Phase One Done

DEREK Adams is content that the first phase of Argyle’s pre-season has been negotiated – and matters will now be cranked up a notch.

The Pilgrims scored 22 goals over three games against St Blazey, Tavistock and Bovey Tracey, conceding just two. The comprehensive victories were expected – though still welcomed – but from Saturday the competition gets a lot tougher. 

National League team Torquay United are Argyle’s hosts on Saturday, kicking off a week that also includes trips to National League South outfit Truro City, and Southern League Premier side Weymouth. 

“We’re not going to have it as easy as we’ve had,“ said Derek, “but we appreciate the teams playing against us because it gives us the avenue of games with a lot of the ball, and it gives them a senior team coming to them as well. 

“I think it’s about getting the players to know each other. We’ve taken in players over the summer, and it’s getting to understand how they play – that’s the idea of these first three games. 

“The way the players have performed: they’ve looked sharp, they’ve looked lean, they’ve looked fit. We’re ten days into pre-season. I would say we’re looking good, and we’ve put ourselves in a good position. 

“We’ve had a lot of the ball – a lot of time on the ball, a lot of passes, a lot of movement. By doing that, everybody knows each other, their style of game. The tempo is going to rise now and we’ll have to step up a couple of gears. 

“Over the next few games, they’ll be worked a lot harder. The purpose is to work the striking department, and the midfield department – and then the defence will come. 

“[Torquay] gave us a tough test the last time, when we won 1-0; it was a close game. On Saturday, it’ll be the same. There’ll be a big crowd. We’ll have to be quicker and speedier than we have been in the last three games.”

It has been a busy week for Sonny Bradley. He travelled to Plymouth on Sunday and signed for the club on Monday, then played 60 minutes on Tuesday night followed by a full 90 minutes on Wednesday. 

“He looks ok – though he’ll be very tired tomorrow,” said Derek, after Sinny completed the game at Bovey Tracey. “He played 90 minutes tonight and around 60 minutes last night, so from that point of view it is good for him to be able to get that game time. 

“At this stage of the season we need to sign players and get them quickly into action as they need to know and understand how we are going to play.”

First team players not in action at Bovey included Jordan Slew, Gary Miller, Connor Smith, Oscar Threlkeld, Luke McCormick and Karleigh Osborne. Luke’s absence was primarily to facilitate a second goalkeeping trialist of the week, but the others sat the game out to protect various knocks accrued in pre-season so far. 

Derek, though, is not perturbed by the absences – and suggests all bar Osborne are likely to feature at Torquay. 

“I hope we will have four back for Saturday, although that may be pushing it,” said Derek. “I would hope Slew, Smith, Threlkeld and Miller are ok for Saturday. I would think [Osborne] will miss out.”

Three trialists have been in action for the Pilgrims in the pair of midweek fixtures, with a midfielder playing a full game at Tavistock as well as the second half at Bovey, and a pair of goalkeepers taking the gloves for each second half played. 

Derek is yet to make a decision on the trialists’ future, but may well take a further looked and some or all when Argyle head to the Launa Windows Stadium on Saturday. 

“We’ll go away and think about it,” said Derek. “We’ve got another game on Saturday where they are all with us, and we’ll take it from there. We’ve still got time.”