TEAM PREVIEW: Plymouth Argyle – John Hore anticipates difficult season

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John Sheridan’s Plymouth side made it into the League Two play-offs but couldn’t get past a Wycombe side that should really have gone up automatically. One summer later, a few key players leaving and a new manager may have seen Argyle fall behind their rivals but they have a manager who will make the best of the squad he has down at Home Park, and he’s already started bringing in players he’s familiar with.

Last Season: League Two (7th)

Manager: Derek Adams

 

Squad

GKs: James Bittner, Luke McCormick
DFs: Kelvin Mellor, Gary Sawyer, Carl McHugh, Curtis Nelson, Peter Hartley, Ben Purrington, Aaron Bentley
MFs: Lee Cox, Josh Simpson, Graham Carey, Gregg Wylde, Hiram Boateng, Callum Hall, Ryan Lane
FWs: Reuben Reid, Jake Jervis, Tyler Harvey, Ryan Brunt, Deane Smalley

 

Transfers

In: Jake Jervis (Ross County), Gary Sawyer (Leyton Orient), Gregg Wylde (St. Mirren), Graham Carey (Ross County), Josh Simpson (Crawley Town), Hiram Boateng (Crystal Palace – Loan)

Out: Lewis Alessandra (Rochdale), River Allen (Released), Jason Banton (Wycombe Wanderers), Dominic Blizzard (Released), Matt Lecointe (Released), Marvin Morgan (Havant & Waterlooville), Oliver Norburn (Released), Jamie Richards (Released), Paul Wotton (Retired), Anthony O’Connor (Burton Albion)

 

First Six: AFC Wimbledon (A), Portsmouth (H), Carlisle United (H), Northampton Town (A), Newport County (H), Stevenage (A)

Likely Lineup: (4-4-2) McCormick – Mellor, McHugh, Nelson, Sawyer – Carey, Simpson, Cox, Wylde – Reid, Jervis

 

A word from…John Hore

On his time at Plymouth Argyle Very good memories, great memories. I wouldn’t take any of it back, we got relegated early on but that was a learning curve because we weren’t good enough.

But that’s an experience you don’t want to experience again but on the whole it was fantastic. I had such a good time there, played so many games, had my testimonial against Liverpool and got to play against Pele in front of 38,000 at Home Park, plus a promotion! I loved being a professional footballer, it was all I ever wanted to do.

Coming up against Pele was a fantastic night, for the club and the fans. For Pele and Santos to come here was unheard of, it was a fantastic game and a real experience. I wasn’t given the job of marking him but we were on the same side of the pitch and came in contact a lot. He must have been fantastic in his prime because he was coming towards the end of his career that night and he was fantastic, he did things you’d think weren’t possible.

On the ups and downs There are a lot of mental challenges but I know which I would pick out of the promotion and the relegation! How lucky was I? My testimonial year was the year we went up.

We were on that roll, we had some very good players in that squad, Bill Rafferty and Paul Mariner to name a couple. We had a good defence with Mike Green, Bobby Saxton etc, we all played a lot of games and we all had a lot of experience. I always say to people that our back four was probably the slowest in the league but we had so much experience we’d do something different, we’d close up and tighten up as a unit.

On coming back as manager A dream come true! It wasn’t easier because it was Plymouth necessarily, it was a huge step though. I’d been managing successfully at Bideford, when I applied it was more tongue-in-cheek but to go and get the job was fantastic.

It didn’t faze me, the challenge was there, I was young and I was going into a club that was struggling with no real money. I was left with what was there but I did have some good players, some youngsters in the team with potential.

We struggled but we survived and then we had a fantastic cup run, that turned the club financially right around, it generated so much money. Even today when I go down there people talk about that semi-final against Watford and it’s nice to know I’ve left those memories with fans. I was proud as punch to manage a team where I’d played so many games and take them to a semi-final. It was a great day at Villa Park and a proud day too.

On the current team I’m part of the so called ‘legends’ and I get down as much as I can. I do stuff down there to get former players back involved as the club felt they didn’t see too many ex-players around the club.

Now there’s a steady flow of ex-players and Plymouth Argyle is always in my thoughts, it’s always the score I look for. I tipped Plymouth to go up last season, I really fancied them to get promoted. There was a lot of experience with the manager and the players so I was really disappointed they didn’t go up.

This season it’s completely different, I don’t know anything about the new man in charge but he’s young and enthusiastic, just like I was when I took over. If he has a good start then the fans will get behind him but I think it will be one of those seasons to be honest.

I think he’ll need a bit of time to bed in and put forward his ideas, he’s brought some players in he knows but it will always take a while for those people to settle in, I just hope the club support him. I had a tough start in my second season and I was asked to leave. I was proud of what I did there but I wanted to stay and was disappointed to go, so I hope they give him a chance. I just think it will be a mediocre season whilst there’s a transitional period at the club.

 

The Offside Rule Podcast Prediction: Despite a solid 2014/15 campaign, it looks difficult on paper for Plymouth to reach the play-offs again this season. They’ll be around the top half but Adams may need one or two more fresh faces to launch a similar assault as last season.

Key Player: Josh Simpson – One of Plymouth’s more impressive recruits of the summer. After four good years at Crawley, Simpson brings plenty of quality and experience to Plymouth’s midfield and could be the driving force behind another promotion push.

One to Watch: Tyler Harvey – At just 20, the young striker is almost at 50 league appearances for Plymouth but hasn’t hit the big time in terms of goals just yet. With time on his side, he’s one of the few youngsters in Plymouth’s attack and one to keep an eye on.

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