Competition Time

IT is a measure of Derek Adams’ summer recruitment...

...that the loss, confirmed this weekend, of four Pilgrims who have made more than 500 appearances between them for Argyle has been of secondary importance for the Green Army to the arrival of ten players who have excited their imagination.

In the same breath as revealing what many knew and had already accepted – that Curtis Nelson (246 appearances, 9 goals), Reuben Reid (165/50), Kelvin Mellor (92/2)and Tyler Harvey (60/5) have decided not accept new deals offered by the club – the Argyle manager disclosed that midfielder Carl McHugh has agreed terms to remain at Home Park.

A little after Derek’s first Press call of the 2016-17, the club announced that another midfielder who had contributed plenty to the Pilgrims’ ultimately doomed promotion push in 2015-16, Oscar Threlkeld, had also returned for the new campaign. Focus shifted.

That there is no room for sentiment in football is as untrue as many of the clichés that scar the Beautiful Game, and the departure of Nelse, Rubes, Kelvin and Ty, will see hearts heavy on both sides of the divide as farewells are bid to friends, colleagues and good clubmen.

There is, though, a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. Including transfer activity.

“The ones that have moved on have been here over the last couple of seasons where they have done really well to put themselves in a position but, at the final hurdle, they have failed,” said Derek. “I think it’s good for them to move on and for us to move on, as well.”

The focus, then, has shifted from past heroes to future stars. Nine arrived before the announcement of this year’s Oscar: Nauris Bulvitis, Ryan Donaldson, David Goodwillie, Gary Miller, Karleigh Osborne, Jordan Slew, Jimmy Spencer, Yann Song’o and Connor Smith.

Derek said: “Everybody set out the targets that were going to be coming to the football club at the start of June, and we were able to get the majority of the targets we were after.

“This summer, I have been able to take in more players. To be in the position we are today...I’ve got to be happy with that. We’ve still got two or three to go, permanently, then we’ll look at the loan signings.

“What I’m looking for is to get competition for places in the team; we didn’t have that last year. There were a number of areas when there wasn’t competition for places and that probably affected us during the campaign because some players knew they were going to play week in week out because they didn’t have competition. 

“This year, you need somebody behind you who is going to be pushing you all the way. I am getting to a position where I feel I’ve got cover in all positions.”