On the Road Ahead

THERE is still only one thought circulating around the Argyle camp – automatic promotion.

Derek Adams, while a realist, shuns the possibility when hearing the words “play-offs” in passing conversation.  The atmosphere around Home Park is ruthless and calculated compared to previous hopes and dreams - the players, staff and manager know what they want and they know how to get it. 

Albeit via a setback in losing to Dagenham & Redbridge, Argyle’s task has been simplified. Nothing else but two wins will do for Argyle as they seek to get out of Sky Bet League 2.

The manager knows what to expect. Saturday’s opponents Cambridge have been given a lifeline with results going their way between Portsmouth and Wimbledon, creating a slim chance of a playoff spot. 

“We must win on Saturday, there is no two ways about it,” said Derek. 

“We’ve put ourselves in the position where with two games to go we still have the chance of finishing in the automatic promotion places, but we do need to win the match.

“They [Cambridge] are like ourselves; both teams have got to kick on this game, from our point of view we’ve got to go there and be positive, and get at them from the start.”

This all rolls into what has been a very productive and inspiring first season under Adams, who came from the Scottish league to try his hand at the English leagues. He classes this season as a success regardless of the end result, in relation to how competitive the league has been. 

“There’s been a lot more football being played by the majority of teams,” he said. “From my point of view, it’s been very competitive, any given Saturday the teams that you go up against, you just don’t know what the results are going to be.

“If you look at the league table, the teams that had been relegated from League 1, none of them will make it into the top seven. Plymouth Argyle are the only team to make it into the top seven the last two seasons and shows you just how competitive it is. 

“Talking to managers and supporters, the standard has upped in this division. A lot more teams passing the ball and being creative; I think it’s been a very good product.”

In a very tight league it has been a huge bonus for Argyle to have amassed such a large points total away from home. This Saturday, as well as staying in the promotion hunt, the Pilgrims pursue a record of 13 away wins in a season. 

The current record of 12 wins on the road was equalled when Argyle won 3-1 at Leyton Orient, and some club history could be written at Cambridge this weekend. 

“We have played really well away from home this season,” said Derek. “It was something that I’d looked at when I came here, at the beginning at June, to get away wins, because they are important, and that has shown this season."