ONE of Derek Adams’ favourite gifts this festive period may well have been from his physiotherapist Paul Atkinson.
Whether Paul gave Derek some snazzy socks or a nice box of biscuits is unknown, but it seems Atkinson was able to relay some tasty morsels of information as to the fitness of some of Argyle’s walking wounded.
Slowly but surely, many of Derek’s injured players are coming back to the fold, with even a couple of those with lengthy lay-offs not looking as long-term as was once feared.
Jimmy Spencer broke an ankle in training in mid-November, but is recovering well, as is Ryan Donaldson, whose own training ground mishap caused him to suffer a broken jaw just over a week ago.
“[Jimmy] has had the boot he had on taken off, which is progress,” said Derek. “He is hopeful to be back at the end of February, which is a big boost to us as we thought it was going to be longer. We’re delighted with that news.
“[For Ryan], we’re looking at six weeks from when it happened, before he can take part in any games. After two weeks he’ll start training again in an uncompetitive way.
“It keeps his legs moving, his muscles moving, and he doesn’t lose any fitness to a great extent.”
Another long-term absentee, Gary Sawyer, was last seen in an Argyle jersey on August 27, at Blackpool, when he pulled up with a stomach injury. A shade over four months after it occurred, Gary is back in training, and ready to pull on the boots again.
Derek said: “Gary has trained with the first team, last week and this week, and is progressing well. I am hopeful of playing him on Saturday in the South West Peninsula game. We’ll possibly give him 45-60 minutes in that match.
“Gary has been a very good signing for us since he came here. He is experienced, and has been out for four months now, which is a long time.”
Even closer to first-team action are Nauris Bulvitis and Ben Purrington. The defensive duo have each been unused substitutes in recent matches, and both lined-up for Peninsula League game on Tuesday at Tavistock, which they came through unscathed.
“[Ben] came through well, with no ill effects from his injury,” said Derek. “The same with Bulvitis, coming though as well. It was good to get them some match time.”
Argyle are at home to Crawley this Saturday, on New Year’s Eve, before a January 2 trip to Barnet. With two important Sky Bet League Two fixtures coming so soon in the calendar, Derek is hopeful his recovering players are in shape to play their part should they be needed.
“We have got injuries,” he said, “and we just have to be careful with them, to get through this 48 hour spell. It is a very difficult schedule; we have to play on a Saturday, then travel and train on a Sunday, then play on a Monday at 3pm. It is not easy.”
Argyle meet Crawley Town at Home Park at 3pm on Saturday, December 31. Get your tickets online at eticketing.co.uk/pafc, in person at the Ticket Office (there is a separate queue for Crawley tickets) or on the gate on the day of the game.