GUY Branston stepped up his return to full fitness by playing an hour in the Pilgrims behind-closed-doors friendly at Yeovil Town on Tuesday.The 34-year-old centre-back did not feature in the Argyle first-team match-day squads for their opening three games of the 2013-14 campaign after his pre-season was interrupted by injury and illness.
He and Argentinean midfielder Andres Gurrieri, whose pre-season was also hampered by injury, both came through the Huish Park match, which Argyle lost 2-0.
Gary Owers, Argyle manager John Sheridan’s assistant, said: “The game was, in part, to give players who are on the way back some game-time, so, in that sense, it was Mission: Accomplished.
“Brano got an hour and Andres got 90 minutes under his belt.
“For the rest, it was about the development of young players and a game - which they needed. They are very fit and have worked very hard in training, but you can’t beat getting games under your belt.”
As well as fielding substitutes from Saturday’s Sky Bet League 2 match against Fleetwood and youth-team players, Argyle included former Pilgrim Dean Parrett in their midfield.
England youth international Dean, 21, made 10 appearances for the Greens on loan from Tottenham Hotspur at the start of the 2010-11 League 1 season, when his only goal was a netbuster following a free-kick in a 3-1 home league win over Bristol Rovers.
Dean was sent off in the following match, a 4-0 home FA Cup first-round defeat by Swindon, after which his loan was cut short by manager Peter Reid.
Since then, he has had loan spells at Charlton, Yeovil and Swindon prior to his release by Spurs in the summer.
“We’ll see what develops, if anything,” said Gary.
The Pilgrims were one down at the interval with the goal coming from a 25-yard free-kick taken by Glovers’ trialist, former Arsenal midfielder Conor Henderson.
The home side added a second in the 65th minute when Kieffer Moore headed from close range.
Argyle (4-5-1): Luke McCormick; Isaac Vassell, Jamie Richards, Guy Branston, Ben Purrington; Andres Gurrieri, Dean Parrett, Luke Young, River Allen, Ryan Lane; Tyler Harvey. Substitutes: Andrew Hannah (gk), Kieran Asumadu-Saki, Solomon Wheatley, Tom Moxham, Callum Hall.