Steven Schumacher

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What do they say about the calm before the impending storm?

Steven Schumacher’s Argyle are back in action on Saturday, two weeks after their previous game, at Leeds United, and three weeks on from the last Home Park fixture, a thrilling 3-3 draw against Middlesbrough.

After a refresh over last weekend’s international window, Argyle now start a period of 10 games between now and New Year’s Day. A busy period, for sure, but Schumacher is eager to get started.

“It’s been a while,” he told Argyle TV. “The international breaks come and go, and we try to make the best of them. We’ve had a breather and a reset, and now we go into a huge amount of games over the next few weeks.

“That starts on Saturday, against a really good team. It should be a good one. I’m looking forward to it.”

The game in question is against Sunderland, who sit sixth in the Sky Bet Championship table. Tony Mowbray’s side are in the same position in which they finished last season, ultimately losing in the play-off semi-final against Luton Town.

The Black Cats boast a youthful, vibrant squad sure to keep Argyle on their toes. Schumacher, for his part, is hoping that the Pilgrims’ skills can match those of their north-eastern opponents.

“I think it is going to be a really exciting game,” he said. “Looking at what Sunderland have done over the last couple of seasons, some of their play has been outstanding. They have got a really young squad with loads of energy, pretty similar to Middlesbrough – and pretty similar to what we are about.

“I wouldn’t expect a game too dissimilar [to that one]. It will be two teams going forward, being positive, so we expect chances in the game. Hopefully we create more than them and score more than them, because the most important thing is that we get a result here at Home Park.

“They’ve had a plan; over the last couple of seasons, they have recruited really young players who are talented. Their average age is the youngest in the Championship, which allows them to play with huge amounts of energy. The speed of their games is incredible – but we feel as though we are good at that as well.

“We are good at playing at a good tempo and trying to cause teams problems by attacking them. That’s what we expect from them.

“Tony is one of the most experienced managers in the EFL. He can mix it up and do different things, but you can clearly see the identity of their team and what they are trying to do. They play a similar system to us and they have outstanding individual players. It’s going to be a tough game but it is one we are looking forward to.

“Training has been excellent this week, really focused. We look as though we are ready to go. The injuries have had a bit of time to get back – we’ve got Mustapha [Bundu] back available for the weekend which is really pleasing.

“It’s a big week with three games coming up – the one on Saturday should be a good’un!”

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