Steven Schumacher

Schumacher's Forest Green Verdict

Sync Fixtures

Argyle showed a clinical edge to beat Forest Green Rovers 5-1 on Saturday, as the sides met behind closed doors at the Pilgrims’ Harper’s Park training ground.

Ryan Hardie scored twice in quick succession to put Argyle into a two-goal lead, before Matty Stevens pulled one back for Forest Green. Bali Mumba, who returned to Home Park this week, made it three before half-time, with Callum Wright and Morgan Whittaker adding fine strikes after the interval.

Manager Steven Schumacher was pleased that his side were so efficient in front of goal, against a team relegated from Sky Bet League One last season, especially with the Pilgrims having drawn 1-1 at Torquay United in midweek.

“I thought we played really well,” Schumacher said. “I thought we passed the ball really well. We caused Forest Green a few problems and were clinical with the chances that we got and showed some real quality in the final third. That was really pleasing.

“It’s stuff that we've been trying to work on. We showed the lads a presentation on Friday morning about the previous three games that we played with this system; things that we're doing really well and then not finishing chances off, like we did at Torquay.

“We created some really good opportunities at Torquay and just didn't put the ball away because we didn't pick the right pass out. Today, we managed to do that. We showed a little bit more quality in the final third.

“The way [Forest Green] tried to play today was different to how they played at the back end of last season. They tried to pass the ball a lot, played through the lines and caused us a few problems with their shape.

“It was interesting to see and to try and figure out. The difference between the sides was just how clinical we were in the top end of the pitch. The quality that we've got in our squad is probably higher at the moment.

“I don't think we blew them off the park. We were just clinical with the chances.”

Hardie’s two goals take his pre-season tally to four, giving Argyle’s top scorer of the last two seasons some momentum going into the new campaign. Ben Waine has also been among the goals in pre-season, and it is pleasing to Schumacher that his two central strikers are hitting form at the right time.

“Ryan's looked really sharp throughout the pre-season,” said Schumacher. “He's come back really fit. He looks hungry to score goals. He's always desperate to score goals. He took his chances well.

“I think Ben Waine's been playing really well, as well. I thought he was really good on Tuesday night and then looked sharp this afternoon. He didn't manage to get a goal, but he isn't easy for anyone to play against. I’m really pleased with the number nines.

“I think we need to try and strengthen in that area; try to bring in another one in if we can.”

Argyle’s final pre-season encounter is on Saturday, 29 July, away to Swindon Town. A seven-day gap between the Forest Green game and the trip to the County Ground means that Schumacher will have time to focus on getting final preparations into his squad before the season kicks off on Saturday, 5 August, at home to Huddersfield Town.

“We’re going to spend a bit of time on the training grounds,” said Schumacher. “There's one or two new players in there, but we still need to get a few of the details right. That gives us an opportunity to do that, having a full training week rather than having a game.

“It’s actually probably worked out better. We'll probably make it a similar week to what we'll have the week after, when we prepare for Huddersfield. It'll be good practice for that and I'm looking forward to it because I think the lads are enjoying what they're doing.

“The pre-season’s gone really well so far, hopefully we can have a good week next week and then finish it off.”

Training wear