Festive Focus

JOHN Sheridan is keen for his team to use the often dreaded Christmas period as a chance to quickly begin another run of good form.

Argyle will now focus all their efforts on a prosperous Sky Bet League 2 campaign after bowing out of the FA Cup at the second-round stage, losing 3-0 to Sheffield United. 

After Reuben Reid missed a penalty early in the second half, the Blades netted two spot-kicks of their own through Jose Baxter, with Marc McNulty putting the cup-tie to bed in the dying embers of the game.

The Greens have now gone three games without a victory, but will have plenty of chances in the coming weeks to turn their run of results around, beginning with a trip to Northampton Town.

“I am pleased that there are lots of games coming up thick and fast now, and we will need every player fit and ready for the Northampton game,” said John.

“We have just got to try and get back to winning ways. It was a bad defeat today but, again, I can take a lot of things out of it. We have just got to carry on. 

“I have got a good group of players. They are all wanting to do well, and we want to do well in the league, so hopefully we can get back to winning ways against Northampton.

“Every game is critical, and they will all come thick and fast now over the Christmas period.”

One of the keys to Christmas success will be the fitness levels of the entire squad, and the boss was pleased to be able to start both Ben Purrington and Jason Banton at Bramall Lane, with neither named in a first 11 since September. 

“Ben has come back; Jason played today, as well; so it is good for them to get a game,” said John.

 “It was tough game, but [Ben] is a fit lad, and he has not lost a lot of fitness because he has been able to run. I thought he did okay. He did not let himself down.”