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Home Park link was crucial for Banton

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: February 02, 2013

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The Plymouth Argyle connection at Crystal Palace led to winger Jason Banton making the move to Home Park.

Banton has been signed on loan from the npower Championship club, who are managed by former Plymouth boss Ian Holloway, until March 2.

The 21-year-old winger is set to make his debut for the Pilgrims against Dagenham and Redbridge at Home Park in today's npower League Two fixture.

Banton said he had "a couple of options" when it came to clubs wanting to sign him on loan, but he picked Argyle after recommendations from two former Plymouth players currently at Palace – winger Yannick Bolasie and defender Darcy Blake.

Banton insisted he was not put off by Argyle's lowly position in League Two. He said: "I'm 100% up for the fight. I wouldn't come have down here if I wasn't. I think every game you play in should be treated like a cup final."

Bolasie made 54 appearances, including 36 starts, for Argyle, and scored eight goals, before he was sold to Bristol City for a small undisclosed fee in the summer of 2011.

Blake, meanwhile, had a seven-game loan spell with the Pilgrims from Cardiff City in the 2009-10 season.

Banton asked around for advice before deciding to sign for Argyle. He said: "I spoke to a few people. Yannick recommended that I should come here and Darcy Blake thought I should do as well. I was especially struck by the way Yannick put it over to me."

Banton had a lengthy trial with Palace until, at the end of the October, he was offered a contract until the end of the season. He has played 12 times for the Eagles' development side this term and scored three goals.

Banton recently made his first-team debut, as a second-half substitute for Bolasie when Palace drew 0-0 with Stoke City in an FA Cup third-round tie at Selhurst Park on January 5.

"I don't think the Plymouth deal would have happened without Ian Holloway," said Banton. "He gave me the opportunity to showcase what I could do against Stoke and put his trust in me."

Banton first found out about Argyle's interest in taking him on loan last Thursday, when he was told by Palace's assistant manager Keith Millen in a phone call.

Millen had spoken at length with Argyle boss John Sheridan and thought the move to Home Park would be beneficial for Banton in his quest for first-team football.

Banton travelled to Plymouth by train on Thursday night and trained with his new Argyle team-mates for the first time yesterday.

Banton said: "The manager picked me up from the station on Thursday night. We are staying in the same hotel and we had a good chat then."

The former England Under-17 international had spells as an Academy player at Arsenal and Blackburn Rovers before signing for Liverpool and, later, Leicester City.

However, his appearance for Palace against Stoke was only the second time Banton had played in a competitive first-team match. So, not surprisingly, he is desperate to add to that while he is with Argyle.

"I want to get as many minutes as possible and help Plymouth to get some good results," he said. "I think there are similarities between Ian Holloway and John Sheridan. They both like their teams to play an attack-minded style."

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