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Papa Johns Trophy

What has Steven Schumacher said ahead of the Papa Johns Trophy Final?

30 March 2023

Plymouth Argyle boss Steven Schumacher is hoping to give the Green and White Army a day out to remember at this Sunday's Papa Johns Trophy Final.

On this week's episode of the Official EFL Podcast, the 38-year-old joined his Bolton Wanderers counterpart Ian Evatt to preview the Final.

Read every word that the Pilgrims manager said in the run-up to this weekend's showpiece...

‘Attendance blows your mind’

"It just blows your mind. Argyle last went to Wembley in 2016 in the Play-Off Final and we sold 33,000 for that and by all accounts, it’s wasn’t a good experience. The team didn’t play very well on the day and were beaten by Wimbledon, so everybody remembers that for the wrong reasons

"I want to make sure that it’s a good game of football. We’re two teams whose styles gel quite well and they’re always exciting games when we play against them. The game at their place was 0-0 but probably shouldn’t have been. Hopefully we can put on a good performance for our fans who are just amazing for the distances that they travel."

‘A new pair of shoes’

"Plymouth Argyle is everything to the people of the city. My wife and I were just walking around this morning – I had to go and get a pair of shoes for Sunday – and there were so many people stopping me in the street saying, ‘good luck’ and ‘we’re going to be there.’ Everyone is just buzzing for it. You’ll see me limping with blisters all around the pitch – the physio will be on hand!"

‘A good chance to use the youngsters’

"We felt it was a good chance early on to play some young players from our Academy. We have an Under-18s but we don’t have anything then until the first-team – we decided a few years ago we didn’t have the finances to support an Under-23s team. It’s a good chance for us to see those players mixing and I decided this year to try and put four or five youngsters in with four or five seniors and see how we go.

"The games kept coming and we kept ticking them off and putting in good performances. We just wanted to keep winning. We’ve really enjoyed the experience and now we’re in the Final and it’s going to be a brilliant day that hopefully everyone can enjoy."

‘Hard conversations to be had’

"The hardest part is trying to keep everybody in your squad motivated when you’re trying to name a team and go through the reasons of why’re you’re picking that team but trying to convince people that they’re still part of it. I genuinely feel as though, this season, our players have been brilliant and they’ve accepted decisions we’ve had to make.

"It’s not going to be any easier on Sunday when you’re playing at Wembley which is where everyone wants to play. There’s going to be certain people that will miss out on the squad and that will be the hardest conversation to have.

"It happened to be one time when I got left out of the starting 11 in a Play-Off Final for Fleetwood and it broke me. It was the last game of the season and I stewed on that all the summer. Thankfully, this weekend, it’s not the last game of the season and there’s still eight more cup finals for us. Everybody will play their part."

‘They’ve got momentum’

"The success that Ian (Evatt) has had with Bolton over the last few seasons has been amazing. They’re a team who are so strong in loads of different areas. They’ve been like that now for a few years. When they get the momentum behind them, they’re a tough team to stop. The run they went on, getting out of League Two was incredible.

"The first season in League One, they played some amazing football and got going again towards the second half of the season, and they’ve started this season really well and been in contention in the top six pretty much all season. I’ve got nothing but respect. He’s someone who I can definitely look at."

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