Embrace region or don't sign for us
ANYONE signing for Plymouth Argyle this summer must be ready to embrace living in the far South West of England, manager Carl Fletcher has warned.
Persuading players to sign for the Pilgrims has always been a challenge because of the geographical location of the club.
Fletcher (left) has acknowledged that, but is not prepared to allow any of his squad to spend some of their week in Plymouth and the rest of it away from the city.
He told Herald Sport: "If a player is not sure about coming here because it's too far to travel, we don't want them.
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"We want people who want to be here and want to do well."
Fletcher, in full sales-pitch mode, continued: "You come and play for this football club and that's your job. You are not down here to come and stay a couple of days a week and travel back if and when you like.
"You become a Plymothian for however long you are here and really embrace what this area of the country is about.
"Whether you like being by the sea or in the great countryside, you must embrace it and feel a part of it, because we will make you feel part of the club.
"We will do everything we can to help you settle in and make the transition as easy as possible."
While the location of Plymouth often counts against Argyle, the strengths of the club can work in their favour.
Fletcher used the example of striker Paris Cowan-Hall, newly signed from Conference South champions Woking, as an example.
He said: "We have got three-quarters of a nice stadium and a superb fanbase.
"When I showed Paris around the place, he was very impressed with the set up. I told him we were getting 8,000 people for our home games at the end of last season, and that's a real big draw."
Fletcher already has 22 players signed on for next season, including five first-year professionals, but is still looking to increase his options.
Fletcher, with the support of assistant boss Romain Larrieu and first team coach Kevin Nancekivell, is doing his homework on potential new recruits.
Fletcher said: "We are looking at all possible targets. There are a lot of players on free transfers – there are more and more as the seasons go on.
"I think clubs, from a financial point of view, can't afford to give long contracts out.
"It's the clubs that have got the power these days, than say six years ago when players could demand what they wanted.
"We are looking at all avenues, and it's important for us that we try to find the ones who are going to suit the club, financially and in terms of football and their personality.
"There is no point just getting people for the sake of it.
"We know as a management team what we need, and what we want to add to our squad.
"We are working hard to find those little gems. All the other clubs around the country are looking at the same players.
"So it's a good challenge for me, Nance and Ro to try to find those ones who do kind of slip through the net."
Fletcher decided at the end of last season that a major reshuffle of his squad was not needed, after Argyle successfully escaped the clutches of relegation.
He said: "We have got a decent size group of players already here, and we were very wary about ripping that apart.
"It's very easy to think, 'We can change this and we can change that'. But you don't know the people you are bringing in as well as those you have already got.
"Most of the players that are signed to us, we know inside and out.
"They have been in that pressure situation from last season, and we know how they handled it, and what they are good at it and what they aren't good at.
"That's vital for us. So I think it's important we add certain bits to that and help us get to where we want to be."