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13 December 2013

OF all the Pilgrims journeying to Derbyshire this weekend, it is not just John Sheridan that has a sweet leaning towards Chesterfield.

The current Argyle manager won promotion into League 1 with the Spireites three seasons ago, and lifted the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy 12 months later.

However, his most recent triumph at the Proact Stadium came in April last season, when the Pilgrims all but ensured Football League survival with a 2-1 victory courtesy of goals from Joe Bryan and Curtis Nelson.

“It was great result for us,” recalls John, who began the 2012-13 campaign in charge of Chesterfield before being sacked in favour of Paul Cook. “I thought we were excellent on the night – we played really well.

“It was a big result for us: it enabled us to stay in the league and, when you look back, it jeopardised Chesterfield’s hopes of the play-offs.”

Chesterfield have regained that play-off momentum this season and, despite not having won any of their three previous league matches, are currently second in League 2, heading a pack of five teams that lie just one point behind leaders Oxford United.

They also reached the northern area final of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy earlier this week by winning a penalty shoot-out against League 1 Oldham, after a 1-1 draw.

John said: “They are having a decent season – Paul Cook is doing a decent job there – but, other than the other night when they got through the cup-tie, they have had one or two not-great results.

“They must have of the biggest budgets in the division and have got some good players for this league, a good strong squad.

“We’re in decent form ourselves, so we will go there confident of getting something from the game.”

No-one will be more aware of that form than Cook himself, who personally took in the Pilgrims’ last league match.

“If he was at the Burton game, I think he will be wary of us,” said John. “Hopefully, we’ll give them a good game and get the right outcome. We have been working hard to try to affect the game.

“I think we can beat anyone on our day, if we perform; that’s what I try to instil in the players.

“It’s important that we try to get three points from every game we play to try to get ourselves closer to the teams above us.”

So will there be just the twinge of sentimentality in the Sheridan heart on Saturday? Not a bit, apparently.

He said: “Just because I have been there before, it doesn’t bother me; I don’t think about it any more. I just concentrate on the job in hand here.
 
“I had some good times there, but I want to go back and try to win the game with Plymouth.”

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