THE new Sky Bet League Two arrives at Home Park on Saturday with contrasting senses of permanence and great change.
The sensation of permanence comes from manager Derek Adams’ new four-year contract; the feeling of change from the 14 new players that he has brought into his 22-man squad. Only four of the 11 that started Argyle’s final match of last season, at Wembley, remain at the club.
Whoever lines up in the season opener against Luton Town at Home Park, it will be very much a new-look side, and one built by, and in the image of, the gaffer.
“Being able to get players in under the budget that we work with is very important,” said Derek, “and, over the summer, we have recruited well to get 22 players signed up in the budget we have.
“What we have got this year is better depth to the squad than we had last season and I think that will be important.
“I knew players would move on and that I would have to take in a good few signings over the summer. I think they have gelled quickly over the pre-season. We have had them all in since the start of pre-season, which has it has been good and has allowed them to combine with each other quite quickly.”
Two of the new recruits will be hors de combat when Luton – who have ex-Pilgrims Christian Walton, Isaac Vassell and Olly Lee in their ranks – throw their hat into the Home Park ring on Saturday. Central defender Karleigh Osborne suffered a thigh strain on the eve of the Pilgrims’ first pre-season friendly at St Blazey, while midfielder Connor Smith has a slight hip problem sustained on the pre-season training camp in Holland.
Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. If the faces are different, the atmosphere at Home Park, and the feeling that it generates will be familiar.
“There are not many football clubs in England that you get the support, home and away, like this football club,” said Derek. “For me, as a manager, when I see the amount of fans we take away from home, and the amount of fans we have here at Home Park, it is a very good environment to work in.
“There is a fanbase here that can take you forward.
“We are looking forward to it. When it comes around, the first game of the season is always exciting and Saturday will be no different.”
The aim remains the same, too.
“Same as every season – to win every game,” said Derek, about the next nine months. “To do as well as we possibly can. That’s what we said last year and we’ll do that again this year.”