Cheltenham and Plymouth strive to recover from weekend woe
Plymouth Argyle are expected to be without full-back Durrell Berry for the Johnstone's Paint Trophy first-round tie at Cheltenham Town tonight.
Berry was substituted early in the second half of the 2-1 defeat away to Morecambe in League Two on Saturday because of a sore knee.
Manager John Sheridan will not take any risks on the health of 21-year-old Berry, who he has regularly picked out for praise at the start of the season.
The game at Whaddon Road could see left-back Jamie Reckord and midfielder Hamza Bencherif make their debuts for the Pilgrims.
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They completed moves to Argyle yesterday and were registered before the 12 noon deadline for them to be available for selection tonight.
Reckord has arrived on a three-month loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers while Bencherif, a free agent, has been signed on a short-term contract until January.
Sheridan lifted the Johnstone's Paint Trophy with his former club Chesterfield in 2011, after they beat Swindon Town 2-0 in the final at Wembley. It is a competition the Pilgrims' boss treats very seriously, and he expects the same from his players.
Sheridan is set to shake up his side tonight after the poor second half performance against Morecambe. Players such as Maxime Blanchard, Andres Gurrieri, Tyler Harvey and Luke Young will all be hoping to get their first starts of the season.
Sheridan could also be tempted to pick Jake Cole as the Pilgrims' goalkeeper instead of Luke McCormick.
Argyle will be aiming to complete an away double against Cheltenham, after beating them 3-1 at Whaddon Road in League Two on August 17. Their goalscorers that afternoon were Marvin Morgan, captain Conor Hourihane and Rommy Boco.
Cheltenham have made a surprisingly poor start to the season and are in 21st position in the table, with four points from five games, following a 4-1 defeat away to Bury on Saturday. The Robins yesterday completed the signing of Rotherham United midfielder David Noble on loan until January. Like Bencherif and Reckord for Argyle, Noble is eligible to play in the JPT tie.
Cheltenham also parted company with another former Exeter City player, left-back Billy Jones, yesterday by mutual consent. The departure of Noble's fellow ex-Grecian, and an ankle injury to Craig Braham-Barrett, could see right-back Sido Jombati line up on the opposite side of the Robins' defence tonight.
Braham-Barrett had to be substituted in the game against Bury, and so was experienced centre-back Steve Elliott after taking a blow to his jaw.
They are both ruled out of the tie tonight, as are defender Troy Brown and midfielder Matt Richards because of hamstring injuries.
In the absence of the regular centre-back pairing of Brown and Elliott, on-loan Crystal Palace youngster Ryan Inniss is set to be partnered by Jason Taylor.
One boost for Cheltenham is the probable inclusion of veteran striker Jamie Cureton among their substitutes.
Cureton, 38, was signed as a free agent from Exeter in the summer but dislocated his shoulder when scoring on his debut in the season-opening 2-2 draw at home to Burton Albion.
Should the first-round tie end in a draw after 90 minutes there will be no extra-time. Instead, the outcome will be settled by a penalty shoot-out.
Plymouth Argyle (from): McCormick, Cole; Berry, Trotman, Nelson, Blanchard, Branston, Reckord, Blackman, Richards, Hourihane, Alessandra, Gurrieri, Boco, Blizzard, Young, Bencherif, Reid, Morgan, Harvey, Vassell, Purrington, Lane.
Doubtful: Berry (knee).
Unavailable: Wotton (ribs), Chadwick (knee), Lecointe (knee).