The Front Foot

THE last time Argyle were taken to a replay in the FA Cup with Budweiser was probably the lowest point in the club’s history. On the field, at least.

That field was the War Memorial Athletic Ground, Stourbridge, scene of an abject 2-0 defeat in front of the TV cameras after Paul Bignot was sent off for an act of petulance.

If John Sheridan holds sway, that will not be repeated two years down the line when Argyle host Lincoln City in a first-round replay at Home Park on Wednesday, having drawn 0-0 away to the Skrill Premier League side 11 days earlier.

“We’re the home team and I expect us to win the game,” he declared unequivocally. “I’ve explained to the lads that I want to be positive and really get at [Lincoln], get them on the back foot.

“It will be a very tough game. If you are playing non-league [opposition], the players always raise their game and Lincoln gave us a really good test in the first game. We’re wary, we know what the threats are, and we’ve worked hard to hopefully nullify them.”

Both teams will need to raise their game from weekend showings if they are to progress to a home second-round tie against Welling United, also of the Skrill Premier League: Argyle needed a substitute-inspired second-half improvement to draw 1-1 at York; Lincoln went the other way at Forest Green Rovers, dominating early before eventually losing 4-1.

“I thought we would have gone into the [York] game with a lot more confidence and belief that we could win the game,” said John. “I felt, attacking-wise, that we didn’t really get at them.

“We started playing once [York] had scored and I’d brought the subs on. We looked like a team at the top of the league, the way we performed in the last 20 minutes. We got ourselves in the game and could have won it in the end.

“I expect a lot better from us. I thought one or two of our players looked tired, so I’ll possibly make one or two changes.

“The good thing about the last few weeks is that the subs who have come on have shown me they want to be in the side. I always make it clear – ‘Be ready for when you come on and impress me and try to affect the game’. One or two of the subs that have come on have done that, so they have given themselves a good chance of starting.

“[Lincoln] will come and make it very hard. They got beat 4-1 at the weekend, but they were the better team. They played really well.

“It’s a funny competition and there are always upsets, even in the first round, so we have got to make sure we get through to the next round. I’ve seen all the results in the FA Cup and we’ll take nothing for granted. We have got everything to lose; everyone expects us to win.

“I’m expecting a very hard game, but we have got to be confident that we can see the game through. We have got to start well, get on the front foot, and get them on the back foot early on in the game.”