THE busiest place in Plymouth early this Saturday morning will be Home Park.
Argyle kick off the 2018-19 Sky Bet League One season away at Walsall but, such has been the clamour to see manager Derek Adams’ new-look Pilgrims in serious action for the first time, that approaching 2,000 of the Green Army will head up the M5 for the Banks’s Stadium.
Much of their journey will be spent discussing Derek’s 11 new summer signings, specifically who he might select for the eagerly anticipated opening fixture. Only the injured Harry Burgoyne is unavailable.
Who, too, from last year’s squad that came so close to reaching the play-offs, will be retained? Not Antoni Sarcevic, who is suffering a hangover from his groin problems of last season, but everyone else in a deep and experienced squad is up for selection.
Will Matt Macey will make his debut in goal? Who will play in defence? Eight of the gaffer’s signings are in defensive areas, two at right-back: Gary Miller departed for Carlisle, while Oscar Threlkeld left for Belgium and in came Tafari Moore, Ash Smith-Brown and Joe Riley.
In the centre, Sonny Bradley has also left and in have come Scott Wootton, Niall Canavan and Peter Grant.
Where will the likes of Conor Grant, Freddie Ladapo and Calum Dyson fit into the Green Machine this season?
Clearly, not all of the new boys will feature in Saturday’s side, but whoever does is primed and equipped, reported Derek on the eve of the season.
“I'm looking forward to it,” he said. “I think that we're in a good place, team-wise, and we're ready to go.
“The travelling support has always been with us; they've been very vocal. They'll continue to do that this season and the players respond to that. We've seen that from the away performances we've had over the last three years.
“Pre-season is a difficult period; it's giving players game time; it's all about getting back to the grind. It's about travelling all over the place playing games and getting games for the majority of the players.
“You have to get into a situation where you’re going to get what you feel is your strongest 11 for any given game to get us going and that's where we are at now.
“We have 46 games to play in the league, and cup games to play as well, are we're all set to go.”
To go where? While many are suggestion, hoping, expecting better than last season’s excellent seventh-place finish, the gaffer is taking one step at a time.
He said: “This season is about regaining the status of a League One club. We will continue to do try to do that and push forward. We did that last year and finished in a high position and we're looking to do the same.”