THE first major sign of John Sheridan’s impact on Plymouth Argyle, as least as far as the Green Army were concerned......was the make-up of the first XI that he selected, at home to Morecambe on Saturday.
Argyle shifted to an orthodox 4-4-2 formation, and not only were two new signings – Guy Branston and Ronan Murray – featured in the line-up, but a couple of familiar faces popped up in new positions.
In the centre of Argyle’s midfield, partnering captain Conor Hourihane, was Maxime Blachard. The Frenchman has experience in the middle of the park from previous clubs, but since his arrival a little over a year ago Max has been employed solely as a centre back.
Jamie Lowry, the only member of the Argyle squad to have previously played under Sheridan, began the game as the furthest left of The Pilgrims midfield quartet. Again, this was a position that he was familiar with, but not one fans at his current club have become accustomed to seeing him in.
“With the threat of Morecambe, I know what their strengths are,” said Sheridan, explaining his selections. “They’re very organised and they are a big threat at set-plays. They had eight players on the pitch over 6ft, and we lack a bit of height. I thought if I could get a centre-half in that I was always going to put Max in there.
“I thought he did well. He tired a bit towards the end. He’s decent on the ball and wins headers.
“The good thing is I know he can play at centre-back, but after today I can see him in there, with a little bit of work. I know he can play in there, I think he’s good enough to play in there.
“If you’ve been playing centre-half, then playing in midfield is tough. It’s a different game, you’re defending and attacking. But I was pleased with the way it went.
“Jamie knows that position. He played that a lot for me at Chesterfield. I’ve always liked him playing that position. He’s good on the ball, and I knew if I played him there he knows what I expect from him.
“It wasn’t a case of dropping players, but obviously I had to change a few things, with the results we’ve been having and the position in the league. I don’t like leaving anyone out, because they all train and want to play on a Saturday.
“I know Jamie’s not the type of player that’s going to run and beat people, but I know he can deliver, and tucking him in a bit gave Conor [Hourihane] license to get forward a bit more.”