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Evergreen Army

29 February 2016

WITH 13 games left to play this season, and his side in second-place, Derek Adams believes his side has enough experience, despite still being youthful.

Gary Sawyer was Argyle's only outfield player against Notts County who was over 30 years of age, but Derek says that his players have played enough games to cope with the rest of the season.

"I think we have got a number of players who have played a lot of games," said Derek, "not only in this league but in other leagues as well. You just have to look at Curtis Nelson, Carl McHugh, our goalkeeper, Reuben Reid and the likes of Graham Carey and Jake Jervis who have played a lot of matches as well. There's Gary Sawyer and Kelvin Mellor too, so from our point of view we have got a youthful squad but we have got a lot of players who have played a lot of games."

Argyle have the best defensive record in Sky Bet League 2, conceding just 27 goals in the league season, and have kept three clean sheets out of their last four games - although Derek thinks the Pilgrims could have had more.

"We probably should have had four," he said, "and we probably should have had three wins out of the four games but we didn't. I am delighted that we have had clean sheets and we will need them from now and towards the end of the season

"We have not done any extra [defensive] work, we have just worked the same way we have always done. You cannot legislate for individual errors and that is what has happened to us a number of times."

Peter Hartley and Curtis Nelson have been at the heart of the Argyle defence this season, and Derek says that their success is also down to their hard work, plus the players around them.

Derek said: "They have got a good goalkeeper behind them, and I think that Gary Sawyer, Kelvin Mellor, Jordon Forster and Ben Purrington have all played well along side them. They have had protection in front from the midfield as well so it is an all round team performance. 

"We have got a good team, and with that you need people to look after each other. Nelson and Hartley have looked after other players around about them, but the other players have looked after them as well.

"It is important that you have competition for places. Jordon has come in and he has given Kelvin competition, we have got Ben Purrington giving Sawyer competition, and in midfield they have all got competition in there as well, so from my point of view, the more players we can have of a good standard, the better it is for the squad.

"You defend from the front, and as a team we get into good shape when we lose the ball. When we have got the ball then we open up and try and attack teams.

"We have conceded two in the last five but if you look all the way back, we have conceded 27 in the last 33. Whatever way you want to look at it, we have got the best defensive record in the league and we are very proud of that.

"We would always want to score more goals but if you score one more than the opposition then you gain the three points. That is the way you want to win games, and that is something we have done the majority of the time this season."

Carl McHugh missed Saturday's win over Notts County, while Kelvin Mellor limped off during the game. Both will be assessed before the Barnet game to see if they are fit. 

"We are going to look at them today and tomorrow and give them every opportunity to be fit," said Derek. 

"If they are not ready for tomorrow night then they will be ready for Saturday."

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