ARGYLE captain Conor Hourihane issued a rallying cry to his team-mates to knuckle down for the battle to maintain the Pilgrims’ Football League status.A 1-0 home defeat by Oxford United, coupled with victories for fellow League 2 relegation strugglers Wimbledon and Barnet – both of who Argyle play in coming weeks – dragged the Pilgrims further into the fight for survival.
A first-half goal from James Constable was the difference between the two sides as manager John Sheridan’s four-game unbeaten start to his Home Park Career spluttered to a halt.
“We have to up it,” said Conor, a 22-year-old veteran of last season’s successful struggle against the drop into non-league football.
“Even though we were on a good run, we are not playing good enough. We have to knuckle down; we have to start putting shifts in; we have to know what it means.
“It’s a tough battle down there – we found that out last year and it’s going to be a tough battle again so we have to work hard.
“People were saying ‘You’re four games unbeaten – you’re doing well’ but you can’t get worked up on that.
“You have got to take one game at a time, no matter if you are winning ten games in a row or losing five games in a row. You have to take one game at a time.
“It was a poor performance. We could have conceded five, although we could have scored a couple, as well. It was a strange old game to play in.”
“You can’t play well every week. We have just got to get up and get on with it, and move on to next week.”
Next week sees a visit to promotion-chasing Northampton, followed by a midweek trip to Wimbledon before Barnet’s visit to Home Park.
Conor said: “Let’s call a spade a spade – they are big games. Six-pointers. We need results out it. Simple as that.
“We just have to look at ourselves. I don’t really care about anyone else. We have to show a bit of fight and a bit of courage to stand up and be counted, and move on to next week.”
Since John came in as manager, there has been an influx of new players but Conor said: “People use the excuse that you have to gel but I think that’s a load of rubbish.
“We train with each other enough every day to know each other. We just have to keep going and keep fighting.”