a goal I have always wanted to score. Where you come inside, a few step overs and then bend it in. It's always been a want or a dream, rather than it actually happening. When it did happen, it gave me confidence to take more shots."
"We go into games more confident now. The team chemistry and the banter is good, it's more like a family. We've always been working for things to go in the right direction; these results have showed that we have turned a corner. We need to keep our head down and be humble in what we are doing. It will still take a while but we're heading in the right way."
Derek Adams said of his leading scorer that he deserved all recogniton for being such a big part of Argyle's turnaround. He said: "I'm delighted for Freddie and it's recognition for all the hard work he has put in, and the team has put in to enable him to get the goals. For Freddie, leading the line the way he has done a number of times this season, it is recognition for that hard work. A number of people watching our games this season have been impressed with Freddie. He's scored goals for us, created a number of assists and it's good recognition for Freddie and for the football club. We've shown over a number of years that a number of players who have come in have done well. We try to improve them and help them, not only on the football pitch, but as a person as well. Sometimes, as a football manager, you have to show patience and with Freddie, we could see he was working hard, getting himself into good goal-scoring positions and the ball is now falling for him."
Adams also confirmed that Matt Macey and Stuart O'Keefe are indeed eligible for the FA Cup first round clash with Stevenage as Argyle aimed for another cup run. He said respectively: "He's done very well, his performances have been good and I'm delighted with the way he has settled into the football club. Coming from Arsenal, he needed to come out and get games to put himself in a better position when he goes back. He's been able to do that with us and play in some big games. He's very good at coming for crosses and shot-stopping. The mental side of the game has to be better than playing in the reserve-team at Arsenal and that's the area where he is improving. We're obviously delighted with that [settled goalkeepers] and to have somebody like Kyle Letheren to help Matt. Last year, we went to Norwich and took Remi Matthews, who did very well for us. It's good that these football clubs have seen we take people on loan and help them. O'Keefe has been carrying an achilles injury that has set him back. He's done well when he's played in games and got on to the bench last week after not training for a number of days last week."
Regarding the cup, Adams added: "It's vital for a club like Plymouth Argyle. We're obviously competing against teams far wealthier than us and any money we can generate will help us move the football club along. We've got a new stand, a training facility we improved after the Liverpool, which was hugely beneficial to us. We've added a number of things with that money all over the years to benefit us. When I first came to the football club, it was in a terrible state. Now, we're able to train on the top and bottom pitches, we've got a sprinkler system and getting a borehole in to drain, so we're improving it all the time. It might allow us to get some shiny new seats in the Grandstand. I'm obviously aware of how the football club likes to be run and it is run in a proper manner."
"We showed by winning at Bristol City this year and playing well at Millwall that it is important to get a good cup run," said Argyle manager Derek Adams. Stevenage have done well in League Two this year, sitting just above mid-table and pushing toward the play-offs. They've got a number of experienced players, who we have come up against over the seasons. They rested a lot of players in the Checkatrade Trophy but they'll be coming here to try and cause an upset. We understand that but we're at home and will be taking the game to them. They have a formation we are well aware of and they will come here with nothing to lose. We understand all that and they've got Revell up front, who is a renowned striker and has done very well over a number of seasons. It would be brilliant to get into the third round and progress through the competition. The FA Cup is the competition is the one we want to progress in. When I was at Ross County, we got to the Scottish Cup Final as a Championship team, beating Hibs and Celtic along the way. Going to Anfield and getting 0-0, and then bringing them back here was one of the highlights of my football career. For many people, it was a fantastic occasion."
Young duo Dan Rooney and Jordan Bentley have extended their stay with Truro City until the New Year. Initially, the Academy graduates joined the Cornish outfit on a 28-day loan but impressive displays, have been forthcoming including two goals in four games for midfielder Rooney, while defender Bentley has so far made one start alongside two appearances from the bench.
Argyle head into an FA Cup tie with Stevenage on Saturday and Derek Adams has said he will take the game 100% seriously with the potential rewards at the end. He said: You're always excited by the FA Cup, it's a great competition and the longest competition going. We all feel that trying to get through the rounds and get a big team, as we did with Liverpool, is always exciting. We have to get through Stevenage on Saturday and they are going well in League Two. The FA Cup is always difficult because you never know what it is going to happen. To progress through the rounds would be beneficial to us. We did well in the League Cup by beating Bristol City and we would like to get through these two rounds to try and get the big tie. Stevenage will be well aware of the qualities we've got in our squad and we're well aware of the qualities they've got in their squad. It's about us doing the same things we've done in recent times, taking games to the opposition. The players are in a good place and we saw that on Saturday. We saw the appreciation the crowd had for the performance and we want that again. We've got a clean bill of health from Saturday and looking forward to getting a number of injured players back with us. Every competition means a lot to us and the FA Cup can become lucrative if you get through the rounds. Generating money can be important for the football club and we proved that with the Liverpool game. We improved the training ground immensely over that time."
