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Choice Cuts

1 September 2016

DEREK Adams obviously does not see too much choice as being a problem.

The Argyle boss has what the football cliché generator would term a ‘selection headache’ ahead of this Saturday’s home game against Cheltenham Town. The same generator would probably follow this up by declaring the headache ‘a nice problem to have’.

Platitudes aside, it really is a tricky decision for Adams to make. After deciding whether he will play with three or four attacking players, including advanced midfielders, the manager has to decide their identities. 

It may be that he chooses to go with the same quartet that has started the last two wins in Sky Bet League Two: Graham Carey, Ryan Donaldson, Jake Jervis and Jimmy Spencer. After all, why change a winning side?

However, Tuesday night’s 4-1 win over Newport County brought with it some extra questions. Alongside Jervis, who kept his place and scored his second of the season, were three men knocking on Adams’ proverbial door. 

Jordan Slew, playing from the left wing, caused County endless troubles, and scored the Pilgrims’ first goal; Craig Tanner, who assisted Slew’s goal, was effective in a ‘number 10’ role, and got on the scoresheet himself; and David Goodwillie, playing through the middle, did everything but score, as everyone in an attacking position for the Pilgrims caught the eye. 

Factor in the Thursday acquisition of tall striker Arnold Garita on Thursday, on loan from Bristol City, and there is certainly no shortage of options for Adams to select from. 

In fact, that notion is reflected across the team. Derek has been happy to play almost all of his squad at some stage in the opening seven games, across all competitions, with many of them getting at least one chance in the starting line-up. 

“I’ve given 19 players their starts,” said Derek. “That tells you what kind of squad I’ve got. I’m very comfortable with the players that I’ve got in the squad. Nineteen of them have started a game, and that tells you what I think of them. 

“There’s a possibility [of changes to the team]. They all put on a very good showing on Tuesday. We had a very experienced team out, and a number of them have put themselves into the reckoning.”

Gary Sawyer, who was taken off at half-time against Blackpool last Saturday with a stomach strain, is a doubt for the visit of Cheltenham. 

If the left-back does not make it, it will mean another start for Ben Purrington, who played 90 minutes against Newport, having played the second 45 at Bloomfield Road. 

Should Purrington impress, and Argyle keep on winning, then that would be another selection dilemma for the Argyle boss. 

“It’s a big year for him,” said Derek, of Ben. “He needs to hit the ground running, really push Gary Sawyer for that left-back slot. 

“At that age, you should be pushing, and getting in there. I’ve spoken to him a number of times about that; being the best player in training, and pushing on to become a first-team regular.”


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