JOHN Sheridan knows that staying busy in the loan market is imperative to Argyle achieving success this season.
The month of January has been an extremely eventful one for the Pilgrims, securing deals for new players and attempting to hold on to loan starlets who flourished for the club before the beginning of 2015. Andy Kellett, Anthony O’Connor and Bobby Reid all saw their loan deals expire during January, with only Bristol City midfielder Bobby to return so far, after some hard negotiating behind the scenes.
With complications delaying the returns of Kellett and O’Connor, as well as a dreadful run of bad luck on the injury front, new faces such as Olly Lee, Tom Flanagan and Ryan Brunt have also joined the club in recent weeks.
Brunt is the only one of those names to be a permanent acquisition, and Sheridan knows that being active and shrewd in the loan market is one of the keys to success at a level like Sky Bet League 2.
“I think in the lower leagues, you have got to rely on loans,” said John. “I think it is difficult as well with the position we are in, with trying to attract and get people in to come down on permanent deals during the season.
“If you have got family it has got to be the right deal for you. Loan players is probably the way we’ve got to go. Ideally, I’d like to sign them on permanent deals all day long.
“There’s always the danger when you bring loan players in and they do well that they are going to move on somewhere else, because they have done well at Plymouth. That’s just the way it is. Unfortunately it has happened to us and affected us.”
The manager has been working tirelessly to bring back O’Connor and Kellett and refuses to rule out the possibility of them returning. Wanderers wing back Kellett played for his home club during the week, against Rotherham in a 4-2 defeat, but Andy would be eager to return to the Greens if he doesn’t continue to see first team opportunities at Bolton, according to John.
“Obviously I am very pleased that he has gone back to Bolton and started in the first team,” said John. “I rang him up and applauded him – I said 'good luck and well done for getting in the first team.'
“He has come here, done well and gone back to Bolton. Neil Lennon wanted to have a look at him. Whether he will be a permanent fixture or he will figure for Bolton I am a bit unsure.
“I have spoken to Andy and he wants to come back here; if he is not going to play at Bolton there is only one club he wants to play for, and that is Plymouth. I spoke to him and he has told me that.
“I think Bolton are trying to add to their squad, and if they can get one or two players in, there is a good possibility that we might get him back. It is just a matter of a phone call.”
As for O’Connor, the issue lies more in the player’s ambitions differing from his club’s intentions.
“Blackburn to be fair have made it clear, the situation,” said Sheridan. “I think it’s just Anthony: he’s playing under-21 football all season, and it’s not going to benefit him.
"He is better than under 21 football. He has been there, done that, and he’s proven himself at league level.
“He’s another one that wants to come back here, 100%. Blackburn are just holding out for a permanent deal. He is not my player, so I can’t really say if Blackburn are doing right or wrong.”
Whilst talks involving those familiar faces are still ongoing, Sheridan and the club are looking elsewhere for other potential incomings, and the boss is expecting their efforts to bear fruit very soon.
“It has been busy,” John said. “I have just come off the phone to a club now so I am still chasing, trying to get people involved for Saturday.
“It is not through a lack of trying. I understand people want to see people come in and make us stronger – myself included, believe me.
“I have got the nod from a club to try and bring in a player I am after, so it is down to the player now. Hopefully something might come from that."
“Two players that I haven’t got, I could possibly have before Saturday, so I’ll keep my fingers crossed.”