Right Back At You

THE cliché says that some dilemmas are ‘nice problems to have'.

Some examples may have been whether or not to buy a Porsche or a Mercedes, or deciding exactly which of the Saturdays you should consent to going out with. For Argyle boss Derek Adams, it is choosing a right full-back. 

Summer signing Gary Miller, who worked under Derek at Ross County, rejoined his erstwhile gaffer down south, and was immediately given the number two shirt, and looked set to be the undisputed choice on the right side of defence. 

And so it proved. Gary began the season as a wing-back, and quickly reverted to right-back when Adams tinkered with Argyle’s system, having an excellent game as Argyle won their first game of the season at Notts County. 

An inter-FA miscommunication, though, ruled Gary out of Saturday’s home game against Mansfield, with Oscar Threlkeld being asked to shift from his midfield berth to fill in at right-back. He did so admirably, and the Pilgrims kept a clean sheet in a 2-0 win. 

To Blackpool, then, this Saturday, when Adams has both men available to him. Does he keep the winning side? Does he return Oscar back to midfield to accommodate Gary’s return? Either way, Derek is satisfied with the problem he has. 

“I want to get to the stage where we have competition for places,” he said. “We're starting to get that now. 

“[Oscar] hasn't really bed down a best position as yet, because he can play well in both positions - in midfield and at right back. 

“He came in; he played well on Saturday. He had to because Gary Miller had a very good performance against Notts County. 

“We've got good competition there. The two of them can perform to a high standard. I have to make a decision about who will play in that right back slot.”

At the other end of the pitch, questions have been asked of Argyle’s forward line. In four Sky Bet League Two games, four goals have been scored, with two coming in each of the last two fixtures. Graham Carey’s brace against Mansfield accounts for half of the tally, with Jake Jervis and defender Nauris Bulvitis scoring once each at Notts County. 

Playing a varying amount of minutes, summer recruits Jimmy Spencer, David Goodwillie and Jordan Slew are yet to open their Argyle accounts, but this matter is not of concern to Derek. 

“From our point of view we've scored four goals in the last two games,” he said. “We should have had two clean sheets. 

“David hasn’t played many minutes. Jimmy has played the most, and his link-up play is important to us. It is not always important that your striker is the one that scores goals all the time. It is other players that chip in with goals. 

“We did that well last season with Jake Jervis and Graham Carey. They were the two highest goalscorers; Ryan Brunt was the third highest, and Reuben Reid was fourth. We had Gregg Wylde on seven too. 

“We have a team now that will chip in with goals, and the strikers will do that over the course of the season. 

“That is a style of play that we play – we don’t rely on one person to get us the goals. We rely on the team to be creative, and goals to come from all over the pitch. 

“It’s not easy at times, playing up there, and we try to take the pressure off them.”