LAST season, John Sheridan’s Argyle suffered a mixture of fortunes against this Saturday’s opponents Morecambe.Approximately this time last year the Pilgrims travelled to the Globe Arena and lost 2-1, despite having led via a Reuben Reid penalty.
Almost exactly six months later, Morecambe visited Home Park to find the Greens hitting a purple patch. After beating Fleetwood 4-0 away in the midweek prior, Argyle bettered that scoreline, beating a sorry Morecambe side 5-0 is a mesmerizing display.
Sheridan clearly would prefer to see something akin to that five-star Argyle performance that the nervy one that saw us leave the Globe Arena last time with nothing to show for it but wounded pride.
“I think we’re a better team than we were last season,” said the manager. “I think we’re in a healthier position (than last season). I remember going 1-0 up with a penalty, and I thought we would go on to win the game, but it was a bit of a letdown the way we ended up losing the game.
“Morecambe is a tricky place to go, but I think we’re a bit more confident. Not over-confident, but confident that we know the way we want to play and go about our game. The players believe in themselves.”
For their part, Morecambe will not come into the game with any shortage of confidence of their own. Few suggested before the season started that the Shrimps would be among the early pacesetters, but Argyle will visit a side who sit third in the league and possess an unbeaten home record.
In fact, Jim Bentley’s team won their opening four league games, before a defeat at Tranmere followed a scoreless draw at home to Cheltenham slowed them in recent weeks.
Their recent downturn, though, is not in Sheridan’s mind. He is focusing on the threats Morecambe are sure to pose to his team, and how to go about combating them.
“They got off to a really good start,” said John. “They’ll be pleased with that and looking at the game - they’re at home - thinking they can get three points from the game.
“I know Jim, and his assistant Kenny McKenna, and they’ve done a brilliant job there. They were fancied to go down, but I don’t look at them as a team that will struggle. They work their socks off and he knows what they are capable of. They’ve got a very good work ethic as a team. The manager and the assistant were both like that when they played.
“When they played against Oxford and last week against Cheltenham, they were totally out-played – but they kept clean sheets. They work hard as a team. Morecambe are always a threat, and are in a healthy position, playing with a bit of confidence. I expect that from them.”
Argyle have lost Alex Bray, injured against Luton and having returned to Swansea, but welcome Marvin Morgan back to the squad, after he missed the trip to Kenilworth Road due to illness. Youngsters River Allen and Aaron Bentley picked up knocks during the week and will not travel.
Said John: “The squad picks itself, more or less. Marvin will come in for Alex. Eighteen players is plenty enough for me to try and pick a team. They all want to play – which is good – and whoever plays will come in and get us a result, hopefully.”