2018/19 Season Review:
- 10 reasons why Argyle were relegated
- July (pre-season)
July saw Argyle rack up 11 pre-season friendlies in preparation ahead of their second successive season in League One, looking to build upon a very promising 7th place finish in 2017/18. Season ticket sales had been very healthy, with the supporters hopeful of some more spellbinding performances that had seen Argyle win 12 of their last 14 games at Home Park. Argyle had kept the midfield and attacking core together of the squad who had produced such sublime form for so long. Fans were hoping that some defensive additions would fill the gaps left and they’d be able to sustain their December-March form over a season.
However, enthusiasm did dampen a little in the month of July. The results and performances in those warm-up matches were… mixed to say the least. Whilst the Greens won at a canter against the local opposition, as would be expected, the only match against English league opposition was an embarrassing 5-1 defeat at Yeovil. Two more defeats followed, against Feyenoord and Maastricht, as Argyle once again ventured to the Netherlands for some warm(er) weather training.
The results perhaps suggested that Derek Adams was yet to figure out his best team and system ahead of the season opener at Walsall. 11 signings had been made, with two goalkeeper loanees book-ending the month as Harry Burgoyne came and went again due to an injury, and Matt Macey then arrived.
Regarding the permanent transfers, Freddie Ladapo and Calum Dyson had joined to hopefully give Ryan Taylor some competition up front. In addition, Conor Grant was signed to bolster the midfield options, and a plethora of defenders (Niall Canavan, Peter Grant, Tafari Moore, Joe Riley, Ashley Smith-Brown and Scott Wootton) were brought in to attempt to fill the void left by departees Sonny Bradley, Oscar Threlkeld and Aaron Taylor-Sinclair, as well as Zak Vyner who returned to Bristol City following a successful loan spell.
In the final meaningful pre-season fixture, Argyle lined up with their 4-3-2-1 formation which proved so successful in 2018/19. Derek Adams had used variations of 4-3-3 throughout pre-season and it therefore strongly suggested that he was continuing to look at this being Argyle’s preferred formation in the season proper. Argyle fans went into August, whilst not quite as enthused as they may have been, still very much looking forward to what seemed set to be another positive Derek Adams season…