JOHN Sheridan specifically wanted to play Milton Keynes Dons as his side prepare for the 2013-14 Sky Bet League 2 campaign......and he will feel fulfilled after a 1-1 draw with the Buckinghamshire side at Home Park.
The Dons, a league above Argyle, are known for their passing style of football, but met their match under a glorious Devon sky on Sunday afternoon.
After a goal-less first half, Sheridan sent on five young players early in the second period to freshen up the game. One of them, 16-year-old Ryan Lane, opened the goalscoring with a sumptuous left-foot finish, before the Dons levelled late on through Daniel Powell.
“I knew it would be a good work-out,” said John, “I love the way they play. They move the ball and make you work really hard; that’s one of the reasons I wanted to play against MK Dons. I knew it would be a very good test and I thought we did really well.
“We created a lot of chances and could have scored three or four in the first half. I was very pleased. We can come out with a lot of pluses.
“I like winning. It’s a shame because of the young kid as well, and the plaudits he would have got.”
Powell’s late leveller was the first goal Argyle have conceded in their pre-season campaign, and should their miserly ways continue into the new season, the gaffer will have his eye on sharpening matters at the other end of the field.
He said: “It was a soft goal we conceded. It was a deflection, but I think we could have done better. I’m not going to be too hard on them. It’s always nice to win football matches, and takes you into the season with a bit of confidence. To beat a good team MK Dons would have been a big plus.
“My main priority is that I want us to attack teams. If you look at the front four today, if they are on song they will cause anyone problems. I want us to be strong, and I thought our shape today was really good.
“When we give the ball away cheaply is when we’re our most vulnerable. We cause ourselves problems. I try to make retaining the ball in the opposition’s half a massive thing, If you do that, you’ve a chance of creating problems. Hopefully they’ll take it on board because I know it will make us a better side.”
Recent signing Rommy Boco was wearing the Green and White for first time during the game, and an eye-catching display on the left flank satisfied his new manager.
The Benin international was replaced during the second half, appearing to have picked up a knock, but Sheridan stressed it was nothing to be concerned with.
“I was very pleased with him,” said John, “He’s a good lad; he’s comical, but he’s got a good work ethic. You can see that in the game.
“He’s only trained one or two days with the lads, I still think he’s a bit short of fitness. He’s just a bit tight, nothing serious.”