Seven Day Scrutiny

AFTER a week of detailed preparation, Argyle manager Derek Adams feels his side are ready to take on a tough challenge when they visit Mansfield Town on Saturday.

There certainly was not much time to dwell on the Greens’ 1-1 draw with Bristol Rovers last weekend, as the boss explained how he kicked off planning for their next fixture less than 48 hours after the final whistle. 

“We’ll sit down on Monday and have a look,” said Derek. “Greg Strong [Argyle’s Chief Scout] will go to the [Mansfield] game on the Saturday and analyse it, speak to me Saturday night, and I’ll watch the game on the Monday. 

“The players will then get briefed Thursday, just after lunchtime, about the forthcoming game, from the perspective of how they’ve done in their previous games, but we’ll give them an idea about how we’re going to go around Tuesday.

“We’ll do it as a group, and then Friday becomes more individual. We break it down to talking to individuals and their responsibilities.” 

Argyle have a chance to rise to the top of the Sky Bet League 2 table with a positive result at the One Call Stadium, and Adams knows they’ll have to overcome a resolute challenge brought by the Stags to do so. 

“They’ve got a lot of good players,” said Derek, “they’ve got experience, and [Matthew] Green and [Craig] Westcarr can cause problems up front, so we’ll have to take care of them. 

“They’ve got a team that’s played the majority of the season – it’s only really been one in and one out. They’ll have to make a couple of changes this weekend; [Chris] Clements is injured, and [Nicky] Hunt is suspended, so this will be the first time that they’ve had to move two players out of the team. 

“They beat Crawley 4-0 at home, and that’s a very good result. I don’t think they have any loan players this season, which gives them a wee bit of continuity in the side. They have changed their formation a number of times in the game, so they’ve got that opportunity to change their team about.” 

The Pilgrims will be looking to further improve their league-leading record away from home, and Adams believes the success on their travels is down in part to the team’s determination to stick to his desired game-plan. 

“I think we’ve coped well, going away from home,” said Derek. “We’ve been able to play on the counter-attack, we’ve dealt with the pressure that the home side has put us under, and that’s always going to be the case away from home. 

“We’ve got a good squad that’s performed well away from home. We’re looking forward to it; hopefully travelling north is better than travelling east! We’re hopeful tomorrow that we have a good journey.” 

Carl McHugh will miss out on the game as he begins his recovery from a hamstring injury, but his usual midfield partner, Hiram Boateng, looks set to maintain his record of starting every competitive fixture since joining the club on loan from Crystal Palace. 

“I’m letting Alan Pardew know that he’s been doing well,” said Adams. “I like to keep the parent clubs updated. 

“He’s only 19 years of age but he’s been strong, he’s been very good on the ball, and it looks like he’s played in the division for a number of years. 

“I think it’s important when you take in players on loan, you look at them not only technically, but physically as well – how they’re going to deal with League 2. The ones we’ve taken in, the likes of [Craig] Tanner, Oscar [Threlkeld] and Hiram, they all look like they can deal with it.”