WHATEVER happens to the Pilgrims in the next five, seven, or eight games, Argyle manager Derek Adams believes that 2015-16 has been a successful campaign.
The Pilgrims go into Saturday’s Dockyard Derby at Portsmouth firmly ensconced in the Sky Bet League 2 play-off positions, three points and two positions behind Accrington Stanley, the team in the third of the division’s three automatic promotion positions.
Up until the last few games, Argyle had enjoyed a more or less season-long occupation of a top-three place. Even though they are four positions better off than the corresponding stage last season, and remain well set for a significant improvement on last season’s seventh-place finish, their recent fall-out has generated understandable pessimism among the Green Army.
However, Derek sees the current campaign – whether it ends in automatic promotion, the play-off semi-final, or the final at Wembley – as an important step forward in the club’s recent history.
“From my point of view, I am delighted with the season we have had,” he said. “We have done exceptionally well this season. We’ve matched the points total we had last season; I think we’re six goals off scoring the most goals for 12 seasons at this football club; we have done well defensively; and we have got five games to push into the top three.
“It is about improving on the season before and keeping it going. At the start of the season, our aim was to put ourselves in a good position, and we’ve done that; it was all about gaining momentum, and we have been able to do that. We have had a very good season – we just need to keep on going.
“We have obviously raised the expectation of the football club. When that happens, I have always said, as a manager, you have got to keep your feet on the ground. I have done that throughout my time here. I am one of those managers who is able to get the best out of his players and put people in a very good position. The players have been able to do that, as well.
“Sometimes you get overachievement and, with overachievement, you get people expecting more and more. We have been able to do that this season.
“Look at the squad we have. Compared to other teams, we have done well with a tight squad. We haven’t a lot of a core squad; we have had to take in a number of loanees throughout the season.
The people I speak to on the street can’t believe how well Plymouth have done this season, and it’s testimony to the players and the staff.
“We know that we have got to work to a budget. Every club is like that. We aren’t a club that can go out and spend money like it was done in the past. We are sound financially now, which is really good. I am delighted that this football club is now on an even keel and doing it the right way.
“We have shown a consistency over the campaign, and, win-wise, we are one of the best teams in the league because we have won more games than most of the teams in around about us. Performance-wise, I think we have played really well against a lot of teams – no team has been better than us for the majority of the game, which is really good. It’s a tough league we’re in.”