Ladies at Portsmouth

ARGYLE Ladies return to league action on Sunday with a difficult visit to fellow Dockyard opponents Portsmouth. It been a testing time for the Pilgrims in terms of travel and they are also on the road for the whole of November, which will make it a remarkable ten league and cup games away and just two at home from 12 matches.

The Greens sit handily in third place in the FA Women’s National League Southern Premier Division, with games in hand over the teams in front of them, so a win at Portsmouth would keep the pressure on the title-chasers. Argyle have been in top form of late and go into the game on the back of seven straight league and cup wins.

Argyle manager Dave Leonard has a virtually full squad to pick from, although he will still be without the services of Greek central defender Panagiota Papaioannou, who is hoping to be fit for the upcoming UEFA Group matches at Montenegro on Wednesday at the Gradski Stadion, Podgorica. Six days later, Greece are at home to the Republic of Ireland in Athens.

Leonard said: “She (Giota) is only 80% fit but we are hoping to get her fit for these matches. We had a full complement of players training this week.

“We are obviously looking forward to the game and looking to get back to our league form. We didn't want a week break but we can't do anything about the fixtures. Getting the girls at it again is our priority. Everyone trained and there are no injury worries, so we are all looking good.”

Portsmouth have only played five league games and are on the back of three high-scoring league and cup wins and will take some stopping. Argyle won the away match last season 3-0 with the home game being drawn 2-2 at Home Park. This match welcomed the return of top striker Natasha Knapman, who came off the bench after a six-month lay-off due to injury to score. Knapman has shown she has lost none of that form as she has already netted 14 goals from 8 league and cup starts.

The experienced Steph Beck returns to the first-team squad after scoring twice for the Development team last week in the 7-3 win over Feniton. Argyle have been in devastating form of late, as their recent form has seen them score 35 goals and concede just five in the last seven games .

Argyle will be taking 16 players to Portsmouth: Becky Kyle, Leah Burridge, Bow Jackson, Jessica Jones, Kayley Lane, Ebony Dover, Becky Dandridge, Steph Beck, Zoe Cunningham, Amber Pollock, Natasha Knapman, Helen Bleazard, Kate Middleton, Mollie Taylor, Faye Ivall, Lydia Huntley.

There is no game for the in-form Development team, who currently lead the FA Women’s South-West League Western Division. Their next match is on Sunday, November 10 when they play local rivals Plympton. Likewise, the under-18 team have to wait a week for their next match, a visit to Southampton.