ARGYLE manager John Sheridan has told his players to relax and let the Sky Bet League 2 play-offs take care of themselves.The Pilgrims ended a run of three winless games with a 2-1 midweek victory in Newport to re-ignite their hopes of being involved in the post-season mini knock-out tournament to win promotion.
First-half goals from teenager Tyler Harvey and captain Conor Hourihane, either side of a strike from former Argyle player Chris Zebroski, took them to within two points of the all-important top seven with five games of the season left to play.
“We’ve got a chance,” said John. “We’ve just got to fight. I told the players to go out and just relax. I told them ‘We’re not getting relegated – that’s a fact – so go out, relax, and give your all for the next five or six games.’
“That’s what we’ve got to try to do. You could see the effort we put in. Once we got the lead, we worked hard to keep it.
“The main thing at this stage of the season is getting three points, and I thought we worked very hard for the three points.”
John had made four changes to the side defeated four days earlier at Burton, including giving Tyler only his third senior start, recalling Marvin Morgan for his first start since October, and handing a full debut to Nathan Thomas at left wing-back. Andres Gurrieri reverted to right wing-back.
“I went a bit more attacking,” said John. “The wing-backs were quite vulnerable, defensively, but I wanted us to try and get forward and cause [Newport] problems. Nathan, with his pace, can do that. I thought he did really well, in the second half, especially.
“Coming in when you haven’t played for a while – the likes of him and Tyler, even Marvin... I thought fitness might be a problem in a match situation because they haven’t played many games, but they played their part.
“I thought we scored two excellent goals; two midfield players scoring. Tyler’s done what he’s good at; I told him to get in the box from midfield. He’s good at getting in the box. It was a great ball from Nathan and a great finish.
“I’m disappointed on their goal. We should have been able to see it and deal with it. The difference between our goals, where we’ve worked on opening them up, and theirs...To be fair to Zebroski, he’s read it well and he’s put it away.
“It was a difficult pitch, obviously, and they are a good team – they are hard to play against. It was a difficult game for us, and to come and get the three points was the most important thing.”