'Massive' - Shez

IT is not unknown for some managers...

...to play down the importance of local derbies: just another game; we can only get three points, same as if we beat anyone else; that sort of thing.

John Sheridan is not one of those managers.

“This is a massive game for us,” he said, on the eve of Tuesday’s 98th Devon Expressway Derby against Exeter City. “This is the one we want to win.”

Added spice is given to the Home Park encounter – which will draw a gate well into five figures – by the respective positions of the two League 2 teams with just eight games: Argyle are one place outside the play-off positions, on goal-difference; Exeter are still not yet sure of avoiding relegation.

John said: “It’s a great game for the supporters and a big game for them. This is about bragging rights. This is the one that they want.

“At this stage of the season, it is a really big game because we want the three points, and that’s what we are going to try to get.

“In derby games, sometimes you don’t worry about who’s going to play the best football – it’s about getting three points and usually they are tight affairs. I expect a really tough game.

“If I was a player, I’d be really looking forward to it. I’d be desperate to play. These are the games you want to play in: full house; night game – they are always a good atmosphere.”

For Argyle’s players, there is the chance for redemption after a performance in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Accrington that left the manager “probably the angriest I’ve been all season”, and the opportunity to remain in the pack of teams that are chasing a play-off spot.

“Games are running out, but we’re still in the hunt and we know the importance of getting three points,” said John.

“We have shown decent form. Deep down, I know a point wasn’t a bad point on Saturday, but now it is important we get three points. Because we know we’ve got to win games to stay in that group. It’s very tight.

“It’ll be a great atmosphere. I don’t look at league positions - it’s a derby; it’s going to be tight; you have got to earn the right to win the game.

“It’s for the supporters, this one; if we win this, it’ll be for the supporters.”