Raining on Rodney Parade
WHETHER the weather intervenes to affect the Pilgrims’ Sky Bet League 2 match at Newport County on Tuesday night was not up for discussion at Home Park on the eve of the game.The rain that has fallen on Rodney Parade, which is used by Newport Gwent Dragons and Newport RFC rugby teams in addition to County, has had the Green Army wondering if the midweek fixture will survive. No doubt, many of them have seen an incredible YouTube video taking during Saturday’s LV= Cup game between the Dragons and Northampton Saints.
Argyle first-team coach Gary Owers says no such doubts have been allowed in the Home Park dressing-room. “All you can do is prepare as if the game’s on,” he said.
“You can’t be half-hearted about anything and we have told the lads that. It is out of our hands. We’ve seen the pictures from Saturday’s game and we’ve seen the weather forecast, but you come in, you do your job and, like I say, prepare properly and get in the right frame of mind.”
Neither will the climate dictate manager John Sheridan’s selection against last season’s Conference play-off winners, who have stuttered somewhat after an excellent return to the Football League under the management of former Tottenham defender Justin Edinburgh.
“They have done very well, particularly earlier in the season,” said Gary. “Justin Edinburgh has done a fantastic job there. I don’t know how much the pitch has affected the way the play at home, but we know one thing for sure – when we get there, we will be in for a tough game.
“It’s a rugby ground which has been adapted to play football and the fact that three teams play on it means we are probably not going to be playing on the best surface in the world.
“It’s a cliché from days gone by that you leave players out because of the pitch. Hopefully, we’ve passed that now.”
Argyle – who add Matt Parsons to the 18 on duty for Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Southend – are without a win in their last three league matches and having been knocked out of the FA Cup by Port Vale during that spell, but travel over the border with confidence.
“We can turn that round and say we have only lost three in the last ten,” said Gary. “We know what we need to do. We have just come off the back of a good run and probably the cup defeat knocked the wind out of sails a little bit, but we’ll move on.
“There is a ten-point gap that we are trying to bridge between us and the play-offs, and we know that we are only one win off eighth-place and then we will be the team that is chasing.
“Someone will catch that top group and we are going to try to win as many games as possible between now and the end of the season and hopefully it will be us.”