THE fact that Oxford United are 11 places lower than Argyle in the Sky Bet League 2 table is of little significance to John Sheridan.
The Argyle boss has long maintained his belief that teams in this division are separated by very little – a theory somewhat borne out by Argyle suffering a miserable defeat at bottom side Hartlepool, closely followed by a stunning win at promotion chasing Wycombe Wanderers.
Oxford, in 18th, are lower in the league than many, including Sheridan, expected them to be when the season commenced. They are, though, a side unbeaten in four – conceding just one goal in that time – and a side that won 2-1 at Home Park under three months ago.
“It’s a very evenly matched league, top to bottom,” said Sheridan. “Oxford are a decent club and I’m surprised they are where they are – I expected them to be higher. They’ve brought one or two players in, and the manager hasn’t been there that long. I expect a very tough game. They are a decent team, on a decent run.
“We’re wary, and we’ll go through what we think are Oxford’s threats, but I focus on my team, and what we are going to do. I try to get the best out of my team, because if we play well, like we have been doing of late, we’ll have a good chance.
“Obviously they beat us here after Aaron got sent off, but we’ll go there trying to win the game. Three points is the most important thing, like I keep saying, to keep us in the mix.”
Argyle stepped into the play-off positions in the Sky Bet League 2 table for the first time in October, and since then have oscillated between 5th and 10th.
Finishing in the top seven is ultimately the place to be come May 2, and it is where the Pilgrims currently reside – in exactly seventh, as it goes.
Everyone in green and white can probably expect a run-in to the season filled with ups and downs, but while the promise of a play-off place remains, there goes hope.
“We have just got to make sure we are in the top seven,” said John.
“There is something to aim for; we have a great opportunity to do something at the end of season.
“That’s what I am trying to preach to the players, but I think they know that. If we get two results in the next two games, it will keep us where we want to be.”