Believe That

UNLIKE most popular football songs, Three Lions - released in 1996 - spoke not of unbounded optimism for victory...

...but instead told of how, since 1966 and the one unequivocal success of the English football team, every tournament has ended in dashed hopes. 

Two years later, a revamped version tweaked the lyrics but retained the concept. Frankly, Baddiel, Skinner & The Lightning Seeds may as well pencil in a similar notion every other year, as far as England are concerned. 

Argyle may well have suffered two consecutive defeats in the space of a week, slipping to eighth in the Sky Bet League 2 table in the process, but Pilgrims boss John Sheridan has refused to rule out the club’s play-off hopes, echoing the words that started that beloved record: "We still believe."

The Greens welcome an in-form Northampton Town side to Home Park this weekend. The Cobblers have lost just once in their last ten league games, but Sheridan is hoping his side can bounce back from two defeats and restore winning ways.

“It will be a tough game,” said John. “Northampton are a strong outfit - I said they would be one of the teams to come out of the pack. They’ve got some good players for this league and they’re on a good run.

“I like Chris Wilder - he’s a good manager - but we’re both fighting for the same thing and it’s important we bounce back now from two poor results and get back to winning ways.

“I know that we can beat any team on our day and that’s what I’m going to try and keep telling the players. I am not bothered who we play now - every game is going to be hard. They’re all fighting for something and there a lot of teams going for the play-offs and a lot of teams fighting against relegation. We’ve got to be wary of that.”

Having enjoyed an impressive run of four, unbeaten games in the league, including away wins against high-flying Wycombe Wanderers and Devon Derby rivals Exeter City, Argyle had managed to climb to sixth in the table, much to the delight of Argyle fans.

Defeat against Bury last weekend, however, halted the Pilgrims' ascent up the table while Bruno Andrade’s 89th minute strike for Stevenage during the game on Tuesday evening denied Argyle what had seemed a valuable point.

Ahead of this weekend’s crunch tie against Northampton Town, the Greens boss has reminded both his side and fans that the playoffs are still something to fight for and that the full three points are the target.

“I think the word is consistency,” John said. “Obviously the teams at the top are probably the ones who are the most consistent, but Southend have gone through stages where they’ve lost five games and then they’ve gone on a winning streak of five games.

“We’ve done it, Newport have done it, Burton are on a little slip now, Wycombe have had a little slip and have bounced back with a couple of wins. Its swings and roundabouts, but the most consistent teams will get out of the league.

“We all know that’s something I try and preach to my team, but we’re still in with a shout, there are still plenty of games and while we’ve still got an opportunity, we’ve got something to fight for.

“I can look at the result the other night and I thought it was a really good, workmanlike performance on a really difficult pitch and I thought the desire was there to go and win the game.

“That’s what I’ve said to the players this morning. I was pleased with how we went about our game the other night and you could see we were trying to win it. Unfortunately, we switched off at a vital time and ended up conceding a poor goal so we didn’t get anything from the game.

“But we’ve got to bounce back and still believe. I want everyone in and around the place to believe we’ve still got a great chance of getting into the playoffs and that’s all I’m going to think of.”