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Pilgrims need 'strong characters' to prevail against Gulls, says Fletcher

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: September 08, 2012

Carl Fletcher believes Torquay United are favourites for today's Devon derby  PICTURE: Dave Rowntree

Carl Fletcher believes Torquay United are favourites for today's Devon derby PICTURE: Dave Rowntree

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Plymouth Argyle manager Carl Fletcher has described Torquay United as the favourites to win the Devon derby between the two teams at Plainmoor today (3pm).

Fletcher has admitted the Pilgrims will have to rely on "some strong characters" in their side as they try to build on their first League Two win of the season.

Argyle moved up to 15th – their highest position since Fletcher was appointed as manager last September – by beating Northampton Town 3-2 at Home Park last Saturday.

Historically, Argyle have a good away league record against Torquay, winning nine and drawing four of their previous 17 meetings.

But, last season, they were beaten 3-1 at Plainmoor, and the Gulls then completed their first double over Argyle in 41 years when they triumphed 2-1 at Home Park.

Fletcher said: "We are all excited about [today]. It's great for the area and we are looking forward to the game.

"We are going into it as underdogs really. Torquay got to the play-offs last season and they have got some good players."

Fletcher insisted the fact Torquay did the double over his team in 2011/12 did not mean there was any extra incentive for Argyle today.

"Last season is last season," he said. "It's in the past. We are just looking forward to this game and trying to keep progressing on things.

"We have got to make sure we give ourselves the best opportunity to put in a good performance and get a good result."

Argyle have sold all of their allocation of 1,500 tickets for the visit to Plainmoor.

Fletcher said: "It should be a full house and we will have great support behind us. I think it's important we play the game and not the occasion. Sometimes with derbies you can get sucked into the way the game is going and it gets a bit frantic.

"But we have got some strong characters in the changing room and some good experience, and we are all looking forward to the game."

Argyle, Torquay and Exeter City are all in the same division for the first time since the 2001/02 season.

But Fletcher has played down the importance of trying to finish as the top Devon club in League Two.

He said: "I have never even thought about it. The main thing for us is to just concentrate on what we do.

"There are 21 other teams in there who are trying to be above us as well."

For now, Fletcher wants to see Argyle take the confidence from their victory over Northampton into the fixture against Torquay.

He said: "I was delighted with the result last week, and the three goals we scored were great goals as well.

"It would be good to take that on and progress forward."

Meanwhile, Fletcher has confirmed he wants to add to his squad when Football League clubs are allowed to make "emergency loan" signings from today.

The Pilgrims boss has previously admitted he does not have the cash to pay transfer fees for players. But he snapped up Burnley striker Alex MacDonald on a one-month loan before the summer transfer closed last Friday.

The draw for the second round of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy will take place on Sky Sports' Soccer AM programme today.

Argyle have been placed in the southern section west, and will face one of Aldershot Town, Cheltenham Town, Oxford United, Portsmouth, Torquay, Wycombe Wanderers or Yeovil.

Argyle received a bye in the first round. Matches in round two will be played on the week commencing October 8.

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

Doubtful: Cowan-Hall, Griffiths.

Unavailable: Gilmartin (knee), Lowry (ankle), Bhasera (international duty).

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