THE approach of the two managers ahead of Tuesday night’s Home Park encounter between Argyle and Barnet could scarcely be more different.
Pilgrims’ gaffer Derek Adams, whose whole outlook on life, never mind his team selections, is the epitome of consistency will stay true to his ethos in the wake of Saturday’s 0-0 Sky Bet League 2 draw at Mansfield.
“Just keep on doing what we’re doing,” was his response to the question of how Argyle would go about matters under the Home Park floodlights.
“We’re getting into good situations and, if we’d scored on Saturday, I think we could have had two or three goals. That’s the type of game it was. It was a very hot day and the players performed well again.
“In the first half, we had a number of opportunities. We hit the bar twice in the game and have come close on a couple of other times. It was disappointing not to have scored, but it is the first time this season we haven’t scored and to go away from home and take a point against a team that was undefeated at home was important.”
Conversely, in what is either a frank revelation of his plans for the game or a poker player’s bluff, Bees’ manager Martin Allen wrote on the Barnet website of how he planned to address the division’s worst away form: three matches; three defeats; three goals conceded on each occasion.
"Basically, we’ll play 4-5-1,” he said. “We’ll play much deeper, and we’ll “park the bus” for want of a better phrase.“
Since the last of those away defeats, Barnet have prevailed in two home derbies, against Stevenage and Dagenham & Redbridge, scoring three times in both games.
“They won convincingly on Saturday – a very good victory – and the game before that, as well,” said Derek, “and they ran Portsmouth very close the game before. They have come into a bit of form and we have to be a bit aware of that. They can score goals and have to be watched because any team that scores goals can be a problem.
“When teams come away from home, they will probably try to sit in a wee bit and frustrate us but we have got the players who are capable and creative enough to get beyond them. Every team has a weakness and we are looking to exploit that. They will be looking to do likewise to us.”
Tuesday’s game is the first of three at Home Park in eight days, with Crawley visiting in the league on Saturday before the following Tuesday’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy meeting with Exeter City – Argyle’s 5,000th first-team game. Not that Derek is contemplating anything other than the immediate job in hand.
“I look to Tuesday night first,” he said. “I don’t get ahead of myself. We have come off a very good performance away from home against Mansfield and we want to take that into the Barnet game. You concentrate of the next game in hand, that’s all.
“With all the travelling we have been doing, it’s nice to have a home game. We like playing at night-time, as well – the atmosphere’s good and you get a wee bit of slickness on the pitch which will help our style of play.”