The First Step

THERE is a theory that if David Goodwillie, the Green Army – and Argyle in general – step up their game this Saturday...

...then the opening game of the 2016-17 Sky Bet League Two season could be very special indeed.

Argyle negotiated nine pre-season fixtures, against opponents ranging across ten divisions of the English football spectrum, and remained unbeaten. Goodwillie scored ten goals during the period, and generally looked a menace to defences. 

The Green Army, meanwhile, turned out in force for the sole pre-season game at Home Park. Over 8,000 were in attendance for the visit of Premier League West Bromwich Albion last Saturday, with the Greens attaining a creditable 0-0 draw. 

A bigger crowd will be expected when Luton Town are the visitors to the Theatre of Greens this Saturday, August 6, for the season’s curtain raiser. 

And if David can make his full Argyle debut a memorable one with a goal or two, then the smiles on the faces of the majority of that crowd will be clear for all to see. 

“It’s good for me [to score goals], confidence-wise,” said David. “Hopefully it can continue, and it doesn’t stop there. 

“Every player you ask will be excited for this first game of the season. We’re probably now a bit anxious to get it started, get out there and get the result we need. 

“We’ve got a lot of talented forward players. It will be a fight for positions, but we will always support each other, if you are playing or not. There has been that even in the friendlies.

“It’s only pre-season, but we’ve played a few games and stayed undefeated. Hopefully we can take that winning mentality into the season. It’s been long, a lot of games, but we are all fit, and as ready as we can be for Saturday. 

“To get 8,000 people for a friendly – that’s unheard of, for me. I’m really excited to see what they bring on Saturday.”

Just two days before the season’s opening, Argyle were able to announce that manager Derek Adams had penned a new contract that ties him to the club until the summer of 2020. 

As a recent acquisition by Adams, Goodwillie is understandably happy at the news of his manager’s commitment. 

He said: “It gives us great confidence knowing that the manager is going to stay for a long time. He’s got a mission on his hands, and hopefully we can help him achieve that. 

“I only knew him from playing against him, but now he is managing me, it’s really good. He’s made me feel welcome.”

Argyle have made 14 permanent signings over the summer, and while not all will be able to play in Derek Adams’ side on the opening day, David is content that the close influx has not made it difficult to settle in. 

They will need to gel quickly; opening day opponents Luton Town are reckoned among the favourites for promotion this season, and a win for either side would be an early signal of intent. 

“I know they are a good side,” said David. “The boys have been speaking about them. It is going to be a tough first game for us. If we could beat them and make a statement, that would be great. 

“I think it’s made it easier that we are all new, and can gel. We’ll all on the same page. It’s not just one new player in a team. 

“I’ve got a little place with my wife. It’s been pretty easy to settle in. There are nice places for food, and so on. I’m really enjoying it.”