AFTER putting Argyle back on track with a 2-0 over Northampton Town, manager Derek Adams reiterated his belief that the Greens can compete with any side in Sky Bet League One.
Adams and the Pilgrims ensured that the defeat to Oxford United three days previous was a mere blip in Argyle’s improving form, making it one loss in eight games by seeing off the Cobblers.
A pair of Sonny Bradley headers in a dominant showing from the centre back were all the team needed on the night, adapting after the suspension for Ryan Edwards to pick up a vital victory. Derek’s side showed once again that, when they can overcome disciplinary issues and keep things balanced on the pitch, they’re a force to be reckoned with at this level.
“As I’ve said before, when we keep 11 players on the pitch, we can deal with any team in this league,” said Adams. “We’ve shown that. We’ve dealt with the top teams in the league already this season. When we’ve got 11 players, we’ll do well.
“I’ve always thought that we have a good side. I’ve said that many times. When we have 11 players on the pitch, we’re a good, good team that can pass the ball, and defend, and score goals. With the form that we’re on, we’re showing that we’re doing well.
“There’s always pressure. There’s pressure every day, if you want to be successful. If you don’t have pressure every day, you might as well stay in bed.”
One player in the starting eleven that found it particularly hard to get out of bed was Remi Matthews, who shrugged off a pair of knee injuries to play. Incredibly, the usual backup for Matthews, apprentice Michael Cooper, became yet another goalkeeping casualty on Monday, leaving 16-year old Max Childs to become the sixth shot-stopper to be named in an Argyle squad this season.
“He wasn’t 100% fit,” said Derek on Remi. “He’d been in all day getting treatment. He had dead legs to both knees, should I say. Somebody came down on top of him on Saturday and his two knees went together.
“He was badly bruised around the knees, but I’m glad he came through. He came for a few crosses later on in the game that took the pressure right off us.
“We had no choice but to play Remi, because we had an injury to another goalkeeper yesterday. Michael Cooper dislocated his finger in training yesterday. We had Max Childs on the bench.
“He [Cooper] was out with the under-18s with yesterday with Kevin Hodges yesterday afternoon. He dislocated it with a shot. Kevin was a bit distraught when he phoned to tell me. When I got the phone call yesterday, I couldn’t believe it.
“To have four goalkeepers out is ridiculous. I’ve never experienced it as a manager. We’re not allowed to take another one in because you’re only allowed to have one goalkeeper that is fit. We can only have what we had tonight going forward. This is the way we have to go until January.”
In the final moments of the victory, it looked like another Pilgrim would be sidelined, as Yann Songo’o had to be helped to the dressing room after the final whistle. The boss believes, however, that the double-tough Frenchman will absolutely be available for the trip to Portsmouth on Saturday.
“Yann walked in [to the dressing room]. He’s got a knock to the back, and he’s probably going to get an Oscar, actually, for his antics coming into the dressing room,” said Adams, tongue firmly in cheek.
“He’s going to be okay. Time will heal Yann. He’s a strong boy, but he did take a knock to the back and he was feeling his chest a bit.”