Steven Schumacher on the sidelines

Schumacher on Robins Friendly

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Day by day, game by game, Steven Schumacher is getting more and more pleased with his squad’s preparations for the new season.

Following Argyle’s 1-0 defeat at home to Bristol City in the latest friendly, in which Nahki Wells’ late goal gave the visitors the numerical edge, the Pilgrims’ boss’ internal satisfaction meter was seemingly around the 75% mark.

For that amount of the game, according to Schumacher, his League One side more than matched their Sky Bet Championship opposition, only falling short perhaps because an ability to finish one of many decent chances.

After the test of playing against possession-obsessed Swansea City on Tuesday, this was a far more open game, and Schumacher declared the whole game as a step in the right direction.

“I thought it went quite well,” Schumacher told Argyle TV. “For at least three-quarters of the game we played really well and caused Bristol City loads of problems. We created chances and arguably were the better team for 75 minutes.

“Unfortunately, we got punished for a mistake that we made by a top-quality Championship striker. Overall, loads of positives to take from it.

“I thought we controlled the turnovers better today, so when we won the ball back we weren’t as careless as we were on Tuesday. We created more chances and had a lovely little turnover on the edge of our box that Adam Randell set Finn Azaz off, that was probably our best chance, a 3-v-2 with Mickel Miller.

“We looked a little bit sharper than them going forward, especially in the first half, and created some really good opportunities. We just didn’t have that ruthless edge that we would like, to make one of those chances count.”

In a game played at a good tempo, in searing heat, more minutes were put into the legs of the squad, following three previous games and a trip to sunny Marbella.

Included in the squad against Bristol City were Panutche Camara and Brendan Galloway, who played around 30 and 15 minutes respectively, as they recover from injuries sustained last season.

Schumacher said: “Panutche Camara got his first 30 minutes, which is very good. Brendan Galloway coming back is a massive positive.

“We got an hour into Finn Azaz, and Danny played 30 minutes, so they’ve both played 90 minutes this week. The wing-backs played 45 minutes each because we didn’t want to give them too much work because they played an hour on Tuesday.

“That’s what pre-season is about. It’s about giving your squad minutes, getting the rustiness out, and looking at some things you want to work on, which I’m really pleased with how it is going. We’ll need to sharpen up in the next two weeks before we get going for real.

“Everyone can see, the squad is strong. We’ve got two lads to come back from injury who make us more competitive. Hopefully we’ll bring in one, maybe two more signings before the kick-off.”

Said kick-off, the first game of the season, comes against Barnsley at Home Park on Saturday, 30 July. Before that, Argyle face a few more friendly tests, against Torquay United on Tuesday evening at Plainmoor, then next Saturday against Yeovil Town at Huish Park.

Schumacher is not a man to get ahead of himself, but even he could not help but cast a thought towards a packed Home Park when the season gets going for real.

“I’m really pleased with how the pre-season has gone,” he said. “We’ve played two Championship teams here, and more than matched both of them. That’s a good sign. Now we’ve got to go into next week against Torquay and Yeovil and show that we are better than them, move the ball really quickly and hopefully be more ruthless.

“I can’t wait for it to come back for real, to get the atmosphere going, get the butterflies in your stomach and get the adrenaline going. Pre-season is what it is, but when all the fans are back against Barnsley, it’s going to be something special.”

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