DEREK Adams is not given to too much tinkering. ‘Consistency’ is a watchword for the Argyle manager.
Of the 18 players used by the Pilgrims in their 14 matches this season, seven have played in every game; another four have missed a piece of the action only once; two more are in double-figures; and three others have been limited to substitute-only appearances.
Such constancy has been of such benefit that the Pilgrims go into Sunday’s Sky-televised match at Notts County as leaders of Sky Bet League 2 on the back of a resounding Johnstone’s Paint Trophy thumping of neighbours Exeter City.
The gaffer made three changes to Argyle’s starting line-up for that game, a selection unprecedented in his management but made necessary to suspensions for Carl McHugh and Gary Sawyer, and injury to Graham Carey. The latter two had previously been ever-presents.
With at least two, and possibly all three, available for the trip to Meadow Lane, Derek has to choose whether to stick or twist on his starting selection, but expects his players to be content with whichever combination of his travelling party that he chooses.
“The squad is a very tight squad and we have got a lot of good players in it,” he said. “They will all be happy because they’ll be involved in the 18.
“When you have got a squad with the ability we have in that 18, everybody has got to understand that they are going to play sometimes and they are not going to play other times.
“In football, you have always got tough decisions to make, on a daily basis.”
“We have got creativity; we have got good legs in the team; and quickness. Everybody will be happy because they are getting a starting shot or they are getting on the substitutes’ bench.”
The weekend shift in day and kick-off time (2.30pm) means that Argyle may no longer be table-toppers when they take to the field, but Derek sees the TV switch as a double-boon for his players.
“It’s given us one more day to recover; that’ll benefit both teams,” he said. “Being in front of the cameras – people all over the world will be watching – gives them the opportunity to show the ability they have to a wider audience.
“We’ve had a very good start and the points total is very good. That’s what we’re looking at, nothing else. We want to continue the good run of form that we’re on.
“It’s down to the players and the coaching staff that we’ve been able to gain momentum and we’re in good shape. We need to keep picking up points whenever we can.”