Director of football Neil Dewsnip says there is no reason for Plymouth Argyle not to be confident about their game against Burton Albion on Saturday, even though two mainstays of the side will be away on international duty.
Defender Brendan Galloway and striker Luke Jephcott have been called up by Zimbabwe and Wales under-21s respectively.
Argyle could have asked for the League One fixture against Burton to be postponed had a third member of their squad been on international duty.
However, to the surprise of everyone at Home Park, Panutche Camara was not selected by Guinea-Bissau for their latest two 2022 World Cup qualifiers.
The strong-running 24-year-old midfielder has been in superb form for the Pilgrims during the first two months of the season.
Camara was selected by Guinea-Bissau for their first two World Cup qualifiers last month but did not join up with the squad because one of the games was in a UK Government red-list country – Sudan.
EFL clubs collectively decided not to release their players for games in red-list countries because it would have involved them having to quarantine on their return and miss three domestic matches.
With Camara not called up this time, Argyle have no option but to play Burton without Galloway and Jephcott, in addition to long-term injured duo James Bolton and Niall Ennis.
Defender James Wilson will replace Galloway after sitting out the 2-2 draw at Lincoln City on Saturday due to concussion.
Whether any of the trio of Conor Grant (hamstring), George Cooper (ankle) and Danny Mayor (thigh) will be fit to return to the squad is unclear.
Dewsnip: told Plymouth Live: “We are probably a little surprised that Panutche has not been called up, I think everybody would say, but that’s the way it is.
“This is why you have a squad, and this is why I think we are in a better place this season from last season.
“The squad is broader in terms of its quality so it will be an opportunity for two people to come in and take that opportunity.
“I don’t know what Ryan’s thinking, quite frankly, at this stage of the week but he will already have his plan.
“The team generally is performing well, I’m sure we would all agree, so it’s a good time for people to step in and it gives them an opportunity to succeed.”
When asked whether he thought it was unfair that Argyle had to play against Burton without two players on international duty, Dewsnip had a simple answer.
He said: “It doesn’t matter whether it’s fair or not, it’s a FIFA rule so we just have to deal with it.
“Listen, let me say, I think if we have got international players that’s a really positive sign for our football club. We just have to be confident that we can go and perform in the way that we have been doing without the two lads.
“We are playing well. We have got no reason other than to be confident, I’m sure Ryan would want everybody to think.”
Guinea-Bissau began the second round of African qualifying for the 2022 World Cup last month by picking up four points from two games.
They drew 1-1 at home to Guinea and then went to Sudan and beat them 4-2 to sit top of Group I.
They now have a doubleheader against Morocco tomorrow (Wednesday) and on Saturday, when both games being hosted by their opponents, first in Rabat and then Casablanca.
Dewsnip wondered whether the fact that Guinbea-Bissau were unbeaten in their first two World Cup qualifiers led to Camara not being selected this time.
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He said: “I don’t know the facts so this is just a personal view. He didn’t go last time, obviously, because of the red list country rules.
“They won, so maybe the coach has just gone with the same group of players that he had. There would be a common sense to that.
“We are all seeing Panutche play extremely well right now, but every coach likes to stick with a winning team, so maybe it’s just as simple as that.”
Argyle against Burton is one of only four games in League One now scheduled to take place on Saturday because of international call-ups.
The others are Ipswich Town vs Shrewsbury Town, Sheffield Wednesday vs Bolton Wanderers, and Wycombe Wanderers vs Gillingham.
Do you think it is right that Argyle should have to play Burton without Brendan Galloway and Luke Jephcott away on international duty? Have your say in our comments section HERE