Argyle / Football

Argyle look to put opening day defeat behind them when they play Exeter City in League Cup

PLYMOUTH Argyle will look to put their opening day National League Southern Premier Division defeat at Crawley behind them on Sunday when they take on Devon rivals Exeter City in the League Cup.

The match will take place at Cullompton Rangers’ Speeds Meadow ground (2pm), with the winners progressing in the cup and the losers going into the plate competition.

The two Devon teams only met in pre-season, with Argyle coming away with an 8-3 win. The last time they met in the league was in the 2016/17 season when the Pilgrims completed the double with 4-1 and 6-0 wins.

Exeter started their season with an impressive 3-0 win against Larkhall Athletic in the South West Division One.

Argyle manager Dave Leonard is taking a squad of 16 players up the A38. He will be without defender Mollie Taylor, but Darcey Hepworth, who is going away to university soon, comes in as cover. There is also a place in the squad for Cornish youngster Lucy Solloway, who had been out with a long-term injury.

“We will treat them no different to how we treated Crawley last week,” said Leonard.

“I know they (Exeter) are on a crest of a wave at the moment after promotion last year.

“We played them in pre-season and that’s probably the best Exeter team I’ve seen for a long time. They have recruited some really good experienced players.

“At the end of the day, it will be a tough game for us. I’m not taking anything for granted, I will treat them with the utmost respect. We will treat them as a normal National League game. Hopefully, it will be a good game for the neutral.”

Argyle: Becky Kyle, Katie Middleton, Ebony Dover, Leah Burridge, Faye Ivall, Helen Bleazard, Amber Pollock, Zoe Cunningham, Kayley Lane, Becky Dandridge, Jessica Jones, Natasha Knapman, Lucy Solloway, Beth Everson, Ellie Bishop, Darcey Hepworth.

Meanwhile, Argyle’s development side play their last pre-season friendly against Lakeside at their new home venue, the Manadon Hub

Once again it will be a very youthful looking Argyle team with 16-year-old Leah Johnson coming into the squad.

However, they can call on double player-of-the-year Kiara Robins after injury. The team is also bolstered by the return of American, Rachel Heron, who has returned to the area after working away.

Manager Rob Bonney said: “We have lost a couple of players once more to unavailability and first team call ups, but this gives a chance to the youngsters to put themselves into the frame for our first (league) game of the season.”

He added: “It is a massive plus to have Rachel back. To have her experience around these youngsters will be invaluable. Things moved rapidly after she contacted us early in the week – she signed and was training with us by Wednesday.”

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