A Round-up of Argyle News
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Greens on Screen's Daily Diary is a compilation of Argyle news, with help from these and other Argyle-related sites.
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Also included on the three most recent days, facts from Argyle's history.
John Sheridan is hoping that new signing Enoch Showunmi will help the Pilgrims score some 'ugly' goals to take them into the League 2 play-offs. Much-travelled Enoch, 31, has joined Argyle on loan from League 1 Notts County for the last seven games of their campaign, with the Pilgrims currently four points and two places outside qualification for the play-offs. "I've always liked him," said John. "I can remember when he was at Luton and Leeds, and he's a real handful on his day. He gives us something a little bit different. I'm very pleased to get him. He can put himself about. I watched him earlier in the season at Fleetwood and he terrorised their back four. He gives us that little presence up front, a little bit of height. We've also got Reuben Reid and Marvin Morgan; Lewi Alessandra won't be too far away, hopefully. Whoever I play, we are going to go for it. We have just got to get people in the box, and when the ball goes in, score ugly goals - he'll give us that." Enoch joined his new team-mates for the first time on Monday to begin the build-up to two crucial away matches, at Burton, on Saturday, and Newport three days later. "We know what we have to do," said John. "It's in our hands. If we can win our games, we will be there or thereabouts. We have got to go all out for it and be really attack-minded and, if we can get one or two results quickly, we will be in there. I watched Burton at York on Saturday. They are a good solid outfit and have won a lot of games 1-0. We are going to give it a right go. It's a good game for us and will be a good test."
Enoch Showunmi has been speaking about his move to Argyle and is eager to show the Green Army that there is more to his game than just being an out and out target-man. "I like the ball to my feet as well," said Enoch, "I like running with the ball. I've got a bit of pace for someone who is 6ft 5in, so it does surprise defenders a bit. There's more rounded aspects to my game, but I will do what the manager needs me to do in the team: if he wants me to be the target-man, I can do that; if he wants me to run in the channels, I can do that also. I can mix up my game a bit." Enoch comes to Home Park after a recent spell along the coast at Torquay United. "Hopefully I can help the boys push on a bit," he said, before joining his new team-mates for Monday-morning training. "I will do my utmost. Obviously, I'm fit I've played a few games for Torquay and I will do my best here, use my experience, and hopefully it will be a good seven games. "I was at Torquay at loan and the renewal didn't go through for whatever reason. It was kind of a last-minute thing when Argyle came in, and I thought 'Yeah, I'll come down'. I know the manager has been after me a few times in the past." Nigerian international Enoch made his Football League debut at Home Park, for Luton, and has since played for seven other clubs in England and Scotland, and is familiar with at least two of his new team-mates. "I've got memories," he said, of his first game, which ended with an early substitution after he picked up a yellow card. "It was great to make my debut. There was a big crowd. It wasn't the greatest game for myself, but I remember it clearly. I come in now, a lot of years down the line, and have established myself as a player. I played with Maxime Blanchard at Tranmere, and me and Marvin Morgan go way back to even before we were professional footballers."
The Green Taverners have announced that all the PAFC staff who entered the Accelerated Payment Scheme after administration have been paid all their payments due. Argyle have thanked all the fans who have supported our initiatives, either through attending our Fan Fests, or directly through sponsorships, auctions and draws. Argyle also thanked the staff for their patience during the two years of fundraising to achieve the end result. The Green Taverners intend to carry on supporting "the badge", and money raised will be utilized by those organizations within the infrastructure of PAFC who are in need.
Argyle have signed Notts Country striker Enoch Showumni on loan in the final minutes of the loan window. 31 year old Showumni made his professional debut against Argyle in 2003 for Luton and will wear the number 29 shirt with the greens. He will link up with his new teammates on Monday.
Youth team midfielder Keiran Asumad-Sayki has joined Chesham United (coached by former Argyle captain Darren Purse) until the end of the season. Asumadi-Sayki will leave the club permanently in the Summer having not been offered a professional deal
John Sheridan did not pull any punches following Argyle's 2-1 defeat by Exeter City, condemning his side's second-half performance. The Pilgrims went into the break 1-0 up, thanks to a 45th-minute Reuben Reid penalty, but that was as good as things got for the Green Army. Second-period strikes from Liam Sercombe and Eliot Richards turned the game on its head, and sent the Grecians home with three vital points and bragging rights for Devon this season. Following the game, John pointed towards an abject second-half performance as the reason for his side's defeat, and sought reasons for their downward turn. John said: "I'm watching a different set of players come out for the second half, when we should be on the up, and raising our game. Because you have a 10 or 15-minute break in the middle of the match, you come out a different player, do you? I just really don't understand it. It's a big downer, obviously, in a big derby game. I'm asking questions in the dressing-room after the game, but no-one could give me any answers." Argyle have now surrendered a first-half lead in consecutive games, following a point dropped at Accrington on Saturday, taking only one point from them and Sheridan believes their lack of possession and passing quality played a huge part in both of those results. "The biggest problem for us is that we just did not retain the ball," said John. "We couldn't string two passes together and, when we did pass, it was at the wrong time. We just gave Exeter the momentum. Even Saturday's game still haunts me, and today was the same, actually. We gave the ball away so much." The Greens still sit ninth in League 2, three points off the play-off places, and the gaffer knows that keeping the ball better for longer is needed to continue a push for promotion. "If you don't keep hold of the ball, it will come back to haunt you," he said. "If you want to go any further or higher, and play like that, you'll get punished. There was no danger in the second half from us, but that's Second Division football."
John Sheridan revealed he will be looking into the possibility of bringing in a new striker after Argyle's 2-1 defeat by Exeter City. The Greens' only goal of their loss came from Reuben Reid, who bagged his 20th of the campaign, becoming only the third player to reach that season for Argyle in the last 30 years the last being Steve Castle in the 1993-94 campaign. After the game, Sheridan recognised that his side cannot lean too much on Reuben's form, and will be considering bringing in other attacking options before the loan transfer deadline on Thursday. "I can't keep relying on Reuben," said John." He was the only threat we had tonight, so I've got to look at that. If I can bring someone in before Thursday, I'll try and do that." The Pilgrims' attacking options have no doubt also been hindered by the loss of Lewis Alessandra, who has been sidelined with a hamstring injury, and the boss admitted that choosing a side without Lewis may force him to delve into the loan market this week. John said: "Lewi has been a big loss for us. He keeps hold of the ball so well for us, and keeps the ball in the opposition's half."
