‘NEVER change a winning team’ is not a maxim that John Sheridan is prepared to follow.The Argyle manager is convinced he will need to play different systems at home and away this season, and if that means switching personnel, too, then so be it.
While an attacking formation built on a flat back four has served the Pilgrims well at Home Park this season – with three wins and seven goals scored from three matches – it has not been so productive away from home, with last Saturday’s 2-1 Sky Bet League 2 defeat at Bury being a case in point.
When John switched to a three centre-back line-up with two wing-backs after an hour at Gigg Lane, Argyle looked a totally different, more threatening prospect, and were unlucky not to come away from Greater Manchester with a point.
So, while the Green Army may not see five at the back when Southend United visit this Saturday, they may become used to seeing that formation employed on the road.
“I definitely believe I’ve got a team that is going to play at home and a team that is going to play away from home,” said John. “I’ve thought long and hard about that and believe I’ve got players who will be effective at home and players who will be effective away from home.
“You will probably see throughout the season, from now on, whether we win or lose, I will be changing the team. I’ve done it at other clubs. I know the shape of my team has got to be different away from home.
“There is a difference playing away from home than there is at home. Usually, when you are away from home, you are coming more under the cosh and your work-ethic has got to be a little bit more; at home, you have got to be brave and take the game to the opposition, get on the ball and not be worried about making a mistake.”