With Plymouth Argyle set to face Salford City, we spoke to Football Manc Cave about the fixture, as well as Salford’s ambitions for the season and future. Football Manc Cave cover clubs across the Manchester region, and they can also be found on Facebook and Twitter. Answers here were provided by Leanne Smith.
First of all, how has Salford’s rise through the ranks impacted upon the community?
Salford fans are extremely proud of their team. They are loud, great supporters of the game and like a family. I got the chance to go and see the Ammies in their pre-season campaign at the Peninsula Stadium and I am not a Salford fan. However, the fans, staff and the ground itself make you feel a part of the club.
The club’s promotions and rise as a team has obviously given fans something to shout about but they haven’t lost themselves in the process. The supporters of the club are like one big family and community in themselves and going to their home games gave me an insight into that.
Salford are playing League Two football for the first time after winning last season’s National League play-off final. With momentum with them, do you think another promotion could be on the cards?
Yes. Just not this season. The Ammies have had to cope with being promoted to league football and they have done that pretty well. The standards they are showing will see them stay in League Two without too many problems. My prediction is that they will have a mid-table finish this season and then look for promotion after that.
In preparation to compete in this new league, they had to sign new players. It will take longer than one season for the squad to properly gel together and understand one another’s style of play. Once they have done that, the promotion will be imminent.
Of course, Salford certainly aren’t a conventional lower league side. With many Manchester United legends in the boardroom, how do you see the long-term outlook for the football club this season?
Salford has had a lot of stick over the fact that their owners are the likes of the Nevilles and David Beckham. Some might say it’s jealousy, others just think that money is ruining football and they certainly have a lot of it. At the end of the day, the fans can’t choose their owners but it’s them who seem to get a lot of abuse about the situation.
There’s been a lot of controversy about the fact that League Two football never gets put on Sky although since Salford ended up in the league, they’ve had their games televised. Other clubs are accusing Sky of only picking them because of their owners. Again, this isn’t the fans’ fault, they just want to support their team.
In years to come, Salford will have a bigger and better stadium. They do have money, that’s no secret and they’ve already got cameras in their stadium, as they aim to rise even further through the English football ranks, guarantee they’ll get better signings and then money will be invested in their looks and the stadium. It may take years for them to get to the top flights of football but they will do it eventually.
What do you make of Kyle Letheren and Oscar Threlkeld, the ex-Argyle players who signed for Salford this summer?
Personally, I rate both players. I got to see Kyle Letheren in pre-season and he produced some great saves. I’m sure he will get his chance, however, Chris Neal, Salford’s first choice is doing a brilliant job at the minute. Oscar Threlkeld is a player that I predicted would be one to watch for the Ammies this season. I saw him in pre-season and he’s certainly got the pace, the passion and fits in perfectly. He just needs to gel with his new teammates a little more but that will come in time.
Are there any other new signings at Salford people should look out for?
Yes. Ritchie Towell. He’s brilliant and will go for every ball possible. He will try to win every free-kick too and mainly in dangerous places. Towell will work the defence of the opposition throughout the season as he charges forward with the intent to score. I saw him do it in pre-season and no doubt I’ll see him again. He is impressive.
What sort of tactical style do you expect Salford to set up with on Tuesday?
Graham Alexander has already said that he just wants his players to give it their all on Tuesday. In terms of style of play, one thing Salford will try to do is make breaks down the wings, taking on defence and creating crosses from it, in hope to get a connection at the other end.
A lot of their goals have come from crosses into the box and either a head getting on the ball or a cheeky connection ending up in the back of the net. Ritchie Towell is dangerous in the middle as he will try to take on players. Expect a competitive game.
Are there any weak links in the side that Argyle could perhaps take advantage of?
Every player can have bad days so I’m not going to pick out anyone in particular, however, a lot of Salford players that I have seen do aim for goal instead of passing at times. There’s a lot of ‘greed’ at times in terms of not passing in goal scoring opportunities, trying to take on too many players and just wanting to have goals to their names. This is something that Plymouth can take advantage of as passes and dribbling can be intercepted, the greed of some players can be taken care of and Plymouth can aim to take three points from the game.
What first comes to mind when you think of Plymouth Argyle?
To be honest, as a Bolton fan who writes about Bolton and Bury often, the first thing that comes to mind is Ryan Lowe. He went to Argyle with the respect of a lot of players who followed him. I want him to do well and be successful with his new club. He deserves it.
Do you have any predictions for league two in general this year?
I predict that Oldham will have a hard time if they can’t get on top of their game. I think they’ll have a relegation battle on their hands. I predict that Plymouth will get promoted back into league one and Ryan Lowe will do wonders for the club. Salford will remain in the league next season and then be contenders for promotion in seasons to come.
And finally, what do you predict for the game itself?
Plymouth 2-0 Salford.