Out But Not Down

THE old cliché about being able to concentrate on the league is not for John Sheridan.

“I’d rather be in the cup, with the excitement of playing a championship club at home,” said the Argyle manager as he prepared for Saturday’s Sky Bet League 2 trip to Rochdale two days after being knocked out of the FA Cup with Budweiser by Port Vale in a third-round replay at Home Park.

“I was gutted for everyone involved,” he said. “I think we should have won the first game and it’s a crying shame we didn’t get though in the second game.

“I thought we deserved to get through but the performance was what I was pleased about. We have just got to continue that and look at the last three games where we’ve played Port Vale twice and Southend - three hard games – [in which] I think we came out on top; we just didn’t get the results we should have.

“So we have just got to take that form, and show the commitment that we’re showing at this moment in time, into a tough game at Rochdale.

“I’ve got to try and keep the lads focused and just keep playing the way we’re playing. If we do that, we’ll win more games than we lose.”

If that last sentence sounds like a play-off rallying call, then maybe that is because it might just be, albeit a muted one.

“It’s something to aim for,” said John.

“Before Christmas, we weren’t going anywhere, but I’ve always believed in the team. We won a couple of games over Christmas and got ourselves into a decent position but we have just got to keep on going; we haven’t done anything yet.

“We won’t get carried away. I can still see faults in our game and that’s down to me to sort out. The other night, Port Vale weren’t better than us but they were more clinical and that was the difference.

John personally witnessed fourth-placed Rochdale’s FA Cup upset against Leeds two week ago and he said: “They played really well.

“They move the ball quickly and they deserved to win. They’re looking at the automatic positions and I think they’ve got the best home form in the league, so we’ve got to go there and stand up for ourselves because it will be a tough game.”