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Fans Return as Blues Visit Plymouth
Friday, 4th Dec 2020 14:12

Town will be watched by fans for the first time since March when they visit Plymouth Argyle on Saturday afternoon looking to return to winning ways.

The Blues’ last match in front of supporters was the 1-0 home loss to Coventry on March 7th, a gap of 272 days.

While Town fans won’t be present at Home Park, 1,808 Pilgrims season ticket holders will be there with 2,000 Town supporters at Portman Road for the Portsmouth match next Saturday.

“I think the game in general needs it,” manager Paul Lambert said when asked about the return of fans. “I think the game needs the supporters. It’s really tough, as every game goes by I think it’s really tough.

“I’m looking forward to it, especially next Saturday because that’s when we can get our own fans in. I think that’s important to us because it’s not the same, you’re not playing the same game without them.”

While the Blues will be looking to get back to winning ways after three winless and goalless games, home defeats to Hull City and Charlton, 3-0 and 2-0 respectively, having been followed by Tuesday’s 0-0 draw at Oxford, Plymouth will be aiming to bounce back after a 4-0 home defeat to Rochdale in midweek

That loss was their first at home in the league this season, but was the third of three successive league defeats which stretched their winless league run to four. In all competitions, they have won just one of their last five.

“I think any loss you have is tough, whether that’s 4-0 or 1-0, it’s hard,” Lambert reflected. “Football is a hard game.

“But we go down there with the guys we’ve got and we go and play our normal way. We don’t change, we keep doing exactly the same and hopefully get the result.

“We have to work hard and do all the basics right. And if we do that, then we’ve got a chance.”

While Plymouth, whose recent run has seen them drop to 15th, are the seventh top scorers in the division with 20 goals, one more than the Blues, only two sides have conceded more than their goals-against total of 25.

In addition to the 4-0 loss to Dale earlier in the week, they were hammered 5-1 by Fleetwood a fortnight ago.

Lambert says Argyle manager Ryan Lowe likes his side to play on the front foot but that approach can have an impact at the other end of the field.

“Yes, and they’ve probably been a bit exposed, but that’s the risk you take,” he said. “You go for it and you leave yourself a bit exposed and you get hit on the counter. It’s a tough game, as I’ve said before, we’ll go and try and win.”

Conversely, Town kept their first clean sheet in six games in all competitions at Oxford but while managing only one shot on target, which came in the final scheduled minute.

Asked what can be done to increase the goal threat, Lambert said: “We just have to take more of a risk, just risk. Play with risk, don’t worry about the mistakes or anything like that.

"It’s just the risk factor that we’ve got to take when we have that opportunity because we’re getting into really good areas.

“There’s got to be an end product to it and that’s the thing we’re working on. And once that starts to click [we should be OK on that front].

“Once we get everybody back we’ll be a totally different animal. But at the top end of the pitch we need to take more of a risk.”

He added: “If you look at it, we've lost so many players up there. The wide lads Freddie [Sears] and Gwion [Edwards] are still not back either so we've lost that side of our game as well. But we have to try and find a way to hurt teams at the top end.”

Lambert’s options are somewhat limited at present given the still lengthy injury list, although a couple of senior players were on the bench on Tuesday and could come into the XI.

David Cornell will continue in goal having made a couple of important stops in the first half against Oxford , while skipper Luke Chambers and Stephen Ward will almost certainly again be the full-backs.

Toto Nsiala is back in training after his hamstring injury but Lambert will probably stick with Luke Woolfenden and Mark McGuinness as his centre-halves.

In midfield, Brett McGavin looks set to return in the deeper midfield role with Andre Dozzell missing as he serves a one-match ban having amassed five bookings.

Jon Nolan is likely to keep his place ahead of him with Alan Judge perhaps returning for Jack Lankester.

Aaron Drinan could again start in the central striking role, although Kayden Jackson and Oli Hawkins will both be hoping to get the nod, with Keanan Bennetts, who has started the last two games on the left, a doubt with a hamstring problem.

If the on-loan Borussia Mönchengladbach man misses out, then with Gwion Edwards and Freddie Sears still sidelined, also due to hamstring problems, Armando Dobra and Jack Lankester could start in the wide positions.

Plymouth manager Lowe is looking for a reaction from his side following Tuesday’s result and knows that Town will similarly will be out to put past results behind them.

“A tough test, Over the last three games, they’ll have wanted to do a lot better, they’ve drawn one and lost two before that,” he told the Argyle official website.

“So they’ll be wanting to put things right as well. We know it’s going to be a tough test as most teams in this league are, but it’s one we’re excited about.

“I’ve got a lot of respect for Paul Lambert. We spent some time with him, me and Schuey [assistant manager Steven Schumacher] when we first got the job at Bury and we went in to Stoke when he was the manager there in the Premier League and spent a day with him and his assistant and his coaches, which was very good. A great insight and a great guy.

“Expectations are massive for Ipswich, as everyone knows. He’s obviously got to what’s right by him and the football club to get them back out of the league.

“We know they’re going to come here, they’re going to be a real test for us. They’ve got some real quality players but it’s one we’re relishing.”

Lowe is looking forward to fans returning to Home Park for the first time since the Pilgrims beat Macclesfield 3-0 on March 7th, even if they will number only 1,800 as Argyle stage a test event as they prepare to welcome more supporters back for future games.

“We will use that as motivation, as an extra lift for our lads,” he added. “We would have liked to have many more but 1,808 is better than none. I’m really looking forward to it.

