The Next Step

ARGYLE manager Derek Adams was pleased to be able to not only test out more players and formations in their 3-1 win over Bideford AFC, but also avoid any injury scares along the way.

The Greens headed north to continue their pre-season preparations against Evo-Stik Southern League opposition, sporting a slightly different line-up to their previous victory against Elburton Villa. Adams deployed a fluid 4-2-1-3 formation that included that likes of Lee Cox, Aaron Bentley and Ben Purrington. Cox missed out on last Tuesday’s game through injury, whilst Ben and Aaron made second-half, substitute appearances at Haye Road. 

“We changed the team about a bit,” said Adams. “We gave some boys a chance that hadn’t played last week. It was good to just give everyone an opportunity. 

“Lee Cox got 90 minutes, and Aaron Bentley and Ben Purrington played as well, so it was good for the younger kids to get a chance."

Reuben Reid kicked a ball in anger for the first time since undergoing foot surgery over the summer break, coming on for a worry-free half hour, whilst Luke McCormick also featured, making a belated start to his on-field preparations.

“We’ve just tried to push [Reuben] on a wee step further, just to give him 25 or 30 minutes today,” said Adams.

“It probably helps him mentally as well to see that with all his hard work, he’s getting even closer to game action.” 

“Luke made a couple of good saves early in the first half, and he’s been great since I’ve come in. He had picked up a wee thigh injury but he was fine today; he played for 85 minutes. That’s a pleasing aspect as well.” 

A successful afternoon all round at the Sports Ground, then, as the Greens came through a stiff test unscathed and unbeaten, ahead of a trip to Bath City on Tuesday. 

“I thought it was similar to Elburton: both teams worked hard,” said Derek. “They are always going to cause you problems, and it was just a very good game, so we’re delighted. 

“It was good support from Argyle, and good support from the home fans. It was scrappy at times and not really pretty, but I think we controlled the game for large spells. It was difficult to pass the ball on the surface, which was very dry. It limits how quickly you can move up the pitch. 

“As the games step up, we’re going to get tested even further. We’ll keep on working, keep getting them fit, and we’ve got another test on Tuesday against Bath.”