Argyle / Football

Knapman in line for long-awaited Argyle return in Home Park clash with Pompey

STRIKER Natasha Knapman could make her return from six months out with injury when Plymouth Argyle Ladies host Portsmouth at Home Park on Sunday in the National League Southern Premier Division (2pm).

The Pilgrims have missed the strike power of Knapman, who has scored more than 100 goals in the last two seasons to pick up two golden boot awards.

She was injured just minutes after opening the scoring against Milton Keynes on September 2.

It has been a long absence for the striker but the club have been sensible in giving her plenty of time to recover.

A delighted Knapman said: “I’m excited about the game on Sunday but I’m most excited about just being part of the matchday squad and being back around my team-mates.”

The last time Argyle played at Home Park they beat Poole Town 6-1, with Knapman scoring a hat-trick, to clinch promotion to the National League Southern Premier Division.

The club are hoping that fans will turn out in their numbers to watch the women’s team in the Dockyard Derby.

The day will be a celebration of Plymouth and Portsmouth’s military heritage, with The Royal British Legion and army cadets bringing standards to walk out the teams.

There are plans for a half-time penalty shoot out between teams of force cadets.

Argyle Displays have kindly offered to attend with pre-match flags and crowd display and there will be mascots from Drake FC and Plymouth Phoenix Girls FC.

The match is being supported by the GT’s, who are providing their marquee, food and drink, while Provide Services are sponsoring the programme and WR Plumbing & Heating the match ball.

Development player Kelly Vinnicombe is included in the squad after impressing when she came on as a substitute in Argyle’s 2-0 win at C&K Basildon.

But unfortunately Argyle will be without Welsh international Helen Bleazard, who has still not recovered from an on-going ankle injury picked up at C&K Basildon.

Full-back Darcey Hepworth does return to the squad after recovering from a quad injury.

Development manager Rob Bonney is delighted that Vinnicombe has been given her chance in such a big game.

He said: “Kelly received the news after training Wednesday night and was absolutely buzzing.

“She has always been a good player but this season she has really kicked on. She is now reaping the rewards of putting into practice what the coaching staff have been telling her.

“There are a few more development players knocking on the first team door and keen to get a chance to showcase what they can do.”

Gates will be open on Sunday from 12:30pm and admission is adults £5, concessions £3, with under-18s are free. Argyle season-ticket holders will be admitted free. Entrance will be through turnstiles 11 and 12 with unreserved seating in blocks 10, 11 and 12 of the Lyndhurst Stand.

Club chairman Simon Hallett and wife Jane are also attending along with newly-appointed director Paul Berne.

Argyle squad: Sarah Prior, Leah Burridge, Ebony Dover, Katie Middleton, Mollie Taylor, Zoe Cunningham, Jessie Jones, Kayley Lane, Rebecca Dandridge, Faye Ivall, Amber Pollock, Stephanie Beck, Panagiota Papaioannou, Darcey Hepworth, Kelly Vinnicombe and Natasha Knapman.

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