JOHN Sheridan does not expect this Sunday to be a day of rest for his players when Premier League Swansea City visit Home Park for a prestige friendly.It is the Pilgrims’ first match at HQ since the end of the 2013-14 Sky Bet League 2 season, but there will be no question of home comforts – and not just because of the heatwave.
“It’s always good to be playing at home,” said the Argyle manager, “but Swansea are one of the best passing teams in the Premier League, so we know they are going to keep moving us around.
“Hopefully, though, we will get the chance to express ourselves like we have been doing in pre-season."
Not only is the mouth-watering match with last season's Europa Cup representatives on an unfamiliar day, it is also kicks off at the decidedly nontraditional time of 5pm.
Whatever, it is a fantastic opportunity for the Green Army to welcome John's new-look side, with a potential eight new signings likely to be given a run-out: Deane Smalley, Kelvin Mellor, Carl McHugh, Peter Hartley, James Bittner, Ollie Norburn, and, of course, the return of Reuben Reid and Lee Cox.
“It’s a big test for us, of course,” said John, “but I want us to stand up to them and, when we get the chance, to do what I know we are capable of doing ourselves.”
“It’s still early days. I have always said that the first two or three games are important for you to build up your fitness as the games get a little bit tougher and this one will be tough – Swansea play the ball around as well as anyone in the Premier League.”
They will be helped to that end by new midfield signings Gylfi Sigurdsson and Jefferson Montero, who have come on board this week since the Swans returned from a visit to the USA.
Argyle’s so-far unbeaten pre-season routine has been less glamorous but no less satisfying for John, who’s starting line-up for the Sky Bet League 2 season opener at Cambridge on August 9 is beginning to take shape.
“I am pleased with the way everything is going at the moment,” he said. “I’ve got 13-14 players who, if we can get fit and keep fit, I think are very good players. I am very confident about playing any one of them.
“I think everyone can see, from the players I’ve signed and what we are doing, the way we are going to go about things but there’s a long time between now and the start of season. There’s plenty of time for people to make an impression.”
The heat has been on Argyle for most of the build-up to their new campaign, which has meant adapting their intensive training schedule and being aware of the relatively rare conditions.
John said: “The ground has been really firm, which is tough on the legs, and the lads have picked up blisters, so you have got to keep an eye on things.
“We’re just trying to keep out of the heat, but it’s staying hot all day. We all love the sun, but I’d like a little bit of rain to soften the pitches.”
Tickets for the game are a knockdown £9 for adults, £7 for over 65s and students, and £4 for under 18s, if bought before Sunday, with prices rising by £2 if purchased on match-day.
We are also offering a two-for-one special for people who want to watch Sunday's game, and next Wednesday's Westcountry match-up with Yeovil Town.
A single ticket to cover both games is £15 for adults, £11 for over 65s and students, and £7 for under 18s – the offer is open only until midnight this Saturday, July 26.