Plymouth Argyle’s fixtures were released today ahead of the 2020/21 season. Now we can properly start the countdown to the new campaign, we’ve picked out five games to look out for across the coming year.
Plymouth Argyle vs Northampton Town – Saturday 17th October 2020
This game will be an early barometer as to how far Lowe and his side have come since promotion from League Two. Any concerns over the quality of the squad will either intensify or be put to bed following an encounter with Northampton in October.
It will be Argyle’s first game against another side promoted from League Two last season, and coincidentally will see the Greens face the Cobblers in game six for the second season in succession. Northampton will be on a high having beaten Exeter in the League Two play-off final (just to drop it in, that game ended 4-0), whilst Argyle will be hoping to be up to speed by that stage after going the best part of six months without a competitive game.
The corresponding fixture at Home Park last year fell foul of the season curtailment, but Argyle fans will remember the 3-1 defeat at Sixfields at the start of the campaign. A good result at the Theatre of Greens this time around would be the clearest sign yet of strong progress.
Plymouth Argyle vs Portsmouth – Saturday 14th November 2020
Argyle’s rivalry with Portsmouth is set to continue after the Greens won promotion and Pompey faltered in the play-offs once again. The game at Fratton Park takes place in February, and it’s more likely than not that away travel will still prove to be very difficult in six months.
One game we can look forward to, however, is the home fixture against Kenny Jackett’s side in November. With plans clearly going forward apace behind the scenes, there is a chance that supporters will be able to attend fixtures in some capacity by the time this game comes around. And it coincides nicely – Portsmouth are likely to be the first “big” League One team to visit Home Park next season.
It won’t be easy, of course, and the visitors are likely to start as favourites. But let’s be optimistic – a good start followed by a win over Argyle’s Dockyard rivals could signal a strong campaign ahead for Ryan Lowe and his side.
Plymouth Argyle vs Gillingham – Saturday 2nd January 2021
There’s so much that will be different about the Christmas period this year, mainly away from the football field. Look on the bright side – at least some of our least favourite family members should stay away for the month of December this year. Whilst we revel in that celebration, Argyle will be as busy as ever. And, whilst things will still look very different in the stands, the flurry of festive games is set to be just as important as you’d expect.
The encounter with Gillingham to kick off 2021 looks as though it could be one of the more pivotal Christmas fixtures. Argyle will come into the game following home games across the festive period against Milton Keynes and Oxford, as well as a tough looking trip to Charlton on Boxing Day. The game against Gillingham, therefore, may well dictate whether the Christmas period can be classed as a success.
It’s a fixture that could also prove to be doubly important as the season progresses. The reverse fixture against Gillingham takes place on the final day of the season, and any psychological edge Argyle can take from this game is bound to help.
Swindon Town vs Plymouth Argyle – Tuesday 26th January 2021
Back in 2017, Derek Adams appeared to set a number of small goals as Argyle returned to League One for the first time in six years. First of all, avoid relegation, which was eventually achieved with comfort despite a diabolical start. Next up, finish above the other promoted clubs. Again, another tick. The play-offs were just missed in the end, but that would simply have been a bonus; finishing above Portsmouth, Doncaster and Blackpool was the main aim to consolidate in the third tier.
January’s away fixture against Swindon may give us a strong indication as to whether Lowe’s side will be able to do the same this time around. Aside from another clash with Northampton, it’s the final fixture Argyle will play against another promoted side next season (barring fixture changes, of course), and will be a chance for Argyle to get one over on last season’s Champions.
Based on last season’s encounters, there may well be much to look out for. Argyle achieved a solid draw at the County Ground last year, but were defeated in the reverse fixture in front of the reopened New Mayflower Grandstand. A revenge victory here would set the second half of the campaign up nicely.
Plymouth Argyle vs Sunderland – Saturday 1st May 2021
When looking at the teams in League One, the trip to Sunderland is obviously one to look out for. It was the case back in 2018 when the Black Cats were relegated to the third tier, and it will be again this time around. Alas, much like the Portsmouth away fixture, it’s likely that the trip to the North East in January will be too soon for fans to be permitted to travel.
The reverse fixture, however, could prove to be quite the event. Home Park’s encounter with Sunderland will be Argyle’s final home game of the regular season. With it taking place in May there is a chance, however slight, that we may be out of this horror-show by then and back to some sort of normality. Closing the season (at home at least) against the biggest side in the division in front of a capacity crowd would certainly be something special.
Aside from being a big event, it could also be a vitally important game. Argyle’s run in looks tricky, and it was through losing tough home games like this that saw Argyle collapse at the end of the 2018-19 season. Hopefully there will be something more glamourous to play for this time around.