Harts on Fire

THE Pilgrims’ concentration levels will be tested by Wycombe in Saturday’s Sky Bet League 2 play-off semi-final first leg, but Argyle’s will to win should see them pass the examination.

That is the view of the Greens’ vice-captain Peter Hartley, who, alongside centre-back partners Curtis Nelson and Carl McHugh, has been part of a defensive unit that has kept a remarkable 21 clean sheets this season.

He said: “Wycombe try to slow the game down; they score a lot of goals from set-plays. They don’t tend to break teams down, but we have got to concentrate for 95 minutes as, if we don’t concentrate, they’re more than capable of getting a goal. 

“If we take control of the game and if we move the ball around like we know we can, I think we can really hurt them and get them on the back foot. 

“Defensively, we do settle quite well; it’s just the will to win, and that is shown by me, Carl and Nelse, as we want it more than the man we’re playing against. No frills; win your battles; win your challenges; communicate; keep everyone in front of you organised. We do that. If we keep concentrating and keep everyone else at it, when we’re in position, your Bobby Reids, your Dom [Blizzards]s, will go on and win you games. “

Not that Peter is expecting an easy ride against a side that was in the top three of the league for most of the season; that won at Home Park; and that finished 13 points ahead of seventh-placed Argyle.

“You can’t underestimate anybody in this league,” he said. “Wycombe are thinking that we just got in [the play-off positions] and they just got out [of the top three], so it could be swinging in our favour.

“But I think you got to give them a lot of respect, as they’ve been up there for a reason and they have one of the best away records in the league. We have got to be really on our game to get a result on Saturday.”

A result does not include a draw.

“It’s the play-offs – you play to win,” said Peter. “You’d take a draw away from home if you’ve won, obviously, but when you’re at home on your home patch…we have got to make sure we turn up here on Saturday and get the job done.

“Obviously the boys are all excited for Saturday and chomping at the bit, and I wish it could come sooner. 

“I’m ready to go, nice and fresh. I just can’t wait to get to Saturday night; get the ref to blow the whistle; get the ball rolling; and then it’s war.”