ARGYLE’S makeshift defensive trio in their victory over Dagenham & Redbridge managed to earn the Greens yet another clean sheet, and the praise of their manager.
Centre-backs Carl McHugh, Anthony O’Connor and Aaron Bentley would have watched on in glee as a brace from Reuben Reid, as well as a Bobby Reid strike, secured a 3-0 for the Pilgrims at Home Park.
In return, the trio did the dirty work in defence, repelling any threat the visitors created and securing an eleventh clean sheet of a season that has not even reached its halfway stage.
Whilst Curtis Nelson was expected to miss out on the Daggers game after dislocating his shoulder in the previous fixture, his replacement as captain, Peter Hartley, was a late absentee from the team, having to pull out of the warm-up.
“He has had a little groin injury," explained Sheridan. "He did it on Thursday and felt a little sore, then he had a jab yesterday.
“Peter wants to play anyway – he is like that. He is down because he thinks he has let us down by not being fit. He went out for the warm up, came back in and said he felt too sore.
Known as Rodders in the dressing room, Bentley made his first ever start for Argyle in a competitive fixture, and showed class beyond his years to put in an accomplished performance, playing on the left of the three central defenders.
He was playing alongside McHugh, who was returning after an absence with a calf injury. In front of them, Ollie Norburn was making a rare start, filling in for Dom Blizzard, who has a calf knock of his own.
“My preparation was with (Aaron) in the side anyway, because I knew Pete was 50/50,” said John.
“I thought he did well. He is playing with some decent players, at the moment.
“They are two big players (Nelson and Hartley), but I did not worry about it. When you are injured, it is just a fact of life as a manager. I am not one of them who panics – it just gives people an opportunity, like young Rodders.
“I was really pleased with Norburn, McHugh and Aaron.
“They all want to be playing. There is nothing worse than not playing when you are a player.
“I would not say I have depth, but I have always said that I have 16 or 17 players that can play in the first team. That is how I always look at it.
“I expect them to be disappointed and annoyed with me if they are not in the team, and I would totally be the same. They all want to play, and the only thing I say to them is that when the time comes and you get in the side, give me a problem. Make sure I have to pick you the next game.
“Newport will be a totally different game to today. It will be a good, tough game at their place, and I always put a team out that will try and get us three points.”