After suffering relegation from League One last season, Plymouth made their move for Bury’s manager Ryan Lowe, who had just guided the Shakers to promotion after only one season in English football’s fourth tier, after he was appointed as permanent boss following a successful caretaker period.
As Lowe made the move from Gigg Lane to Home Park, a number of his former players followed with midfielders Danny Mayor and Callum McFadzean, striker Dominic Telford, winger Byron Moore and defender Will Aimson all moving on free transfers to join their former boss on the Devonshire coast.
The new additions have helped to strengthen what was a depleted Argyle squad who saw as many as 17 players from last season’s squad departing Home Park for pastures new.
And the use of these new incomings has been interesting to say the least, with Lowe deploying his charges in an abstract 3-1-4-2 formation which focuses on getting the best out of his creative player’s, Mayor and Sarcevic’s individual skills.
By deploying Mayor and McFadzean on the left side of the midfield four, Plymouth possess two players who are capable of interchanging positions with each other, with the more natural winger of the two, McFadzean, usually starting on the left, with Mayor tucked inside in a more creative wide-central midfield role that allows him to get on the ball and create chances through key passes.
This tactical positioning allows Mayor to create more goal scoring opportunities for himself as it gives him the licence to roam into space with a lower amount of defensive responsibility, than was required of him during his time at Bury where he played in a wide left position that required him to track back to help out the full back on the left side.
With the talented Mayor contributing 11 assists last season for the Shakers, it is clear that Lowe wants to provide the winger-come-playmaker with a role than allows him to be closer to the goal.
And this thinking is also portrayed in the decision to deploy McFadzean in a wide role, as he is a player that has experience of contributing in both attack and defence, meaning that he can take up the role of a dynamic wing-back when Plymouth are defending. This will help to prevent the Argyle back three from getting overloaded on the left.
The impact of the two signings from Bury has been clear to many since their arrival at Home Park, with Mayor contributing one goal, two assists and McFadzean notching two goals, one assist, to underline how important the duo are on the left hand side of the Argyle midfield.