FOR all but a couple of the Argyle squad, their Sky Bet League 2 play-off encounter with Wycombe Wanderers is a step into the unknown.
While wing-back Kelvin Mellor and midfielder Anthony O’Connor have both been involved in two-leg post-season ties before, their fellow Pilgrims will be experiencing a 180-minute clash for the first time.
Saturday evening’s first leg at Home Park will see how the two sides approach the unusual test and, if the pre-match comments of the respective managers are anything to go by, it does not look like the battle for a Wembley final place will start out as a cagey affair.
“It’s important you keep in the tie, but I’m looking at us winning,” said Pilgrims’ gaffer John Sheridan. “That’s the only thought in my mind – we’re going to win the game. If you are at home, you go and try to gain an advantage if you can. That’s what we’ll do.”
John’s counterpart at Adams Park tasted victory at Home Park during the league campaign and knows a repeat on Saturday is both desirable and, given the Chairboys’ form on the road, possible.
“They have got a really good away record, so I am expecting a really tough game,” said John. “They are a good team and we have had two really close games this season.
“I’ve read Gareth Ainsworth’s comments that he’s not coming, looking for a draw, and they will try to gain an advantage because they have been doing better away from home. It should be an entertaining game and hopefully it will go our way.”
Argyle paid back Wycombe of the early Home Park reversal by beating them in the return, when Lewi Alessandra and Peter Hartley netted first-half goals in a 2-0 triumph.
“You don’t look at the two games,” said John. “We’d like the same scores in both games, wouldn’t we, but I don’t look at it like that. It will be totally different. There’s pressure – we know there’s the chance of playing at a Wembley cup final – but the players are relaxed and I’m confident we will go and do the job.
“It’s a game we’re all looking forward to. We know how important it is. I’ve said to the players ‘The tie won’t be won on Saturday, but you can get an advantage and make sure you stay in the tie’.
“I can talk all I want. It’s not about talking. It’s about being ready, and who turns up on the day and has the character. Hopefully, we’ve got one or two who will go out and perform the way they can; I’ve said before, many a time, we’re as good as any team in the league on our day. ”