Plymouth Argyle boss Carl Fletcher has praise for stand-in skipper
MANAGER Carl Fletcher has praised the professionalism of Argyle's stand-in skipper Conor Hourihane.
The 21-year-old midfielder captained the Pilgrims for the first time when they lost 1-0 at Bradford City on Tuesday.
Hourihane took over the armband from centre-back Darren Purse, who started a three-match suspension after he was sent-off in the 3-0 defeat at Fleetwood Town last Saturday.
Maxime Blanchard had previously been Argyle's stand-in skipper when Purse was ruled out by a toe injury earlier in the season.
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But Blanchard had only been a substitute for the two games before the trip to Bradford and Fletcher opted for Hourihane to lead out the Pilgrims at Valley Parade.
Hourihane has made more appearances than any other Argyle player this season.
He has started 21 of their 23 matches in all competitions, and was ruled out of the other two by suspension.
Fletcher, explaining the decision to make Hourihane the stand-in skipper, said: "Conor understands the game. He knows what we want and he always gives 100 per cent.
"It was a no-brainer really. His professionalism and attitude, day in and day out, is something a lot of people can learn from."
Purse continues his suspension when Argyle play Chesterfield at Home Park in League Two tomorrow.
His ban will end after the Johnstone's Paint Trophy tie at home to Oxford United on Tuesday, December 4.
Argyle are not in action next weekend after their exit from the FA Cup at the first round stage, when they lost 1-0 away to part-timers Dorchester Town.
Purse has protested his innocence after his red card against Fleetwood, following an off-the-ball incident with Town midfielder Jamie McGuire.
However, it was not captured by any cameras at the game so there was no evidence for the Pilgrims to launch an appeal with.
Fletcher said: "I didn't see it happen during the game but Pursey says he didn't do anything and I'm going to believe my player and trust him."
Fletcher will check on the fitness of several of his players before naming his team to take on Chesterfield.
Midfielder Luke Young, for example, was ruled out of the game against Bradford by a shoulder injury he suffered at Fleetwood.
Striker Rhys Griffiths was ruled out of the trips to Fleetwood and Bradford by a hamstring injury but has done some training this week, according to Fletcher.
The Pilgrims boss also stated attacking duo Nick Chadwick and Alex MacDonald had both sustained 'impact injuries' against Bradford.
On-loan Aldershot Town striker Guy Madjo is also in contention for a recall to the starting line-up after recovering from illness.
He has been an unused substitute for the last three matches.
Fletcher said: "He was ill for the majority of last week and missed training but he's fine now."
THERE will be a report on Argyle's game against Chesterfield on www.thisisplymouth.co.uk shortly after the final whistle. Follow ChrisErrington1 on twitter.