Pilgrims send strong squad to Bideford
The countdown to the League Two Devon derby against Exeter City at St James' Park on Saturday starts tonight for Plymouth Argyle.
A Pilgrims' squad including 11 professionals will travel to play Bideford in the Devon St Luke's Challenge Cup second round at the Sports Ground (7.45pm).
It is a chance for many of those players to push for a first-team call-up for the clash against arch-rivals Exeter.
Manager John Sheridan has admitted it could be "time for a big change" after Argyle's 0-0 draw against bottom-of-the-table Accrington Stanley at Home Park last Saturday.
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The Pilgrims have picked up only one point from their last three games in League Two, and not scored a goal in any of them. Players such as Andre Blackman, Maxime Blanchard, Andres Gurrieri, Tyler Harvey and Luke Young have all regularly been on the substitutes' bench, not out on the pitch, this season.
Impressive performances against Bideford, who are currently in second spot in the Southern League Premier Division, could persuade Sheridan to pick them for the first team on Saturday.
The Argyle squad tonight also includes goalkeeper Jake Cole and experienced striker Nick Chadwick, who will play for the first time since recovering from a pre-season knee operation.
A trio of young professionals – Ben Purrington, Jamie Richards and Isaac Vassell – are also set to be on duty at Bideford, plus Hamza Bencherif.
The Algerian midfielder has started the last five first-team games for Argyle but was substituted after an hour of the draw against Accrington.
The Pilgrims are the holders of the St Luke's Cup, after beating Torquay United 4-1 in the final at Home Park in April.
Bideford have had a superb start to the season, trailing only Hemel Hempstead Town in the Southern League Premier Division after picking up 19 points from nine games.
However, they suffered their first defeat of the season when they lost 2-1 away to Yate Town in the FA Cup second qualifying round last Saturday.
That was despite taking the lead in the 28th minute with a goal from striker Owen Howe.
Bideford beat an Argyle XI 2-0 in a pre-season friendly at the Sports Ground in July, with Howe one of the goalscorers.
Plymouth Argyle (from): Cole, Hannah; Allen, Bencherif, Blackman, Blanchard, Chadwick, Gurrieri, Harvey, Hutchinson, Lane, Purrington, Richards, Vassell, Wheatley, Young.