ARGYLE go into the second leg of their gruelling mid-November northern double-header in fine fettle despite a double-setback in the first.The Pilgrims face npower League 2 cup kings Bradford City on Tuesday night, having been beaten 3-0 by Fleetwood three days previously and losing captain Darren Purse in the process.
The skipper was sent off at Highbury Stadium with the result of the game in the balance at 1-0 to the home side, who then took advantage of their numerical superiority to add two late goals that skewed the scoreline.
Arguably, Argyle did not get the result that they deserved for their efforts, a charge that could be similarly levelled at matches against Cheltenham, Burton and Gillingham.
“Recently, we’ve played a lot of teams at the top of the table and given a good account of ourselves,” said manager Carl Fletcher. “Some of the games, we should have won.
“We were well in the [Fleetwood] game up until the sending-off. They got a couple of late goals when we were down to ten men.”
Since then, the Pilgrims have stayed in the north, training at Guiseley and preparing for the (ironically) short journey to Valley Parade.
“Sunday was a recovery day and a bit of free time for the lads, and we went training again on Monday morning,” said Fletch.
“We haven’t got our own training-ground and facilities, of course, but it’s nice to be together with the lads and we’re all looking forward to the game.
“We’ve got a good group of lads who all want to do well, all want to work hard. So we have been making sure they are fit and ready for Tuesday.”
Bradford – for who former Argyle loan player Will Atkinson has stared lately – also lost on Saturday, at home to Exeter City.
That dented a home record that has seen progress on four fronts: the league, the FA and Capital One Cups, and the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.
Fletch hopes that Argyle might be able to exploit the Bantams’ stretched resources, but also knows that what has gone before will have little bearing on Tuesday’s 90 minutes.
“They have had a lot of games recently,” he noted. “They are still in all the cups and have had replays, Tuesday night games.
“Maybe we can use that to our advantage as long we are nice and bright and looking forward to the game.
“We have just got to have that sort of focus and be ready to go for Tuesday.
“It’s a game of football that are going to want to win and they are going to want to win. What has happened before doesn’t really make a difference.”
“They have got some very good players in their squad and we have to make sure we are fully at.”