Many thanks to Sam Down from @ArgyleLife1886 for agreeing to answer our questions previewing Saturday’s match at Home Park.
After a disastrous start to the season, Argyle have picked up a few good results of late whilst scoring 9 goals in their past 3 league games. Is there a sense the tide could be turning?
There’s certainly a sense that the tide is turning, yes and not least because Derek Adams has finally seen sense and bought his three best midfielders back into the starting line-up. That combined with some error-prone defenders no longer featuring and Freddie Ladapo finding excellent form up front means we comfortably dispatched Gillingham and Scunthorpe. We’ll certainly provide a much tougher test.
You just missed out on the playoffs last season, finishing in 7th in League 1 after being promoted the season before. Was the initial expectation to make another playoff challenge this season?
We were always over-performing our budget when we were 7th last season but due to the miracles that Adams has worked in previous reasons, we saw no reason why he wouldn’t be able to do so again. I had us down to sneak promotion this season so obviously the start has been a huge disappointment.
There appears to have been a lot of comings and goings in terms of player personnel over the summer. How pleased are you overall with incomings and outgoings?
I think this summer’s transfer business has certainly been the weakest since Derek Adams arrived at the club and that’s partly to blame for our league position. The fullbacks especially, whilst brimming with potential, are inexperienced and too error-prone to succeed at League One level. Oscar Threlkeld is a big miss. There have been bright sparks however: Ladapo is one as well as Matt Macey who is surely one of the finest keepers in the league.
Manager Derek Adams has been a great success since taking over in June 2015, leading the club to a playoff final in his first season, going up automatically the following season and just missing out on the League 1 playoffs last season. What would you say his success has been built on, and what qualities does he bring to the club and playing staff?
Adams’ success more than anything, in my view, has been built on his sheer never-ending persistence. He makes good use or analysis and is a micromanager. He may have to get through four bad ideas to get to the one good idea but over the three full seasons, there have been enough good ideas to fully outweigh the bad. For all his faults, he carries an air of authority and you sense he has the respect of the players.
James Brent has very recently stepped down as club chairman. What is the general opinion of his tenure, and how do you think his departure will affect the club going forward?
The general opinion of Brent’s tenure is positive. Whilst there are concerns the team is a little underfunded, he has certainly left us in a far stronger position than he found us and the grandstand redevelopment will hopefully generate some off the pitch revenue going forward.
Most Sunderland fans will not know much about the Plymouth players. Who do you think we should be watching out for and why?
Graham Carey is the main danger man from us. He’s capable of magic from either behind the striker or on either flank. As mentioned earlier, keep an eye on our new striker Freddie Ladapo who has hit top form. 5 goals in the last 3 games are certainly not to be sniffed at.
What formation do the team normally use, and what’s their usual tactics and style of play?
Argyle have chopped and changed our formation quite a lot this season, but we seem to have finally settled on 4-2-3-1 and transitioned to a more passing style of play compared to the direct tactics we saw earlier in the season.
What advice would you give to Sunderland fans travelling to the match? Any tips that might help give our fans a good day out i.e. local travel advice, pubs, parking, ground facilities, etc?
I’d honestly say to avoid the area around the ground. Plymouth is a bit rammed on a match day. There’s no room to swing a cat in the Britannia. There are some good pubs in the city centre and on Mutley Plain if you arrive early enough (both a 20-25 minute walk from the ground).
Thinking about Sunderland AFC both now and historically, what thoughts come to mind?
Certainly, the large and passionate support is the main thing historically. Recently it seems like seasons of struggle caused by a series of chaotic managers and signings comes more readily to mind. That and it’s one heck of a long trip to look forward to later in the season.
What do you know of the current Sunderland squad and manager Jack Ross?
It’s certainly a very good squad for League One level. I know players like Gooch and Maja are really shining through this season and Ross is playing a more attractive style than Sunderland fans have been used to in a long time. Ross himself seems a very promising young manager and the fact he chose your team over Ipswich is a testament to the backing and ambition of your new owner.
How do you see the game going in general, and a score prediction please?
I think it’ll be a struggle. We are improving but I think you guys will just have too much quality. 0-2.
Please note, there will be a minute’s silence ahead of kick off on Saturday, in memory of those who lost their lives in the tragic accident at Leicester City on Saturday. Supporters are asked to take their seats early in order to observe the silence in the appropriate manner.
Finally, we have been allocated 4,195 tickets for Port Vale away in the FA Cup. Tickets will go on sale on Thursday, November 1 to season card holders with 10 or more Black Cat points. All season card holders will be able to purchase tickets on Friday, November 2, before they go on general sale on Monday, November 5. Tickets are priced at £15 for adults, £10 for over-65s and under-22s while under-18s will pay £5. You can find more information by visiting the club's website. To book travel with ALS click here