Paint Problems

ARGYLE boss Carl Fletcher is facing a selection dilemma ahead of Tuesday night’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy fixture against Aldershot Town...

...but unfortunately one cannot suffix that statement with the well-worn cliché “It’s a nice problem to have.”

Several Pilgrims will not be taking to the field for that game, for a variety of reasons.

Darren Purse will miss out due to a suspension picked up for a fifth caution of the season; while Onismor Bhasera is off to represent Zimbabwe in an African Cup of Nations qualifier.

Meanwhile, several of their team-mates are set to make physiotherapist Paul Atkinson the busiest man at Home Park.

Paul Wotton, Jamie Lowry, Maxime Blanchard, Ross Jenkins, Warren Feeney, Robbie Williams: that sextet could be the makings of quite a decent side. But it could well be that all might sit the game out with a variety of injuries.

Add to this the fact that loans Guy Madjo and Alex MacDonald have both played the last game of their current loan spell, and the numbers do not lie.

The description ‘paper-thin’ somewhat overstates the bulkiness of the options the gaffer has at his disposal for Tuesday.

“We’re bare bones,” he said, “Baz is away; Madj and Macca’s loans run out; Willow’s struggling with injury. We’re really low on numbers.

“[Ross] is still struggling. He’s still sore in his groin. He’s had a scan. We’ll determine where we go from there. We’re not too sure, and we’ll have to wait and see. If it gets any longer than this Saturday then we’ll have to make some decisions.

“[Max] has had a couple of bangs on the head – one at Morecambe and another one at Wycombe – in recent weeks, and had a bit of blurred vision after the game [at Wycombe]. He was still getting headaches, so we can’t really risk him. You have to be on the safe side when it comes to head injuries.

“From what we’ve been told, it’s like a little bruise in the brain. If you get a bang on it, then bruises up again. We’ll have to wait and see how he gets on with it.

“I was down the hospital with him on Tuesday night for a good few hours, doing nothing really. We saw a doctor and he said it wasn’t vital. I think if the symptoms got worse over the next day they’d have got him in for a scan, but you just wait until the headaches subside. He hasn’t done any training.”

All is not lost – although Madjo and MacDonald are due to return to their parent clubs, their loans could yet be extended.

“Fingers crossed we can get that done. Both of them really put a shift in for the team.

“We’re not too short up front or in midfield, though, it’s in defence that we are looking light.

“It’s key that you get players in that, when you bring them in, come in and do well. We’ve been lucky with the ones we’ve brought in this year.

“Madj and Macca have settled in, and really bring something to the squad. That’s what we need, defensive wise. And it keeps everyone on their toes.”

When asked if, as well as trying to tie up Macca and Madj for a further month, he would be trying to add defensive cover to the squad, Fletch was definitive.

“Yes. Definitely.

“We’ve got a few in mind. Obviously you have to go through the right channels. We’ll come with something.

“We’ll pull a rabbit out of a hat.”