Lewi's Bittersweet Return

LEWI Alessandra spoke of an “overwhelming sense of frustration” in the Argyle dressing-room after Saturday’s 2-0 home defeat by Oxford United left the Pilgrims’ play-off hopes in the balance.

With just four games of the Sky Bet League 2 season left to play, Argyle are four points adrift of the all-important top seven, having spurned the opportunity to overtake Oxford and close in on Southend United and York City, neither of whom managed to win on Saturday.

Lewi, making a return to the starting line-up after four games out with a hamstring tear, said: “We saw the chance for ourselves – results have gone our way as well, which is a killer – especially playing Oxford who were a place above us and who we would have leapfrogged if we’d won. We would have been right in there.

“I think we were second all over the park today. They were the better team – you can’t come away and say ‘We were unfortunate to lose that’; we didn’t deserve to win the game. I don’t think we got going.

“You want to reward the fans, who have been excellent for us. Like the manager just said in the dressing-room, we feel like every time we get to a point where we think ‘Go on, then, there’s a chance here’, it seems like we take a backward step. There’s an overwhelming sense of frustration about it.”

Argyle visit Bury on Good Friday and then host AFC Wimbledon on Easter Monday. Defeat in either match would surely end their lingering play-off aspirations, although Lewi and his team-mates believe top-seven qualification remains achievable.

“We will look to go to Bury and do well over the Easter period,” he said. “If you pick up six points, which is not impossible...we have just got to keep believing. The odds are stacked against us now, but you never know.

“Stranger things have happened in football. Results have gone for us this weekend, why can’t they again next week? We are disappointed, but we are going to have to pick ourselves up. No-one’s sat in the dressing-room saying: ‘Unlucky lads, better luck next year.’ We think there is still a chance.”

Lewi suffered no reaction to the grade two tear in his hamstring which he suffered in the 2-1 victory over Chesterfield, which he puts down to some smart work by Home Park physio Paul Atkinson that included an immediate overnight session with a Game Ready compression system.

“It feels good,” he said. “I didn’t have any reaction. Me and the physio did really well; in the first couple of days, we got it right and dealt with it properly. I have done everything I possibly can to get back days sooner than I could, and I think that showed in the fact that I managed to play – usually, it’s a four-six week injury, so, to get back is one of the only positives for me today.”

He admitted that he first feared his season was ended when he picked up the injury, but is now raring to make up for lost time over the last four matches.

He said: “I’ll be honest, when I was walking off and I knew the sort of damage I’d done, I wanted to cry. I had this overwhelming feeling – ‘Please don’t let this be the end of my season’.

“I took a backwards step, but will continue to work hard to get to where I was before, if not better, to try to stay in the team and to help us to finish the season strong, whether that’s in the play-offs or not.”