Outgoing chairman and owner James Brent has given a vote of confidence to new man at the helm Simon Hallett and he looks to take the football club into a new era. Brent said of the relationship: "I don't think it was the only option but it was by far and away the best option in my view. And it did move us back to a model, which I think is important in football, where there is clear accountability to an individual in the leadership of the board role. So I think it's absolutely the right decision and I'm very grateful that Simon has stepped up to do that. I think he will do very well. He will of course recognise the importance of short-term wins. I don't just mean wins in football matches, but short-term achievements, while always keeping that eve on the medium to long term."
"I used to run a global group with all of my colleagues based in New York and I was in London. I travelled to New York twice a month. It's probably very helpful in one way, that the whole board needs to contribute more because you are not there. That's a good thing rather than a bad thing. I think football clubs, like most organisations, should be run by diverse boards. There's piles of evidence that the quality of decisions from a diverse board are much better than they are from a single-sex board or from an individual. In terms of what a chairman should do, which is to the lead the board as opposed to run the organisation, I think you absolutely can do that from a distance, particularly if you are properly supported by your colleagues, and that's what he has."
"Simon and I talk by email on average probably five times a day, I guess. We provide advice and challenge each other. Constructive challenge is what makes us all get better at what we do, and it informs better quality decisions. Simon absolutely gets that. I think he would like advice from as many people as possible and then he will distil it down. I didn't take decisions. I took recommendations to the board – or the chief executive did – we debated it, and we decided as a board. That's how we operated. It does make the decision-making much more effective and I think Simon will absolutely carry that on."
Michael Dunford has said that he believes Argyle have come to a 'sensible pricing strategy' ahead of Saturday's FA Cup game against Stevenage, reducing prices at both the standard and concession rate. He said: I think we might go beyond a crowd of 6,000. I certainly hope we will. I think we would have been around 4,000-4,500 had we not set the prices at the level we have done. I want our players to play in front of as many of our supporters as possible."
Young prospect Luke Jephcott has said that he is making the most of the busy schedule of matches, with games coming thick and fast for both Argyle and Welsh teams. The youngster said: "Games are the only way we are going to improve and that's the way we are going to get noticed. We train every day but we train for a reason. That's for the games. We have got to put into practice in games what we do in training. That's where we have got to show ourselves, and the catch the eyes of the gaffer and other people. Lots of games are good. They are very good games for us, against better players. That makes us have to raise our game.It's a great opportunity for us to show how good we are and just to play against better opposition. I have been in Cornwall almost my whole life but I'm definitely Welsh. Originally, I got picked up by Argyle when I was playing for West Cornwall Schools. They came and asked if we had any strikers and they picked me. I went on trial with the under-15s and I got a contract from there. I have been with the club ever since the 15s and worked my up. I got my apprenticeship and then luckily got my pro contract. You have got to impress in the games so we then go and train with the senior pros. We get the chance to make ourselves better, ask them questions and get their knowledge of the game so we can push to be on the bench and on the pitch on a matchday."
Graham Carey expressed similar views to his manager about the nature of the game and stated that fine margins stood between Argyle and getting a positive result, saying: "We played quite well in the first half, limited them to long-range shots that didn't really trouble us, and had a few opportunities in their box as well. I don't think there was much between the two sides but we paid for a few mistakes in the second half. We caused them a lot of problems and had opportunities to score, but gave away a cheap penalty, which killed the game. We were unlucky not to have a couple of penalties ourselves but it shows how far we've come in the last few weeks that we're very disappointed with the result. They've got some big players but we dealt with them really well, and frustrated them in the first half. I thought we could go and take the lead, so a lot of positives to build on and another step forward in the way we've been playing. When we were 1-0 down, I thought we were the only team likely to score but it wasn't going our way, and the penalty is pretty cheap from our point of view. We're getting a lot of bodies forward and the pressing was great. We feel a lot more positive going forward and there are not many times when you've lost and been applauded off the pitch, but the fans were great. The desire, work-rate and game-management was good, but we switched off for one moment and we take next week as it is, which is a cup game we want to win. It was always going to take time with a new team but you can see from the calmness on the ball, pressing higher up the pitch that it's coming together. It's frustrating we couldn't get a goal because we felt we could go on and win. We're still disappointed with the result but, as long as we play well, the results will come."
