Plymouth Argyle's Paul Wotton undergoes successful back surgery
PLYMOUTH Argyle's long-serving midfielder Paul Wotton is resting up after a successful back operation.
The surgery was carried out earlier this week and Wotton is not expected to return to duty until December.
Argyle manager Carl Fletcher told Herald Sport: "We will take it nice and slow with him and make sure he's right. If we had just left it, it wasn't going to heal itself.
"I have had a few problems with my back. It's quite a common thing in footballing terms."
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Fletcher added: "Wots is very professional with the stretches and exercises he does to keep himself fit.
"It's just unfortunate this one (injury) has gone a bit too much and they have had to correct it with a little help."
Wotton started seven of the first eight games of the season for the Pilgrims.
The one exception was when he was rested for the Capital One Cup second round tie away to Burnley on August 28.
However, Wotton has not played since the 3-1 home defeat by Port Vale in League Two on September 15.
Conor Hourihane and Luke Young are set to continue as Argyle's central midfield pairing for the visit of sixth-placed Rochdale to Home Park tomorrow (3pm).
Rochdale, who include former Pilgrims' striker George Donnelly in their squad, suffered their first defeat in seven league games last Saturday, when they lost 2-1 at home to Morecambe.
The Dale have been particularly impressive on their travels, winning all of their last four away fixtures.
That sequence has included a 2-1 win at table-topping Gillingham, making them the only team to beat the Kent club in League Two this season.
Argyle will be looking to build on their 4-1 triumph at bottom-of-the-table Barnet last Saturday, which moved them one position up the table to 18th.
Fletcher (left) said: "Rochdale have got a good away record. They are sixth in the league so they come into the game as favourites.
"John Coleman (Rochdale's manager) always get his teams playing nice football so we know it's going to be a tough day for us.
"They have got some players who can be matchwinners. We have just got to take the confidence we got from last week and try to express ourselves and enjoy the game.
"You don't get your best performances when you are tense or stressed out.
"We have got to make sure we do our jobs right and know what our roles are, but when we have got the opportunity we have got to go and express ourselves and enjoy playing football."
While Rochdale have been successful on the road, they have struggled for form at home, and it has been a similar scenario for Argyle.
The Pilgrims have a record of one win, two draws and three defeats from their six league games at Home Park this season.
Fletcher admitted it was 'hard to say' why his side had struggled for results in front of their own fans.
He said: "We might have to focus on the way we play. Our pitch is so big and sometimes there are a lot of open spaces.
"That can be good for the away team and not so good for us, where we are enthusiastic and high energy and want to try to close people down.
"Maybe our distances aren't right, but it can be any number of things."
Fletcher added: "We will look at every avenue and see what we might need to improve on to make sure we get some good results at home, because that's what we want to do.
"This is where the majority of our fans come to see us play and you want to try to keep them happy and coming back for more."