Argyle / Football

Argyle Ladies lose star midfielder Jones ahead of FA Cup third round tie with Watford

PLYMOUTH Argyle Ladies head for Watford for their FA Cup third round tie on Sunday without top midfielder Jessica Jones.

The England under-20 international joined Argyle last season after playing professional football for Foothills of Calgary and went on to score 12 goals from 22 appearances and was named manager’s player of the year.

Jones’ all-action midfield style has been an integral part of Argyle’s decent start to this season and she has netted five times in 11 appearances this term.

The midfielder, who had returned to England to train as a child minder, has now taken up a post in the Middle East.

Argyle manager Dave Leonard said: “Losing Jessie will be a massive blow – you are taking an England under-20 international out of the system and you know the difference.

“Good luck to her, she has a good career ahead of her, and we wish her all the best but the door is always open if she ever wants to come back.”

The loss of Jones will be a major blow to Leonard, who will also be without flying winger Amber Pollock.

Pollock could be out for the rest of the season with a knee injury along with Becky Dandridge (back).

Kayley Lane and Helen Bleazard are also suffering knocks but have been included in the squad as has goalkeeper Ben Kyle, who returns after a long-term hand injury.

Leonard added: “Losing Amber (Pollock) is also a big blow as she brings balance to the side, but we’ve just got to close ranks and give it a go as it will be a really tough game.

“Goalkeeper Kyle has worked hard since injuring a wrist and goalkeeping coach Jason Haswell has been doing a lot of work but we will see how the wrist reacts.”

Leonard will be without five of the starting squad who played in the 5-4 defeat against Watford at Home Park before Christmas.

“We will be looking at injuries with several key players missing, but I have included youngsters Beth Everson and Nelinha Barros from the development team,” said Leonard.

Leonard has also added young midfielder Nelinha Barros to the squad from the development team. The youngster has made 11 appearances scoring three goals for them.

“She has worked really well in training, I think a lot of her, I like the way she does things,” said Leonard. “She is a committed youngster and this is a reward for her hard work and commitment.”

He added: “We have got to be resilient, we have lost our last two league games but the last time we did that we went on a run of 11 games unbeaten. We need to start 2020 on the front foot.”

If Argyle were to win they could meet a top Super League team in the next round.

Argyle (from): Ben Kyle, Katie Middleton, Lydia Huntley, Mollie Taylor, Bow Jackson, Leah Burridge, Ebony Dover, Kayley Lane, Zoe Cunningham, Helen Bleazard, Natasha Knapman, Faye Ivall, Steph Beck, Bethany Everson, Nelinha Barros.

Meanwhile, Argyle’s development team also return to action when they travel to Feniton in the South West League Western Division.

The young Pilgrims go into the new year knowing that after a terrible start to the season they have won their last six matches to head the table. However, the league is so tight that anyone of four teams could take the title, including second-placed Feniton.

Argyle have played Feniton twice this season, winning 9-5 in the league and 7-3 in the cup.

They will have to do without captain Rachel Javan, who is still is struggling with a hamstring injury, and Greece international Panagiota Papaioannou.

On the plus side, they welcome back the experienced Ellie Bishop, Jodie Randall and Rachel Heron.

Argyle Development: Maddie Walsh, Rachel Heron, Isla Brumhead, Jodie Randall, Maisie Williams, Kiara Robins, Maddy Leppard, Hannah Brock, Nicola Champion, Beth Cowd, Chardonnay James, Ellie Bishop, Dee Newman, Lucy Solloway, Leah Johnson.

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