DEREK Adams is hoping his hungry-for-promotion squad can dine on a diet of momentum and focus as they look for a second away win in four days.
After his boys showed steel in coming from behind to win 2-1 at Portsmouth on Saturday, the Pilgrims travel to Leyton Orient on Tuesday looking for another win to enhance their promotion ambitions.
Frustration was threatening to entirely envelop Home Park and all in green after galling losses to Exeter and Wimbledon looked set to be followed by defeat at Fratton Park.
However, in the city where Admiral Nelson’s flagship resides, Argyle – let by Horatio’s namesake – found a victory of their own in heroic fashion. With results elsewhere looking favourable, suddenly impetus seems to back with the Greens again – and Derek is desperate to capture the mood, and use it.
“We still need to keep focused - and they are very focused,” said Derek. “They are a great group of individuals.
“We have to keep on going and be strong. The players showed on Saturday that they are mentally strong to go to Portsmouth with over 18,000 fans there – 2,400 of our fans – and they’ve dealt well with the occasion.
“Momentum is very important at this stage of the season. Being able to pick up maximum points would put pressure on everyone else. With four games to go it’s not about performances, it’s about wins.”
Orient – though five places and 11 points inferior to Argyle – might well be thinking the same thing. As they hunt among what looks to be an eight-strong pack grasping for the final play-off position, their 3-2 win over doomed Dagenham and Redbridge on the weekend might be a momentum swinger of their own.
One point in four games – a run that did for Kevin Nolan, who has relinquished managerial duties – preceded the win the in London derby, and was a victory in the first game for new, temporary boss Andy Hessenthaler.
Orient boast Sky Bet League 2’s second top goalscorer in Jay Simpson. The striker is eight clear of anyone else in the division, having notched 25 goals so far. Only Bristol Rovers’ Matty Clarke, with 26, has scored more.
One of Simpson’s goals came when Argyle drew 1-1 with Orient at Home Park earlier in the season, and Adams knows the threat posed by the former Arsenal man, as well as the effect his new boss may have.
“He’s one of the best strikers in this league,” said Derek, of Simpson. “They have done well to hold on to him for so long. People may have thought he would leave in the January transfer window but he is a top striker.
“He scored out of nothing [against Argyle], put the ball right in the top corner. It was a fantastic strike.
“They have the opportunity to try and get in the play-offs. Andy Hessenthaler has taken over there; he’ll be fighting to try and get them in there. I’m not reading his mind, but he may be trying to get the job permanently. It’s a tough game for us but we’ve shown, going away to Portsmouth, that we’re able to cope with that.
“They’ve changed their manager, and it’s difficult place to go to at the best of times. When a new manager comes in he wants to put his own ideas in. We’ve got to go there and put pressure on them. They’re a team that have financially done well, pushed their squad to the limit.”
The win at Portsmouth was done without Gary Sawyer and Jordon Forster, who missed the game through injury. Reuben Reid did not start at Fratton Park, although his intervention from the bench played a big part in Argyle’s revival.
All three men have made progress since Saturday, according to Derek, and could play a part in the capital on Tuesday night. Even better news is that despite the tough fixture, those that took part at Pompey have reported back in good shape.
The boss said, on Monday morning: “We’ll train this afternoon and we’ll look at them, assess them, before we travel. They are progressing – they trained yesterday and hopefully they haven’t responded badly to that.
“We came through [the Portsmouth game] well. We came in and did a bit yesterday, and everybody looked to be in good fettle.
“Reuben looks good. I thought he looked good on Saturday when he came on. He looked fresh. He was only on for 15 minutes but he was involved in the goals. He looks a lot better this week than he did last week.”