Nick Chadwick is back in contention for Plymouth Argyle after extended suspension
Nick Chadwick will return to the Plymouth Argyle squad after a six-match suspension for the crucial visit to AFC Wimbledon tonight.
Chadwick has been kept on the sidelines for almost two months because of his lengthy ban, for which he was also disciplined by the npower League Two club.
The 30-year-old was sent off for violent conduct in the first half of the Pilgrims' 4-0 defeat at Port Vale on January 5. That would have usually resulted in a three-match suspension. However, the ban was doubled by the Football Association because of a similar incident at the start of the contest which was not spotted by any of the match officials, but was captured on camera.
John Sheridan was appointed as Argyle manager the day after the heavy defeat at Port Vale, so Chadwick has not had an opportunity to play for him. Whether that chance comes against the Dons in the bottom-of-the-table tussle at Kingsmeadow remains to be seen.
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Chadwick scored the winning goal for the Pilgrims when they won 2-1 at Wimbledon last March. Argyle coach Gary Owers said: "Nick is available and he has worked very hard during his suspension. He has kept his head down, which was the right thing to do in the circumstances.
"Nick gives us an extra body up front to consider. He will come into the squad and I think he will figure somewhere in John's thinking."
Sheridan could choose between Chadwick and on-loan Yeovil Town striker Reuben Reid to lead the Argyle attack tonight. Reid has started the last five matches but has not found the net. Indeed, the Pilgrims have only scored twice in that period.
Both of those goals came from on-loan Crystal Palace winger Jason Banton in the 2-1 win at Aldershot Town on February 9. Owers said: "The games have been very close. We just need someone to score a goal for us.
"The onus is on everybody in the team to try to score a goal. That's something we've got to sort very quickly."
Reid's one-month loan to Argyle ends tonight and Owers confirmed that no decision had been made yet on whether it would be extended. The same applies to Banton, whose loan from Palace expires after the clash with Barnet at Home Park on Saturday.
Argyle will assess the fitness of right-back Durrell Berry before tonight's game. He was ruled out of the 1-0 defeat at Northampton Town last Saturday by a knee injury. Maxime Blanchard, usually a central defender, filled in at right-back at Sixfields.
Owers added: "We've got quite a big squad and it's just about trying to find the right balance to see us through to win the game tonight."
The Pilgrims slumped to the bottom of the table after their defeat at Northampton. However, a win tonight would see them move above the Dons on goal difference.
Owers stepped up from Argyle's Academy coaching set-up to assist Sheridan after the latter became first-team manager last month. The 44-year-old former Sunderland, Bristol City and Notts County defender is not daunted by the size of the task facing the Pilgrims between now and the end of the season on April 27.
Owers travelled to south London last Tuesday to see Wimbledon draw 1-1 with Northampton at Kingsmeadow. He said: "It will be a very competitive game. It's a small pitch, tight surroundings and a good atmosphere.
"It's a game we are going to look forward to and, hopefully, bring something back to Plymouth at the end of it. We aren't going into games with fear. We are going into games trying to get out of the situation we are in.
"It was a horrible weekend, the result was disappointing and you come off the pitch and you find yourself at the foot of the table. But we haven't got to wait a week to try to resolve the issue. This game has come around very quickly. We've got 13 games to go and, the way I look at it, we have got to improve our position by two places to avoid relegation.
"That's the name of the game and that's a fight we are all in, so bring it on. We are bottom of the Football League and my motivation, as a player, would be to get out of that situation as quickly as possible."
Wimbledon were propping up the rest of the division until they won 1-0 at Dagenham and Redbridge last Saturday, courtesy of a late goal from substitute Kevin Saint-Luce. They had seemed destined for relegation at the end of 2012 but their form has picked up since then, and they have a fighting chance of escaping the drop.
Manager Neal Ardley was nominated for the January manager-of-the-month award in League Two, although it eventually went to Gillingham's Martin Allen.
Plymouth Argyle (from): Cole, Chenoweth; Berry, Branston, Charles, Blanchard, Bhasera, Lowry, Cox, Hourihane, Wotton, Young, Gurrieri, Cowan-Hall, Chadwick, Murray, Ugwu, Banton, Reid, Harvey, Lecointe, Vassell, Richards.
Doubtful: Berry (knee).
Unavailable: Nelson (groin), Feeney (ankle), Gilmartin (hamstring).