LIAM SPENCE takes a look at the week ahead, as 2014 turns into 2015, and the second half of the season begins...Despite suffering their first Boxing Day defeat in 17 years and losing just their second home game this season, Argyle will be looking to get back to winning ways in the New Year.
John branded the performance of his players as “magnificent” despite their 2-1 home defeat to Oxford United and he will expect the same fight and desire, albeit with 11-men after Aaron Bentley was sent-off when Argyle were leading 1-0 and cruising, when they take on Russ Wilcox’s York City at Bootham Crescent, on Saturday.
The Pilgrims and the Minstermen have already battled it out in Sky Bet League 2 this season in a 1-1 draw, at Home Park, which saw the Greens lead after just three minutes through a deflected effort from Bobby Reid, before Jake Hyde’s injury-time equaliser saw the points shared.
This week's game will see the introduction of vanishing spray to the Football League. The innovation, used in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and designed to prevent players from encroaching during free-kicks, is being brought in following a successful trial in the early rounds of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.
A result for Argyle would see them secure their first win away from home since their fantastic 3-2 victory over Northampton Town, which will be notably remembered by Andy Kellett’s superb individual goal, and could see them regain fifth spot – showing they remain firmly in the hunt for promotion.
A win for York , however, would see them secure a third successive victory, having won 1-0 against Accrington Stanley, on Boxing Day, and 3-0 away at Carlisle, with former Pilgrim Luke Summerfield among the scorers and Stephane Zubar also playing a part in the heart of the York defence.
The last time Argyle travelled to Bootham Crescent it, like the home fixture this season, ended in a 1-1 draw with Ryan Bowman giving the Minstermen the lead after 54 minutes, before Argyle loanee Tope Obadeyi levelled soon after with a headed effort at the back post to take a point back to Devon.
This Thursday, as the new year begins, so the January transfer window opens. Teams will be permitted to sign players from other clubs on a permanent basis, and can sign players on a loan basis until the end of the season.
Anthony O'Connor, Andy Kellett and Bobby Reid all have loan deals which expire in January - the first being Reid's, who is currently only scheduled to remain at Argyle up to, and including, the York game.