Skipper Staying Grounded

ARGYLE are keeping grounded despite closing in on the Sky Bet League 2 play-off positions, says captain Conor Hourihane.

Saturday’s 1-1 draw at home to Southend – a team with similar ambitions – took the Pilgrims up to 11th place in the table, within five points of the fourth of the play-off places.

Dominic Blizzard’s 65th-minute goal, which was levelled two and half minutes later by Kevan Hurst, extended Argyle’s unbeaten streak to six matches at the back end of a run which as seen them lose just twice in their last 17 games.

Conor said: “Something we were saying in the dressing-room is that [Southend] are one of the better teams in this league, if not the best we have played this season.

“It’s good to be getting points against these good teams. We’ve got ambitions to be up there ourselves. We have taken big strides and have to continue that.

“We have got that attitude that we are hard to beat now. It’s been a good Christmas period, and, if we get a good January, it will bring us to February and March, when it’s the run-in. Every point is crucial.

“We have moved up a place, which is nice, as well. To keep going up that table is nice.”

So is reaching the play-offs a realistic prospect for the resurgent Pilgrims?

“It’s a target,” he said, “but I think [we] keep the feet planted firmly on the ground for now. We haven’t achieved anything. We’re on a nice little run but we have to continue that. We’re definitely looking up so you never know.”

As for the game, Conor said: “We really stuck at it.

“Maybe, in the first half, we didn’t play our best but we were okay, we weren’t doing too bad.

“We stepped in up in the second half and got our goal. We were disappointed to concede after we scored – we’ve done that a few times – but it was a good point in the end.”

The fight for league points will temporarily take a back seats on Tuesday, when Argyle entertain Port Vale in a third-round FA Cup with Budweiser replay, having drawn 2-2 in Burslem last week.

“It’s a pity we didn’t beat them there,” said Conor, “because, last 15-20 [minutes], they were out on their feet and we had a few chances to put them away.

“But it wasn’t to be. There will be a big crowd here and we will give it a go.”