Getting Goals, Setting Goals

WHEN the goals were not coming for Argyle earlier in the season, John Sheridan always believed that a time would come when that would change.

In some of the days during the late months of 2013, to suggest that Argyle would get nine goals in nine games might have pushing it. To suggest nine unanswered goals in two games would have had you laughed out of town.

As you might expect from the gaffer, though, he refuses to get excited about the rapidly improving goal difference next to our name on the table. It is the column on the furthest right that he cares about the most.

“The main focus is trying to get three points from each game, which we have done,” said John. “To score nine and not concede is a big plus for us.

“It’s down to the players more than anything. We’ve had chances, and scored when we’ve had the chances. There’s no secret. I knew it would come good in the end because the players are good enough. They are just playing with a bit more confidence and belief. If you go out thinking you’re going to win games you’ve got a good chance of winning them.”

With Argyle two points away from the play-off zone and their seasonal destiny in their own hands, this truly is looking to be a crunch stage of the season. Six games in eighteen days, starting with a relatively short trip to Bristol Rovers, could mean everything come May.

John said: “I’ve been mentioning the play-offs all season. I felt we were good enough if we performed and got a bit of consistency in our game. At this moment in time we’re in quite a healthy position. We’re chasing the pack. There are still plenty of points to play for, plenty of games, plenty of ups and downs. While we are there we’ve got to build on it and carry on.”

Rovers occupy an odd sort of no-mans-land in the Sky Bet League 2 table Six more points and they could be ninth, just below Argyle. Six points fewer, though, and they would be underneath the dreaded dotted line. Safety is far from assured for John Ward’s men.

It has been when leaving their own patch where they have suffered, however. Their home form has been strong; they have only lost three league games at the Memorial Stadium all season. They are also unbeaten in five games at home or away, having conceded only two goals. Despite Argyle’s form, this will be anything but a cakewalk.

“I actually thought they would be further up the table,” said John, of Rovers. “I think they’ve got a strong squad and an excellent manager - I’ve got a lot of time for John Ward. I respect him, and I listen when he talks. They’ve got decent home form at the moment.

“They beat Burton. We’ve had them watched and they’ve got some good players. It will be a good test for us but we go there confident that we can get something form the game.

“We’re going to try to win the game.”