Reuben Reid is now Argyle's most prolific goalscorer for 20 seasons. The 25-year-old Bristolian netted his 20th strike of the season in last Tuesday's Devon Expressway Derby. In doing so, he became the first Pilgrim to claim 20 goals in a campaign since midfielder Steve Castle found the net 22 times in the 1993-94 season. Only three other times in the last 30 years has an Argyle payer scored 20 or more times, and, on all three coccasions, the player was the same one: Tommy Tynan. Reuben drew level with Tommy's 1986-87 mark when he converted a 45th-minute penalty in the midweek defeat by Exeter. Tommy also scored 26 goals in the 1988-89 season and a massive 32 goals in the 1984-85 campaign. In fact, Tommy was the Pilgrims' leading scorer on five occasions in all, netting 19 goals in 1987-88 and 18 in 1989-90, making the club's leading scorer in six of the seven seasons between 1983-90. Two of Reuben's current Argyle team-mates have also been the club's leading scorer. Paul Wotton's prowess from penalties and free-kicks helped him top the goal charts in 2004-05 (with 13 goals) and 2005-06 (9), while Jason Banton's six strikes last season earned him top spot. Other notable Pilgrims who have been the club's leading scorer since Tommy hit his 32 are: Adrian Littlejohn, whose 18 goals in 1995-96 helped Argyle win promotion; David Friio, who spearheaded the 2003-04 Division 2 title triumph with 15 goals; and Graham Coughlan, whose 11 goals made him joint-top scorer with Friio in the record-breaking 2001-02 Third Division championship success.
In a very disappointing result for both local bragging rights and Argyle's play-off push, The Greens lost 2-1 at home to Exeter City in the Devon Derby tonight. Exeter have now done the double over Argyle- the first time they have done so in over 20 years. On a positive note, Reuben Reid got his 20th goal of the season just before half-time from the penalty spot but Exeter scored twice in the second half and the home side were unable to change their fortunes. Argyle now lie 9th and three points off the play-offs. Argyle: Cole, Blanchard, Trotman, Nelson, Gurrieri, Wotton(Banton), Hourihane, Young, Parsons(Berry), Reid, Obedayi(Morgan) Subs: Dawson, Boco, Harvey, Blizzard
It is not unknown for some managers to play down the importance of local derbies: just another game; we can only get three points, same as if we beat anyone else; that sort of thing. John Sheridan is not one of those managers. "This is a massive game for us," he said, on the eve of Tuesday's Derby against Exeter City. "This is the one we want to win." Added spice is given to the Home Park encounter which will draw a gate well into five figures by the respective positions of the two League 2 teams with just eight games: Argyle are one place outside the play-off positions, on goal-difference; Exeter are still not yet sure of avoiding relegation. John said: "It's a great game for the supporters and a big game for them. This is about bragging rights. This is the one that they want. At this stage of the season, it is a really big game because we want the three points, and that's what we are going to try to get. In derby games, sometimes you don't worry about who's going to play the best football it's about getting three points and usually they are tight affairs. I expect a really tough game. If I was a player, I'd be really looking forward to it. I'd be desperate to play. These are the games you want to play in: full house; night game they are always a good atmosphere." For Argyle's players, there is the chance for redemption after a performance in Saturday's 1-1 draw at Accrington that left the manager "probably the angriest I've been all season", and the opportunity to remain in the pack of teams that are chasing a play-off spot. "Games are running out, but we're still in the hunt and we know the importance of getting three points," said John. "We have shown decent form. Deep down, I know a point wasn't a bad point on Saturday, but now it is important we get three points. Because we know we've got to win games to stay in that group. It's very tight. It'll be a great atmosphere. I don't look at league positions - it's a derby; it's going to be tight; you have got to earn the right to win the game. It's for the supporters, this one; if we win this, it'll be for the supporters."
Argyle were beaten 3-1 by Exeter when they visited their Devon city rivals in October. Since then, the two sides have each experienced a massive swing in fortune, with Exeter tumbling down the League 2 table from third place, and Argyle inching towards the play-offs from 19th spot. "That was ages ago," said John, when reminded about the earlier encounter. "Different teams; different players mostly; different formation. I don't think 3-1 was a fair scoreline. If we can get a good result, it will be great for supporters." Okay, then, maybe just the hint of revenge. However, the reverence is genuine. Like many other football observers, John recognises the transformation of Exeter under Paul Tisdale's long management, in terms of both achievement and style. "They are a good footballing side," said John. "He has done a great job there. They have done well, over the years. They are not doing so well this season I did not expect them to be where they are now and they play good football. We'll respect them. "They are an attractive side if you let them play. That's the way Paul has them playing. But we are the home team I expect nothing less than three points." Most of a large five-figure crowd will be hoping that Argyle can carry on where they left off in their recent Home Park matches, when they outplayed top-three sides Chesterfield and Scunthorpe. "Hopefully, we'll show the form we've shown of late," said John. "If we play like we did against Scunthorpe and Chesterfield in the last two home games, Exeter will have a very hard night."
Paul Wotton admits there will be an extra dimension to his tenth Devon Expressway Derby on Tuesday night, but does not feel any added pressure because of it. "It's a big game for both teams, for different reasons," said Wottsy. "There's a bit more on this one, than normal. "We have got high standards and goals for this season, and we are going to need three points to go towards achieving those goals; Exeter had a fantastic result on Saturday, but they'd like a few more points than they've got, I'm sure. If we beat Exeter, that's seven points from nine; if you do that until the end of the season, you are in the play-offs. It's an important game. I don't feel any pressure on us. The last two seasons have been...I'm going to say 'traumatic'. I don't think that's too big a word one game away from going out of the Football League and so on. It's a great game to look forward to. It's a game to go out and enjoy the atmosphere and the occasions, and just play the game we all love playing. It's going to be raining; it's going to be under lights. It will be a real good atmosphere. I think a lot of players like playing at night. There's something special about playing under floodlights. I haven't played a night derby game against Exeter at home, but they seem to be better occasions. I'm glad it's a night game and even more pleased it's at Home Park." Wottsy made his Devon Expressway Derby debut in a night game at Home Park, a 4-1 FA Cup second-round triumph in 1996, and has played in another six wins against the old enemy. The only time he has tasted defeat was earlier in this League 2 season, when Exeter won 3-1 at St James Park. That loss is long forgotten by the players, if not the Green Army. Wottsy said: "You are not going to be sat in the changing-room thinking 'Oh no we lost 3-1 to these lot last time.' That's not how it works. You don't get caught up in revenge missions, either. "It's a game the whole city is looking forward to the fact that they beat us before is irrelevant." Argyle's number 15 believes Argyle's number 12 will have an important role on Tuesday. He said: "Everyone knows, when it is double-figures here [at Home Park] and we are on top, or playing well, or score a goal, it really does become quite an intimidating place to play. It's up to us to raise the crowd; hopefully, once we do that, they will get us through the game. They are a massive part and, when they are loud and altogether, it can only have a positive effect. And it does have a positive effect."