"It was always going to take time, with a new team, but I think you can see now the confidence is growing. We are a lot better in possession and we are moving the ball quicker. Even off the ball, our pressing higher up the pitch is a lot better. It's coming together. It shows how far we have come in the last few weeks that we were very disappointed with the result. There were some positives from the game. There are not many times we have lost and got applauded off the pitch from the fans, which was great. We were disappointed with the result but there are a lot of things we can build on. I think our desire, work-rate, pressing and our game management was quite good as well. We just switched off for two incidents and their quality showed and they punished us. Budget-wise we are not even close to them (Sunderland). They have got some big players but I thought we dealt with them pretty well."
Derek Adams added: "I think it was more about us than Sunderland, we caused them more of the problems because of our possession, and the way we passed the ball and kept possession, and created opportunities. They are obviously the favourites for the league because of the amount of money that they have at their disposal, compared to everybody else in this league. We had the fifth lowest budget in the league last year- that's public knowledge, and we've competed incredibly well this season. They got a goal where we didn't defend well enough, McGeady running across the edge of the box and they got a penalty that was a coming together of two bodies. If we had taken our opportunities in the first half, we would have been 1-0 ahead. We had opportunities inside the 18-yard box, Sunderland had chances outside the 18-yard box. Not once in the game did they get behind us, not once in the game did they really outplay us. We had a lot more penetrating moves, we had a lot more chances on goal than them and the stats that are there for everybody to see."
Argyle head of operations John Back gave an update on the progression of the Home Park development, stating that the new club shop and ticket office should be ready in early 2019: "We have made a design change to the new dressing rooms which gives us a bigger home changing room, a touch more storage and a wider access road into the stadium between it and the Barn Park End. Construction of this facility has now started, with the foundations being laid last week. There are a couple of factors at play here, the main one being that we delayed taking possession of the buildings until a number of snagging issues were resolved which, in turn, knocked out the schedule for the shop fitters to come in. The manufacture and delivery of the ticket office windows has also hit a delay but these should be installed in the next week or two. So, all understandable from an objective perspective, but, I must say, I am disappointed. As we have our old shop and ticket office still up and running it is not mission critical but, nevertheless, as we move forward, this needs to be an anomaly, not the norm. We are currently revising the opening date of the new shop and ticket office and are confident that it will be physically ready just before Christmas. However, given that this is possibly the busiest time of the year, our plans at this time are to hold the grand opening as a New Year event."
Derek Adams expressed his pleasure with the dominating nature of the game even though Argyle fell to a loss against Sunderland. He said: "If you look at it, 17 attempts to eight attempts is more than double. In the end, we probably feel hard done by today. I don't think a defeat is the right score-line. Sunderland rode their luck a number of times in the match today, and they've come away with a score-line that they probably don't deserve. We're really disappointed, we thought we had a very good chance of winning the game. We don't really care who comes here. When it was 0-0, if we score the first goal, it gives them a huge problem because they didn't really look like they were going to score a goal. They didn't really have anybody that was going to open us up. We dealt with them really well today. From that point of view, Matt Macey, did he make a save today? I don't think so. I think he's played with his hands behind his back and didn't have to do much."
Argyle have been beaten 2-0 by Sunderland at Home Park with two goals from Aiden McGeady sealing the victory for the away side in front of a near sell out crowd. A wonderstrike and a penalty ended Argyle's run of league wins. Argyle: Macey, Moore, Songo'o, Canavan, C Grant, Fox(Lameiras), Ness, Sarcevic, Carey, J Grant, Ladapo. Subs: Letheren, P Grant, Smith-Brown, O'Keefe, Jephcott, Dyson.
Jamie Ness was counting on a big Home Park atmosphere ahead of Argyle's fixture with Sunderland, calling on the Green Army to help the greens to carry their form through. He said: "The way we've played in the last two league games, we will match up against anyone in this league if we continue like that. We played really well in the Scunthorpe game. It has been a long time coming this season and probably the closest we have been to how we played last season. It was one of the first games we had played together as a midfield three, so it was good to get that feeling back and get the three points. This will hopefully start off a good run for us."
