Trial and Improvement

HOME Park trialist Ollie Norburn possesses “all the attributes” that John Sheridan ikes as the Argyle manager seeks to beef up his squad prior to the new Sky Bet League 2 season.

Former Bristol Rovers midfielder Ollie, 21, played 45 minutes of the Pilgrims’ 5-1 pre-season friendly victory at Tavistock on Tuesday and will feature again when Argyle visit Calor League Premier Division Weymouth this Saturday.

“He’s got lots of things that I really like in his game,” said John. “He’s got a lovely range of passing; he’s a good age; a good size; he’s got all the attributes I am looking for in a midfield player. It’s down to Ollie.”

There is a vacancy in the Argyle engine-room following the summer departure of Conor Hourihane to League 1 Barnsley, although John does not see Ollie as a like-for-like replacement for the former skipper, whose nine goals last season were an important component in Argyle’s top-ten finish.

“He’s a bit different player to Conor, but the way I’m going to play this season might be a little but different,” said John.

“I’ve got [Jason] Banton, who’s really sharp at the moment; I’ve got Lewi [Alessandra]; I’ve got [Deane] Smalley, Marvin [Morgan], [Reuben] Reid, Tyler [Harvey]; Matty Lecointe’s  coming back. So I think there’s lots of goals. I really want my strikers to express themselves.

“So possibly I’ll be looking for someone who is going to sit in that central [midfield] area. I’ve got Dominic [Blizzard] who I want to come back and have a lot better season than last season; I want Tyler to believe he can really play in there. If I bring Ollie in, you’ve got four there to play in the two central areas.”

Fellow trialist Duncan Capriotti, an American college midfielder, also played a half at Tavistock and will be in the Pilgrims’ Weymouth squad. However, John is unlikely to pursue his interest in the 22-year-old Californian.

He said: “Young Duncan has come a long way to be involved to try to give himself an opportunity.

“I don’t think I’ll be doing anything with Duncan, but I think it’s only right I look after him properly and give him an opportunity to be involved in the game on Saturday. He’s comfortable with that.”

Dominic Blizzard, who has a minor thigh injury, is unlikely to be added to the Argyle squad, although there is an outside chance that Deane Smalley’s hamstring problem will have cleared up enough for him to play a part.

Player-coach Paul Wotton will also be given his first run-out of pre-season.

You can listen to Weymouth v Argyle live on Argyle Player this Saturday at 3pm.  Player will be carrying live and exclusive commentaries as well as highlights for all of Argyle's 2014-15 pre-season fixtures.