VIDEO: Plymouth Argyle v Portsmouth: Match preview
PAUL HAYES is set to make his Home Park debut for Plymouth Argyle against Portsmouth on Saturday (12.15pm) after a whirlwind first week at the club.
The 30-year-old striker was signed on a one-month loan from Brentford last Friday.
Hayes was thrown straight into the Pilgrims’ side for the 3-1 defeat away to Exeter City in the Devon derby at St James’ Park last Saturday.
That was only his second match of the season, with the previous one coming for Brentford in a Capital One Cup first round tie in August.
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Hayes played for an hour against Exeter, and got in another 58 minutes when Argyle lost 2-1 away to Swindon Town in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy on Tuesday.
Manager John Sheridan believes Hayes will be more effective now he has got those two games behind him.
Sheridan said: “He came in at short notice and I threw him in at Exeter.
“He’s a good intelligent player and gives you that little bit of experience as well.
“He has settled in now and I think he will benefit from that, being here a week and getting to know the players and how we are trying to play.
“Hopefully, he will take that into the game on Saturday.”
Hayes is likely to lead the Argyle attack with Reuben Reid, with striker Marvin Morgan a doubt because of a back problem.
Argyle switched to a 3-5-2 formation in the second half against Swindon and it proved a success.
Andre Blackman and Durrell Berry were the wing-backs and they gave the Pilgrims some attacking impetus on the flanks.
Sheridan must now decide whether to continue with that formation against Portsmouth and, if so, which players to use within it.
He said: “I think when you play that (3-5-2) it gives you a better chance of retaining the ball. It gives you that extra body in midfield.
“I think for the last 25 minutes on Tuesday night we played really well. We matched Swindon up and got a grip of them.
“We finished really strong and gave ourselves a little chance of getting something out of the game.
“When I look at my personnel, it’s a change I wouldn’t be frightened to make because I would like us to pass the ball a lot better at home.
“The fans expect you to take the game to the opposition and it might just give us a little bit more control on the ball, possession-wise, and create one or two opportunities.”
Portsmouth will have around 1,500 supporters at Home Park so there should be a good atmosphere for the Sky-televised clash.
Sheridan said: “Hopefully, this is a game the players will look forward to because it’s Portsmouth and they are a big club in this division.
“I think we have got to stand up and be counted because it will be a battle.”