Max is Well Aware

ARGYLE defender Maxime Blanchard has warned his team-mates against underestimating their FA Cup with Budweiser second round opponents Welling United... they prepare to face the non-leaguers on Saturday.

Having been a part of the Pilgrims 11 that was knocked out of last year’s competition at Dorchester Town, the Frenchman is taking nothing for granted going into this weekend’s clash.

“They’re not coming here just for the sake of it,” Maxime said, “so obviously they want to upset us. They’re here, so they’ve won games. It’s going to be a tough game, a really tough game to play.

“Apparently, they’re big and strong; this is what I’ve heard. So it’s going to be a physical game as well, but we just have to be better than them and win the game.”

Although Argyle are considered favourites heading into a cup-tie with a Wings side lying eighth in the Skrill Conference Premier table, Blanchard does not believe the division gap is an indicator as to who will progress in the cup.

He said: “If it were like that, it would be really easy. We all know it’s not the case; we all know they’ll be right at it; and they probably have really good players as well.

“Just because they’re in the Conference, it doesn’t mean they’re not a good team. They’re probably a very good team.”

Although recently featuring in the team at right-back, Maxime started in central defence last season, when a Jake Gosling goal for Dorchester knocked Argyle out of the cup after captain Conor Hourihane had been sent off. The 27-year-old Frenchman recalls as one of the worst moments of his career.

“I hated it,” said Max. “The circumstances were hard with the red card after five minutes, but you know it’s always going to be a scrap. You want to kill them in the first 15 minutes and when it’s not happening, all of a sudden you see them grow in confidence. It was a big disappointment.”

The defender admits to not knowing too much about Saturday’s opponents, but is confident of the Pilgrims reaching the third round if they just concentrate on their own game.

“Even in the league we just focus more on ourselves rather than the other team,” he said. “Sometimes you know one or two players because you’ve played against them, but I think, more or less, you just have to focus on yourselves and trying to be better than the other team.

“We have to make sure we do our job properly. Hopefully we put in the same performance as against Lincoln and try and score early, and don’t give them the confidence to think they can beat us.”

Argyle’s eight-game unbeaten run was brought to an end by last weekend’s 1-0 defeat to Burton, and, although the team will be looking to kick-start another run with a win on Saturday, Blanchard tries not to get bogged down by such stats.

He said: “I’m not obsessed with runs; we just want points really. We want consistency in the performances and, if the results are consistent as well, this is really good.

“I think the consistency has been there, even with the game last Saturday. It’s a poor goal and should have been a clean sheet again, so it should have been nine in a row really. But we have to keep going and not think too much about results and runs, and keep trying to improve and keep the performances consistent.”

Supporters are reminded to retain their tickets stubs from the Welling match, and all FA Cup games this season, so that, in the event of a future tie being potentially oversubscribed, holders will be given second-tier priority – after Members – for tickets for that fixture.