Dominic Telford: Score 20 goals
Much of Bury’s success last season came as a result of having strikers who could very regularly find the back of the net. With players like Danny Mayor and Jay O’Shea simultaneously playing the creative role, the side was always going to create chances.
Putting those chances away was, of course, a key component for the side becoming the top scorers in League Two last season. Nicky Maynard was a key component of that strikeforce. He played the lion’s share of games up front after signing for the Shakers last October, breaching the 20-goal mark in the process. Dominic Telford, meanwhile, played much more of a bit-part role. Granted, he was still able to demonstrate his quality, but he didn’t enjoy success to quite the same level as Maynard.
This year, Argyle will need somebody to play the Maynard role, and Telford looks to be the prime candidate. Whilst Byron Moore, Ryan Taylor and Klaidi Lolos amongst others can all expect game time up front, Telford looks likely to play the majority of games. Hitting 20 goals has to be his primary target. If he manages it, at his age, his market value will skyrocket considerably.
Jose Baxter – 5 goals by January
Of all the signings Argyle have made during this summer transfer window, Jose Baxter is perhaps the most interesting. He is clearly a talented player, something he has proved across his career at Everton, Oldham and particularly Sheffield United. However, the player lost his way.
Drugs and depression have hit him hard, and he now finds himself on a short-term contract at Home Park looking to reignite his career. Baxter has the chance this season to do just that. He clearly has a manager who believes in him – Ryan Lowe announced him as a new signing to the Green Army during an open training session after all. And, with Lowe set to adopt a gung-ho approach, Baxter will have plentiful opportunity to express himself in an attacking sense.
Baxter’s goal this season will surely be to prove his worth. If he can get fit quickly and hit the ground running, he’ll have every chance of tapping into his undoubted potential, even at the age of 27. The best way of doing that will be to hit the ground running and force his way into the team, and if he can get at least five goals by January, he’ll be well on the way to an extended contract.
Danny Mayor – Win the League Two player of the year award
Whilst Baxter may be the most interesting signing of the transfer window, Mayor is by far the most significant.
Whenever he has played at League Two level, he has stood out. In truth, Mayor is a League One player at the very least. Argyle securing his signature was a major coup, and a clear indication of the pulling power Ryan Lowe can have.
Mayor’s goal this season will simply be to stand out to the same extent again. He will probably be Argyle’s most important player, and will carry many of the team’s hopes on his back. Having won the League Two player of the year award in 2015, and made the final three last year, there is no reason why he should not aim to win it again. Given the utterly predictably way it is awarded, then If Mayor wins, it’ll likely mean that Plymouth Argyle have been promoted.
Antoni Sarcevic – Win his place in the team
Antoni Sarcevic finds himself in a difficult position. Since signing for Argyle in the 2017 winter transfer window, he has generally been a mainstay in the side. This has been across a variety of positions, and in some he has excelled. In others? Not so much.
Last season, Sarcevic was generally deployed as an attacking midfielder by Derek Adams, a position far less suited to his skills set than the central midfield position he made his own back in 2017/18. He faces a similar problem this season. Sarcevic, ultimately, does not currently appear to have the technical ability to be successful in the attacking midfield positions of Ryan Lowe’s 3-1-4-2.
If Lowe insists on playing him there, it would be to the detriment of both the team and the player unless he can achieve some significant improvements during the season. Finding a position, probably the right wing-back role, that he can be successful in will be key for Sarcevic during this campaign. If he does, a big season may await. If not, he may well find himself marginalised.
Simon Hallett – Complete the grandstand renovation
It’s now been nearly a year since Simon Hallett replaced James Brent as the majority shareholder and Chairman at Plymouth Argyle. It’s fair to say he has been a breath of fresh air not only since then, but ever since he first invested in the club back in early 2016.
Fan engagement has been improved, the club accounts are becoming more available to the public, and in sacking Derek Adams and replacing him with Ryan Lowe, Hallett has demonstrated that he is more willing to invest his own money into the football club than his predecessor.
However, the newly renovated grandstand at Home Park will perhaps act as the most important part of his tenure as chairman. After all, it could well be seen as his legacy for years to come. Hallett’s primary goal this year will be to ensure that the grandstand is completed successfully and on schedule.
If it is, it’ll be ready for the second half of the season, and provided Argyle are performing well on the pitch, that will include some big games. It’s not out of the question that Argyle could sell out Home Park for some of these matches, bringing in a lot of revenue, and connecting more people to the football club. Imagine the club winning promotion – or even the league title – in a stadium packed with nearly 20,000 people…
Mike Cooper – Keep 10 clean sheets
This could be a difficult one for Cooper for two reasons. First of all, he’ll have to claim the number 1 spot for himself ahead of Alex Palmer. We can assume it is more likely than not that Palmer will start the season, particularly because the West Brom loanee started against Bristol Rovers at the weekend. Even if not, Palmer will at the very least provide Cooper some stiff competition.
Should Cooper force his way into the first team, however, he would still face the problem of keeping those clean sheets. Argyle will undoubtedly set up in an attacking manner, and with that will come counter attacking opportunities for opposing teams. With many players pushed up-field, Argyle will not doubt have to face down many counter-attacks in which the defence is outnumbered.
Nonetheless, Cooper will doubtless have the ambition of establishing himself as Argyle’s undisputed first choice goalkeeper. Keeping ten clean sheets across the season, particularly given the circumstances, will help him go a long way to achieving just that.
Ryan Lowe – Win promotion
Ryan Lowe has been saying all the right things since taking up the reigns at Argyle this summer. The differences between himself and his predecessor Derek Adams are stark. That’s not only with regards to their respective attitudes on how football should be played.
Off the pitch, Lowe has made am immediate connection with the fans. Whilst Adams did that at the start, that connection quickly diminished last season – using the word “yobs” certainly wasn’t the Scot’s wisest move.
However, whilst there may be a feel-good factor around Home Park at present, that can change in an instant. It’s important to remember that Lowe has been brought in for one reason above all: to win promotion. Rightly or wrongly, Lowe will be judged this season on his ability to achieve results, and promotion must therefore be his goal.
After relegation last season, there has been little talk of consolidation or transition. All the noises coming out of Home Park have been about challenging for an immediate return to League One. Lowe may not achieve this, but it has to be his target going into the start of the season, particularly in a league that is looking quite weak compared to when Argyle last won promotion in 2017.