No Spine, Plenty of Heart

DESPITE Ryan Brunt's last-gasp heroics at Dagenham & Redbridge last Saturday...

...Argyle lost top spot in Sky Bet league 2 which they had held for eight weeks.

The Pilgrims now sit second in the table with the same points total as first-placed Oxford, behind only on goal difference. A relative lack of clean sheets in the last few games - previously their strong suit - can be put down, at least in part, to losing the spine of the team through injuries.

Pilgrims' coach Paul Wotton, who knows more than a little about the defensive arts, said: “Every goal, you can sit there and dissect and say 'Well, he should have done this and he should have done that' but you’re never going to keep a clean sheet in every game. It’s impossible. At the minute, overall, we’re pleased with the defending.

”We haven’t kept [a clean sheet] for the last couple of games but, at the minute, we’ve got the joint-best defensive record, but we’re always striving for better.

“Defensively, we have been solid; it’s something that I try and instil in the defenders. We’ve done well. The boys have performed really well. They’ve showed a good desire every day and a good work ethic, and we’ve had our rewards on the pitch so far.

“A manager once said to me clean sheets win you promotion.”

Over the Christmas and New Year period, Argyle face a tough run of games: away trips to Hartlepool, Newport and Carlisle and a local home derby against Yeovil. 

“It’s a time where you can pick up a lot of points," said Wottsy, "and, if you don’t pick up points over teams, then gaps start forming.

“It is a time to pick up points and they’re good games around Christmas; the gates get bigger, normally.

“We’re fully prepared for it; we’re fit; we can handle the games; and we’re looking forward to it.”