HADEN Tye takes a look at why we ought to be optimistic heading into Saturday's huge Devon Expressway Derby against Exeter...
Threesy Does It
Argyle have beaten Exeter City in the last three Devon derbies, including one earlier this season in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy. Hiram Boateng and Craig Tanner both scored in the JPT tie, which the Pilgrims won 2-0. Before that, Argyle did the double over the Grecians last season, scoring three goals in both games. At Home Park, Argyle won 3-0, with Tyler Harvey, Reuben Reid and Curtis Nelson scoring, and then Reuben scored a treble at St. James' Park as the Pilgrims won 3-1.
Argyle's 38 points so far this season is equal to their title-winning 1958-59 campaign, which is the clubs best season at this stage since before the 1930's. Argyle are one point higher than another title-winning campaign - in 2001-2002 - and seven points higher than 2003-2004, in which the club won what is now League 1. In terms of this year's league, Argyle are five points higher than second-placed Oxford United, and nine points clear of the play-off places, in which Portsmouth sit at the top of with 29 points.
On November 21, in 1964, Argyle beat Manchester City 3-2 in front of 19,468 fans at Home Park. Included in the Pilgrims' goal scorers that day was Mike Trebilcock, who netted twice. Mike later went on to play for Everton and Portsmouth, and would score in an FA Cup final. Frank Lord scored the other Argyle goal, and moved on to play for Blackburn Rovers.
Home and Away
Argyle's home record this season has contributed largely to their success this season, as the Pilgrims have taken 19 points from a possible 24, with Argyle's only defeat a 2-1 loss against Portsmouth back in August. The only other team to have picked up 19 points are Northampton, although the Cobblers have played a game more than Argyle. Meanwhile, Exeter's away record this season has been quite poor. The Grecians have won just two games out of eight, losing five. If the table only included away results, then Exeter would be 18th placed.
Good to be Home
It is not just this season that the Pilgrims can boast an impressive home record. Argyle have won 30 of the 53 fixtures they have played against Exeter at Home Park, drawing 13 and losing a mere 10. The Pilgrims have scored more than double the tally of the Grecians during those games, with 88 Argyle goals and 41 goals for Exeter at the Theatre of Greens.