In what’s been a pretty uneventful week at Home Park, Saturday saw Plymouth Argyle pick up only their second away win of the season away at Rochdale…albeit in bizarre circumstances. Although it was a freak own goal which saw the Greens claim a fortuitous 3 points, it was nice to see lady luck shine on the greens helping them to a big win. Bradford were the only other side in the bottom 6 to record a win on the weekend and Argyle are now up to 21st in the league standings. There’s still a long way to go but it’s a good start.
Putting the 3 points aside the main positives in the game were both home made – the welcome return of Gary Sawyer provided a big boost to the back line with the 33 year old putting in a brilliant display alongside Yann Songo’o, who also played well. The other was of course Luke Jephcott on his full debut at 18 years young, who put in a performance Derek Adams will no doubt be pleased with. He’ll have built a good foundation for himself going forward. The Welsh prospect reminds me of Joe Mason – similar frame and willingness to work for the team. Jephcott will no doubt go on and at the very least reach the standards that Mason did, but hopefully with Plymouth Argyle.
With January less than 2 weeks away, the rumour mill has started and one player who is sure to be linked with a move away from Home Park is Graham Carey. His form last season was a huge contributing factor to our resurgence and he would have put himself on the radars of a lot of clubs thanks to some fantastic goals and performances. He was no doubt Argyles star man going into this campaign but 22 games in, his performances have been falling short of our high expectations. But are we expecting too much? By no means is Carey playing badly. 4 goals and 8 assists is still a decent return half way through a season as he will no doubt reach double figures on the assist front.
At times, I sense he is frustrated and that does reflect in his body language. Speculation of his discontent is popular amongst some sections of fans, which of course is a possibility. That said, I would put it down to the system that Derek Adams has adopted so far this season. There’s less creative freedom for the Carey and the attacking players with more rigidity going forward, seemingly to accommodate Ladapo’s inclusion in the side.
Although 12 goals from the frontman looks good on the surface, Carey’s form is suffering. This is not to mention Ruben Lamieras or Ryan Taylor: neither are yet to have a good run in the side. The formula of Taylor, Lameiras and GC10 was not only a winning one, but a popular one with the Green Army. If we are to get the best from the Irishman, Taylor plays a pivotal role in creating the space in which Carey can work his magic.
At 29 years old he still has an awful lot to offer. His attitude on the field is good, he puts his body in and he has a good work ethic which are all traits you wouldn’t normally associate with a playmaker. There is a certain charm with left footed attackers and Carey is no exception; his delivery from that foot is amongst the best at this level and i have no doubt that he would make the starting line up of any other team in League 1.
Should an offer come in for him in January I feel it would be a huge mistake letting him go, especially for the kind of fees previous Argyle players have gone for in the past. I do believe any player is replaceable but at this moment in time we would easily obtain the quality Carey provides. With a relegation fight ahead of us, he is going to be crucial to our survival in this League. Even if Adams continues with his current tactics, Graham Carey’s sheer quality means he is a huge part of the way we play.
Accrington are the visitors next at Home Park in the final game before Christmas. They will be keen to not be dragged into the dogfight at the bottom end of the table, although their inconsistent form this term will provide another opportunity for Argyle to take 3 more points.