"These were the games we thrived in last season, the likes of Blackburn coming to us after being relegated from the Championship. Home Park was rocking that day, we're hoping it'll be the same again on Saturday and we get a positive result. We are really looking forward to it. Sunderland were in the Premier League a couple of years ago, so we know it will be a difficult game. It's a game we are looking to continue our momentum in. Obviously, we want to climb the table as quickly as possible and get to where we should be. Taking three points in this game would be a massive statement. It's definitely what we're aiming for on Saturday. We know they'll bring a big support, it should be a great atmosphere."
"Everything just clicked in the Gillingham game, we had a back four that kept a really high line, which then allowed us to go and press the ball more. Everything slotted in nicely, the front three were all playing really well, linking up well. We took that into Scunthorpe and continued again. We could have scored more goals and we're really enjoying it at the moment. It's definitely something I need to add to my game - more goals. I've been playing slightly different, in a more holding role. I managed to score at Millwall, so I'm counting that as one, even though it wasn't in the league. We know goals need to come from all over the pitch, we can't just rely on Freddie Ladapo, Graham Carey or any of the front three. Midfielders and centre-backs need to chip in as well."
Derek Adams boosted the confidence of striker Freddie Ladapo ahead of the game repeating his earlier claim that Ladapo could attract the interests of higher clubs. He said: "Confidence is a big thing and I think I was ridiculed a wee bit when I said that Freddie was a very good striker, and people were going to look at him. I think I've been proved right on that one because he is scoring goals. He's a very strong player, he takes the ball in very well and has an eye for goals. He does miss chances but he gets in the position to have an opportunity and he's an important player for us. He does have belief and the amount of goals he has scored in a short space of time is very good. It takes a bit of pressure of everybody. Joel Grant scored last week and Antoni Sarcevic, and that supports him when you've got midfielders and wide players scoring. We know that Ruben Lameiras and Graham Carey can score, and from set-plays, we got a goal from Canavan as well."
Derek Adams spoke about the 'difficult experience' that young pros Mike Cooper, Luke Jephcott and Alex Fletcher had to face in the 5-0 loss to Chelsea's under-23s on Tuesday. He explained: "It was obviously good for Michael Cooper and Luke Jephcott to get their full debuts on Tuesday night. They've been around the first-team for a while now, and good for Alex Fletcher to get another start. These are three players to have come through the youth system and it gives them an insight of how difficult it is to become a first-team player. It was good to give Cooper that realisation of what it is to be a first-team goalkeeper. It wasn't an easy night for him but something he will learn from. We didn't play a full-strength team on Tuesday night but did play a team according to the competition rules."
Jamie Ness admitted that the whole evening had a half-hearted feel about it, comparing the fixture to a reserve game. Ness said: "It's difficult, I will not lie. For Chelsea it's their biggest competition. For us, it's probably the bottom of the pecking order. They were very good on the night. We can't take that away from them. I think maybe one or two of us had an eye on Saturday. That shouldn't be the case but people are only human. We are glad that one is out the way now and we are focusing on Saturday, which will be a massive game and hopefully a sell-out as well. I think it would be a lot better if it went back to the old knockout format and that way teams would probably take it a bit more seriously. At the moment, teams are only playing players so they can avoid fines. It's not a positive competition at the moment. I think something needs to be done to change it, but what that is I don't know."
"Obviously, we would have liked to qualify but we have not done that. We can now focus on more important matters. It has definitely got more of a reserve game feel about it, which will have an impact on the players. It's human nature. We had to motivate ourselves and make sure we were up for it against Chelsea. To be fair, we didn't perform badly, it was just they took their chances. They were very good on the counter attack and we got punished for giving the ball away. That was just the way it was."
Finally, Derek Adams gave an update on the progress of his unavailable centre-backs, Scott Wootton and Ryan Edwards: "Scott Wootton is still with the medical team. He was due to return but has had a setback so he will be out for another couple of weeks. Edwards has got a chest infection and has been to see the doctor about that. He's not training. He's just resting at this moment in time. They are checking out his lung function to see what the requirements are. Ryan Taylor is progressing but he's still with the medical team. Joe Riley is the same and Gary Sawyer has still got the aircast boot on. We have got Riley, Edwards, Wootton and Sawyer out, who are a decent back four. We have also got Ryan Taylor out, who is an experienced player as well, so we could do with them all back as quickly as possible."
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