On Fumes

CONCEDING goals is something that Argyle have not done with any regularity this season.

After letting in nine in their 16 Sky Bet League 2 matches so far, they boast the best defensive record in the whole Football League.

They went 559 minutes without conceding until former Pilgrim Alex MacDonald put Burton Albion in front at the Pirelli last weekend, only for Reuben Reid to equalise from the penalty spot and earn 1-1 draw.

Pilgrims defender Carl McHugh said it was “devastating” when Argyle conceded on the weekend.

“We were fuming after,” he said, “but you’re not going to go the whole season without conceding a goal. We had a great run; we just go to try and start it again now.”

Argyle now take a break from the league as there is the matter of the FA Cup first round and the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Southern Area quarter-final to take care of.

There is a popular myth that cup games can be a distraction, but with Pilgrims currently occupying a play-off spot in League 2, Carl is hoping to: “keep the winning feeling coming – I think it’s nice to be in a good position in the league to go into the cup games as we can enjoy them a bit more.

“It’s a big week for us; we all want to progress without a doubt in both competitions.”
The first of the two cup games will see the Pilgrims take on AFC Fylde at home this Saturday in the FA Cup.

Fylde currently play in the Vanarama Conference North but, despite them being two leagues lower than Argyle, Carl is still expecting a tough game from the non-league side.

“They’ll come down and it’ll be a really tough game,” he said, “but we’ll go about it in the right way and we’ll be professional because, if you don’t, then you can come unstuck against underdogs.”

AFC Fylde go into Saturday’s game with six wins out of seven but Argyle are unbeaten in seven themselves and full of confidence.

“They’re on a good run and they can cause an upset,” said Carl, “so we have to hope that doesn’t happen. After winning a few games, you’ve got the momentum – you’re going into games confident – and they will be Saturday.”