Jamie Lowry set for a Plymouth Argyle start
JAMIE LOWRY seems set to make his first start for Plymouth Argyle in the away game against Rotherham United on Saturday.
Lowry, 25 (pictured right), is on stand-by because midfielder Conor Hourihane must serve a one-match suspension.
Hourihane was booked for diving in the 2-1 defeat at Cheltenham Town on Tuesday.
It was his fifth yellow card of the season and means he will miss the trip to South Yorkshire this weekend.
Argyle manager Carl Fletcher criticised the decision of first-year Football League referee Stephen Martin to book Hourihane.
It came after Hourihane had shot the Pilgrims into a 30th minute lead against Cheltenham.
Lowry, signed as a free agent from Chesterfield in the summer, suffered an ankle ligament injury in Argyle's second pre-season game in July.
He recently returned to full training and made his delayed debut for the Pilgrims as an 88th minute substitute in the defeat by Cheltenham.
The suspension to Hourihane comes after midfielder Ross Jenkins had his loan spell from Watford cut short by a groin injury.
And the experienced Paul Wotton has been ruled out until December after a back operation.
So Lowry is expected to partner Luke Young – who is only one more yellow card away from a ban – in the centre of midfield against Rotherham.
Hourihane has been an ever present for the Pilgrims in all 17 of their games this season.
Fletcher had sympathy with the 22-year-old over his caution against Cheltenham (right) and felt it had been a harsh decision by Martin.
"He was full of energy and his confidence is high, but unfortunately he got a booking for diving," said the Pilgrims' boss.
"The referee did something for the sake of it, and that's disappointing. If Conor goes in and makes a bad challenge or mistimes one, fair enough.
"If he says something to the referee out of turn and then he gets booked, you can't complain.
"But for Conor to miss a game for that is what gives you the hump," added the frustrated Pilgrims' boss.
Fletcher also felt Argyle had two good penalty appeals early in the second half which were not awarded by Martin.
The first one saw striker Guy Madjo impeded by Cheltenham centre-back Steve Elliott as he tried to finish off a low cross from winger Joe Lennox.
Soon afterwards, Argyle captain Darren Purse was shoved over by Town midfielder Marlon Pack.
Fletcher said: "Maybe on the balance of the game, we probably didn't get what we deserved from the referee."
The late introduction of Lowry against Cheltenham was done for a specific reason.
Knowing Hourihane would be suspended for the trip to Rotherham, Fletcher did not want Young to be booked in the closing stages and also be banned.
Fletcher said: "I didn't really want to do it, to be honest, because Youngy was playing well.
"We had to take him off, though. We didn't want him to get a late booking in the hectic end to the game and both of them (Hourihane and Young) be suspended for Saturday.
"We had to make sure we looked a little bit ahead and got Jamie on the pitch for some minutes."
Young's last involvement in the match came when his curling 25-yard free-kick was deflected onto the top of the right post.
The ball rebounded to Alex MacDonald but the Burnley loanee could not control his header and sent it over the open goal from close range.
MacDonald was bitterly disappointed about not taking the chance and earning the Pilgrims a point.
Fletcher said: "I don't know how he missed it, but he was in the right position. It's just one of those things.
"I think a draw was the least we deserved. We will play worse and win games."