Steven Schumacher

Schumacher's Charlton Preview

Sync Fixtures

Argyle take on Charlton Athletic in the Papa Johns Trophy on Tuesday, but it is a game that manager Steven Schumacher has mixed feelings about.

Schumacher has consistently declared the competition is one that his Argyle side take seriously, and they proved that by winning their group phase, thus earning this home tie. It is the first time Argyle have reached the second round of the competition since it was restructured in 2016.

However, the Pilgrims have a growing injury, with several players ruled out for a while, and others nursing knocks. Thus, Schumacher has accepted that several of his young pros and academy prospects are likely to feature against the Addicks.

Also set to play a part is Mickel Miller. The wing-back, who signed in the summer, was injured on the eve of the season, and it was not until a cameo at Burton Albion on Saturday that he finally made his competitive Argyle bow.

“It’s another game that we are looking forward to,” said Schumacher, “but we are a bit stretched at the moment on numbers, so it’s not come a great time. We have a few knocks from Saturday’s game and some long-term injuries.

“It’s a game we want to play, and progress, but we are also going to be mindful of the team we put out because we are on bare bones.

“When you are a player and you’ve been injured, you’ve got to play sooner or later. We were made up to get Mickel on the pitch on Saturday for ten minutes, and he looked sharp. He’ll play on Tuesday night, which is good. We’ll have to monitor how long we play him for, or whether we put him on the bench. We’ll have that discussion with him.

“The rest of the lads we put out there will be the ones with the energy at the moment to put a performance in. It is an opportunity for the young players who will come in and start, and others who will be involved and get some experience. It will be good for them as well.

“This time, if you don’t play well then you are out of the competition and that’s it until next year. We don’t want that. We want to perform as best we can, try to get through to the next round, where hopefully we will have more fit players by then.”

Charlton got to this stage by finishing as runners-up in a group that was won by Colchester United, with Gillingham and Brighton Under-21s missing out.

Ben Garner has varied his starting 11 in this competition, with a hard-to-predict variation in terms of his inclusion of senior pros and younger players.

It is possible that Charlton’s game on Saturday against Stockport County in the Emirates FA Cup will play a part in Garner’s thinking. Argyle, meanwhile, will have a weekend off, since they were eliminated from the competition by Grimsby Town. Whilst that would not have been Schumacher’s first choice of situation, he will be looking to use the mini-break to recharge before Sky Bet League One action resumes against Port Vale on Friday, 2 December.

“[Charlton] have an FA Cup game with Stockport so I’ll be surprised if Ben doesn’t make changes,” said Schumacher. “I’ve looked at their team, and the team the analysts have put in front of me, with all the changes, is still very strong. Charlton are a good club in this division and have a good squad, a big squad. Whoever they put on the pitch will have good quality.

“We didn’t want to go out of the FA Cup – far from it – but it served up a free weekend where we can reset, go away and recharge. Everybody can get some downtime which mentally and physically we need.

“We’ve had three away games on the spin, the travelling has been hard. We’ll play Tuesday night, give it our best, then the players will have a few days to go home, see families and then get back to work ready for Port Vale.”

Half-season Ticket