Steven Schumacher

Schumacher's Bristol Rovers Preview

Sync Fixtures

A 250-mile round trip is virtually a neighbourly pop-in by Plymouth Argyle standards, so the jaunt to Bristol Rovers this Saturday is a welcome short trip for Steven Schumacher and his players.

The match, though, will anything but a doddle. Rovers are in good form, 12th in the table and with three consecutive league wins augmented by a Papa Johns Trophy win over Swindon Town in the week, which confirmed Rovers’ advancement in the competition, alongside Argyle.

Schumacher is taking the positives about the journey, which means a more orthodox preparation for the game, but it wary of the blend of experience and quality that The Gas possess.

“It’s the second-shortest journey we have to make this season,” said Schumacher, speaking to Argyle TV. “We’re looking forward to it. Both sets of fans will be relishing the game. It will be two teams who are in form, Bristol Rovers have been going well, so it should add up to a pretty tasty game.

“Our training times can be normal; we can do our normal routine how we prepare for a home game, set off at lunchtime and fingers crossed be at the hotel before 7pm! Apart from that, it’s pretty standard for us. We’ll prepare as we normally do for every game, and we’re looking forward to it.

“It was a good game when we played them in the Papa Johns Trophy. It will be one we are ready for, hopefully.

“They’ve got firepower, some really good attacking players. They were 4-0 up at half-time last week. They’ve got experienced midfield players who have been around the block a little bit in [Paul] Coutts, [Jordan] Rossiter, Sam Finley: good players.

“And defensively they have looked quite solid of late, not conceding too many goals. They are well balanced, I would say. We know how tough the game will be, but if we play the way we can play we will cause them a few problems as well. We’re top of the league, so we should go into it with confidence.”

If Rovers are in good nick, then what to say of Argyle? Nine wins in ten fixtures have sent the Greens to the summit of Sky Bet League One, with the most recent victory coming at Milton Keynes, where Argyle won 4-1.

Some 14 games in, and 11 fixtures won, Argyle have set themselves a standard, with Schumacher is determined to maintain.

His pragmatism and attention to detail shines through on and off the field, and he stressed the need to analyse plus and minus points of the game’s minutiae, but also to stay as level-headed as possible.

“We played well at MK Dons,” he said, “and we will have to be equally as good to get anything from this one. I think there might be goals in the game, hopefully we can come out on top of it.

“The pitch to the players is to stay at the top of the division you need to be consistent. The three games previous to MK Dons we didn’t really pass well that well, but we passed it really well last week, and got into a good rhythm in the game. Our forward players produced some good moments of quality.

“In all games, whether you play really well, or you haven’t performed to standard, it is important that you go over it and debrief. It’s not possible to debrief every single one, when you have a three-game week it is hard to find time, but it is important to show areas where we think we can improve, whether we do that as a group or as individuals.

“It is also important to show what you are doing well. There was a lot of good stuff that happened last week at MK Dons, and I think if we continue to play like that, continue to be as organised without the ball as we were, pass it with as much quality and show the bravery that we did, then we’ll be ok.

“We iron out the problems and reinforce the good stuff. That will help everybody stay on track. We are never as good as people say we are, but we’ll never be as bad as other people think we are. We try to stay level, keep trying to do the right things every day, and that stands you in good stead.”

Training Range