The look in John Sheridan's face told, not to mention the tone of his voice, told you all you needed to know about his feelings following Argyle's 1-1 draw at Accrington on Saturday. For those insensitive to others moods, he was happy to spell it out, using the word 'angry', or a derivative four times in his short post-match media briefing. "This is probably the angriest I've been all season," the Pilgrims' manager declared, as an opening gambit. We've got a draw. Not good enough for me." The main cause of his ire was his players' inability to build on, or even to hang on to, the first-half lead given them by striker Reuben Reid's 19th goal of the season. They were eventually pegged back with 10 minutes to go when Tom Aldred headed home a cross by former Pilgrim Lee Molyneux from close range. With in-form York winning, Argyle slipped out of the division's play-off places, just four days after reaching them following a 2-1 beating of league leaders Chesterfield. "The game was definitely there for the taking," said John. "Once you get a goal up, just see the game through. So many times, we put ourselves under pressure, it was unbelievable. We put ourselves under pressure in the second half from three corners in identical positions. That's a middle-of the table or relegation team: Scunthorpe or Chesterfield wouldn't have done that. That's the difference between them and us. I am angry, and I've told the players that I'm angry because we've got enough experience on the pitch to see the game through, and people are just doing their own little thing. What an opportunity there, and it's just know-how on the pitch, the players having know-how. You don't try and pass the ball in the middle of the pitch, where it's muddy. You try and get the ball down the side, and when we did that, we caused a threat. We had good possession and we always looked threat on the counter, but we just do the basic things...argh unbelievable. It's just the basics. I say it all the time repeat, repeat, repeat: the basics. I'm really angry. That is a great opportunity of getting three points and putting ourselves in a healthy position, and we've just let it go. They have just lost two points. Full credit to Accrington they came back into the game, but we gave them a bit of belief by doing stupid things, and we end up conceding a goal. It's probably the heat of the moment but I'm not happy at all. I just think it was a really, really good opportunity, and we've just let it go. The goal is a joke. I can see it happening, and I'm 80 yards away. How long was there to go when they scored? Ten minutes? It does my head in at times. I tell you. It is unbelievable how we just let it go. I'm hurting. I hope some of them are hurting."
In the wake of Saturday's draw with his former club Accrington Stanley, Rommy engaged in a little compare and contrast exercise between Argyle's early-season form and their current play-off chasing endeavours. John Sheridan's summer rebuilding of the Pilgrims has resulted in a slow-burner of a season: seven League 2 defeats in their opening 12 games has given way to just six reversals in the subsequent 26. "If you want to progress, you need a good group of lads," said Rommy, "and that is exactly what we've got. It is a shame that we didn't get it at the beginning of the season but, when you have got ten new players in the team coming from everywhere, to make them grow like each other is not easy. You have to build a team, and that is not easy to do. You can see the difference between the first ten games and the last ten games. When a team is confident, you can see the players' faces are happy. It was different at the beginning when you go in the changing room and you are losing, everyone is looking at each other, but now you can see everyone is happy." 'Everyone' is an apt term. The unity in the Pilgrims' squad means that, despite the disappointing result at Accrington which dropped them out of League 2's top seven, Argyle's hopes of making the play-offs remain live. "In the last five games, there are maybe 17 or 18 players that have been starting," said Rommy. "That tells you the mentality of the club. At training, everyone is happy. There are no bad eggs in training. That is most important. It doesn't matter which players play, if we keep winning and we keep getting points, we can only go one way and that is to the play-offs. I can't see us not going there. Everyone is focused on it. This is not a club to be staying in this league, so the pressure is on the manager and the players. All we have got to do is keep believing."
The draw at Accrington has made Tuesday's Devon Expressway Derby a must-win game for Argyle, according to John Sheridan. The Gaffer was already calling the match the club's biggest game of the season. He ratcheted up the stakes at the Crown Ground, saying: "If we'd won today, we could have gone into the Exeter derby and been happy with a draw. Now we have got to win." He revealed that he had left Plymothians Paul Wotton and Luke Young out of Saturday's starting 11 with one eye on the midweek match, and gave further indication that Wottsy may win a place in the derby starting line-up when he cited a lack of communication on the pitch as a reason for the disappointing result against Accrington. "Have we got no leaders because Wotton's not playing?" he asked. "We've got a bunch of mutes on the pitch. He's not the quickest; he's not the best passer, or whatever; he just talks. Why can't people talk and shout and organise when you are winning 1-0? I expect you to be quiet if you are getting beaten 3-0 or 4-0 but, when you are winning 1-0 with ten minutes to go, why can't people organise and shout and say 'Don't do that do this; that is causing us a problem.' Why can't they see it on the pitch? It's just me all the time, from the side. I'm sick of my own voice."
Argyle's biggest game of the season will be played in front of Home Park's biggest crowd of the season. Advance ticket sales for the Devon Derby against Exeter City have already surpassed 10,000. With four days still to go before the eagerly-anticipated encounter, the gate of 10,126 that saw the 2-0 home win over Torquay United is set to be dwarfed. The Green Army seem to be heeding Pilgrims' manager John Sheridan's call to get right behind his team as they push to finish their season in the play-off places. "Exeter is the biggest game of the season," said John this week. "So I want everyone to come and support us and get behind the team." As a result of the expected pressure on turnstiles, Argyle are opening up earlier on Tuesday, at 6.15pm instead of 6.30pm, and encouraging the Green Army to give themselves plenty of time to get to Home Park and to arrive earlier than they normally would.
John Sheridan is confident that his squad will remain strong in the League 2 run-in despite the loss of two key forwards. A hamstring injury late in Tuesday night's 2-1 victory over league leaders Chesterfield will keep Lewis Alessandra out of action for around a month. Tope Obadeyi will return to parent-club Bury when his loan expires following Tuesday's eagerly-anticipated Devon Derby against Exeter City at Home Park. "It's going to be fours weeks, probably," said John, of Lewi's injury. It's a similar injury to what Jason Banton had, and he was out three or four weeks. "Hopefully, it will heal quickly. He has never done it before. It's just a crying shame, because he has been playing so well for us and he was in really good form. To get an injury at this time of the season is really hard, but he will heal quickly and hopefully we can pick up some good results without him. It is just one of those injuries that there is not a lot you can do about. Hopefully he's a quick healer and he will be back toward the last few games. We should still be in a good position where he could help us to push on." Tope's loan reaches its limit after Tuesday's game; John said: "I knew the situation when I brought him in. I could only bring him in for so long. Hopefully he can just help us get points. When he goes, I will have to think about it, but I have got plenty of players who can play there. I've got Morgan, Banton, and Boco. I have got a big squad to pick from. I believe that, whoever I pick, we will get results and if I make changes we will get the results we are after. I want them to play, because we are winning games."
