AHEAD of Argyle’s final pre-season game before the 2016-17 season kicks off, Derek Adams is prepared for the Pilgrims’ sternest test yet.
Premier League West Bromwich Albion visit Home Park on Saturday –kick-off 5.30pm – in a fixture that will test Argyle’s mettle seven days prior to Luton Town’s visit to the Theatre of Greens.
Coming up against an established Premier League side, let by experience manager – and former Argyle boss – Tony Pulis, Derek knows that the challenge posed by the Baggies will be one that pushes his team to the limits.
“It is another step up to where we want to go, come the first game of the season,” said Derek.
“We’re playing against a Premier League side; they have an abundance of talent in their team. I am delighted that Tony Pulis – a former Plymouth Argyle manager – is bringing his team down.
“They are only a week later than us [in starting their season], and from their point of view they will play a good number of their players as they have done in pre-season.
“When you come up against these teams they will have possession for more time than us because they are a top side.
“I think it shows when you do win the ball back that it is important to retain possession of the ball for as long as you possibly can. If you can do that you are not doing as much running as the opposition.”
Argyle will take on Albion a shade under 24 hours shy of returning from a week long training camp in the Netherlands, during which they took on Dutch second tier side MVV Maastricht and beat them 2-1.
The West Brom challenge will be a step up again, but regardless of Saturday’s outcome, Adams feels that the activities in the low countries has been tine well spent.
“We’ve had some hard training sessions and a game,” said Derek, “and its gone well.
“Training has been hard. They are getting the hours in. That is important at this stage of the season.
“We’ve had all the running sessions where it has been long and hard earlier on in pre-season training. It’s about [going to Delden], getting touches of the ball and being able to work on certain technical aspects of the game.
“Thursday morning was four on fours which is very hard work. That is important when you come into a game situation: you are comfortable on the ball and you can run off it and support strikers.
“[The trip] has been excellent. They have treated us well. The training park is in immaculate condition; that really helps the players and their preparation for the start of the season. The food, the accommodation and just we way we have been looked after by the hotel has been first class.”