Plymouth – now there’s a team that’s had a funny start. Under new Manager and “old stager” Peter Reid, they opened the season with a 1 – 0 win at Southampton (very much not to be sneezed at), but then promptly lost at home to Notts County in the League Cup and drew at home to Carlisle in their second League game. A mixed start indeed.
What has to be said, however, is that they should have the resources to get out of this Division, as long as their gates hold up – the Carlisle gate being 7,700 with, I’d have thought, not many away fans making the 780 mile round trip! Ah well, that’s football for you.
Chris Hutchings, of course, will have relative luxury to choose from this weekend – except in midfield, perhaps – with the arrival of Jon Macken and Reuben Reid. Whether either or both will start depends largely on Byfield’s fitness, as he is having problems with his achilles. If Macken does start, of course, we will have to make allowances for the fact he hasn’t had a pre-season, although that won’t stop some people writing him off if he doesn’t get a hat trick!
The intriguing thing about Reid’s signing is what it bodes formation wise. He is very suited to playing in a 4 3 3, so that may become more likely, but, whether it’s a 4 4 2 or a 4 4 3, either Gray or Jones will miss out if Reid plays (more than likely to happen with a loan signing) and that’s not likely to go down well (unless, of course, he intends to play one of them in the “3”). A lot of choices for the man to make, then.
As for Plymouth, they’ve had massive disruption with their relegation. Out have gone Jamie Mackie (QPR, undisclosed), Lloyd Saxton (Bradford, free), David McNamee (released), Yoann Folly (Aberdeen, free), Simon Walton (Sheffield United, loan), Ashley Barnes (Brighton, undisclosed), Alan Gow (released), Gary Sawyer (Bristol Rovers, free) and George Donnelly (Stockport, loan). In have come Rory Patterson (Glentoran, signed), Bondz N’Gala (West Ham, free), and Anton Peterlin (unattached, free). They are still an example of how the other half live, though, as their squad numbers 29!
Men to watch.
Midfielder Carl Fletcher, once of West Ham, is a big influence on the team, but they do also have the blistering pace of the lesser of the two brothers, Bradley Wright Phillips.
Saddlers will be waiting to see the son of former favourite, Kevin Summerfield, Luke, scorer of the winner at St Mary’s.
If you are going to play relegated teams, the time to do so is early on, while they are still adjusting to life in a lower Division. Plymouth’s opening day win at Southampton shows that they are dangerous, though. Following the confidence boost of our win at Brentford last week, I’d still hope for a home win here!