Argyle were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw at Accrington Stanley after a hard-fought battle. Argyle grittily went about their business and took a first-half lead through Reuben Reid. However, for the first time this season, Argyle failed to convert a half-time lead into three points, in the end succumbing to an Accrington equaliser scored by central defender Tom Aldred. Argyle: Cole, Blanchard, Trotman, Nelson, Gurrieri, Blizzard, Boco (Banton), Hourihane, Parsons, Obadeyi (Morgan), Reid. Substitutes (not used): Young, Wotton, Harvey, Purrington, Dawson.
John Sheridan has quelled excitement ahead of the Devon Expressway derby on Tuesday, instead reminding Argyle fans and players to focus on the next game against Accrington tomorrow. The manager added that whilst he's aware Exeter is a big game, getting into the play-offs is the most important thing. Sheridan said: "I want us to win at Accrington and get full on against Exeter, and I am sure will we will. Exeter is the biggest game of the season, so I want everyone to come and support us and get behind the team so that we can get three points for that game. But I have got to be aware and look forward to Accrington. Exeter is a massive game and I want all the supporters getting there and getting behind the team and push us on. We have got nine cup finals. I said before the Chesterfield game that we are in a mini-league of ten teams. Let's finish in the top three of that league and we will be where we want to be at the end of the season."
Youngsters River Allen and Aaron Bentley have been offered professional contracts with Argyle starting next season. Today was the judgement day in which the under-18s found out if they were grtting a professional deal for next season- Nathan Summers, Keiran Assumadi-Sakyi, Josh Hutchinson and Sol Wheatley have been confirmed to be leaving the club.
Reuben Reid has expressed a bittersweet feeling following the win against Chesterfield on Tuesday night. Whilst Reid was delighted with the win and his own goals, he was gutted at losing his fellow striker Lewi Alessandra to injury. John Sheridan today confirmed that Alessandra could be absent for 4-6 weeks and Reid expressed disappointment: "The only thing disappointing about tonight is we are going to miss Lewi for a bit now. He said he felt his hamstring go and it's not a little tweak, either. That's going to be a massive blow but we have got the squad for people to come in. Hopefully, they can do the job he was doing because he was starting to tick over really nicely. He's been a spark for us with his energy. No-one really comments about how hard he works for the team. Forget what he does on the ball, just his endeavour and the way he runs around in games is good for us. Hopefully, whoever the gaffer picks to come in can come in and hit the ground running because he's massive part to how we've done in the season."
John Sheridan was eager for his players to take the plaudits following Tuesday's 2-1 triumph against Chesterfield. The Pilgrims outplayed the League 2 leaders for large periods of the game and their attacking threat paid off in the 28th minute when Reuben Reid rifled home in-off the far post. The visiting Spirites retained possession well and gave the Greens' defence much to think about at times, but it took a deflected 57th-minute shot from Ritchie Humphreys to draw them level. However, Reuben bagged himself a brace just a minute later a spectacular strike after he found room on the edge of the box. The double sent Argyle into the League 2 play-off positions and topped off another excellent team performance from all involved, as the Pilgrims' manager was eager to point afterwards. "Reuben's scored the goals that have won us the game, so he'll get all the plaudits," said John, "but it was a very good team performance. It's the players that deserve all the credit," he said. "They take a bit of grief when they get beat, so they deserve praise tonight. It was a great performance. There was a great desire and work-ethic to get the points that we were after. I thought we battled when we had to battle. We created a lot of chances and should have scored more goals. We were always lively on the break, with lots of pace, and when we had to defend, we defended. There were a couple of balls that came across the box, but we created all the big opportunities. We were well-deserved winners. I thought we looked a fit team, again, with a never-say-die attitude, and we kept going, like we have a few times this season."
After the Chesterfield match, Reuben Reid urged his team-mates to stay focused as they face "nine cup finals" between now and the end of the season. "Obviously, with the result tonight, we're in there, so it's only ours to give away. It's down to the lads to get the points and stay in there. There are nine big games for us. Cup finals, I know it's a clichι to say it, but that's what it has got to be. We have got to go everywhere and try to win every game." The result showed the Pilgrims' ability to bounce back after suffering a disappointing home defeat to Scunthorpe four days previously, and preserved a season-long record of not having suffered back-to-back league defeats. "We knew what was riding on the game," said Reuben. "We are in the play-off spots and that was a massive incentive for us. The way we've been playing lately, we went into the game full of confidence. We got ourselves in front twice and the boys have defended really well. We have shown over the course of a season, that there is not much in it between us and the teams above us and, invariably, when we score first or get our noses in front, we seem to come out on top. I thought we played really well against Scunthorpe and I felt good out there as well, but we didn't get the first goal and they ended up nicking it, really. Tonight, we got our noses in front, then conceded a very poor goal, and managed to get another one and defend really well because they put us under pressure at times." Having beaten the top side in the league, Reuben knows the Pilgrims have to maintain their form against lower though not lesser teams. He said: "If you spoke to me before Scunthorpe and Chesterfield these are the games I am not worried about. I thought we were going to beat Scunthorpe and I thought we were going to beat Chesterfield. I was confident. But I said to Durrell and Dominic 'Do you know what I'm thinking about? I'm thinking about Accrington away; I'm thinking about Bury away, Bristol Rovers away'. These are the games when things are against you the pitch; it's windy; whatever. It's all every well playing on the best pitch in the league with the best fans in the league, but can we go to Accrington and get a win and stamp our place in the play-offs?"
Andres Gurrieri was placed in unfamiliar territory agains Chesterfield, but looked far from out of place. The Argentinean came in for Durrell Berry and played in the right wing-back position as part of the Pilgrims' 3-5-2 formation that has served them well recently. Although not used to that area of the field, Andres looked accomplished and reliable all evening, something that John Sheridan very much noticed. "I thought he was excellent," said John. "I was comfortable playing him there. He's got great energy and he's good on the ball. He's probably one of the fittest at the club. He's clever on the ball, too, and can take care of himself, but it was a very good team effort." Indeed, Andres' inclusion was a further example of the depth-of-squad Sheridan has at his disposal, which could become a key factor in the Greens' promotion push. "I've got a strong squad," he said. "You can see who I've left off the bench tonight Boco, Berry - who's picked up an illness, and Blizzard. They'll be back, and they'll all be back in contention, so I'm comfortable if I make changes. I've just got to make sure I'm keeping them all ready and prepared for when I need them, because I will need them", with lots of games coming up."
