Thinking Ahead

ARGYLE’S plans for next season are on hold while they take care of 2013-14’s business.

Not until after their final game of the Sky Bet League 2 campaign at Portsmouth on May 3 – never mind this Saturday’s visit of Hartlepool United to Home Park – will manager John Sheridan reveal his decisions regarding the Pilgrims’ squad for next season.

“It’s a difficult time for me to tell people ‘you’re not getting a new contract’, or ‘you’re getting a new contract’,” he said, after Easter Monday’s third successive defeat – at home to Wimbledon – finally ended any lingering play-off aspirations.

“What decisions I make are purely to make us stronger for next season, and the players will know that when I chat with them, but we’ve still got two games to go so I want to stay focused on the two games. Those decisions will come – some won’t be nice decisions and some will hopefully be positive.

“I’ve always said I’ve got a good group of players here – not a bad one amongst them – and they’ve done well for me this season. I want to give them the chance to rectify the finish we’ve had. They’re hurting as well as everyone else.”

Argyle end the season at the ground of the only League 2 team that has seen higher home crowds than Home Park this season, and John feels the lure of playing at Home Park could be a help in a summer recruitment-drive to add some old heads to his squad.

He said: “When you’ve got an experienced player, I think it’s just going to give you a little bit more consistency; younger players are going to be in and out; that’s how they learn the game.

“If you want the experienced ones, who you know are going to do well at this level, it is difficult because usually they’ve got a family and, if they move, they’re going to uproot. It all depends on where you’re trying to get the player from but, usually, they have to relocate, which is very hard for an experienced player.

“If I’m a player, I’d want to play at Plymouth or Portsmouth, because of the ground; because of the pitch; because of the fans. I think they’ll look at Plymouth and think Plymouth done alright this season. A lot of teams and a lot of managers will have said ‘Plymouth will be strong next season’.”