Pete's Story: Repeat History
PETER Hartley is looking back to two major Argyle performances at Home Park this season to spur him this weekend.
Argyle met Exeter in the season's opening Sky Bet League 2 fixture at the Theatre of Greens, with the glorious Wall of Colour adding to the pageantry, and won 3-0. Goals from Tyler Harvey and Reuben Reid had Argyle 2-0 up by half-time, with Curtis Nelson's second half strike sealing the deal in front of 11,418.
Portsmouth came to visit in November, amid the ceremony of Armed Services Day and the focus of the Sky Sports television cameras, and again the Home Park crowd was in five figures. Once more, Argyle turned it on, racing into a 3-0 lead withing half an hour, with Reid and Lewis Alessandra on fire.
Those two stunning home wins, in front of big crowds, are among Hartley's favourite moments since becoming a Pilgrim in July. This Saturday, when Tranmere Rovers are the visitors, Argyle have a chance to make a massive step forward in the quest for a play-off position at season's end. With a large crowd expected, and expectant, on Saturday, Hartley thinks that he and his team-mates can step up to the mark once again.
They will, he says, need a little assistance from the mighty Green Army, though.
“We need a 12th man, and they’ve been that all season," said Hartley.
“You look the big games - the Portsmouth and Exeter game - we’ve won the games comfortably within the first 30 minutes. That’s more down to the atmosphere and the fans getting behind us, so if we can get that this Saturday, I’m fairly convinced it’s going to be a good win.”
Saturday's opponents, Tranmere, are not heading down for a casual spring sojourn to the Westcountry, though. Should they fail to win on Saturday, there is a danger that Rovers could be relegated. Therefore, the game features two sides with plenty on the line.
Add into the mix that Tranmere manager Micky Adams parted ways with the Birkenhead side after last week's defeat at Oxford United, and things become ever deeper. Hartley, though, is confident, and relishing the task ahead.
“Tranmere are fighting for their life, and we’re fighting to get promoted from League 2 to League 1,” he said.
“I feel that the dressing room is the best I’ve ever seen it. Everyone is on the same page, and I feel we are more than capable of getting it done and dusted on Saturday.
“We’re taking it every day as it comes and we’re focused. If we stay in the present it eliminates all fear. I feel that we’re all on the same page. No one is throwing the towel in, and we’re ready to go.”
"It’s always a funny one when the team changes the manager.
“Obviously they got beat 3-0 last week to Oxford, so they’ll be wanting to give a response, and they’ll be fighting for their life.
“We sort of know what we’re going to get at home. When we’re at home, generally we pick results up. We haven’t always played great, but we’ve always managed to pick results up.”