Pilgrim Pressures

GRAHAM Carey admits that he and his team-mates are feeling the pressure as Argyle enter the final two weeks of the Sky Bet League 2 season, but it is all self-induced.

The Pilgrims are effectively in a four-team slug-out for the two remaining automatic promotion slots behind champions Northampton, with just three games left to play.

Hartlepool United visit the Home Park on May 7 for the final match of the campaign, with a visit to play-off chasing Cambridge United seven days earlier. However, the fun and games begins at Home Park this Saturday against relegated Dagenham & Redbridge.

Argyle go into the game in fine shape, having seen off Portsmouth and Leyton Orient in successive Saturday-Tuesday away games to reignite a promotion push that had stalled prior to a stunning late comeback at Pompey inspired by Graham’s two goal-assists.

He said: “The way we played and the way we got those results shows that we have mental character to go all the way, and that’s what we’re looking for. 

“Last week, everyone wrote us off and it was a great way to come back. We went into the Portsmouth game with everything to play for and the team showed great character and determination. 

“[There was] a little bit of luck as well, which we’ve been lacking the past few weeks. We’ve been playing well in big games and just not getting the results. It was just about getting over the finish line and figuring out how to win big games. I think we did that. 

“If we use that as a platform, there is no reason why we can’t get maximum points in the rest of the games. There is still a lot to play for. It’s not over yet and it’s up to us to go and get maximum points now. 

“There is a lot of pressure because we put pressure on ourselves. 

“At the start of the season, we had a goal, which was to get out of this league and that’s still the same. Pompey was a big game, a massive three points, and that propelled us to Tuesday, gave us the confidence in that game. There is no bigger pressure than the pressure we put on ourselves.

“We always have confidence in ourselves because we know we have been playing well, but I think the last two performances show we have a different side to us, as well.”

Accrington Stanley are two places and one point above Argyle, who are separated from third-placed Oxford United only by goal-difference; Bristol Rovers are a further point behind the Pilgrims in fifth position.

“I don’t think anyone thought it would be this close,” said Graham. “To have four fighting for the two places is great for the league and it’s very competitive. It’s just down to who keeps their nerve, and we have shown, in the last two games, that we have the mental strength to do that.

“We just have to worry about ourselves. If we carry on doing what we’re doing, just focus on Saturday, we will be alright. 

“It’s shown throughout the season, that, when we get an early goal, we tend to control the game a lot more, but we still need to be patient. There is no reason to go gung-ho – it’s a long game.

 “We need to be patient, play our football, and play with that work-rate and determination that we have in the last two games, especially, and I think the result will take care of itself.”