Plymouth Argyle are back on the road this Saturday after a trio of home league fixtures as they clash with Joey Barton’s Fleetwood Town.
Argyle may have turned Home Park into a fortress under Ryan Lowe, however the Pilgrims have only managed two away wins in their last 10.
The Lancashire side, just like Argyle, are knocking on the door of the League One play-offs and a win for either side could send them into the top six – the position Fleetwood occupied at the curtailment of last season.
Barton’s side will be looking to make things right this season, after crashing out 6-3 on aggregate in the semi-finals to eventual winners Wycombe Wanderers back in July.
Argyle starlet Luke Jephcott returns to the side after missing the previous two fixtures on international duty with Wales U21s.
Byron Moore is also back in contention after missing the Sky televised game against Portsmouth through injury.
Argyle captain Gary Sawyer and midfielder Lewis Macleod both remain out of action while Fleetwood are still missing ‘keeper Joel Coleman and centre-back Sam Stubbs.
Stoke City loanee Tom Edwards and midfielder Sam Finley are both back in the Fleetwood fold after picking up slight injuries against Bristol Rovers on the weekend. 35-year-old Mark Duffy is also available for selection.
Fleetwood (4-2-3-1) Leutwiler; Andrew, Connolly, Mulgrew, Edwards; Finley, Coutts; Morris, Camps, Burns; Madden.
Plymouth (3-5-2) M. Cooper; Watts, Opoku, Aimson; Edwards, Fornah, Grant, Mayor, G. Cooper; Jephcott, Hardie.
The Trawlermen have given a good account of themselves in the league recently, with wins over Bristol Rovers, Oxford United and Shrewsbury Town – scoring seven and conceding once.
Argyle continue to overachieve in their new division. Their last four league fixtures saw them earn maximum points against Swindon Town and Doncaster Rovers whilst clashes with Portsmouth and Wigan Athletic ended in stalemate.
Outside of League One, Fleetwood bowed out the FA Cup with a 2-0 defeat to Hull City, though, they topped their EFL Trophy group with a 2-1 victory over Sunderland.
The Pilgrims’ 3-1 win over League Two Newport County wasn’t enough to progress out the EFL Trophy group stages – something Argyle have never achieved. A textbook Jephcott finish, however, was enough to see off Charlton Athletic and put them in the hat for the FA Cup second round draw.
Ones to watch
Newcastle United loanee Kelland Watts seems to improve every 90 minutes he plays for Argyle. The left-footed centre-back was Ryan Lowe’s summer replacement for the ageing Gary Sawyer, and he is certainly starting to impress members of the Green Army.
The 21-year-old had a season of League Two football under his belt with Stevenage and Mansfield Town before joining the Pilgrims and he certainly does not look out of place in the higher division.
Watts caught the eye of those watching on Monday as he put in a solid defensive performance whilst looking comfortable with the ball at his feet.
Callum Camps’ Bristol brace brought his league tally up to six – placing him third top scorer in the division. What’s more impressive is the fact that the 24-year-old plays in midfield.
The Trawlermen’s talisman graduated through Rochdale’s academy, where he spent seven years plying his trade before leaving this summer.
Camps has featured in every league game this campaign and with the number 10 currently in form, scoring three in his last three, Ryan Lowe will be well aware of the dangerman.
Argyle have played Fleetwood eight times. The previous five has seen both teams win twice and draw one. Argyle have failed to beat Fleetwood away from home in their last two times of asking.
The clubs last played in 2019. On that day only two places separated them, with Fleetwood sat 10th and Argyle 12th. Late goals from Jason Holt and Ash Hunter left the Pilgrims three points off the drop with eight long games left to play.
How to watch
The match has not been selected for television coverage, though a match pass is available to purchase via either club’s iFollow websites for £10.
Kick-off at Highbury Stadium is 15:00 GMT.
What has been said
Joey Barton, the Highbury head coach, was clued up on fellow Liverpudlian Ryan Lowe - speaking to the club’s press on Friday.
“Ryan [Lowe] has done a good job at Bury, getting them promoted before what happened there and then he headed to Plymouth and got them promoted at the first time of asking.
“They have come into this division riding the crest of a wave. Seeing their game against Portsmouth on the telly the other night, they are no mugs, they were organised, well-coached and well drilled.
“They are coming to a tough place for any team in our division to come to and Saturday is our opportunity again, after a couple of away games, to get back to business at home.”
Ryan Lowe was aware of the task his side faces on Saturday as he spoke to the press pre-match.
“Fleetwood are going to be a tough ask; in terms of the way they are and the way they go about their business.
“They are resilient and hard to beat and have got that formula of finding a way to win.
“They have got some good players, along with a good manager, so we just have to make sure we go about our business the right way.
“For me it is two good teams, who know how to win, locking horns for three points.”