Take a closer look at the latest stats and facts in our match preview ahead of Salop’s Sky Bet League One fixture against Plymouth Argyle.
Salop welcome Plymouth Argyle to the Montgomery Waters Meadow on Saturday, in their second league game at home this season. The visitors have had a relatively mixed start to the season, and despite their loss on the opening day to Rotherham, the south-coast outfit have since taken four points from two games – as well as an emphatic 4-0 vs Peterborough in the Carabao Cup.
The Pilgrims run in to the end of last season was poor, losing four of their final five fixtures. Finishing just one place and points below Steve Cotterill’s Shrewsbury, they will inevitably look to eclipse their finish from last season. They currently sit 16th in the table, but with it being early days, a win on Saturday could lead to them rising well up the table come 5pm.
In order to do this though, they’ll have to get past a Shrewsbury side who are starting to find their feet. Town displayed a strong performance against table toppers Portsmouth on Tuesday night, being unlucky to leave Fratton Park with a draw or more. A goal in the second minute was all that separated the two sides, and Saturday will hopefully bring an even stronger performance from the home side, as they look to secure their first points of the season. The last encounter between the Shrews and the Pilgrims ended 3-0 to Cotterill’s men, with a Shaun Whalley brace and delightful finish from Nathanael Ogbeta being the difference.
Pilgrims boss Ryan Lowe shares history with Salop, playing for them 194 times in five years, scoring 37 goals. The former striker is well remembered by Town fans, being part of the side that gained promotion back into the Football League in 2004. Lowe has looked to bolster his squad this summer, signing nine players so far, his most recent arrival being Swansea loanee Jordon Garrick. Salop have also dipped their toe into the loan market this week, with Khanya Leshabela’s arrival from Leicester on Thursday also being Steve Cotterill’s ninth signing of the summer. The addition of the highly rated youngster will hopefully give Town the creativity they’ve been needing when transitioning into the final third, as they look to finally get on the scoreboard in the league this season.
Tomorrow’s game has the makings to be a good fixture, a win for Cotterill’s side will hopefully give them the confidence they need to recapture the confidence and sights of good form that lifted Town’s season last year. The home advantage should hopefully give the hosts the motivation they need to end Saturday’s game with all three points and spur them on to lift themselves out of their current run of form. The visitors will be looking to prove a point and continue their unbeaten run since the opening day loss, it will be no easy feat, but Town’s revived performance on Tuesday shows their quality across the pitch, something that will hopefully be the difference going into tomorrow.
Name: Plymouth Argyle
Founded: 1886 (135 years ago)
Chairman/Owner: Simon Hallett/ Simon Hallett (97%)
Joint biggest win: 1-8
- Millwall, Second Division, 16th January 1932.
- Hartlepool United, Second Division, 7th May 1994.
Biggest defeat: 0-9 vs. Stoke City, Second Division, 17th December 1960.
Highest League finish: 4th, Second Division, 1952/53
Goalkeeper: Michael Cooper
A product of the Argyle academy, Cooper made his first-team debut aged just 17, replacing the injured Kyle Letheren against Blackburn Rovers in 2017. A regular within the Pilgrim’s EFL trophy side, the ‘keeper was regarded as an integral part to the Argyle’s memorable FA Youth Cup run in 2017, in which they were knocked out in the fifth round.
Still only 21, the youngster has had a remarkable rise to the first team. A strong shot-stopper, Cooper’s impressive debut season as number one last season led to him being awarded the club’s ‘Young Player of the Year’ award, further solidifying his sport as the Pilgrims’ No.1. Despite his young age and Argyle’s impressive pool of ‘keepers, including long-standing veteran Luke McCormick and Salop academy graduate Callum Burton, Cooper has become an ever-present name in Ryan Lowe’s side.
Defender: Joe Edwards
Defender and club captain Joe Edwards, arrived at Home Park in 2019, and was the first ever signing under current manager Ryan Lowe. Known for his versatility, Edwards has shown his ability to play across as both right-wing back and as holding midfielder for Lowe’s side.
The defender has been praised for his consistency during his time playing for the Pilgrim’s and is capable of contributing at both ends of the pitch – scoring nine goals in 48 appearances last season. His efforts out on the field earned him the club’s ‘Player of the Year’ award, a reflection of Edwards quick rise to popularity amongst the Argyle faithful.
Midfielder: Jordan Houghton
Houghton is a familiar face at Home Park, despite arriving earlier this summer. He played for the Pilgrims’ back in 2016, joining on-loan from Chelsea when he was 20 years old. However, the midfielder’s time down south interrupted due to a knee injury. Despite regaining fitness, the midfielder didn’t feature for the Pilgrim’s side that lost out on promotion to League One against AFC Wimbledon, and he finished his first spell at the club with one goal in 10 matches.
In between his first and second spell, Houghton spent two consecutive seasons on-loan at Doncaster Rovers, making a total of 76 appearances. Developing into a holding midfielder role, Houghton earned promotion with Doncaster in his first season at Keepmoat impressing throughout. However, despite his successes, injury continued to trouble the midfielder, and his time at Chelsea eventually came to an end – joining Milton Keynes Dons in 2019. After making over 100 appearances, wining promotion yet again in his first season at Stadium MK.
Houghton re-joined Plymouth this summer, with manager Ryan Lowe looking to integrate the midfielder as a mainstay in his starting XI. After an impressive display against Gillingham recently, he was awarded man of the match for the Pilgrim’s, a reflection of his quality within the Argyle squad.
Striker: Luke Jephcott
Striker Luke Jephcott is yet another example of Argyle’s academy success, and their ability to become key figures within the first team. Making his debut against Burton Albion in 2018, the Welshman eventually broke into regular first-team football in January 2020, a month he ended as League Two’s ‘Player of the Month’ and the EFL’s ‘Young Player of the Month, after he scored five goals in just four starts.
Jephcott ended that season with seven goals in 14 games, impressing manager Ryan Lowe enough to keep him in the first team. The Welshman also earned a call-up for the Welsh under-21 side, where he has since made five appearances. Jephcott’s formed continued into the following season, ending as Argyle’s top scorer with 18 goals in 46 appearances. The striker has since attracted interest from a number of Championship sides; however, manager Ryan Lowe expressed his desire to keep him at Home Park, with Jephcott putting pen-to-paper on a deal that will keep him on the south-coast until 2023. With 3 goals and one assist in four games this season, Jephcott will be a great threat to any side he faces.