Luke Behind His Defence

LONG-SERVING Argyle goalkeeper Luke McCormick believes the current Pilgrims’ defence is as good as any he has played behind.

Luke, 31, was part of the Argyle side that won the 2003-04 Second Division, making many of his near 200 appearances for the Pilgrims in the Championship and alongside Paul Wotton, who has since graduated to first-team coach at Home Park.

He recognises a similar spirit among his current colleagues in a new-look defence which has conceded just eight goals in 11 Sky Bet League 2 games, including five clean sheets.

Only one of those shut-outs has come away from home, but Luke believes that the defence, as it settles down, will be able to take their home miserliness on the road, maybe beginning this Saturday at Tranmere, who they face after successive home wins inside four days over Shrewsbury and Swindon.

He said: “When I think about the year we went up and how the back four managed to keep a load of clean sheets, there was an appetite, and a hunger, and a desire to keep the clean sheets.

“I can see that with this back four now. I see it in training; when the lads are conceding goals, there’s a response – that’s partly to do with Paul Wotton – there’s an appetite and a desire to keep the ball out of the

“We’ve had a big turnover in the summer; we’re sort of getting use to each other and how the gaffer wants us to play; and I think this away form isn’t far away. Going into Tranmere with two victories is a massive chance to help us build again. 

“Wins breed the confidence and we were really resolute against Shrewsbury on Saturday. They chucked so much as us and we withstood all the pressure. So, as a defensive unit, we’re really pleased with how we
performed, and I think things like that will only help us going into Saturday.”

None of the Argyle squad was born the last and only time that the Pilgrims won in 15 visits to the Wirral – indeed, manager John Sheridan was still a short-trousered schoolboy – so Prenton Park would not be a bad place to register a second away win of the campaign.

The televised match at Luton is the only one which has seen Argyle pick up all three points, with the other four away-days – at Cambridge, Bury, Morecambe and Accrington – ending in single-goal defeats.

“It’s disappointing, to be honest, considering how few goals we’ve leaked,” said Luke. “You would have expected us to pick up more points on our travels.

“So that’s certainly something we’ve talked about this week. One of the main things is that we’re solid from the off and we get through the game with no soft goals, something we’ve let ourselves down with our little bit on our travels

“Keeping it tight is something that we want to be doing on Saturday.”