Backs Against the Wall

DEFENSIVE dilemmas will be...

... at the centre of both managers’ team selections for Saturday Emirates FA Cup tie between Argyle and Newport County.

Pilgrims’ manager Derek Adams, already without left-back Gary Sawyer, is awaiting reports from the physio’s room regarding Gary’s regular replacement Ben Purrington as well as Latvian centre-back Nauris Bulvitis.

County manager Graham Westley is in a similar state of anticipation over central defender Scot Bennett and right-back Jazzi Barnum-Bobb. He is already unable to call upon the suspended Darren Jones; the injured Jamie Turley and Kyle Cameron; and ex-Pilgrim Paul Bignot, who will be serving the final match of a six-game ban for biting Cheltenham Town’s Jordan Cranston.

“I don’t read too much into that,” said Derek. “We have obviously got our injury problems – both teams will have injuries out for Saturday, and we have got a suspension as well, so we will probably have more out than them.
“We are looking at Nauris Bulvitis and Ben Purrington; we’ve got Jordan Slew out suspended; Ryan Brunt, Gary Sawyer, David Ijaha and Jimmy Spencer are out.”

Despite the disruption to his squad, Derek’s support of this season’s new transfer regulations, which restrict clubs from dealing between transfer windows, remains.

“My view hasn’t changed at all,” he said. “It’s more beneficial for the game; the game has become more professional. You just have to deal with it throughout the season; we had to have a bigger squad than we had last season.”

Of more concern to the Argyle manager is bouncing back from a run of three successive Sky Bet league Two defeats that has seen them lose top spot in the division.

He said: “We haven’t defended well enough at times, and we have got to stop that, but we have also got to take our chances at the other end when they come along. We have had opportunities to score goals in all the games and we just haven’t taken them.

“You don’t want to lose games, but we have already shown that winning 12 games in the league campaign is the best so far and we want to continue and do well.”