DESPITE a barren Christmas, Argyle remain on course from promotion from Sky Bet League 2.
That is the firm conviction of Pilgrims’ manager John Sheridan as his side begins the second half of the 2014-15 campaign with Saturday’s visit to York City.
Defeats at Newport on Boxing Day and by Oxford United at Home Park three days later – when defender Aaron Bentley was sent off – means Argyle begin the new year in the last of the division’s four play-off positions, with 11 wins from 23 matches.
A similar return in the second half of the season should see them reach the lowest of the gaffer’s aims for the campaign.
He said: “If do what we have done this [first] half, I feel we can get the same amount of points and get in the play-offs; if we can get more points, we’ll have a good chance of automatic promotion. That’s what we’ve got to look at.
“I have got to instil that into the players and make them believe, more than anyone, that we have got an opportunity of, first, finishing in the top seven, and always dream that you can get out of the league automatically. That’s what we’ve got to think – we have got to think positively.
“We’re playing really well at the moment. I don’t think there are any teams playing better than us. Unfortunately, the last couple of results haven’t gone our way but we have just got to keep on doing what we’re doing, the way we’re playing, and hopefully things will turn back to winning football matches.
“We could have had more points; we could have been closer to the teams at the top, but we are playing okay and results will change.
“I think we are playing excellently, even the two games we’ve have lost this week. I can accept losing games sometimes; I’m very pleased with the way we’re playing. People can say whatever they want – I know we’re playing alright. We could easily have got something at Newport and, even the game with ten men on Saturday, I thought we were excellent.”
The Pilgrims’ return fixture with York comes six weeks after the two sides drew 1-1 at Home Park, where Russ Wilcox’s visitors thwarted a home win with virtually the last kick of the match.
“I try not to let it affect me but we should have won that game,” said John.
“York are a good team. They had a good season last year and have drawn a lot of games this season – they haven’t been winning too many games at home, but they haven’t been losing a lot of games. They are a strong outfit; they are organised; and have got a good manager.
“It will be a tough game. We have found it tough in the last two years we have been there. We got a draw last year – could have possibly won it in the end – and it’s always a tough place to go. They have had a good Christmas and will be looking to continue that; we have got to try to pick ourselves up and get back to winning ways.”