Plymouth Argyle come into Saturday’s encounter with South West rivals Bristol Rovers as just one of two League One sides still awaiting their first victory of the season.
Bottom-of-the-table Argyle have shipped 11 goals in their last three games following last weekend’s dismal 3-0 defeat at the hands of high-flying Portsmouth. They will come into the game in the knowledge that 21st placed Rovers have lost all three of their home games to date this season.
Following their defeat at Fratton Park, the Pilgrims players and staff remained in the changing rooms to voice their concerns over what has been another poor start to their League One campaign, a situation they also found themselves in last season. On that occasion similar talks occurred after a 2-1 defeat at Fleetwood after which Argyle sparked a revival, losing only seven of their remaining 34 league games after originally losing nine of their opening 12 matches.
Manager Derek Adams has ruled out making any further additions to his squad to combat their shaky start. The Scot currently has all 24 members of his first team squad fit and available to choose from with any further signings likely to dent the budget for any other arrivals in January. Three free agents were signed during the course of last season with midfielder Toumani Diagouraga an instant hit at Home Park, whilst Paul Paton and Simon Church failed to make much of an impact in their limited chances.
By all accounts, Adams’ team selections have been hard to predict this season with multiple changes being made which perhaps has contributed to their early season poor form. Only goalkeeper Matt Macey, left-back Ashley Smith-Brown and midfielder Conor Grant have started all eight games this season so far. Influential midfielders Graham Carey and Ruben Lameiras are expected to return to the side after impressing after coming on against Portsmouth. The pair proved vital to last season’s flirt with the play-offs and have rarely featured alongside each other so far this campaign. The duo will be expected to take the game to Rovers. Fellow midfielder David Fox could also return. Playing as something of a deep-laying playmaker, the veteran looks likely to replace Yann Songo’o in the defensive midfield role to provide an outlet at the back. In the first-half against Portsmouth his absence was clearly visible as Argyle often had to rely on route one football, pumping the ball up to Freddie Ladapo with the ball coming back at them almost immediately.
Adams will also be back in the dugout for Saturday’s encounter at the Memorial Stadium having served his two-match suspension picked up after an altercation with Southend manager Chris Powell in a 1-1 draw earlier in August. Due to police precautions, the game will also kick-off at the slightly earlier time of 1:30pm.
Predicted Line-Up: (4-3-3)
Moore, Edwards, Sawyer, Smith-Brown
Ness, Fox, Grant
Carey, Ladapo, Lameiras.
Score Prediction: 1-1.