John Sheridan praises Plymouth Argyle new recruits for successful debuts
MANAGER John Sheridan has praised left-back Jamie Reckord and midfielder Hamza Bencherif after their successful debuts for Plymouth Argyle.
The two new recruits both made important contributions as the Pilgrims progressed to the second round of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy at the expense of Cheltenham Town on Tuesday night.
Argyle won 5-4, on penalties, after a thrilling game at Whaddon Road ended in a 3-3 draw.
Reckord and Bencherif were both included in the starting line-up by Sheridan even though they had only signed for the Pilgrims the previous day.
Fantastic offer at Swanson Ford, Newton Abbot. 3 Years FREE Servicing and 5 Years Warranty available on your BRAND NEW FORD FIESTA with the AWARD WINNING ECOBOOST ENGINE!!!
Terms: Limited stock available. Only whilst stock lasts
Contact: 01626 240583
Valid until: Tuesday, December 24 2013
Bencherif headed home a perfectly-flighted free-kick from captain Conor Hourihane in the 57th minute to put Argyle 3-1.
However, a red card for right-back Curtis Nelson led to Cheltenham staging a comeback and taking the first round tie to penalties.
Argyle converted all five of their spot kicks, with Reckord taking the fourth one.
Reckord, 21, has been signed on a three-month loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers and put in an assured performance at left-back against Cheltenham.
Bencherif was a free agent after he was released by Notts County at the end of last season.
The 25-year-old Algerian agreed a short-term deal with the Pilgrims which will take him up to and including January 1.
Bencherif is a powerful 6ft 3in midfielder who could provide a goal threat for Argyle.
Sheridan told Herald Sport; "Jamie met up with us at the hotel on Tuesday afternoon and I thought he settled in really well.
"I have seen him play a few times and I have tried to get him previously at Chesterfield.
"I know what he's all about. He has played on loan for Scunthorpe and Coventry in League One and he's a good lad.
"I like the way he plays. He's always on the front foot. He takes care of the ball as well."
Bencherif was snapped up by Sheridan after a trial at Home Park last week and was paired with Hourihane in the centre of midfield against Cheltenham.
Sheridan said: "Hamza is still a bit short of match fitness but I thought he did well.
"He's good in both boxes, to be fair. He's definitely a threat when we are trying to score from set plays.
"It was a great ball from Conor but he really attacked the ball and put it away nicely."
Sheridan added: "Hamza is a good lad. He wants to come and get his fitness and play lots of games.
"It was his first game for a while but I thought he did some good things."
Bencherif was switched to central defence after the dismissal of Nelson in the 60th minute and Maxime Blanchard moved to right-back.
Argyle were put under a lot of pressure by Cheltenham in the closing stages, but they took the tie into penalties and eventually came out on top.
Sheridan believes Reckord and Bencherif will improve the competition for places at Argyle.
They have been added to a long list of players who have been brought to the club by the Pilgrims' boss since the end of last season.
Sheridan said: "I'm not bringing players in, thinking they are just going to be starting all the time. It's important we have competition for places.
"That's what the teams at the top of the (League Two) table have got, especially Chesterfield and Fleetwood. They have got big squads."
Meanwhile, Sheridan has revealed it was the players – not him – who decided who would take the penalties in the shoot-out against Cheltenham.
Successful with their spot kicks were Rommy Boco, Lewis Alessandra, Hourihane, Reckord and Marvin Morgan.
Sheridan said: "I thought our penalties were very good. The lads picked who wanted to take them and when.
"It was down to them. I wouldn't stop anyone from taking one if they are confident."
STRIKER Nathan Stark scored both goals as Argyle's under-18s secured a 2-1 victory over Oxford United in the Football League Youth Alliance at Tavistock's Langsford Park, yesterday.