Pushing On

JOHN Sheridan is determined none of his players will be able to relax during the new Sky Bet League 2 season which kicks off in two weeks time.

The Argyle manager is prepared to recruit a couple of new Pilgrims to bolster his squad and ensure that no-one takes his place in the team for granted.

“I just think we need a bit more quality, pushing people who are in the team and hopefully making us a little bit stronger,” he said, following Sunday’s home pre-season friendly defeat by Premier League Swansea City, “because I think we have a nucleus; I think we’re an organised team with one or two decent players.

“I just want to keep everyone fit and I want people fighting for places. I don’t want anyone in a comfort-zone, thinking they are going to be playing every week.

“I definitely feel as though I need to bring a couple of players in. I think we need strengthening, and that’s something I’ll be having a chat about with the chairman and [chief executive] Martyn [Starnes].”

The Swansea match – Argyle’s first at Home Park since the end of last season – saw a few of Argyle’s first-team squad sit out the game as a precautions, including new forward Deane Smalley and midfielder Dominic Blizzard.

“We’re having a few of these thigh injuries,” said John. “They are a funny injury: you can be out for four or five days but, if you train and it does go, you can be out for four or five weeks. So you have got to be careful.

“[Deane]’s done nearly all the running [in pre-season]. He needs to get a bit more football under his belt before the game. Likewise with Dom.”

As a result of the injuries, the Greens’ substitutes against Swansea were, well, green.

“You could see the bench today was all young kids,” said John. “Not that I’m afraid of putting a young kid on and giving him first-team football – there’s nothing wrong with that at all – but I think, with strength in depth, we need to be a little bit stronger.”

One of the substitutes was first-year apprentice Ben Steer, who had caught the manager’s eye in a Development Squad match at Saltash United 24 hours earlier.

“I think he’s got good things in his game,” said John, “not that I know a lot about him. I’ve seen him in the youth team and I’ve seen him in training. He’s only a young kid, but he’s confident in himself, which I like in any young player. It is good to give him a taste of being in and around the first team.”

Ben may represent the long-term future of the club, but, before he comes to maturity, John will seek a more immediate fix.

He said: “Whether they are loans or permanents, obviously, at this stage of the season, I would like someone who has been training and been playing in games.

“One of the players I’m after is at a club now and has been playing pre-season.”