Patient Pete's Play-off Push

THE Green Army voiced their frustrations over Argyle’s 0-0 Sky Bet League 2 draw with Newport County...

...but Peter Hartley reckons the Pilgrims are still sitting pretty to make the end-of-season play-offs.

The stalemate against fellow play-off aspirants saw them edge up to eighth place in the table, one place and one point away from the last of the four play-off qualifying positions – occupied by Newport – with eight games of the season to be played. 

“I think we’re in a great position, to be honest,” said Peter. “Obviously the fans would rather be in the play-off [place]s, but teams that are looking over their shoulder are always looking behind them and, when you are chasing for something, the ball is always on your side of the court. I think we’ll be okay.

“I have always said I’d rather be chasing, than looking over my shoulder. We’re in a steady position; we’ve got a few good home games against top teams in the next couple of weeks; we’ve got to go to Portsmouth; we’ve got Cheltenham [away] next week, who are fighting for their lives. There are no easy games, but that’s football and it’s always like this at the end of the season.”

After another 0-0 draw at Oxford the previous weekend, and 2-0 defeat to resurgent Dagenham & Redbridge in midweek, some fans did not hold back from venting their dissatisfaction, with jeers accompanying the players off at half-time, as well as the end of the match. Peter agreed with manager John Sheridan’s verdict that the catcalls do not help the players. 

“I didn’t think it was fair,” said Peter. “I didn’t think we started well, but we knew what Newport were going to come and do in the first half and the first thing on our mind was to nullify what they are going to do and then move forward with our game.

“I think the fans are a bit agitated with the lack of goals in the last three or four games and getting beaten 2-0 off Dagenham, which wasn’t a great result. They have been great all season, but what the gaffer says, I have got to really agree with, because the boys have given everything out there and it showed in the second half. 

“It’s not like we took our foot off the gas; we really dropped a gear and went to win that game, and it just wasn’t our day.

“We created maybe five or six chances to win the game in the second half. We are the home team; we have got to go and win the game; and that leaves us a bit vulnerable at the back. Games are going to be open like that and that suited us more than it suited Newport – they would quite happily have kept 11 men behind the ball – but we have got to try and win the game, get back in the play-offs.

“On another day, we could have maybe nicked it 2-0, like we did against Northampton and Cambridge, but we have got to move on; get our three points at Cheltenham next week; and get our fans behind us again.

“The fans pay their money and I want nothing more than to reward them at the end of the season, as does every single player in the dressing – and the gaffer. 

“They have just got to be patient – we have got eight games left and it’s not like we are in a relegation battle; we are really pushing to get out of this league and I think we are in a fantastic position, so we really need them behind us.”