Friday, January 28, 2011

Plymouth losing battle to hold talented young Irish striker

Plymouth Argyle face a fight to hold onto their talented 19-year-old Irish striker Joe Mason.

Manager Peter Reid has revealed a number of clubs have inquired about Mason and while Reid is desperate to see the Ireland under-21 international stay at Home Park, the Pilgrims' financial plight could force them into a reluctant sale. Mason signed a two-year extension to his contract last January.

Reid said: "In an ideal world, Joe Mason certainly isn't a player I would like to lose because he has got great potential.

"I think he has showed that recently. He has been terrific while he has got a run in the side, playing in that position in the hole off the front man."

Mason has scored three goals since the start of 2011, with one coming in the 3-2 win at Bristol Rovers on January 4.

Then, a week later, the former Pilgrims' apprentice netted twice in the 3-2 defeat away to Huddersfield Town.

He played much of that match as a lone striker after the early dismissal of defender Curtis Nelson.

Reid said: "I thought Joe was outstanding at Huddersfield when he went up top by himself and was getting in between the centre-halves.

"It was a very mature performance from the young man, to be perfectly honest."

Plymouth born Mason qualifies to represent Ireland via his mother who comes from County Mayo. He represented Ireland at Under-18 level before being called up to the Under-19's and eventually making his Under-21 debut in September last year against Switzerland.