Argyle are waiting anxiously on the condition of Lewis Alessandra, after he came off in the match against Chesterfield. Lewis innocuously went down soon after Reuben Reid opened the scoring and it proved to be the only low point of the evening for the Pilgrims. Alessandra was replaced by Tope Obedayi, and John Sheridan is currently uncertain as to the striker's condition. He said: "It's his hamstring. We're just going to assess him and see how he feels. It's in the physio's hands. I'm not going to think about it. If he's out, he's out. I've just got to get on with it. I'm not being harsh on him, but Lewis is no good to me if he's injured." The 25 year-old is Argyle's second highest scorer this season and, despite wanting to focus on those who are fit, John admits that not having Lewis available would be a loss to the team. "We'll try and get him back, because he's probably been our best player this season," said John. "If he's out, it would be a blow, but we're not thinking like that. We'll assess him, see if it calms down, and we'll take it from there."
Argyle kept their impressive form going last night and finally leaped above the dotted line into a play-off spot for the first time this season following a 2-1 victory over Chesterfield who led the division before the start of play tonight. Reuben Reid put Argyle ahead after 28 minutes, a lead which was carried though to half-time. Chesterfield equalised 12 minutes after the restart but Reid and Argyle's second only a minute later re-secured a lead which was not relinquished. The only downside to the night was Lewis Alessandra being forced off the pitch injured in the first half. Alessandra later took to Twitter to confirm he had suffered a hamstring injury. Argyle: Cole, Blanchard, Trotman, Nelson, Gurrieri, Wotton, Hourihane, Young, Parsons, Reid(Morgan), Alessandra(Obedayi). Subs: Dawson, Purrington, Harvey, Thomas, Banton.
For the second year in a row, Argyle have been named Family Club of the Year for League 2. At the Football League Awards in London on Sunday night, Argyle were named as the recipients of the award, honouring clubs leading the way in providing the very best experience for families across the Football League. Judged using a 'mystery shopper' scheme, the award honours the clubs that are leading the way in continuing to provide the very best experience for families across The Football League. In nominating Argyle, the Football League said: "Plymouth Argyle and its Community Trust have introduced a number of new initiatives at Home Park and enhanced existing initiatives to attract more families to games and also ensure that current users have an enjoyable experience. This included starting the PL2 crew - a new, exclusive club for young supporters, as well as offering exclusive access to first-team training sessions. The club also launched the new community trust website and the formed the Argyle Angels - a group of 14 females who supplement family activities." Ben Purrington was also on a final shortlist for League 2 Apprentice of the Year, but lost out to Bradley Walker of Hartlepool United.
John Sheridan believes that Argyle's 2-0 home defeat to Scunthorpe United was not a fair reflection of his side's performance. Despite coming up against a team who were unbeaten in 20 games, spirits and expectations were high around Home Park for Argyle, who had picked up 15 points out of a possible 21. Argyle were every bit the Iron's equal for the majority of the game but were hit with a sucker punch in the 79th minute as Dave Syers scuffed the ball home just after Lewis Alessandra had agonizingly hit the post for the Pilgrims. The visitors sealed their victory in stoppage time with what the Pilgrims' manager described as a "joke" of a goal, substitute Hakeeb Adelakun's shot hitting the post and cannoning off a helpless Jake Cole into the net. Luck, clearly, was not on Argyle's side, and the manager believes that this played a huge part in the result. "There's a rub of the green, sometimes, when you're at the top of the table," he said. "You do seem to get a little more luck than others. Most managers would agree with that. You could see that Scunthorpe have got good players that have played in higher divisions, even the Championship. They're experienced and on a good run of form, but I don't think they'll have many tougher games than they've had today. It's a shame that it ended 2-0 really. It just wasn't to be, but anyone at the game would tell you it was a closer game than it finally ended up." Despite the loss, the Green Army applauded their players as they came off the pitch a sign of their appreciation for a terrific performance. John said: "I think we put a lot of effort into the game, and I don't think we deserved that scoreline, to be fair. We matched them. They're a good team, and kept the ball a bit better than us possession-wise, but I think we always looked a threat, going forward. It was two very evenly-matched teams out there, and they're top of the league, so you can see how far we've come. I'm sure Russell Wilcox would say that he's had a really tough game today, which is good on our part. We've shown up today, and it's just a shame we didn't get anything from the game."
Argyle went down to a battling 2-0 defeat in their home match against Scunthorpe United Today. Goals from David Syers and an unlucky own-goal from Jake Cole took Scunthorpe's unbeaten run under manager Russ Wilcox to 21 and hindered Argyle's progress towards the play-off postions. Argyle: Cole, Blanchard (Obadeyi), Trotman, Nelson, Berry, Young, Blizzard (Gurrieri), Hourihane, Parsons, Alessandra, Reid (Morgan). Substitutes (not used): Boco, Wotton, Harvey, Dawson.
Argyle have reached an agreement with defender Guy Branston to release him from his contract with immediate effect. Imposing centre-back Guy is suffering from an ankle injury which has effectively ended his season and has been advised by manager John Sheridan that he will not be offered another contract when his current deal ends this summer. Therefore, the early termination of his contract will help Brano plan for his future. Larger than life personality Brano joined the Pilgrims, for a second time, in January 2013, becoming one of John Sheridan's first signings as manager and was an important part of the Argyle squad that kept the club in the Football League.
Argyle youngsters Jamie Richards and Isaac Vassell have gone out on loan to Weymouth until the end of this season. The Dorset side are currently mid-table in the 7th tier of English football and this will be Richards' second spell there, having spent two months on loan there towards the end of last season too.
Jason Banton is back available for selection after injuring his groin early on in the game against Dagenham and Redbridge last month and John Sheridan has said that he will be in the squad for tomorrow's match against Scunthorpe United. Banton picked up his injury just 10 minutes into Argyle's 2-1 win but has now made a full return to training and fitness. The only absentees from availability will be Luke McCormick and Matt Lecointe.
Conor Hourihane was especially delighted to get the winning goal against Wycombe on Tuesday night in the light of his last minute miss that cost Argyle a point at Bristol Rovers the previous Saturday. After expressing his disappointment, the Argyle skipper said that his redemption at Adams Park more than made up for it. Hourihane: "I was disappointed at not finishing in the last minute against Bristol Rovers. It was quite a similar technique, really it kind of fell the same way. I stuck my foot through it and luckily it went in and got us the three points, which everyone's very pleased about. It was a good strike. I'd like to see it again because it happened so quick. Like I say, what went through my mind was that it was very similar to Bristol Rovers. I'll take one out of two. To be at that end and for it to be the winning goal was fabulous. It makes it a little bit extra special."
