Good Habits

IF Saturday’s FA Cup tie goes according to recent scripts...

...the Green Army will be celebrating Argyle’s progress to the second round of the FA Cup just when the rest of the football world is anticipating a Home Park replay.

Argyle have left it late to win their two most recent Sky Bet League 2 matches, with the only goal in each game – at Mansfield and at home to Northampton – coming in or after the 90th minute.

Taking that sort of form to Lincoln, the Pilgrims’ Skrill Premier League opponents in Saturday’s first-round tie, is pleasing for manager John Sheridan, and for Performance Manager John Harbin.

“In the last two games, we’ve left it very late, but it’s a good trait to have,” said John Sheridan. “We’ve been going to the final whistle; we’ve always felt there is something in the game.

“We probably didn’t deserve to win against Mansfield, but we did. We battled on to the final minute. We did it last week. I think we deserved to win – we had a lot of attempts at goal against a tough Northampton side. Full credit to the players – they go to the end.”

“We’re finishing games strong, now. Obviously, John Harbin’s a big part of that, and the players staying fit, too. They work very hard in training. The fitness levels are very good and it is paying dividends.

“We keep believing. We’ve played well and not scored, and not got anything from games. We know, if we keep doing what we are doing, we will get our rewards in the end. I think our last two games have shown that.”

As key a part of the two wins as the late goals has been the defence. Or, more accurately, the defending.

“It’s not just defenders,” said John. “We defend as a team. Defenders and the ’keeper will get the credit for keeping a clean sheet, but we work hard from the front to make it as hard as possible for the opposition. It’s always a good habit to keep clean sheets. It’s rewarding for the defenders.

“We know our problem has been lack of goals, but we are still creating chances. So we’ll stay solid and, if you keep a clean sheet, you have always got a chance of winning.”