Doubts and Possibilities

ARGYLE are nursing a few knocks as we head into the New Year’s Day meeting with Oxford United in Sky Bet League One at Home Park.

Joe Riley is a major doubt after suffering a bang to his knee in the draw at Burton Albion on Saturday. Ash Smith-Brown was given the nod over Tafari Moore to replace Riley, mainly because of his recent match fitness and ability to play on either flank of the full-back positions.

Niall Canavan, on the other hand, came through the Burton game unscathed after returning from a recent ankle problem.

“He [Riley] took a knock to his knee, the other knee from what he had a problem,” said Argyle manager Derek Adams. “He is a doubt for the Oxford game, still a possibility, but a doubt.

“Ash Smith-Brown has played in recent weeks and was up to game-time. You can’t tell if he’s left-footed or right-footed, very capable with both and up with game-time.

“It was a game being played in a quick manner and wasn’t going to allow someone to come in and feel their way into it. Ash has been a regular up until Saturday.

“He [Canavan] trained on Thursday and Friday, and he gave us a bit of balance as a left-sided centre-half. Niall has only missed ten days training with a rolled ankle.”

Graham Carey was another taken off at Burton but this was purely a tactical switch to combat the forward raids of home full-back Ben Fox.

Those definitely out of the Oxford clash include Conor Grant and Jamie Ness, with Joel Grant also struggling to regain full fitness in time.

“We took him [Carey] off because we were concerned about the Burton full-back getting forward and putting crosses in,” said Derek. “We put Luke Jephcott on, who can do that job going backwards and could also maybe run-off the right-back.

“Joel is a doubt as well. He came off against Wimbledon; he kicked the ball up the line and felt a pulled muscle. Conor [Grant] will start training next week and Jamie Ness the following week.”  

Sign up for Argyle Alerts

Please note the Argyle Ticket Office will be open from the slightly later time of 10am on New Year's Day.