DEREK Adams and his team may well spend many hours on the road this weekend, but the manager’s eyes will not be on the clock.
The journeys Argyle and Carlisle will undertake in their respective fixtures this season will be – as is often the case – the longest journeys made by any clubs in the EFL this season.
Last season Argyle played five games with a round trip over more than 600 miles – and won four of them, including against Carlisle at their temporary home at Blackburn Rovers’ Ewood Park ground.
Derek, though, is uninterested in the milometer. Points being accrued on the Sky Bet League Two table is the only metric he wants to see increase – and having to tackle a near-800 mile round-trip should not hinder that in the boss’ eyes.
“It’s the same as it was last season,” said Derek. “We’ll travel up after training, get to the hotel and prepare the same way.
“It’s the same as travelling anywhere. We have a lot of long journeys throughout the season, so it’s only a couple of hours on.
“It maybe helps being early in the season, rather than being later, in midweek. Hopefully that is beneficial.
“There are a lot of long journeys at the start of the season – a very intense period. We’ll get back in the early hours of Sunday morning, then turn around and go back up Monday.”
By Monday, Derek was referring to Argyle’s trip to Notts County, just three days after the Carlisle marathon. Indeed, the trip to Cumbria is sandwiched between the journey to Reading in the EFL Cup on Tuesday, where Argyle lost 2-0, and the jaunt to the Magpies.
The Carlisle match is the firm focus, though, and Derek is aware of where Keith Curle’s side’s strengths lie. They have a point on the board from a 1-1 opening day draw at Portsmouth, and followed up by knocking Port Vale out of the EFL Cup.
“They’ve added a few players in the summer,” said Derek. “They’ve got the nucleus of the same squad, they’ve just changed it about slightly.
“They’ve had a very good start. It’s not easy going to Portsmouth, and they came away with a point, and had ten men. Then they got a win against Port Vale, a League One club, in midweek.
“They’ve changed their style a wee bit. They are still very direct, they do go forward very quickly, but they have taken in a few very good technical players as well. They can mix it up by playing into midfield and into forward areas.
They have a long throw on both sides; they do like to get the ball into the strikers quite quickly at times. They’ve got a good blend there.”
Argyle are yet to score in two games this season, and have conceded five goals in that time. However, as seen in the opening stages against Luton, and the second half at Reading, they have the ability to put teams under pressure. Converting said pressure into chances and, naturally, goals, is the next step.
“Last Saturday we got into very good areas,” said Derek. “We need to create more opportunities and score the goals our play deserves.
“We could have prevented the goals against Luton. That’s an area where we have done very well in pre-season; we would just like to stop the errors that have happened.
“We’ve shown in pre-season that we can score goals, and that we can defend. We’ve just played two games – there’s a long way to go.”