HOME Park will witness Argyle’s latest two new additions for the first time when the Pilgrims play their last pre-season match against Preston North End on Wednesday.Former League of Wales striker Rhys Griffiths and on-loan wolves winger Johnny Gorman will play some part in the match which is a final dress rehearsal for the Capital Cup tie against Portsmouth next Tuesday.
Manager Carl Fletcher spoke glowingly of both players after they trained together with the squad at UCP Marjon on the eve of the game.
“The pleasing thing is he wanted to be here and we wanted him here,” said Fletch, of 32-year-old Rhys, who has put his firefighting career on hold to pursue full-time professional career. “It’s a pleasing combination.
“First and foremost, he’s a nice fellow. He’s down to earth. He’s given up a lot to be here. He could have carried on at Port Talbot and been fairly comfortable, working and playing, but he wants to push himself and progress his footballing career.
“He’s a good size; he’s pretty much and old-fashioned target-man; and his goalscoring record speaks for itself.
“He doesn’t look his age and he’s a self-confessed fitness fanatic. It takes a lot of dedication, when you playing part-time football and you have got a full-time job, to keep yourself in shape and look after your body.
“It shows the kind of dedication will help in footballing terms.”
Teenage Northern Ireland international Johnny is at the opposite end of his career.
“Fletch said: “Johhny’s a winger; he likes to get at players; likes to get the ball in the box. I’m pleased we could get him down here.
“He’s predominately left-footed but wingers these days pretty much play both sides. We’ve had our eye on him since the end of last season and are pleased to get him down here.
“He’s a nice lad who has slotted in well. He just wants to come and do well for the team.”
Ladjie Soukouna, who damaged a knee in a pre-season game at Tiverton, returned to action in a development squad match at Saltash on Monday, while Onismor Bhasera and Durrell Berry also returned to the training-ground after injury.
Fletch said: “Ladj played a bit at Saltash; Baz is back in training; and Durrell was back for the first time. We just have to take it each day with him, see how the reaction to the training and hard work.”
League 1 Preston, whose chairman Peter Ridsdale was in charge of Argyle this time last year and who was the man who appointed Carl as manager, are without striker Lee Trundle, and will assess injuries to David Amoo and Andy Procter before naming their starting 11.
“We are glad Preston are coming down and will give us a tough test,” said Fletch.
“It’s still pre-season, so we are still working on a few bits and bobs, but we are moving on with each game we play.”