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Plymouth Argyle's pre-season break has now officially ended, with the squad now back in full swing and hoping to hit the ground running in their assault on the South West Combination title.
The squad has now been back in training for two weeks, and have been joined by some new faces. Tom Legg has joined the coaching staff and he will predominantly take charge of the reserve team squad in the South West Women's League. Also joining the coaching staff is Micky Hunt, who will take on the role of Fitness and Conditioning Coach, and Chris Benham who joins as the club's new scout.
Club Chairman Ross Symons spoke of his delight at the club's new management structure, which he hoped would aid the club to be successful this coming season. "These guys will come in and certainly add to what we already had," he said. "Ryan (Thomas) and Kev (Rose) have helped to push things forward over the past few months, but Tom and Micky's appointments will hopefully push us to the next level. Both are well qualified, have good levels of experience, and are keen to be part of a progressive club.
"With the club's FA Licenced Centre of Excellence now operating on a full time basis, I think Tom will provide a fantastic grounding for our young players to develop their games and push hard for a first team place and Micky's experience as a personal trainer will help to keep the girls in peak physical condition over the course of a long season. Chris Benham's appointment will be key to us being prepared for every eventuality. Not only will he be out and about over the whole of the south west and south east identifying players to take us forward, but he will also be compiling vital information on our opposition for our coaches to exploit. We feel this new set up can be very successful, and we hope it will give the girls the best opportunity to be the best they can be."
On the playing staff, Symons was a little cautious to name any particular individuals, but claimed that signings would be made soon. He continued, "We are in advanced negotiations with about four or five players who will strengthen the squad, but I don't want to tell you who they are until they have signed! Two players are from Premier League sides and another three have extensive Combination League experience. That, in addition to some of our young players maturing over the past few months, will give us a great pool of players to pick from. Hopefully we can announce some new signings soon."
Thomas, Rose, Legg and Hunt have been busy putting the girls through their paces at their pre-season training camp at the College of St Mark & St John, Plymouth. Four friendlies have been organised to get the girls ready for the start of the league season on 19th August. Once again, the Pilgrims will be hosting Premier League side Bristol Academy in their highest profile game, with other games against Cheltenham Town, Bude Town and Truro City.
An additional friendly has been organised, specifically for the reserve team squad at Holsworthy on the 26th August, with more hopefully planned ahead of the start of their season on the 3rd September.
The club has also announced that they are extending their trial period for any interested players to come along and try and gain a place in the Pilgrims squad. Symons stated that in addition to the players already targeted, the coaches wish to bring in at least 3-4 extra players to provide extra competition for places, specifically for the reserve team squad. "Many players from local sides may see us as a closed shop, but we are not," he said. "By inviting players along to training, they can see what we are all about and how we can help them to play at a reasonable level. Any player in our reserve team squad has the opportunity to impress and then develop into a first team player. Any player that is interested in this opportunity can contact us through our website www.palfc.org.uk."
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