In Great Shape

ARGYLE’S exemplary defensive record, added to by another clean sheet against Carlisle United, is due to excellent team shape and selfless personalities, according to John Sheridan.

Lewis Alessandra’s 15th minute strike to put the Greens ahead was followed by an equally important defensive display that kept the Cumbrians at bay, including late goalmouth action forcing heroic goal-line clearances from Carl McHugh and Lee Cox. 

Argyle now have the joint-best defensive record in the entire Football League; Sheridan’s side have only conceded just eight league goals all campaign, only two at home, and none at all in their seven victories so far.

“Other than the two blocks – which were great blocks – at the end, I was not really too worried,” said Sheridan.

“They (Carlisle) are a decent team; they had not let a goal in for three games, they are scoring goals and have got a good manager who has got them well organised, and the lad up front (Mark Beck) is always a handful.

“A lot of the goals we were conceding were soft ones, but I think we are a decent team when we set up and make it very hard for teams to play through us.”

Sheridan also praised Kelvin Mellor and Anthony O’Connor, who have been particularly impressive in wing back positions they are perhaps not so accustomed to playing. 

Said John: “We played the 3-5-2, and it enables you to pass the ball a little bit more in that system. Again, Anthony and Kelvin were solid and did their job for the team. 

“Kelvin is a very laid-back character and a great lad. He is always thinking of the team, does not think of himself, and Anthony is the same. 

“When I asked them both (to play wing back), their answer was ‘as long as I am playing, I will try and do the best I can for you.’

“It is about the team; you can see the front lads are working hard and stopping things happening easily, then obviously the lads at the back are enjoying it because we are getting clean sheets, and it is a good habit. 

“If we go into a game thinking we are not going to let goals in, you have always got a chance. You get the goal, you defend, and you work hard to keep that lead. That is what we have shown of late.”