ARGYLE’S 1-0 defeat to Luton Town also saw more Pilgrims add their name to an alarmingly long injury list at Home Park.Andrew Drury’s goal in the 19th minute for the Hatters saw manager John Sheridan look to change to things up at half time, bringing on Tyler Harvey for Lee Cox for the second period – but that was not the only reason for the switch.
Cox had picked up a knock to his thigh during the opening 45 minutes, and then Harvey himself appeared to suffer a dead leg no more than 60 seconds after coming on. Dominic Blizzard was replaced by Nathan Thomas later in the half, as the former had also suffered a hamstring strain.
Andy Kellett and Jason Banton both failed fitness tests on the morning of the game. Ollie Norburn’s back strain picked up in a development fixture during midweek ruled him out alongside River Allen, who will sit out for three weeks with a groin injury. Oh, and Peter Hartley’s own groin injury is still preventing him from playing.
It goes without saying, then, that the slew of injuries forced upon the Pilgrims during this week is unlucky to say the very least, and makes a stark difference to the opening weeks of the season. Sheridan knows that an incredible run of injuries such as this has to have an effect on performances, but still believes the wafer-thin squad he had at his disposal could have had a better result against Luton.
“I still thought we had a good enough team to go and win the game today,” said John.
“When you look at it, that is probably 12 or 13 players now [that are injured], and we have done well with injuries throughout the season. Obviously there was Peter and [Curtis] Nelson over Christmas.
“For the first 20 games you do not have one [injury], then the last five games we have had so many. We will try and sort it out the best we can.”
“Cox has had a thigh problem. Dom has done his hamstring. I thought Tyler was going to have to come off, but anyone who knows me knows that I will not make excuses.”
On the subject of Kellett’s ailment, John said: “He has got a slight groin injury. He tried a fitness test with Jason [Banton], but they both did it on Thursday.
“He has had the injury before at Bolton. It is just one of them that he does not want to re-occur. They both got little niggles. I was hoping he would play.
“Without me making excuses – and I do not want to bring up the players that are injured or the loan players that have left - but you can just see the sharpness that they have usually shown at home, I do not think it was really there, even though I did think we played okay in the first half.”