John Sheridan has reminded players and fans to take things one game at a time in Argyle's play-off push. The manager said that whilst he doesn't want any pressure on the players, the top seven is the target and he is glad that for once we have something positive to play for after years of battling the job. Sheridan said: "We're not putting any pressure on the players. I've said it from day one. From the start of the season I've said I want to get to the play-offs, so they've known for a long time where I want us to be as a group. I don't think there's any pressure, but I think it's good that we're playing for something unlike last season when we were fighting to stay in the league. We've just got to stay focused. The next game is going to be one of the toughest games, so we're not getting carried away. After the game, we hope to find ourselves closer to the play-offs and closer to the teams above us, but we've got to focus on getting a clean sheet in the next game and try to get three points. We're playing the two top teams in the division and we know there's a reason that they're in the positions they are and why they're the top teams. Scunthorpe are on a really good run. Russ Wilcox has done a really good job since he's gone there so it will be a tough game for us and likewise with Chesterfield. It will be a good test for us and hopefully we can get the results we're after. The club's had some hard times but that's all in the past. Now we're looking forward and I think we are improving, we've shown a lot of character. When I came last year, there was a real down, there was a losing mentality and it's just about becoming positive, listening to the team and the players you bring in. I think we've shown that this season. It's a good sign when you lose a game away from home and then go and win one. We did it against York when we were beaten 4-0 and then won three on the trot. That's all because of the character within the team. It's important to have a good dressing room and I think I have a really good dressing room. We've clawed our way and got a few points. Some results are going our way and now we're a bit closer to teams. That's what we wanted and I'm very pleased. Now, with 11 games to go, we can achieve something."
You would have to go a long way to see a better finish than the goal that gave Argyle three points at Wycombe. Conor Hourihane's perfect volley of a dropping ball, angled across opposition goalkeeper Matt Ingram with power and precision, was a deserving match-winner of which another Irish international midfielder of an older vintage might well have been proud. "I am very pleased; it was a great finish," said John Sheridan. "He's got that in his locker. Usually, when he's in and around that area, he hits the target. When you score the first goal, you defend better because you've got something to hang on to and we've done that full credit to the players. Wycombe had one or two corners towards the end and one or two crosses but I felt comfortable for most of the game. I think it was just about getting that first goal." When the Pilgrims get their nose in front, they are very rarely headed, and so it proved as the victory put them level on points with seventh-placed Southend United. John said: "We've proved that over the season and, if we can continue that we have just got to try and win the next game and see where that takes us."
"You never know." With three words, John Sheridan encapsulated the thoughts of delighted Argyle fans following the Pilgrims' win at Wycombe Wanderers. With three of the top seven teams still to visit Home Park, and the Pilgrims taking on another away, there is still much to play for in the final 11 games of the season. While fans may dream, manager John Sheridan remains a pragmatist, albeit a slightly happy one. "All we have to do is keep ourselves in and around the teams in the play-off area, and that's what we've done," he said, after the match. "One or two results have gone our way so we're in there, and have caught up on one or two teams, so we're in with a shout. We have got two great games coming up now. Scunthorpe and Chesterfield are both flying, but we are in decent form ourselves and will believe we can win both games. I expect a big crowd. Hopefully, we can get a couple of good results. You never know. The most important thing is trying to get three points from each game we play. It was a great response after the disappointment on Saturday.
"I think we deserved to win. It's a great three points." Argyle enjoyed vast amounts of possession in the first 45 minutes without ever really troubling opposition goalkeeper Matt Ingram, a situation which was addressed at half-time. John said: "I wanted us to have bit more belief, be brave and try and pass the ball a little bit better. I think the game was there, the way Wycombe played and the way we wanted to play. I just think we didn't move the ball around quickly enough and get our wing-backs in the game. I think we did it a bit more in the second half. In the second half, I thought we were the better team. We got more in the game and created more problems for them. You rely on your strikers and, if they can keep possession of the ball in the opposition half, it gives you a better chance of creating problems. I thought we did that in the second half and were unfortunate not to score one or two more."
Argyle have moved within touching distance of the play-offs following a crucial 1-0 victory at Wycombe Wanderers. Captain Conor Hourihane got the only goal of the game in the 48th minute from the edge of the penalty area in a victory that puts Argyle on equal points with 7th placed Southend with a game in hand over them. Argyle: Cole, Blanchard, Trotman, Nelson, Berry, Blizzard, Hourihane, Young(Wotton), Parsons, Reid, Alessandra(Obedayi). Subs: Dawson, Boco, Thomas, Morgan, Gurrieri.
After five months on the sideline with a shoulder injury, Marvin Morgan was denied a timely boost on his road to full recovery by Bristol Rovers goalkeeper Steve Mildenhall in the dying moments of the defeat at to Bristol Rovers on Saturday. Mildenhall made a fine save to keep out a header by Marvin from fellow substitute Tope Obadeyi's cross, a feat which had the Argyle No. 10 seeking out first-team coach Sean McCarthy for his view on things. "I thought I'd scored and I was about to celebrate," admitted Marvin afterwards. "Obviously Macca's a striker and I said to him: 'Should I have scored, or was it a bad miss?' He said: 'You know I'd tell you the truth it was a good save'. It's frustrating. You come back from injury; a couple of sub appearances; you start to get back into it; you need a goal and I thought that was it, and it would have been 2-2, which would have been even better. It wasn't to be." Marvin's return to the fray after months working alongside Performance Manager John Harbin and physio Paul Atkinson has merely sharpened his appetite for more, but he knows he faces a battle just to get place in John Sheridan's starting 11, such is the form of Reuben Reid and Lewis Alessandra. "I have got the bit between my teeth now," he said. "I have got to try to get back into the team. It is going to be difficult. I've had this before when you have been injured and you come back and you can't get into the team. I am a realist about this. Rubes and Lewi are outstanding and are carrying the team with their goals and their general. So I have got to keep working hard in training and keep coming off the bench and try to get goals." Maybe at Wycombe on Tuesday, when with veteran Pilgrim Paul Wotton's Memorial Ground rallying call still ringing in their ears Argyle will try to keep their play-off bid going. Marvin said: "Wottsy hit the nail on the head when we were leaving. He basically said that if we go to Wycombe on Tuesday and win, that's what we want. We don't want a draw at Bristol and a draw at Wycombe okay, that's two good results, but, if you think about it, you'd take a loss and win all day long."
