No Surprises

DEREK Adams says that his team will face no shocks when they head to Wembley.

Many of Argyle's players have played in big matches before, including games at the Home of Football and Derek, who has guided his side to the Sky Bet League 2 Play-Off Final at Wembley on Monday, said that he thinks the experiences of big occasions that are shared around his team will help the Pilgrims when they step out under the arch against AFC Wimbledon.

"A lot of them have played on the big stage before," said Derek. "Gregg Wylde has played in front of 50,000 people in Old Firm games; Graham Carey has played in big matches; Jake Jervis has played in big matches; and Luke McCormick. If you look at it there is a lot of them have played in very big games. Kelvin Mellor has played at Wembley before. We have got a squad that are capable and have played on the bigger stage. I think that is important." 

Furthermore, Argyle can find more familiarity when they take to the turf - despite the belief of its wide open spaces, the pitch at Wembley is exactly the same size as the pitch at Home Park.

"If you look at the dimensions of the pitch," said Derek. "They are exactly the same dimensions at Wembley as they are here."

There is just 90 minutes standing between Derek's side and League 1 football, and Derek says that despite it not just being another game, they are treating it in that fashion.

He said: "We don't think it is just another game, it is a game that the winners go into League 1. It is not just another game - it is more than that. But we try to prepare as if it is another game because that is what we have done for the majority of the season.

"It is slightly different just because the media coverage is bigger. Otherwise though, from a coaching point of view, we have gone about things in a similar fashion.

"We are fully focused on the game on Monday. We have done all our commitments media-wise, suit-wise and now we just need to focus on the game.

"We are trying to get promotion in to League 1 and from our point of view it is about a team, it is about a football club and pushing it to its limit. That is what we have been doing all season. My job is to try and focus on the game and get us out of this league because we have got one game left that can possibly do that. We have taken ourselves a long way in a short space of time."

Derek gave his team a few days off after the victory against Portsmouth, so that his side could recover from what has been a long season. When Argyle step out onto the turf, it will be just over two weeks since the victory over Portsmouth that booked their spot at Wembley.

"It has not been too bad for us," said Derek. "We played against Portsmouth on the Sunday night and it has just been over a week that we have not had a game. To some people it may feel longer. The players were just happy to get a nice break."

"It is important that we had a few days off because of the magnitude of the victory against Portsmouth. We are trying to get the players ticking over before the game on Monday.

"I would have more then taken that," said Derek, of the position Argyle are in now in comparison to the beginning of the season. "I think any Plymouth Argyle supporter would have. At the start of the season we knew it was going to be tight squad-wise and we have dealt with it exceptionally well.

"We are just looking forward to the day. It is an important day for the staff and the football players. It is our livelihoods as well and we are going there to work and get in the league above.

"34,000 tickets have been sold so that tells you that the whole area is with us and people are coming back from all over the world because they want to see their team - Plymouth Argyle - doing well."

Derek has a full pool of players to pick from at Wembley, except for two, with Ryan Brunt and Josh Simpson sidelined with long-term injuries.

"Ryan Brunt and Josh Simpson are the only two that are out," Derek said. "Everybody else is fit. Reuben has been fit for a few weeks now."

Reuben Reid has been kept out of the team by on-loan Jamille Matt, who bagged a double at Fratton Park in the play-off semi-final against Portsmouth.

"Jamille Matt has been outstanding for us," said Derek. "It has been a terrific loan signing for us, as the majority have. We are delighted with the way we have recruited during the summer and during the season."

Derek acknowledges that AFC Wimbledon, who finished 7th, have also done very well this season.

"They have had a very good season," said Derek. "I think that Neil Ardley has done a terrific job there. He is one of the longest-serving managers in English football and that is something in this day and age because it is very difficult as a manager. The tenure has proved so difficult. I think 56 managers have lost their job in English football this year which is terrible and that is the nature of football which is not good."

Argyle Pilgrim of the Year Graham Carey, Jake Jervis and Gary Sawyer all triggered the extension clauses in their contracts and will remain with the Pilgrims after Wembley regardless of the outcome.

"It has been vital," said Derek, of the contribution from the trio this season. "They have all performed exceptionally well this season and we had their contracts in a situation where they were going to play enough games for it to be triggered and they deserve another year at the football club."