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Blanchard waiting in the wings as Pilgrims must make do without Purse

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: November 19, 2012

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Plymouth Argyle will turn to Maxime Blanchard to replace suspended captain and centre-back Darren Purse.

The Pilgrims are set to be without Purse for the next three matches after he was sent off in the 3-0 defeat away to Fleetwood Town on Saturday.

Purse became involved in a feud with Fleetwood midfielder Jamie McGuire which eventually led to the second dismissal of his Argyle career.

The Pilgrims' experienced defender was perhaps fortunate to only be booked by referee David Webb in the 76th minute after a clash with McGuire. Then, moments later, the pair were involved in an off-the-ball incident, which was not spotted by Webb. He consulted with both of his assistant referees, Alan Clayton and Martin Coy, and then pulled out his red card.

Purse will start his three-match suspension when Argyle play at Bradford City tomorrow. The 35-year-old will also be banned for the home game against Chesterfield next Saturday and the visit of Oxford United in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy on December 4.

Argyle manager Carl Fletcher said: "Max comes in. The ones who can't play, whether they are injured or suspended, you don't worry too much about them.

"You have got to concentrate on the ones who are available to be out there on the pitch."

Argyle were trailing 1-0, to a second minute goal from striker David Ball, when Purse received his marching orders.

McGuire took to Twitter on Saturday night to protest his innocence. He wrote: "Listen not my fault Darren Purse got sent off thought he could bully me not a chance that's why he got sent off. Bye bye."

Fletcher suggested a number of factors could have been behind Purse's uncharacteristic lost of composure. He said: "I think when you play a football match, sometimes a will to win spills over into actions that maybe you wouldn't normally do.

"I have played games and you do things on a pitch that, in the cold light of day, don't seem normal. With the adrenalin, the frustration, the will to win and the hard work, sometimes you do things you probably wouldn't normally do."

It is not clear whether Purse will face further punishment for confronting Fleetwood captain Steve McNulty after he saw red. Purse took a swipe at McNulty before heading for the visitors' dressing room, taking a kick at the retractable tunnel on his way.

When Fletcher was asked about the incident involving Purse and McNulty he replied: "I didn't see that. I was too busy speaking to the ones that remained on the pitch to try to sort out what we needed to do formation wise."

Fleetwood manager Micky Mellon did not want to get drawn into talking about the events surrounding Purse's dismissal. He said: "I wouldn't get involved with another manager's players. It's not my place. He's an experienced player.

"I didn't see anything, and I'm not doing the old 'I was too far away' job. I genuinely didn't see what happened."

Mellon added: "You don't want anybody to get sent off. I'm not the type of manager that wants to see that, but it's not for me to get involved in."

Fleetwood moved up to fourth position in the npower League Two table with their win against Argyle and Fletcher added: "It was always going to be a tough place to come to.

"With the money they have spent, they have got some really good players here.

"The first goal after two minutes wasn't good enough, from our point of view, and it kind of kills everything you have been working on all week. Then we found a foothold in the game and we were doing all right. We were looking to progress in the second half.

"Then the way it went is disappointing because you don't give yourself a good opportunity to get back in the game. Maybe, had we kept 11 men on the pitch and done a few little things a bit better, we might have had that chance."

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