Strike it Lucky

ARGYLE manager Ryan Lowe has admitted that, as many would probably have guessed, he attempted to lure Nicky Maynard to Home Park in the summer.

The experienced striker, who played alongside the Pilgrims’ manager at Crewe, notched 20 goals in Sky Bet League Two last term, propelling Bury to promotion.

In the summer, Maynard chose to sign for Saturday’s opposition, Mansfield Town, despite holding tentative talks with Lowe about a move to the South West.

“We had discussions, yeah, but he’s got a family,” said Lowe. “It didn’t get to the point where it was a yes or no, it was a conversation. What you have to understand is that I’m good friends with Nicky from my Crewe days, and I spoke to him on a regular basis when he was playing in the Premier League and the Championship.”

Lowe holds no regret about Maynard’s decision to become a Stag, rather than a Pilgrim. As far as the Argyle manager is concerned, he is delighted with his squad, and is comfortable in the knowledge that every one of his players has an innate desire to play for him, and the club.

“I’m not going to force anybody to come anywhere,” said Lowe. “The club sells itself, as I’ve said before, and the players who chose to come here, I was happy with. He chose to go to Mansfield on a free transfer and that was his call, I don’t begrudge that.”

Menawhile, Lowe has provided positive news on his own attacking options, as injuries to striking trio Dom Telford, Byron Moore and Zak Rudden, as well as midfielder Jose Baxter, are not as bad as first feared.

“Jose Baxter has had an injection, Dom [Telford] has had an injection, and Byron [Moore] has had an injection,” said Lowe. “I have to be careful what I say, but they’re hopefully not as long as we first thought.

“Zak Rudden is back with us on Monday. He had a burst in the back of his knee from his operation [on his meniscus, in the close season]; they [Rangers] are going to monitor him but hopefully he’ll be back training on Monday. We’re hoping to have Jose back on Monday, Tuesday latest. Then it’s a race between Dom and Byron, they could be available on Thursday or Friday.”

“Touch wood, we’re lucky on that and we’ve caught them at the right time. It’s going to be a big build-up for them now, because it can’t happen three times. We have to address the situation, and make sure that they come back stronger this time, and they’re not just thrown into the deep end.”

While the news from the treatment tables is positive, it does still leave Lowe with limited options for Saturday’s clash with the Stags. In his opinion, though, there is no cause for significant concern, and he is confident the ability of the forwards available for selection.

“In terms of strikers, you saw young [Klaidi] Lolos come on the pitch and hit the bar [against Cheltenham] – doing a little stepover and getting the shot off, he needs to do that more,” said Lowe. “Joel [Grant] has been fantastic in the last two games, and he can score goals, he knows he needs to score more. Tayls [Ryan Taylor] has already proved it, three goals he’s scored so far, and he needs to up the ante in terms of his goals.

“Coops [George Cooper] can play anywhere, really, and Danny Mayor can play up there as well.”