Tough call to leave out Durrell Berry, says Plymouth Argyle boss
MANAGER Carl Fletcher has admitted it was a difficult decision not to include right-back Durrell Berry in the starting line-up for Plymouth Argyle's Devon derby against Exeter City at St James' Park on Saturday.
Berry was only included among the substitutes for the 1-1 draw with the Grecians after serving a one-match suspension in the previous game, a 2-0 win against York City at Home Park on December 8.
Fletcher rates the 20-year-old as one of the best one-on-one full-backs in League Two.
However, he decided to take on Exeter with the same defence as the Pilgrims had against York, when they kept only their third clean sheet of the season.
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That meant Curtis Nelson continued at right-back, with captain Darren Purse and Maxime Blanchard in the central positions and Onismor Bhasera on the left.
Berry had been one of Argyle's most consistent players before he was sent-off in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy last 16 tie against Oxford United at Home Park on December 4.
Fletcher said: "It was a tough decision (to leave Berry out for the draw at Exeter). I wasn't sure all week.
"But the back four did so well against York, it was our first clean sheet and we won the game, so it was a case of sticking with it. I spoke to Durrell and he fully understood."
Berry is set to return to the team this Saturday, however, after Blanchard was sent-off for two bookable offences against Exeter.
Blanchard will be banned for the trip to Accrington Stanley so Berry will almost certainly resume his right-back role, with Nelson and Purse in the centre.
Fletcher said: "Durrell will probably get his opportunity to come back in now because Max is suspended. That's the way football works."
Meanwhile, the Argyle manager has welcomed the return to action of left-back Robbie Williams.
The 28-year-old was a half-time substitute against Exeter, after being ruled out for more than two months by a stomach muscle injury.
Williams struggled to start off with as a misplaced header put City top scorer Jamie Cureton in the clear, only for him to miss a sitter.
Moments later, Williams picked up his fourth yellow card of the season for a tackle on Exeter midfielder Liam Sercombe.
Williams soon settled, though, and his experience was important as the Pilgrims battled back from a 1-0 deficit at half-time.
Fletcher said: "To start off with I think he (Williams) forgot what colour we were playing in!
"It was pleasing to have him on there towards the end, especially with 10 men, with his experience and as another voice."
ARGYLE'S St Luke's Bowl second round tie against Ivybridge Town tonight (7.30pm) has been switched to Home Park.
The game has been moved from Ivybridge's Erme Valley ground because their pitch is waterlogged.
Admission to the Bowl clash is £4 for adults and £2 for concessions.
The game marks a return to Home Park for ex-Pilgrims captain Nicky Marker, who jointly manages the Bridgers with former Exeter City player Graeme Kirkup.
Ivybridge will select from a strong squad, with the only absentees strikers Joe Truelove and Mike Scott.
Ivybridge (from): Oak, Hanrahan, Walton, Summers, Zimmerman, Brown, Parker, Cheetham, Sutton, McClements, Berry, Smallridge, Middleton, Widdicombe, Morgan, Saunders and Shailer