Editor's Column: SAINT DEXTER DISAPPOINTS
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LET BATTLE COMMENCE
Dexter Blackstock has decided to add to the hype surrounding the much awaited visit of fellow strugglers Southampton. The promising England U19 striker came on loan to Argyle toward the end of last season to gain some valuable first-team experience. However, he has today been quoted in a local newspaper saying that he much preferred his time with Derby County over the Pilgrims. He said that it "wasn't quite as good because they [Argyle] weren't such a good side". This has upset many Plymouth fans even though they are grateful for his contribution. A win for the Green Army over the under-achieving Saints would be a telling counter-argument certainly...
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Dexter's comments come after he was called up to the Football League's U21 side to face a similar side from Serie B from Italy. This match will take place on February 21st at the KC Stadium, Hull. Peter Taylor will be in charge for the exhibitional match which aims to encourage the progression of homegrown professionals in the football league. No senior Argyle players were selected as none were eligible. Elliott Ward, however, could qualify as he is just 20 years old and loan players, such as Manchester United's Chris Eagles, have been included.
It seems that the Southampton fans do not disagree with Blackstock...
Take a look at their remarks on the Saints Mad Messageboard...
The recent development will undoubtedly add a huge element of pride to a game already with a lot at stake. Plymouth have been on a good run as where Southampton have been on the slide. Now, a dip in form for either side will surely see them drawn into a tight relegation battle. The pressure will be on the Saints and new manager George Burley this evening, who have let several of their senior players leave including Finnish 'keeper Antti Niemi. This long-awaited South Coast derby will more than likely see the former Premiership side field a totally different side to their last outing, where Argyle will rely on the usual suspects to produce the goods. Another player key to the fixture is Mickey Evans, who was joined Southampton for £500,000 from the Greens in 1997. Now back at Home Park, the Plymouth favourite will be relishing to test himself against the club once again after drawn-out revival of his own fitness and form.
Argyle, fans especially, will still more than likely be bitter over Southampton's infamous acquistion of Paul Sturrock a little under two years ago. The Scot, who had notably reversed the Westcountry club's prospects on a large scale, left for St. Mary's before seeing through a second title-winning season. After just 8 months in the job, 'Luggy' left Saints after supposedly putting the club in the wrong direction. In the same season, Southampton saw themselves relegated by their own doing and Sturrock successfully resurrect another club, Sheffield Wednesday, onto the same plateau. Irony certainly has a taste that's bittersweet and Argyle will be more than happy to put right a few wrongs in continuing soap-opera that is football - where Southampton seem to get all the storylines.
Mickey Evans is all set to continue up front for the Greens against his former employeers. Argyle would obviously prefer to be unchanged but a one-match suspension for Northern Ireland Internation Tony Capaldi will force a switch. The great news for Tony Pulis is that Hungarian starlet Akos Buzsaky has been declared fit and is in contention for a place in midfield. The 23-year-old's inclusion would mean more of re-shuffle as where Bojan Djordjic would be a straight swap for Capaldi, being left-footed. At least Pulis now has options, but I'm sure he'd like a few more though. The transfer window closes tonight.
George Burley has been busy already, drafting in Peter Madsen and Alexander Ostlund who all set for their debuts. They will, however, be without Nigel Quashie and Rory Delap who are both finalising transfers to Premiership clubs. Scotland International Quashie will sign for West Bromich Albion in a £1.5million deal, that includes the exchange of Richard Chaplow on loan but not in time for tonight. Bonus for Argyle who will assume that Akos Buzsaky will now be staying and not moving to the Hawthorns as speculated. Squad players Leon Best, Yoann Folly and Matthew Mills have also left St. Mary's and David Prutton too will be absent nursing an injury.