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Fletcher has to cope with growing injury list at Home Park

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: September 18, 2012

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Carl Fletcher

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Plymouth Argyle manager Carl Fletcher has faith in the strength in depth of his squad to contend with a lengthening injury list at Home Park.

As many as six Pilgrims players could be sidelined for the visit of Bristol Rovers in npower League Two tonight.

Experienced midfielder Paul Wotton is the latest casualty, after he was substituted in the second half of the 3-1 home defeat to Port Vale on Saturday because of a groin injury.

Wotton, 35, had been struggling with a sore back even before that game. Also on the injury list are Nick Chadwick and Rhys Griffiths (calf), Paris Cowan-Hall (hamstring), Rene Gilmartin (knee) and Jamie Lowry (ankle).

Fletcher said: "I wouldn't say it's worrying. It's annoying more than anything. You want your full squad to pick from for every game you play, but that's not the way it is.

"Wottsy [Wotton] has played with a bad back for the last couple of weeks, and it was just one of those things on Saturday. He tweaked his groin a little bit after the ball hit him on his leg."

Fletcher continued: "You would like to have all your options open to you, and with injuries that gets less and less. But there are opportunities for other people to come in and do well, and make it hard for the people who are out injured to get in the team when they are fit again.

"Apart from Jamie Lowry, the injuries aren't really long-term. They are little niggles here and there."

Fletcher believes the pitch at Home Park, which was re-laid in the summer, has been a factor behind the Pilgrims' fitness problems. He said: "I remember the first year it got laid [in 2010] it was really hard, and I think it's a little bit similar to that.

"It might just take a little bit of time for that to soften up. Hopefully, once winter comes and we get more rain that might help out.

"Playing on a hard pitch isn't ideal. It puts joints and things through lots of impact, and out of position where they wouldn't usually be."

Fletcher added: "We are trying to do everything we can to get the injured players back as soon as possible."

Fletcher hopes to celebrate his first anniversary as manager of Argyle with a win this evening. It is one year today since Peter Reid was sacked by the Home Park club's former chairman of football, Peter Ridsdale, to be replaced a day later by Fletcher.

The former Wales international midfielder, still the second youngest boss in the Football League at the age of 32, has enjoyed the experience. Fletcher said: "Early on, you learn you can't keep everyone happy. Everyone else seems to know best.

"I think you have to be very focused on what you want to achieve and how you want to do it, and stick to your beliefs.

"You see managers all over the country talk about it, and I never really took much notice of it until I was in the job.

"I remember someone saying to me 'no one will understand the job I'm doing unless they have been a manager themselves' and I totally agree. Like anyone, you are going to make right decisions and you are going to make wrong ones."

Fletcher has compiled a record of 11 wins, 17 draws and 15 defeats in 43 League games as Argyle manager. He said: "The year has gone really quickly. You work all week and then the game comes and it's such a quick turnaround.

"After the final whistle, you literally have five or ten minutes and then you are already thinking about the next game. It all moulds into one, really, and if you ask me to put dates on certain things I wouldn't be able to. I would have to go game by game.

"It has been hard work, and I have not had many good nights' sleep, but when you get good results and good performances it makes it all worthwhile," he added.

Fletcher will be hoping for a good display tonight against lowly Bristol Rovers, who are in 23rd position in the League Two table with only two points from five games.

Fletcher said: "I thought they would be up there this season. When we played them here last season [in a 1-1 draw in March] they were a really good side, and we did well to get a point that night."

Rovers will still be smarting from a 4-0 drubbing at League Two leaders Gillingham last Saturday. Fletcher said: "We've just got to make sure we're right and fully prepared, and start the game as well as we did on Saturday."

Plymouth Argyle (from): Cole, Chenoweth; Berry, Nelson, Bhasera, Williams, Blanchard, Purse, Wotton, Lennox, Hourihane, Young, Gorman, Gurrieri, Chadwick, Lecointe, Feeney, MacDonald, Madjo, Cowan-Hall, Sims, Griffiths, Richards.

Doubtful: Wotton (groin), Chadwick (calf), Cowan-Hall (hamstring), Griffiths (calf).

Unavailable: Gilmartin (knee), Lowry (ankle).

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