The Con is On

THE thing about clichés is that most of the time they are true.

While a particular idiom may seem overused, that does not necessarily take away from its essential truth, and one such statement pertains to the nature of Sky Bet League 2.

“It’s been said, but anyone can beat anyone in this division,” said Argyle captain Conor Hourihane, ahead of the Pilgrims’ weekend trip to Dagenham & Redbridge.

Argyle’s next opponents epitomise the statement. Dagenham have managed just one win in their last seven games, including two draws and two defeats at home. Their one victory, though, was at Rochdale, who currently sit fourth. In turn, Dale have only lost two of their last eleven league games, and the other was away at high-flying Scunthorpe.

“There’s no outstanding team,” continued Conor. “There is very little between the teams. It all comes down to consistency. If you put a run together you can really shoot up this league.

“You see the bottom beating the top. It’s a funny league, but we don’t fear anyone. We’re looking to get three points.”

Positivity at Home Park comes because the memory stretches back further than last Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at home to York City. In Argyle’s last four away games, two have been won, with another containing an impressive performance when drawing 2-2 at Port Vale in the FA Cup.

Couple that away form with demonstrative resilience and late goals and there is plenty to be positive about, York notwithstanding. Argyle will continue to hustle to earn points.

Conor admits: “It was a disappointing result at the weekend. Obviously going to ten men made it difficult for us, and once we conceded the second goal just before half time it made it more difficult for us. If we went in at half-time at 1-0 it might not have been so bad.

“I think people look too far into the scoreline, because it wasn’t a 4-0 game. We were pushing men forward in the second half and we got caught on the break a couple of times.

“It was one of those things, but we’re definitely looking to bounce back against Dagenham.”

Argyle now face a period of games that includes four games in the next five Tuesdays, coupled with regular Saturday activity. A busy time, but in some ways the rush of fixtures could have come sooner, to allow the negativity of York to be blown away.

“When you get beat like that on a Saturday and then you have to wait until the following Saturday for a game it’s a long week,” said Conor. “You just want the next game to come so you can try to put it right.”

The skipper also had sympathy for Neal Trotman, who was dismissed early on in the York game. He now misses the trip to Dagenham through suspension, leaving a space open to be filled. Having been dismissed three times in his Argyle career, as well as sitting on game after accumulating cautions, Conor knows the frustration of watching your team-mates from the sidelines.

“When you get sent off, it’s one of those things, you get suspended,” he said. “I’ve been there myself. But it’s why it’s a squad game. We rely on people to come in, put their mark on the team and try and stay in the team.

“Having a big squad and having the lads come back from injury keeps everyone on their toes. That’s a good thing.”