Box and Cox

ARGYLE manager Derek Adams is keeping close tabs on all members of his Argyle squad...

...not just his current starters, as he aims to maintain motivation at the start of a long campaign.

Adams’ roster of talent has been hit with a smattering of injuries since the start of the 2015-16 season, but two players presently sidelined, Josh Simpson and Reuben Reid, are expected to be available for selection over the coming fortnight.

“Reuben is training with the squad this week,” said Derek, “so we’re hopeful of getting him back in the squad this Saturday.

“Josh will hopefully train with the squad next week, and we’re hopeful of getting him back in the squad for the following Saturday. They’re getting there, and moving along.”

A longer term absentee is Deane Smalley, who has been unable to figure in Derek’s set-up as he battles back from a cruciate ligament injury. The boss, though, believes his striker is making inroads towards a full recovery as begins ball work with some of Argyle’s young prospects.

“He’s training now; he’s getting into football work,” said Adams. “Basically, he’s training with the Under-18s at this moment in time, to try and get him a wee bit of confidence fitness-wise, and I think he’ll be there for the next month. 

“Then we’ll see how his progress is from there. He’ll probably be with us for the next month to two months to try and get his fitness up.

“We have to care for somebody that’s injured. He’s had a nasty injury, a cruciate ligament, so we have to look at him. But he has to get fit, so that’s why he’s gone with the Under-18s – to get his confidence, really, and a touch of the ball again, to gain that experience of getting back into action.”

Other players, such as Lee Cox, are at full fitness but have yet to figure prominently in the manager’s first-team plans. With only six Sky Bet League 2 games ticked off so far, Derek believes his entire squad has the mental strength to stay remain driven and determined to make an impact as the season progresses.

“I think that we’ve got a squad that motivates itself,” said Adams. “We’ve got 18 players in the team that are going to play; it’s a squad game and we’re going to need all the players in the squad this season. Lee’s going to be one of them.

“That’s football, isn’t it? You can only have 11 players starting on a Saturday. There are ones in the squad who are not going to play every week, and it’s up to them to get into the squad. By doing that, they have to show, in training and games, that they’re better than any individual.

“I’m not just talking about one person; I’m talking about everybody. That’s just the nature of football, and that’s the way it goes.

“At this stage in the season, it’s about collecting points, and we look from game to game. That’s all that I concentrate on: the next game and seeing if we can get the three points.

“I think that there are a lot of teams that have very good squads in the league. You can see by the results. Look at Carlisle: they came here and we beat them 4-1, but that’s the only game they’ve lost this season. You just see that there is quality in this league.”