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Ocean City's Eleven

11 May 2016

DEREK Adams has known for some time which of his Argyle players will take to the field against Portsmouth...

...but is keeping his cards close to his chest ahead of the play-off semi-final.

The Greens are gearing up for their second consecutive run in the Sky Bet League 2 play-offs to begin on Thursday, as they face Pompey for the third time this season, ahead of the second leg of the tie at Home Park on Sunday.

Adams began making his own preparations for the play-offs well before Argyle thumped Hartlepool United 5-0 in their final league game of the campaign, allowing himself plenty of time to work privately on tactics and strategies for his first ever play-off experience.

"I've already decided my team," said Derek. "I'd already picked my team before Saturday's game against Hartlepool.

"I'm not going to mention who's in or out. I think that would be very naïve of me to say anything like that. It's up to everybody to find out when we get to Thursday night and the team lines go in. We won't allow it to get out quickly, I'll tell you that!"

Whilst Derek's plans are already set, he will not doubt have been pleased by a number of players in the Hartlepool victory staking a claim to be a part of his play-off plans - not least youngsters Tyler Harvey and Louis Rooney, who bagged braces on Saturday.

"They've scored two good goals," said Adams. "The two of them have got a lot to do to get into the first team on a regular basis. They put in a very good showing on Saturday to score four goals between them.

"It's always nice to see younger players getting an opportunity, and they got an opportunity on Saturday. You look at Jordan Bentley: he was a first-year apprentice, just turned 17 last week and he's been able to get a game in the first team. His hard work, his dedication and good play has enabled him to do that."

The boss may not have play-off experience as a manager, but he certainly knows what it takes to succeed in high-stakes encounters like Thursday and Sunday's fixtures. Adams is fully aware that the outcome of the tie could come down to one individual moment, and believes he has a squad capable of producing those necessary, magic moments.

"We've got six or seven match-winners in our team," said Derek. "We've seen that over the season; we haven't had to rely on one person to score the goals. We've got six or seven than can do something special to win a match.

"I think it'll just be the same as a cup final. The two legs will be played in a similar way, home and away. The two games [earlier this season] have been very good matches: two good footballing sides that pass the ball well, who've got creative players in their team."

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