Geting Back on Track
ARGYLE manager John Sheridan believes Tuesday’s Sky Bet League 2 match at Newport County could get his side’s play-off push back on track.Despite not tasting victory in the last three games, including a 2-1 home defeat to bitter rivals Exeter City, Sheridan believes that his side can bounce back and start a play-off push starting at Rodney Parade on Tuesday night.
“We've still got to believe and fight for every point.” said John, who has an overall points target in mind that he believes will see Argyle to an all-important top-seven finish.
“I’m looking at the high 60s to 70-point mark – which we can get. There are still a lot of teams in there that still probably feel the same as us.
“We need to win five out of six to have any chance of being there at the end of the season, so it'll look a lot healthier if we do get three points. We’ll just go there and give it our all to try and get a few points.”
Earlier in the season, Argyle and Newport played out a goalless draw at Home Park, since when both clubs have been hovering around the edge of the play off places.
One area of concern for the Pilgrims may be the state of the pitch in South Wales. At one stage the Exiles had six games in hand of some clubs above them because of a number of postponements. However Sheridan does not believe that it will be a problem.
“I’m not making a big thing of the pitch,” he said, “Burton’s pitch was nice and we didn't pass it on there.
“It’s just as hard for Newport and is something we've got to deal with.
“It’ll be a tough game – they'll put balls into the box and put you under a lot of pressure – like every game in this division”
Newport’s form in recent matches has, like Argyles, hit a bit of a brick wall lately and their play-off push has stuttered slightly
Even with former Pilgrims striker Chris Zebroski in their ranks, County are without a win in three games and have dropped to 14th in the league, five points behind Argyle.
“It’s difficult when matches are cancelled week after week and then you're playing catch up.” said Sheridan.
“I think there was one time with the games in hand they could have gone top of the league – it’s been hard for them
“I remember, when we played them before, they were tough and organized. They can beat anyone on their day; they've picked up good results up this season.”
A big boost for the Argyle squad and Green Army will be the return of Jason Banton to the match-day squad.
The forward’s performances and goals last season, which ultimately helped guide the club to safety, saw Jason return to Home Park from Crystal Palace in January.
However, a couple of injuries has meant that he has only played in nine games so far, but his return – along with the news that fellow striker Lewis Alessandra is back in training after hamstring trouble – is a timely boost for the whole squad.
“Jason is back and in the squad for tomorrow, and Lewi trained today,” said John, on Monday.
“Lewi has trained well but the pitch is my main worry, more than anything else. He won’t start and I have to look towards Saturday, really.”