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Archived News from April 2002

19th April 2002 14:39

CHRIS ERRINGTON, Plymouth Evening Herald, 19 April 2002
Plymouth Argyle manager Paul Sturrock has warned promotion-chasing Cheltenham Town not to expect any favours when they visit Home Park tomorrow (3pm).

Argyle have already secured the third division title but third-placed Cheltenham still have it all to play for.

They need to avoid defeat to secure automatic promotion at the expense of Mansfield Town.

However, should Argyle win and Mansfield beat Carlisle United at Field Mill then Cheltenham would have to settle for a play-off place.

Sturrock promised he and his players would be taking tomorrow's game at a sold-out Home Park seriously because of its significance to Cheltenham and Mansfield.

Cheltenham could have made sure of promotion with a win at Carlisle on Tuesday but they were held to a 0-0 draw.

"That result means we have got to be very professional in our approach and get ourselves focused on a performance and a result tomorrow," said Sturrock.

"I have heard comments this week that certain teams are worried about our attitude for this game.

"I can assure everybody that I will put out a team to win the game. There will not be any experiments.

"I can appreciate that teams have fought very hard all season to get in the positions they are in the league now.

"We will not have any fingers pointed at us in any way about not playing our strongest team."

Argyle can set the second highest points total in Football League history with a win over Cheltenham.

That would give them 102 points, only three less than Sunderland when they clinched the first division title in 1999.

Sturrock said: "We don't want to end the season on a low note and, obviously, we would like to go over the 100-point mark.

"We also want to make sure that a lot of the fans who are coming for maybe the first or second time this season might decide to return on a regular occurrence next year. We can only do that playing well and getting a good result."

Sturrock had suggested after the 4-1 title-deciding win at Darlington on Monday that he would include several of his squad players in the starting line-up against Cheltenham.

Teenage goalkeeper Luke McCormick, defender Craig Taylor and Sturrock's son, Blair, could have expected call-ups.

But that was before the Robins drew against Carlisle to leave the third automatic promotion place up for grabs.

"Some people might think Cheltenham will get it easy but that's just not going to happen," said Sturrock.

The Argyle manager proved his point by refusing to disclose his team selection for tomorrow.

"I haven't discussed that all season and I'm not going to start now," said Sturrock.

"I don't want to give our opposition any insight into my selection but there are a couple of permutations I'm thinking about."

Argyle will collect the third division trophy after the season finale and Sturrock insisted the championship party would not start until then.

He said: "Anybody who doesn't show the proper attitude once the game starts will be substituted very quickly and we will give other people the opportunity.

"Sometimes, sub-consciously, it's very difficult to raise yourself but I'm hoping we will all be professional in our approach."

Sturrock was excited by the prospect of a capacity crowd of 19,500 - the first sell-out at Home Park since the stadium was redeveloped earlier this season. "It's great for the club and I think we could have sold another 5,000-6,000 tickets," he said.

French midfielder and 11-goal top scorer David Friio is available again after serving a two-match suspension.

Sturrock has no new injury worries for the visit of Cheltenham with winger Neil Heaney, who will be having knee surgery later this month, the only absentee.

Argyle (from): Larrieu, Worrell, Wotton, Coughlan, Beswetherick, McGlinchey, Taylor, Bent, Adams, Hodges, Broad, Friio, Phillips, Wills, Keith, Stonebridge, Evans, Sturrock, McCormick.

CHRIS ERRINGTON, Plymouth Evening Herald, 19 April 2002
Argyle skipper Paul Wotton has appealed to supporters not to invade the pitch at the final whistle tomorrow.

Wotton will pick up the third division winners' trophy in a special presentation ceremony after the game against Cheltenham.

It will take place in the centre of the pitch as long as the fans stay in the stands.

"The supporters have been brilliant all season and we are so grateful to them," said Wotton. "All the boys cannot wait to run in front of nearly 20,000 fans.

"With the trophy presentation taking place after the game I would like to appeal to the supporters, on behalf of all the players, to stay off the pitch.

"It will be more enjoyable for us then and more enjoyable for them.

"If they run on the pitch we will have to do the presentation indoors and it will be an anti-climax for everyone."

The Football League have told Argyle that there must be no delay to the scheduled 3pm kick-off.

They would also consider taking action against the club if there was any pitch invasion before the presentation of the trophy and players' medals.

"Everyone will have a good view because it will happen in the middle of the pitch," said Wotton. "Hopefully, a few will not ruin it for the majority.

"We are chuffed to bits to be playing in front of a full house but my message to the fans would be 'please stay in your seats, your patience will be rewarded.'

"People have said there will be a party atmosphere but we really do want to get to 100 points," added the 24-year-old defender.

"We have been winners all season and we want to carry on being winners.

"We are all looking forward to it but we do want the result as well. We don't want to end the season on a low note."


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