Long-serving Paul Wotton set for another Plymouth Argyle milestone
PAUL WOTTON is poised to achieve yet another career milestone for Plymouth Argyle.
Wotton, 35, will move into equal third in the all-time appearance list for the Pilgrims should he take part in the League Two game against Oxford United at Home Park on Saturday.
The midfielder played his 466th competitive match for Argyle when they won 2-1 away to relegation rivals Aldershot Town last weekend.
He is only one game behind Fred Craig, who was a goalkeeper for the Pilgrims from 1912 to 1930 and currently holds third spot in the all-time appearance list on his own.
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Wotton told Herald Sport: "I'm not one who ever set out to do anything like that. I just wanted to play for my hometown club and I have been really, really lucky in my career.
"If it comes on Saturday then it's something I will be really proud of when I finish my career, as I will about all my other achievements in successful teams."
Wotton started his career at Argyle and made 438 appearances before leaving in the summer of 2008 and signing for Southampton.
He then returned to the club from Yeovil Town in January 2012 and has played a further 28 times for the Pilgrims, taking him to a total of 466.
Wotton said: "It takes some doing, it really does. If it (the 467th appearance) comes on Saturday great, if it doesn't, it doesn't."
Kevin Hodges, now Argyle's academy manager, holds the club record on 620 appearances with Sammy Black in second spot on 491.
With the way football is now these days, the chances of any Argyle player ever coming close to Wotton's total, let alone that of Black and Hodges, are extremely unlikely.
Wotton said: "I hope I'm not the last of a dying breed. I really do, but possibly. I think it would be a rarity.
"I hope it gets beaten because it would mean someone had given Plymouth Argyle great service."
Wotton made only his eighth start for the Pilgrims in League Two this season against Aldershot.
He was ruled out for three-and-half months by a nerve problem in his back, which required an operation.
Wotton's start in the victory over Aldershot was his second since recovering from that surgery.
He played a midfield holding role in a 4-1-4-1 formation and won countless headers and tackles in what was a hard-fought encounter.
Wotton said: "The result was huge. I think it was just two teams who knew they were in a relegation battle and at times the quality wasn't great, but we needed to win and we did.
"Psychologically, I think it was a big boost to everyone involved with the club.
"I was a little bit surprised to start the game. I'm at an age now and a stage in my career where if I'm not playing I'm not going to go and knock on the manager's door.
"I feel good, the back feels good and I was thrilled to play, and it went okay.
"If I play the next game great, if I don't then whoever is playing I will be right there supporting them.
"It was a nice surprise to play and I'm glad it went well."
He added: "We have had two wins and two draws out of four since the manager (John Sheridan) has come in. It's eight points out of 12 so it all bodes well."
Oxford are next up for Argyle and they are a club which Wotton is familiar with. He had a loan spell with the U's from Southampton in late 2010 and played four times.
Chris Wilder was Oxford's manager at the time and he still holds that post
Wotton said: "I enjoyed it at Oxford. I had a couple of months there and there were a lot of games postponed.
"I got on really well with Chris Wilder and (assistant manager) Mickey Lewis. It's a good club. We have had some good battles with them since I have been back at Plymouth.
"It's a home game on Saturday and we are looking forward to it. We will try to get back-to-back wins, which would be massive."