John Sheridan stands by decision not to start striker Tyler Harvey
MANAGER John Sheridan has strongly defended his decision to only use 18-year-old striker Tyler Harvey as a late substitute in Plymouth Argyle's 3-1 defeat by Exeter City on Saturday.
Harvey has been a regular scorer for the reserves this season, while goals have been in short supply for the first team.
That has led to increasing calls from fans for the first-year professional to be picked in the starting line-up by Sheridan.
However, all nine of Harvey's appearances for the senior side this season have been as a substitute.
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He came off the bench in the 88th minute against Exeter at St James' Park, with Argyle trailing 2-1.
City then wrapped up the win with a goal deep into stoppage time from their makeshift striker Scot Bennett.
New Pilgrims loan signing Paul Hayes started the game up front with Marvin Morgan.
When Hayes was replaced in the 60th minute, it was Reuben Reid – the man who had made way for the debutant – that took over from him, rather than Harvey.
The introduction of Reid was part of a double substitution, with midfielder Luke Young sent on for Hamza Bencherif at the same time.
Young equalised for Argyle with a stunning free-kick in the 69th minute, only for Exeter to score two late goals and claim victory.
Sheridan was asked by Herald Sport why Harvey had not been used as a substitute earlier.
He replied: "I brought Reuben on and he made a big difference in the game. I pick the team so I will make the decisions. Tyler has got lots of potential but he's an 18-year-old kid. I will make the decisions.
"I have done it with other young players. One of them is playing in the Premier League now (Aston Villa's Jordan Bowery).
"Another one (Chris Taylor of Blackburn Rovers) is playing in the Championship.
"I think what I'm doing with Tyler is the right thing. I know he needs football and I know he's scoring goals in the reserves against Bideford and Exeter's youth team.
"But I don't worry about anyone else. I understand we are not scoring goals and we are not winning football matches."
Sheridan was asked whether Harvey would start in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy second round tie at Swindon Town tomorrow.
"I will make that decision," replied the Pilgrims boss. "I don't need to tell everyone who I'm going to be picking on Tuesday."
Hayes completed a move to Argyle on a one-month loan from Brentford on Friday morning.
The 30-year-old went straight into the side against Exeter but did not have any chances to get a goal on his debut.
Sheridan said: "He did okay. He's obviously new to the lads. He scores goals and I think he will be a good player for us.
"I threw him straight in and I thought he showed some good touches but it was his first game and he only joined up with us on Friday.
"He was part of a good team performance for 80 minutes, but you have got to play for 90 and we didn't."
Such is the size of Argyle's squad now that players such as Andre Blackman, Dominic Blizzard and Andres Gurrieri did not even make it onto the bench against Exeter.
Sheridan said: "They are all fit. One or two of them will be playing on Tuesday.
"I have got a lot of players who are fit and available and they all want to play."