PETER Hartley is prepared to play through the pain barrier to help Argyle reach the Sky Bet League 2 play-offs.
The Pilgrims’ vice-captain is battling against aches and strains – and trying to keep clear of a yellow card that would earn him a two-match suspension – as Argyle’s season reaches its climax.
A 0-0 home draw against fellow play-of hopefuls Newport, which followed the same result at Oxford seven days earlier and a 2-0 midweek defeat at Dagenham & Redbridge, lifted the Pilgrims to within one point and one place of the play-off qualifying positions.
The campaign now moves on to Cheltenham on Saturday, after which there will be seven matches that will decide the Pilgrims’ fate. Peter plans to be around for them all.
He said: “I’ve got a few niggles – my knee and my hip – but I’ve got a full week to recover now, which is a good thing. Hopefully I’ll feel better next week, because I’m finding it quite difficult with three games in a week at this stage of the season.
“I don’t want to miss any games. I’m loving playing football at the minute; I think we’ve got a real chance to get out of this league and I want to be part of it. So, if I have to play through the pain barrier, that’s what I’m going to do.”
After an edgy first 45 minutes against Newport, Argyle turned on the style after the break, but found their Welsh opponents, for who goalkeeper Joe Day was outstanding, impossible to break down
Peter said: “For being the home team, I thought we started quite slowly in the first half.
“We knew what Newport were going to offer – they are a big, physical, side. So, the first thing for the back three, or five, was to nullify their threat then move forward and try to get the early goal, which didn’t really happen. But, I’ve got to say, the way we came out in the second half and tried to win the game, I think we deserve a lot of credit.”
The goal-less draw further enhanced the reputation of Argyle’s defence and goalkeeper Luke McCormick as the stingiest back line in English football
Peter said: “As a team, we have kept 19 clean sheets in 38 games; we have been solid as a team; we’ve been consistent. It’s not just the back three and Luke – it’s the whole team. It’s a great achievement
“We have got to look at the positives and forget about the negatives. Dagenham’s gone; today’s gone; we have got to have a hard week’s training and push on to the Cheltenham game on Saturday.”