“I think if the ground was to open full capacity I would guarantee we would probably have 18,000 in this building.

“I don’t think they will stay away. I think they are champing at the bit. I have read a lot over the past six to eight months about mental health and well being of people who want to go to football. It’s their buzz on a Saturday afternoon.”

Town have had the edge over Argyle over the years, winning 19 games (18 in the league), losing 11 (11) and drawing 15 (15).

At home in League One this season the Pilgrims have won five, drawn two and lost just Tuesday’s game to Dale.

Saturday’s match is Paul Lambert’s 100th game in charge of Town, his record in the previous 99 reading, won 31, drawn 25 and lost 43.

The teams last met in March 2010 when Roy Keane’s Town fell to their first home defeat since the previous September as Plymouth, managed by Blues legend Paul Mariner, left Portman Road with a 2-0 victory.

Bradley Wright-Phillips and Joe Mason seized on dreadful defensive errors in each half to claim all three points for the visitors.

In October of the previous year, at the height of Town’s winless streak at the start of Keane’s full season in charge, the sides drew 1-1 at Home Park.

The Pilgrims went in front through Carl Fletcher in the 22nd minute, before the Blues hit back through Jon Stead on 68, before Plymouth’s loanee defender Darcy Blake was sent off for a two-footed tackle late on.

The Plymouth squad includes Frank Nouble, who was with Town between January 2013 and January 2015, scoring five goals in 26 starts and 34 sub appearances. Nouble moved to Home Park in the summer and has scored twice this season.

Plymouth winger Danny Mayor joined the Devon club from Bury in July 2019 having held talks at Portman Road with regard to a move to the Blues.

Saturday’s referee is Ollie Yates from Staffordshire, who has shown 46 yellow cards and no red in 13 games so far this season.

Yates's only previous Town game was the 0-0 home draw with Doncaster Rovers in September 2019 in which he booked Flynn Downes and five of the visitors.

Squad from: Holy, Cornell, Chambers (c), Donacien, Ward, Kenlock, McGuinness, Woolfenden, Nsiala, McGavin, Nolan, Gibbs, Judge, Lankester, Bennetts, Dobra, Hawkins, Jackson, Drinan.

Photo: Matchday Images

Please report offensive, libellous or inappropriate posts by using the links provided.

herobobby added 15:02 - Dec 4
Good luck tomorrow lambert !!!!
Your gonna need it next week if you don’t get a good result tomorrow
2000 fans can make a lot of noise !

Dolphinblue added 16:35 - Dec 4
COYB! Big win needed....chin up boys you can do it!

IpswichT62OldBoy added 17:19 - Dec 4
Lucky, 2,000. Will counselling be available?

TimmyH added 17:22 - Dec 4
No 'bounce' back in the title?

DifferentGravy added 17:32 - Dec 4
“But we go down there with the guys we’ve got and we go and play our normal way. We don’t change, we keep doing exactly the same and hopefully get the result"

Nuff said

norfolkbluey added 17:40 - Dec 4
He's not going to change his tactics! I bet Plymouth will and knowing how PL works they will have the edge! That is a good team we are taking down there so, we should be positive. PL has to win this one to give us all a lift. For this supporter I am apprehensive based on PL's record! COYB

Vanisleblue2 added 18:24 - Dec 4
Here is a prediction.
Two Town players will be injured during the game. One will be sent off. We will play "incredible football" with a bunch of kids.
An ex-player...Nouble? will score the winning goal and he will probably be offside or a dubious penalty.
Any takers?

Skip73 added 19:36 - Dec 4
Plymouth are 11th, so we won't win this one. A 2-0 defeat with our shot on target coming in the 88th minute.

Bluearmy_81 added 20:15 - Dec 4
Blue action are backing a boycott now twtd. Why haven't you featured this?

Nobbysnuts added 20:26 - Dec 4
Lambert out...

BangaloreBlues added 20:29 - Dec 4
Plymouth have lost three in a row and were beaten 0-4 at home last time out.
I'm sorry but this is a dead cert home win and we're going to get hammered tomorrow.
Not being negative, I just can't see any other result.

alfromcol added 20:58 - Dec 4
Lots of positives on here again.

Paramedic added 20:58 - Dec 4
Of course I will be delighted with a win however it comes tomorrow. After what’s been put in front of me over the last few weeks I can’t see that happening. So over to you Lambo!

rabbit added 07:51 - Dec 5
Bluearmy_81 why haven't you published on here your apology for the mis-information you posted about the ITFC financial situation improving after administration before ME took over??

dirtydingusmagee added 08:42 - Dec 5
herobobby , i may be wrong but i dont 2000 thousand fans will be making so much noise with covid rules.

johnwarksshorts added 08:46 - Dec 5
For all the fans making the long journey down to Devon, have a great trip and cheer the lads on for me. Hope the long journey is worth it and we bring 3points back to Suffolk🤞.

dirtydingusmagee added 08:58 - Dec 5
think we will be same as usual, hard pressed to get a couple of shots on target, have you seen the queues outside Specsavers since covid. Another hurdle is the fact that Plymouth are in top 23. But who knows,. coyb

BangaloreBlues added 10:50 - Dec 5
@ Johnwarksshorts -
No away fans are allowed to go to any games, it's home fans only.

johnwarksshorts added 13:53 - Dec 5
BangaloreBlues Sorry, senior moment, thought I was back in the good old days.

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