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Ahead of the Game - The Only Way

5 January 2015

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LIAM Spence casts his eye over the first full week of 2015...

It has not been the start to 2015 that Argyle would have hoped for with the Pilgrims failing to capitalise on the numerical advantage presented to them after just 22 minutes, when former Pilgrim Stephane Zubar was sent-off for a headbutt on Peter Hartley, in their 0-0 stalemate with York City, at Bootham Crescent.

Manager John Sheridan will be looking for a vast improvement from his Argyle side when they travel to Roots Hall to take on fellow promotion contenders Southend United, this Saturday.

The Pilgrims and the Shrimpers have already locked horns in Sky Bet League 2 this season, in a game which resulted in a 2-0 victory for Argyle, at Home Park. Coincidentally, that game also saw the Greens again playing with a numerical advantage, after Cian Bolger was sent off for Southend, getting his marching orders after just 15 minutes for a second bookable offence.

This allowed Argyle to secure the points after the interval with Lewis Alessandra’s precise finish from 10 yards opening the scoring, before Reuben Reid wrapped up the win with a close-range headed effort which took a bounce of the turf before heading into the net.

Argyle come into this game knowing that a win would see them leapfrog Southend in the league table as well as secure back-to-back victories over the Shrimpers. However, defeat for the Pilgrims could see them drop out of the play-off positions, with the chasing pack hot on their heels.

Southend have only lost once in their last eight league matches with that 4-1 away defeat coming at the hands of high-flying Wycombe Wanderers, and victory here could see them rise as high as fourth in the league – further enhancing their promotion push.

The last time Argyle travelled to Roots Hall it ended in a 1-0 defeat with Barry Corr scoring the winning goal after 15 minutes. However, Argyle come into this game with a good record against Southend,  losing just once in their last six games against the Shrimpers; winning two and drawing three.

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The January transfer window is now open, and John Sheridan has suggested that as well keeping the loan players that have performed well for the Pilgrims this season, he is looking to add more depth to the squad.

After the game on Saturday, John said: “I’m speaking to one or two clubs; hopefully we can try and get one in for next week. We’ve enquired about him; again, it’s just down to the club now.

“I think we need one or two players to come in and give us a lift."

Speaking exclusively to Argyle Player after the game, Sheridan also suggested that the exit door might be ajar for some members of the squad. "I look at people and I'm not sure they are ready to - or want to - be playing. I think it is about time one or two moved on as well."

Midfielder Bobby Reid's loan spell has now ended, but Sheridan has indicated that talks between Argyle, Bristol City and the player are ongoing. If Bobby signed a further loan deal, it would be one that lasted until the end of the season, as he has used up the maximum amount of days an emergency loan deal can be used for.

Anthony O'Connor and Andy Kellett's loan deals also expire in the month, but not until January 10 and January 17 respectively.

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