With just 5 games remaining for Plymouth Argyle in League 1, there is still much work to do to guarantee safety. A disappointing result at home to Charlton Athletic last weekend after a dominant first half saw The Addicks go back to London with 3 points which will see them comfortably into the playoffs. Argyle remain very much in the survival race with a fragile 4 point gap between them and 21st place. I remain confident we will remain safe, but in a league this tight we cannot afford to take our foot off the pedal until it is mathematically concluded.
In what has been an overall disappointing season for The Greens there have been positives. A handful of players have shone and will be front runners for the Player of the season award and I’ve shortlisted my 4 top performers this campaign and who I think the favourite will be.
An obvious choice – with 16 goals to his name across 41 appearances. In a team fighting relegation, his first season has been a good one. Many expected Ryan Taylor to be a dead cert in this position but his injuries gave Freddie Ladapo an opportunity which he grabbed with both hands. His goals don’t tell the full story though – his conversion rate of 24% is very poor given the amount of chances created for the frontman and there could be major improvements made off the ball. He rarely dominates a defender given his size and he could learn to play a bit more ‘clever’. He has given away 72 fouls whilst winning a meagre 33 for his team. Those stats should be reversed for a target man. Nevertheless, there are signs of a very good striker in Ladapo and 16 goals is something which we should commend.
Fan favourite Graham Carey may not have had a season like 2017/2018 but he has contributed massively to the team this year. His work rate has been exceptional and he remains a danger in the final third. He still gives teams the fear factor and has shown how deadly he can be with his left foot. 5 goals in 39 appearances may be disappointing by his standards and he has shown signs of frustration throughout the campaign which has been evident in his play, racking up 9 yellow cards. Still, he remains a creative threat and has had 85 shots at goal, 41 of which have been on target whilst winning 74 free kicks for his team. Even without his goals, a valuable asset which the Green Army are proud of.
An ‘unsung hero’ in the middle of the park, David Fox is a pivotal cog in the Argyle machine. He keeps things neat and tidy, plays simple passes and makes space for the more creative players to operate. His stats won’t set the world alight – 1 goal in 38 appearances and 5 yellow cards is as exciting as it gets. However, we would definitely be a weaker team without Fox, and at the age of 35 to be such an important member of the team is an excellent achievement which should be recognised.
My final choice is argyles No.11. He’s had a fantastic season contributing 12 goals across 36 appearances, many of which have been at crucial times. He has fast become a favourite of the Home Park faithful, showcasing flair and trickery on the pitch operating behind the front man. His attitude has been excellent: whilst many thought he should be starting regularly, Derek Adams used him sparingly in the first part of the season, until the Portuguese-man came into his own before Christmas. A fantastic season for Ruben – at the age of 23, he has plenty to offer at Plymouth Argyle.
It’s hard to pick just one outstanding player, especially in a season that hasn’t gone the way we all wanted. And although it’s not quite a case of ‘the best of a bad bunch’, the negatives have doubtless outweighed the positives this campaign, with Ladapo and Lamieras being the most eye-catching performers. With no defenders seemingly in the conversation, a mention must be made to Ashley Smith Brown who has developed well over the last 10 months, playing at both left and right back.. If he continues to progress we could have an extremely big talent, and he would have be my first choice for Young Player of the Year.
The survival fight continues this weekend as we travel to Doncaster who are sitting in 6th and they’ll be looking to cement their playoff place away from Peterborough, in 7th. A win for Argyle would put them within touching distance of safety going into the busy Easter Weekend, even a point would be an excellent result.