13th February 2014
AS the season rolls remorselessly towards its May conclusion, the margin for error gets slimmer for Argyle.The Pilgrims are eight points outside the Sky Bet League Bet 2 play-off zone going into Saturday’s home clash with York City, after which they will have just 16 games afterwards in which to make up the difference.
For manager John Sheridan, the Green Army’s dream of emerging with a late run to become one of the division’s promotion challengers remains a possibility.
“It’s going to be difficult because it’s a big gap and games are running out,” said John. “I have said it’s about winning games as quickly as we can. We just don’t know what’s around the corner. If we can carry on winning, we’ll see where it takes us.
“I think every game is winnable, and you can lose against whoever you are playing because we are all competing for something, whether it’s [avoiding] relegation or to get in the play-offs.
“There is a bit of a gap to the top seven, but we have got to stay positive. We are on not a bad run at the moment and we have got to take it into the next game and try to win it.”
Not bad at all. Argyle have lost just once in their last 10 league matches, form which places them ahead of 21 of their rivals – and only just behind just behind Rochdale and Chesterfield – over the same period.
York, managed by John’s former Sheffield Wednesday team-mate Nigel Worthington, come to Home Park having won 2-1 at sixth-placed Fleetwood Town.
“They are having a decent season,” said John. “They played very well at Fleetwood and got a really good result. I know Nigel very well – I played with him for a long time at Sheffield Wednesday – and he’s an experienced manager.
“He will be saying to his team what I am saying: ‘If you can get a few wins quickly, you can find yourself in a healthy position and the table looks a little bit different.’ I am expecting a very hard game.”
Hard going perhaps, but not sticky going. Despite the storms that have flooded most of Britain, Home Park remains a jewel in the crown of Britain’s Ocean City.
“It makes the ground heavy, but we just get on with it, and don’t make it an excuse,” said John, of the weather. “It’s the same for everyone. We’ve had a good few days, so we’ll be okay for Saturday.”
Training has alternated between a sodden Harper’s Park and the altogether different 3G rubber crumb surface at Saltash’s Pilgrim Pitch.
John said: “Sometimes it can benefit you, going from a mudheap, and conditions you are not used to, to our pitch. You appreciate how good it is.
“Our pitch is probably the best in the league. It’s brilliant at the moment. If you can’t play on that…the pitch is beautiful.”