After a few years of struggle, can Plymouth make a return to League 1 in 2013/14
How will the Pilgrims fair in 2013/14 and can John Sheridan add another promotion to his CV? To find out when we'll be facing the Devon side, visit the official website on June 19th.
After former Blues boss Paul Sturrock was appointed in 2000, Plymouth began their rise. A year after he took over, the Scot took Argyle to Division 2 (League 1), amassing 102 points – the second highest points total in league history. Things got even better for the Greens in 2003/04 when the club won promotion to the Championship, finishing Champions in Division 2. Sturrock left just before the end of that season with Bobby Williamson taking charge. The club remained in the Championship for five seasons, suffering relegation to League 1 in 2010 and then to League 2 in 2011. This coming season will be their third consecutive campaign in League 2.
Former Leeds United midfielder John Sheridan was appointed as Plymouth boss in January 2013, taking over from Carl Fletcher. Prior to taking the job at Home Park, the 48-year-old had a three-year spell at Chesterfield. His time at the Spireites was relatively successful, winning League 2 in 2010/11 and then being victorious at Wembley in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Final a year later. Before moving to Chesterfield, and after a couple of spells as caretaker manager, he was handed the Oldham Athletic job on a full time basis in 2006. As a player, Sheridan started his career at local club Manchester City, before moving to Leeds in 1982. After spending seven years at Elland Road, he moved on to Nottingham Forest, Sheffield Wednesday, Birmingham City, Bolton Wanderers and Doncaster Rovers, finally ending a 23-year playing career at Oldham in 2004.
Both Jake Cole and Rene Gilmartin will be battling it out to be Argyle’s number one in 2013/14. Cole has previously spent time at QPR, Oxford United and Barnet, whilst 26-year-old Gilmartin signed from Watford last summer. French defender Maxime Blanchard will be looking to partner the much travelled Guy Branston in the centre of defence, with Durrell Berry at right back. Midfield will see club captain, 22-year-old Conor Hourihane in the central midfield role alongside the experienced Argyle legend, Paul Wotton. In the striking department, former Everton man, Nick Chadwick will hope to prove his worth. The 30-year-old has been put on the transfer list at Home Park.
New signing Lewis Alessandra is another with a lot to prove. The 24-year-old, who recently joined on a free transfer from Morecambe, only scored four times in all competitions for the Shrimps last season and will hope to improve on that tally this time around. It is the second time that Alessandra has linked up with John Sheridan, the duo’s paths first meeting at Oldham Athletic, where Alessandra came through the youth system.
Overall, season 2012/13 was a season of struggle for Argyle. After a poor start, the club parted company with their manager, Carl Fletcher, after a 2-1 defeat against Bristol Rovers on New Year’s Day. John Sheridan took over in from here on in and managed to guide Argyle away from the relegation zone with five wins in the last nine games.
Lewis Alessandra has been drafted in on a free transfer along with goalkeeper Luke McCormick. Ben Purrington has also stepped up from the youth team to earn a professional contract with the club. Departing Home Park include the likes of former Crewe Alexandra winger Jamie Lowry, ex-Aldershot Town and Northampton Town defender Anthony Charles and the experienced Warren Feeney. Also leaving are 21-year-old Ollie Chenoweth and striker, Jared Sims.
BLUES vs. PLYMOUTH ARGYLE:
Home: Blues 0-2 Plymouth Argyle
Two-second half goals downed Blues in late March. After Bilel Mohsni brought down Joe Bryan in the box, Paul Wotton scored from the penalty spot in the 57th minute. With 15 minutes remaining, John Sheridan’s side doubled their lead when Reuben Reid, on loan from Yeovil Town, scored from close range.
Blues: Bentley, Clohessy, Straker, Cresswell, Reeves, Mohsni, Mkandawire, Hurst, Laird, Eastwood (Corr, 62), Assombalonga, (Tomlin, 63)
Unused: Smith, Spillane, Leonard, Spicer, Njie
Away: Plymouth Argyle 1-1 Blues
An excellent solo run and finish from Britt Assombalonga earned a point for Blues in Devon. The Watford loanee turned his man, raced clear before slotting in the bottom right-hand corner, equalising just minutes after Alex McDonald had put the hosts ahead. Barry Corr was sent off late into the second half for a foul on Darren Purse.
Blues: Bentley, Clohessy, Cresswell, Prosser, Barker, Timlin, Martin (Leonard, 46), Hurst, Spicer (Corr, 68), Assombalonga, Benyon (Eastwood, 64)
Unused: Smith, Straker, Coughlan, Woodyard
PROMOTION ODDS: Plymouth Argyle are 6/1 to win promotion this coming season.