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Opposition Profile: Plymouth Argyle

13 June 2017

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A new feature where we take a closer look at who Rovers will face in League One next season.

Plymouth Argyle

Founded: 1886
Nickname: The Pilgrims

Since becoming professional in 1903, the Devon club have won five Football League titles, claiming the Second Division crown in 2002-03 and the Third Division in 1958-59 and 2001-02, as well as two Third Division South championships. They were also Third Division play-off winners in 1995-96.

One of the biggest cities in the country never to have hosted top-flight football, Plymouth are also the most southerly and westerly EFL club in England.

The Manager: Derek Adams

Scottish midfielder Derek Adams played professionally for six different clubs, starting out with Aberdeen, before moving to Rovers’ local rivals Burnley in 1995.

After making just a couple of appearances, he returned to Scotland with a move to Ross County in 1996, before signing for Motherwell, where he made over 150 appearances, scoring 23 goals, including a goal in the 2002-03 Scottish Cup semi-final defeat against Rangers.

After six years at Fir Park, which also included a short loan spell with Ayr United, Adams returned to Aberdeen in 2004, spending a year at Pittodrie, before leaving for Livingston.

In 2006, Adams returned to Ross County as player-coach, before being promoted to player-manager in November 2007, following a brief spell in caretaker charge.

He led Ross County to the Scottish Second Division title in 2008 and the Scottish Cup final in 2010, causing upset victories over SPL sides Hibs and Celtic.

The Scot left the Staggies in November 2010 to become assistant manager at Hibs, but returned to the Ross County hot seat in May 2011, guiding them to the Scottish First Division title in his first season back.

County were crowned champions with five games to spare, having gone on an incredible 34-game unbeaten run, with Adams elected as PFA Scotland Manager of the Year.

The remarkable run was extended to 40 games at the start of the following season, in which County finished fifth, one point off a European spot, in their first ever season in the top flight.

Adams steered the side to a seventh-place finish in 2013-14, before leaving County in August 2014. He was appointed Plymouth Argyle manager in June 2015 and led the Pilgrims to Wembley for the first time in 20 years, reaching the League Two play-off final, which they lost 2-0 to AFC Wimbledon.

He then secured automatic promotion to League One last season.

The Ground: Home Park

Located in the Central Park area of Plymouth, Home Park has been Argyle’s permanent residence since 1901.

After undergoing considerable development in the 1920s and 1930s, the stadium suffered heavy damage during the Second World War.

Reopened in time for the resumption of the Football League in 1945, it underwent further improvements in the 1950s, including the installation of floodlights and a double-decker grandstand.

The ground, given the nickname locally the ‘Theatre of Greens’, remained relatively unchanged until 2001, when construction of three new all-seater stands commenced. The stadium became all-seater in the summer of 2007 and has a capacity of 17,800.

Last Season: 2nd, League Two

Plymouth secured automatic promotion into League One last season after securing a second-place finish in League Two.

The south-coast club missed out on top spot by goal difference after being held to a 1-1 draw away to Grimsby Town on the final day. Victory would have seen them crowned champions.

In the cup competitions, Plymouth lost 2-0 to Reading in the first round of the EFL Cup, but enjoyed some memorable matches in the FA Cup, holding Liverpool to a goalless draw at Anfield, before suffering a narrow 1-0 defeat in the third round replay at a packed Home Park.

Last Meeting: May 2nd 1992

Rovers did the double over Plymouth Argyle during the 1991-92 season en route to securing promotion to the newly-formed Premier League.

A David Speedie hat-trick on the final day of the season helped Kenny Dalglish’s side to a 3-1 victory away to Plymouth, which booked Rovers’ place in the play-offs. That result also saw Plymouth relegated.

Dalglish’s men then defeated Derby County and Leicester City to secure promotion to the top flight.

Rovers had beaten Plymouth 5-2 in the reverse fixture at Ewood Park earlier in the season, with Speedie again amongst the goals, grabbing two, whilst Simon Garner also bagged a brace, after Kevin Moran had opened the scoring.

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