Injured Plymouth Argyle duo will be nursed back to health
PLYMOUTH Argyle will take a cautious approach with the fitness of strikers Nick Chadwick and Rhys Griffiths after their recovery from calf injuries.
The pair have returned to action by playing as second half substitutes in the last two League Two games.
They are expected to be on the bench again when Argyle take on managerless AFC Wimbledon at Home Park today (3pm).
Warren Feeney and on-loan Aldershot Town striker Guy Madjo have been leading the line for the Pilgrims in recent matches and have started to show signs of developing a good understanding.
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However, the availability of Chadwick and Griffiths, a summer signing from Welsh Premier League club Port Talbot Town, increases the competition for places.
Argyle manager Carl Fletcher told Herald Sport: "We are wary of not rushing them (Chadwick and Griffiths) back.
"With both of them being on the taller side, you can't just throw them in and let them get on with it.
"You have got be careful with them and ease them in gently.
"Each day, each sub appearance and every few minutes they get in, it's better for them and better for us."
Griffiths, 32, put his career as a firefighter in south Wales on hold to sign for Argyle in the summer.
A calf problem prevented him from making his debut until the 3-2 home win against Northampton Town on September 1, when he scored one of the goals after being sent on as a half-time substitute.
Griffiths had to be taken off later in the game, though, because of a recurrence of his injury.
It was more than four weeks before he made his comeback from that, in the 1-1 draw with Paul Sturrock's Southend United at Home Park last Saturday.
He was also used off the bench when the Pilgrims fought out a 1-1 stalemate away to Wycombe Wanderers on Tuesday.
Fletcher said: "It's going to take time for Rhys to adapt to playing in the games because he has come from a non-league environment.
"That's both for us and for him to learn from and mould the way we deal with him, really."
Meanwhile, Fletcher does not believe a lack of matches for Argyle's young professionals will hinder their development as players.
The Pilgrims do not have a reserves side, and Fletcher admitted it had been difficult to arrange friendlies to give the club's up-and-coming prospects match practice.
Young players such as Ollie Chenoweth, Jordan Copp, Jamie Richards and Jared Sims have all been caught in that trap.
But they all got much-needed run-outs when an Argyle 'development side' beat a Reading youth team 2-0 on Wednesday afternoon.
Fletcher attended the game, which was played at Reading's Hogwood Park training ground.
Both of Argyle's goals were scored by Tyler Harvey, a second-year apprentice who this week agreed to sign a professional contract with the Pilgrims next summer.
Fletcher said: "The facilities at Reading's training ground were amazing. The pitch was lovely and the lads played really well.
"It was a good win, and a good workout for them.
"We have been trying to get games down here for them recently, but with all the (first team) fixtures we have got, and everyone else has got, it has been hard.
"Also, early on in the season, we had a few injuries so we were down to bare bones and we couldn't risk any more games.
"When the schedule settles down a little bit, hopefully we will get a game at least once every couple of weeks."
Fletcher is convinced the football education of Argyle's young professionals is not being impacted by the lack of match practice for them.
He said: "They are training every day with the first team players so they are learning each and every day."
Sims started Argyle's Capital One Cup second round tie at Burnley, but Chenoweth, Copp and Richards have not figured for the first team this season.
ARGYLE have been drawn at home to Devon rivals Exeter City in the FA Youth Cup first round. The date of the tie will be announced later.