Ben Purrington has been named as one of the eleven stand-out youngsters in the Football League in the last quarter. Eleven talented teenagers at Football League clubs have kicked-off 2014 in style after being named in a select XI by League Football Education (LFE). 'The 11' competition recognises the football and academic progress of eleven apprentice players across the land, while also taking into account other factors including involvement in charity or community based initiatives. LFE chief executive Alan Sykes said: "This competition is directly associated with apprentice reviews that are conducted by our team of regional officer's throughout the season. It is a great way to showcase the achievements and progress of talented young footballers on the apprenticeship programme."
Argyle announced season ticket prices for the 2014-15 season. With the Earlybird offer, you can purchase a full Argyle Membership for £320, which is a saving of £140. There are also Earlybird savings to be made across all concessionary categories. Membership prices increase across the board from the 15th of April.
John Sheridan has told his players to forget the performance which led to the defeat at Bristol Rovers, and aim to put things right at Wycombe on Tuesday. "We've got to pick ourselves up," he said. "We've got a tough game against Wycombe but, if we can win there, I think three points from two tough away games would be acceptable. We were quite flat today. We just didn't get going at all. I don't think we strung two passes together all day. I don't think Bristol did, either, but they played the ball up to their front men and caused us one or two problems. They put us on the back foot more than we did them, and they played the conditions and the pitch better than we did and that's what ultimately cost us the game. I think we put the effort in but it was just a scrap and Bristol Rovers came out on top. They won the scrap and got the three points. I knew it was going to be a difficult game once I'd seen the first five-ten minutes and the pitch, but they are not excuses. It was the same for both sides and they played the conditions better than us, so fair play to them. I am very disappointed with the goals we conceded: one from a long throw and one from a simple cross to deal with. They should be dealt with, with the players we've got. We shouldn't concede, because we were set up and ready. There is not a lot you can do if people switch off in those situations. Sometimes you get punished, and we did. I didn't like watching it. It was one of those games. We might have a few of them with dry conditions as the weather gets better and the pitches aren't great, but sometimes you have just got to put yourselves up and be ready for a game like that."
Only an "unbelievable" save prevented Argyle from taking a point away from the Memorial Ground. Bristol Rovers' goalkeeper Steve Mildenhall made a super stop to thwart Marvin Morgan's late goalbound header and preserve his side's 2-1 lead. Argyle manager John Sheridan said: "It was an unbelievable save. It was a great ball from Tope Obadeyi and a great header. He made a top, top class save. I would have been very pleased with a draw and to have picked something up from the game. If we had got a point, I would have been pleased with a point, the way the game had been going. We came to win the game, but I think my lads found it very difficult." The fact that two of the Pilgrims' impact players did just that shows the strength in depth of John's current squad as it enters the gruelling vital home stretch of the season with the play-offs still very much in sight. "I've got good players on the bench and I am leaving good players out, as well," said John. "I think they are all good enough to start the game, so I feel as if they are good enough to come off the bench and change the game. That's the way we'll do it. We have got lots of games. We'll probably pick up injuries and suspensions, so I've got them all ready and prepared for when they are going to be involved." John admitted that not everyone in the near 1,400-strong travelling Green Army initially saw eye to eye with his decision to replace the side's top two goalscorers Reuben Reid and Lewis Alessandra with Marvin and Tope, but insisted he will continue to do what he feels best for the team, short-term and long. He said: "I heard one or two idiot supporters who were shouting 'Sheridan this' and 'Sheridan that'. Do they know what they are going on about? We've got how many games coming up Tuesday-Saturday-Tuesday? Am I taking Lewi off so we lose the game? I am taking him off because I'm saving him. He's played every game this season. Likewise with Reuben. I know it's only one or two that are shouting and it's just pathetic. It's purely for the benefit of the team and for Lewi. The game wasn't going his way; the game wasn't going Reuben's way; so I tried to make one or two changes. I made three changes last week and they were all involved in goals, so I was brilliant last week because I made some good subs; this week, I didn't make the subs to win us the game. I'm not a magician."
Argyle's winning streak came to an end with a 2-1 loss away to Bristol Rovers today. John Sheridan opted not to change the starting eleven that had an aggregated nine goals for and none against in their two outing, however, it was Rovers who opened the scoring on seven minutes when Chris Beardsley headed against the post and it spun into the net. A Neal Trotman header gave parity on half time, but it was Rovers, though, that nabbed a decisive goal. A floated ball from the left by Lee Brown saw Mohamed power in from the opposite flank and head home. Argyle: Cole, Blanchard, Trotman, Nelson, Berry, Young (Harvey), Wotton, Hourihane, Parsons, Alessandra (Obadeyi), Reid. Substitutes (not used): Boco, Morgan, Blizzard, Gurrieri, Dawson.
Bury's David Flitcroft has won the League Two manager of the month award for February after John Sheridan was nominated earlier in the week.
In response to speculation over the club's finances, Argyle's Board of Directors have issued a statement. "We, the board at PAFC, have been concerned by some of the fan reaction, and also certain online forum/media speculation related to recent events at Argyle. We would like to reassure our supporters that the club's finances are not under threat. We also wish to point out that Plymouth Argyle is run separately from the other companies under the control of Chairman James Brent, with its own board of directors and funding. The current financial restructuring programme within the Akkeron Hotels Group is entirely irrelevant in the context of PAFC. Our aim is, as it has been from day one, to have a united fan-base seeking the very best outcomes for the football club, as it sets out to recover from the appalling damage it has suffered over recent years. We are united by a strong and simple focus; that of single-mindedly supporting John Sheridan and our team as they seek to continue the fantastic form of recent weeks in every way we can. Indeed, we have added to the playing squad over the last two months, in preparation for the critical last quarter of the season. We are looking forward to the run-in enormously, and we are sure that exactly the same is the case for the vast majority of Argyle supporters."
John Sheridan has been nominated as one of the candidates for the League Two manager of the month award for February in League Two. Sheridan's Argyle side have had a record of 3 wins, 1 draw and 1 defeat last month- and he will be hoping to win the award for the second time since becoming Argyle manager having previously picked it up last March. The winner will be announced on Friday- Sheridan faces competition from David Flitcroft, Chris Wilder and Nigel Worthington.
