Ahead of the Game - On the Wander
After Lewi Alessandra’s superb solo strike against Accrington secured Argyle’s first win of 2015 and ended our seven game winless run...
...attention now turns to channelling this momentum into regaining our play-off spot. It is a very busy week, with a pair of huge games to be played.
On Saturday, we will welcome Cambridge United to Home Park, but before that, on Tuesday, we have a tricky trip to high-flying Wycombe Wanderers.
The loan window re-opens this week, and Argyle will make an addition to the squad as Charlton Athletic wing-back Tareiq Holmes-Dennis will officially sign on Tuesday, penning a deal to keep him as a Pilgrim until the end of the season. Tareiq will be available for the game at Wycombe.
John Sheridan’s men will be looking to turn the tables on the Chairboys when we travel to Adams Park, after Wanderers condemned Argyle to their first home defeat of the 2014-15 campaign.
The 1-0 defeat at Home Park came courtesy of a 36th minute header from former Pilgrim Paul Hayes, but coming into this one we have the positive omen of beating the Chairboys the last time out at Adams Park – with Conor Hourihane’s left-footed volley proving to be enough to secure the three points last March.
This season has seen a change in fortunes for the side that were threatened by relegation throughout the last campaign, with Gareth Ainsworth’s side unbeaten in their last ten matches and sitting pretty in second place, in Sky Bet League 2.
The Buckinghamshire side are also unbeaten in their last five home matches so John will have to be wary of the potent threat that this in-form side will bring, but a win here would see us grab our first away win in four matches – with our last coming in our impressive 3-2 win over Northampton, on December 13.
The Chairboys come into this game on the back of a 1-0 away victory over Cambridge – how coincidental – which saw former QPR forward Hogan Ephraim score the winner with a precise free-kick after 53 minutes, before Cameron McGeehan was controversially shown a straight red card just a minute after the goal for a kick on Wycombe ‘keeper Michael Ingram.
This brings us onto our Saturday clash with Richard Money’s Cambridge who, like Wycombe, beat us 1-0 with Josh Coulson’s strike giving the U’s a winning return to the Football League after a nine-year exile on the opening day of the season, at the Abbey Stadium.
Before we take on the U’s they will lock horns with Exeter City in a game which could help put daylight between us and our local rivals who have gained a lot of ground on us after our recent patch of form.
Prior to their match with Paul Tisdale’s side, Cambridge have failed to win in their last five games, but during this poor run of form they managed to secure a historic FA Cup fourth-round draw over the three-time European champions Manchester United with Louis van Gaal’s £401.2 million team being held to a stalemate by the U’s – just one of the many shocks in the round.
This dream result for Money’s men led to an FA Cup replay at Old Trafford which Cambridge subsequently lost 3-0, but nonetheless they did the division proud.
Wins here for the Pilgrims this week could see us rise to as high as sixth and would go a long way to reigniting our hopes of promotion.
You can follow Liam on Twitter @LiamSpence94