Getting to Know You

JOHN Sheridan’s new-look Plymouth Argyle are still a work in progress...

...but the Pilgrims’ manager does not think that is an excuse for the team’s inconsistency.

The arrival on Monday’s transfer deadline-day of defender Jamie Reckord and midfielder Hamza Bencherif took John’s imports for a so far topsy-turvy season into double figures.

Strong performances have been intermingled with less convincing displays, sometimes within the same match, and only one clean sheet has been returned from the seven games played so far. That is understandable, but avoidable, says John.

“We are still in a process of players coming in, getting to know each other, and getting us settled,” he said.

“I keep saying to the players ‘You must know each other’s strengths – you’ve all got different strengths so you have got to know who’s good what because, once you learn and know what each other’s strengths are, I think we’ll be a strong outfit.’

“We have got good players for this division but I don’t want to be up and down. I don’t want to say we’re doing well and looking strong, then, the following week, I just don’t see the same team and the same players.” 

The debuts of left-back Jamie in Tuesday’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy success at Cheltenham, and of Hamza, who slotted in at centre-back after Curtis Nelson was sent off, means that John has already used nine players in defensive positions, as well as two goalkeepers.

John said: “Some of the goals we are conceding...even my lad said to me ‘Have you seen your goals, dad? And have you seen Cheltenham’s goals?’ and he’s 13.

“Don’t get me wrong, every goal you concede, you think there’s something wrong, but the goals we concede are very soft. They are all preventable.

“You can’t defend the free-kick that Hamza scored the other day; you can’t do anything about our second goal [at Cheltenham], the good movement and the good football we’ve played. If the opposition is doing that to us, I say ‘Well played.’

“But the goals we concede are very, very soft a lot of the time, and usually because of mistakes by us. That’s something we have got to get out of our game. Last season, when I first came, we were doing that well; we weren’t letting soft goals in. That’s what kept us in the league.

“At the same time, we are starting to score one or two which is good, but we need to keep them out at the other end."