Five minutes into his 97th appearance, Durrell Berry netted his debut senior goal for the Pilgrims, his only club, to set them on the way to a 5-0 home win over Morecambe. It came from 15 yards when fellow wing-back Matt Parsons broke free on the left. "Matty had a shot and I tried to follow it in," said Durrell. "The 'keeper parried it straight in my path and I shouldn't be missing from there. Hopefully, there's more to come. The gaffer is telling us to play higher up the pitch, get in the box, basically I've just done that and, luckily, it fell to me. It's been a long wait but, as long as we are getting the results, it doesn't matter who's scoring to be honest." The strike set in motion a first home win since New Year's Day but, crucially, a fourth victory from the last five matches. That run has lifted Argyle to eighth place in the League 2 table, with seventh-placed Southend, who occupy the last of the play-off positions, well in their sights. "We're two points behind now, with a game in hand," said Durrell. "We just need to keep going. We've not done anything yet, so we need to keep getting the performances right and getting the results. All the boys in the dressing-room believe we can get in the play-offs. We are going to keep striving to get there. There is going to be someone coming out of the pack that is going to get in the play-offs; looking at the pack, there's no reason why it can't be us. Earlier on in the season, we weren't scoring enough goals but now, obviously, the strikers are getting goals every game. We're doing well now. Confidence is flying. Three wins in three; 11 goals; we have just got to keep going now and hopefully we can push for promotion." A feature of Argyle's recent displays has been a willingness to keep going until the final whistle, whatever the score. Durrell said: "We had a great pre-season; training goes great all the time. So we're a strong team; we're a fit team. The results have shown that. We work hard all week in training for the game. To be honest, I think the performances have been coming, as you can see in the last three games. The win is going to give us confidence because our home form hasn't been the best this season. We have dropped too many points, too many draws. Away from home, we have probably been better."
Tickets for Saturday's trip to Bristol Rovers have again sold out. Demand has been high for the short trip up the M5, as you might expect with John Sheridan's side having won their last three games on the road, as well as thumping Morecambe 5-0 on Saturday at Home Park. Rovers had advised that that Argyle had reached the full allocation for the game, but subsequently agreed to allocate another batch for the game. These, though, have now also been snapped up, meaning that the Pilgrims will be roared on by almost 1,400 of the Green Army at the Memorial Stadium.
Lewis Alessandra turned in a man of the match performance in Argyle's comprehensive victory over one of his former clubs. The ex-Morecambe attacker scored twice for the Greens in the 5-0 thrashing at Home Park, meaning the Pilgrims have scored eleven goals in three games, by eight different goalscorers. Durrell Berry opened the scoring after just five minutes, and set the tone for a free-flowing display, epitomised by Lewis' outstanding showing. His brace in the 40th and 90th minutes, came either side of goals from Curtis Nelson and substitute Andres Gurrieri finishing a gorgeous counter-attack three minutes from time. Alessandra popped up in dangerous positions for the entire game, connecting superbly with front-man Reuben Reid on countless occasions. The away simply defence couldn't handle him, and his performance certainly caught the eye of his manager. "I don't normally pick out individuals, but I thought Lewis was terrific today," said John Sheridan. "It's difficult sometimes to play against lads you know from an old club, but I just think his work ethic and his work in and around the box was brilliant." The 25 year-old caused problems for his former team-mates all afternoon, using his exceptional pace and durability to carve open the Shrimps' defences. "He does things that you normally see foreign players do - like his body movement. I knew he had this when I had him as a youngster at Oldham Athletic," John continued. "He's probably one of our most consistent players. His work ethic for the team is different-class, and I think the other lads appreciate that. He gave me a 9/10 and everyone else gave me 7.5/10. When you've got players giving you that, you've always got a chance of winning." Lewis has never scored more than ten goals in a season, but the clinical finishing shown in both his goals smacked of a player oozing confidence. "Finishing hasn't always been his strong point, but I think you saw with his two goals today that he can do it," said the gaffer. The Greens are now just two points from the play-offs, and Sheridan is looking to tap into his current form and help the side continue their push for promotion. "We're in a position where we can give ourselves a good chance. We just need to keep winning games," said John. "We've just got a bit of momentum at the moment, so we've got to carry that on in to the next game. There's a long way to go, and I've told them to enjoy it before we get ready for Bristol Rovers on Saturday."
Argyle's demolition of Morecambe was special for everyone involved with the club, but especially for Durrell Berry. The 21 year-old's opening goal in the fifth minute was his first ever professional strike, in his 97th game for the Greens, and set the way for a third successive victory. John Sheridan was delighted that one of his many young lions opened their account for the club, although perhaps mischievously he did question the full-back's finish: "I thought he mishit it!" the manager said. "I didn't know it was his first ever goal, but I'm very pleased for him. He's a great lad. I've got a lot of time for him. I think the position he plays gives him a chance to get forward a bit more, and he's very good in training at doing that." Berry's goal comes at the peak of the Pilgrims' season so far and John believes the youngster has played a full part in the team's sensational recent results, along with left wing-back Matt Parsons. He said: "He made two assists against Fleetwood the other night. Him and Matty are a big part of how we play - causing problems and getting balls into the box."
After two sparkling wins on the road, John Sheridan was hoping that replicating away-day conditions would help capture some of that form. So, instead of everyone coming straight to Home Park before kick-off, the team met up and went to a local hotel for a pre-match meal and preparations. Judging by the performance and result that followed, it worked out pretty nicely. "We just decided to do something different," said John, who credited Performance Manager John Harbin for coming up with the idea. We went for a pre-match meal before we came to the ground. We went to the Copthorne, watched a little bit of the QPR-Leeds game, and we all had something to eat. The lads were all having a bit of a laugh, sitting around, chit-chatting - it was just a bit more relaxed." An argument could easily be made that this change-up paid a huge part in the Pilgrims' visibly relaxed and confident performance against Morecambe - but, of course, five goals and a clean sheet tends to help, as well. John said: "We invited all the players - even the injured players were there - just to get everyone together, have something to eat, and let one or two of them take the mick out of each other, instead of just sitting around in the changing-rooms." A buoyant Sheridan suggested that not too much should be read into the change of schedule, nor that it will become a regular routine, but admitted it did have a positive effect on the players. "Just because you have poached egg on toast before the game doesn't mean you're going to win a football match," he said. "But, yes, it would good to get them all together. I wouldn't think too much of it, but I think it just relaxes the lads a little bit more - takes their mind off of the game."
After a fantastic 4-0 victory at Fleetwood on Tuesday, Argyle have gone one better at home to Morecambe winning by five goals to nil. Wing-back Durrell Berry scored his first ever goal for the club after 97 games. The greens went in 2-0 up at half-time following a well-converted finish from Lewis Alessandra against his former club. Goals from Curtis Nelson and substitute Andy Gurrieri gave Argyle a 4-0 lead going into the dying seconds in which Alessandra added a second goal and Argyle's fifth to ensure our biggest victory in over 10 years. Argyle: Cole, Blanchard, Trotman, Nelson, Berry, Wotton (Harvey), Hourihane (Gurrieri), Young, Parsons, Reid, Alessandra. Subs: Dawson, Boco, Purrington, Obedayi.
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