Lewi's Hunger Games

LEWIS Alessandra admits that a spell on the substitutes’ bench has rekindled his appetite.

The Argyle forward – the Pilgrims’ joint-leading scorer this season – was previously an ever-present before being benched following the 3-1 Devon Expressway Derby at Exeter at the beginning of October.

He missed the next two games but has since returned in a more attacking role, looking sharper for his absence.

“When I was substitute after the Exeter game, I think I might have needed that,” he said, “because I had three or four games prior to that when I felt I was poor, looking back on it now.

“Once you are dropped, it gives you that hunger again. Not that I wasn’t hungry in the first place, but [it was] a bit of reality check and you think ‘Right, you’ve been dropped for a reason – you need to sort it’.”

Sorted. Lewi, 24, played an integral part in last week’s 1-0 win at Mansfield, where Neal Trotman scored a late winner, even though he was not entirely happy with things.

“I don’t think we played that well,” he said. “It was one of our worst performances of the last four or five weeks.

“But that’s the way football is. If you asked me ‘Would you rather play well and get nothing from the game or play not so well and score in the last minute?’, I am sure you know what my answer would be every week.”

All three of Lewi’s goals this season have come in the two cup competitions and he knows he shares the burden of adding some firepower to the Pilgrims’ fine defensive work this season, starting when Northampton visit Home Park for Saturday’s Sky Bet League 2 clash.

“I would say I feel a responsibility, but it is more that I want to score for myself and to help the team to win,” he said.

“As a forward player, you are judged on your goals. With all the troubles [Luis] Suarez has had, if he comes back and doesn’t start scoring, everything that has happened [in his past] is magnified; when he comes back and he’s absolutely on fire, it’s not mentioned ever again. That’s the way football is.

“The back lads have been doing well. I am sure we have got one of the better defensive records in the league, but that’s not been the problem for us – we all know the problem has been scoring goals.

“Hopefully, the late winner of Trots’ can be a bit of turning-point for us and we can start hitting the back of the net, especially when we are on top in games – starting to kill teams off and being more streetwise.”

Northampton come to Home Park in the League 2 relegation zone after finishing sixth last year, which does not surprise Lewi too much.

“You see it quite often,” he said. “When someone misses out so narrowly on promotion after having such a good season, it is a big blow. Then they lose a few players and it’s hard to pick yourself up and go again from that.

“They might be suffering a bit from that but they are still a good side.”

Lewis Alessandra is 9/1 to be the first goalscorer this weekend with Sky Bet and if you open an account and deposit before the end of November, Argyle will get a £10 bonus. Join Now!