Plymouth Argyle boosted by return of four from injuries
MANAGER Carl Fletcher has admitted there is now 'a lot of competition' for places after the return from injury of four Plymouth Argyle players.
Strikers Nick Chadwick and Rhys Griffiths, as well as goalkeeper Rene Gilmartin and left-sided player Onismor Bhasera, have resumed training this week.
They are all available for selection for the visit of Paul Sturrock's Southend United to Home Park tomorrow (3pm).
Only the midfield pair of Jamie Lowry and Paul Wotton remain on the Pilgrims' casualty list.
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Fletcher said: "Chads and Griff have trained all week, as have Rene and Baz, so that's good.
"It's a lot of competition all over the pitch really and that's pleasing from our point of view. I have got some decisions to make."
Bhasera only missed one match, the 3-2 come-from-behind win at Morecambe last Saturday.
But Chadwick, Gilmartin and Griffiths have been out for longer periods.
Chadwick's last appearance came in the Capital One Cup second round tie away to Burnley on August 28.
Gilmartin has yet to make his debut after arriving at Home Park as a free agent from Watford in the summer.
Griffiths played his one and only game for Argyle as a goalscoring substitute in the 3-2 home win against Northampton Town on September 1. He did not finish that match, however, after a recurrence of a calf injury he suffered on the eve of this season.
Fletcher said: "Fingers crossed, we are over the worst of it. All the ones who got injured were my older, more experienced players.
"We have looked into it, and I think the fact we have been away from playing on the (Home Park) pitch might have helped. We are trying to get that a little bit softer if we can but the drainage is so good on it, it's kind of hard."
He continued: "When you get players coming back into training it gives all the others a lift as well."
The reduction in length of the injury list takes the pressure off Fletcher to strengthen his squad by way of loan signings.
He has not ruled out further additions at a later stage, though.
Fletcher said: "We will wait and see. With all the injuries coming back, in terms of numbers we are not too bad.
"We have got some good options, but you only need a couple of injuries and then you are down to bare bones again.
"We have got three loans at the minute, and you can only have five in your matchday squad.
"I think we have to do things wisely and not rush into anything just for the sake of it, in case suddenly something happens and we have to get a loan for a specific area of the pitch."
Fletcher admitted there was the possibility of players, both young and old, leaving Home Park on loan.
He said: "With the injuries we have had at the start of the season, we have had to have everyone here.
"But if there are players who are not going to be involved on a regular basis then we will try to get them out on loan.
"It's great experience for the young ones and if they are older ones then they are not going to want to hang about."
Argyle's on-loan Watford midfielder Ross Jenkins is set to make his home debut against Southend.
The 21-year-old scored on his first appearance for the Pilgrims in the thrilling victory over Morecambe.
Fletcher said: "When you get a new player in and put them straight in the team it's nice that he slots in, and Ross did that.
"All the lads have taken to him and made him feel welcome.
"We will try to make his stay as easy and hassle-free as possible so he can concentrate on playing football."
Southend have recovered from a dismal start to the season, when they picked up one point from their first three games, to move up to eighth position.
They have won four of their last five fixtures, with the exception being a 1-0 home defeat by League two leaders Gillingham on September 18.
Southend's visit to Home Park sees the return of former Argyle manager Sturrock, as well as ex-players Graham Coughlan, Chris Barker and Ryan Leonard.
Coughlan is the Blues' first team coach while Barker is expected to line-up at left-back.