Synchronised Defending

JOHN Sheridan insists defending from the front will continue to serve Argyle well throughout the Sky Bet League 2 campaign.

The Pilgrims go into Saturday’s match with Cheltenham Town with the best defensive record in the Football League, having conceded just eight goals and amassing eight clean sheets in their 14 games.

Sheridan notes this as a good achievement but realises that without the pressing of his front line, the defence would have it much more difficult.

“People keep saying it’s the ‘keeper and the back four or five, but it starts from the front,” said Sheridan.

“I don’t put all the credit down to the defenders, I never do. We don’t make life easy for their defenders to pick the pass and that’s what makes it easier for the lads behind the front two.

“Clean sheets are always about the team for me. I’m not going to praise four or five players for keeping a clean sheet; I praise the whole team.

“We’ve shown a lot of character to keep clean sheets, it’s not an easy job to do but it’s about scoring goals. We’ve got the first in the last few games and it’s enabled us to go on and get the three points.

“When it’s 1-0, it’s always the opposition who feel that they’re still in with a chance.

“You’d like that second goal to just make life a little bit easier.”

Forward Lewis Alessandra scored the winning goal for the Pilgrims against Carlisle last Saturday, and have thrived since being paired up front once again with Reuben Reid.

As well as notching a few goals since relocating to a central position having played wide on the right, Lewi is also keen to echo his manager’s thoughts that defending begins from the front.

“It does help from the front,” he said. “We’re pressing, closing people down, and it rushes and hurries people.

“If me and Reuben were stood around, letting centre halves just walk out with it, then I can’t imagine the other players and the manager being happy.

“No one is going to be looking to slack off, and that’s right through the team, so no one in the squad has that mentality.”

In discussing the team’s work ethic and mentality, Lewi stressed the importance of Performance Manage John Harbin and his role within the setup.

“I think we’ve got a good bunch; I’m sure the gaffer would agree. I don’t think he likes it when there’s people who feel as maybe disrupt the team spirit and team moral.

“With John Harbin, he’s a big believer in that side of things, and that’s one the positives we have of we having him here.

“He gets us up for things, and he gets us going."