We can cope with injury list, insists Argyle boss
ARGYLE manager Carl Fletcher has faith in the strength in depth of his squad to contend with a lengthening injury list at Home Park.
As many as six Pilgrims players could be sidelined for the visit of Bristol Rovers in League Two tonight.
Experienced midfielder Paul Wotton is the latest casualty after he was substituted in the second half of the 3-1 home defeat by Port Vale on Saturday because of a groin injury.
Wotton, 35, had been struggling with a sore back even before that game.
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Also on the injury list are Nick Chadwick and Rhys Griffiths (calf), Paris Cowan-Hall (hamstring), Rene Gilmartin (knee) and Jamie Lowry (ankle).
Fletcher told Herald Sport: "I wouldn't say it's worrying. It's annoying more than anything.
"You want your full squad to pick from for every game you play, but that's not the way it is.
"Wots has played with a bad back for the last couple of weeks, and it was just one of those things on Saturday.
"He tweaked his groin a little bit after the ball hit him on his leg."
Fletcher continued: "You would like to have all your options open to you, and with injuries that gets less and less.
"It's opportunities for other people to come in and do well, and make it hard for the people who are out injured to get in the team when they are fit again.
"Apart from Jamie Lowry's, the injuries aren't really long-term. They are little niggles here and there."
Fletcher believes the pitch at Home Park, which was re-laid in the summer, has been a factor behind the Pilgrims' fitness problems.
He said: "I remember the first year it got laid (in 2010) it was really hard, and I think it's a little bit similar to that.
"It might just take a little bit of time for that to soften up. Hopefully, once winter comes and we get more rain that might help out.
"Playing on a hard pitch isn't ideal. It puts joints and things through lots of impact, and out of position where they wouldn't usually be."
Fletcher added: "We are trying to do everything we can to get the injured players back as soon as possible."
Bristol Rovers finished last season strongly after Mark McGhee took over a struggling side in January.
The Pirates finished in 13th position after being threatened with a fight against relegation at Christmas.
Rovers drew 1-1 against Argyle at Home Park in March, but were unfortunate not to get the win their performance probably merited.
It took a late equaliser from centre-back Maxime Blanchard to rescue a point for the Pilgrims.
Given all that, Fletcher – like many League Two observers – has been surprised to see the Pirates get off to a slow start to this season.
They are in 23rd position in the table, with only two points from five games.
Fate has not been kind to them, either. Rovers were leading 3-1 at Wycombe Wanderers on August 25 when the game was halted because of heavy rain and then abandoned after lightning struck one of the stands.
Fletcher said: "I thought they would be up there this season, even though they lost (Mustapha) Carayol to Middlesbrough.
"When we played them here they were a real good side and we did well to get a point that night."
Rovers will still be smarting from a 4-0 drubbing at League Two leaders Gillingham on Saturday.
Fletcher said: "We have just got to make sure we are right and fully prepared, and start the game as well as we did on Saturday."