Donning the Mantle
ARGYLE'S opponent in the Sky Bet League 2 play-off final may have been confirmed, but Kelvin Mellor is more focused on ensuring his side pull off one more memorable performance at Wembley Stadium.
AFC Wimbledon's 3-2 aggregate victory over Accrington Stanley makes them the Pilgrims' opponents in London on May 30, contesting for a place in League 1 next season.
The Greens' run to the play-off final began with a 2-0 victory against AFC Wimbledon back in August, followed soon after by another win in Kingston, a come-from-behind 3-2 win in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy. The Dons picked up a win of their own at Home Park in August, but Kelvin feels the stature and importance of the sides' fourth meeting of the season means the previous three will count for nothing.
"It's just a clean slate," said Mellor. "It's a totally different game and it can go either way, but as long as we play our football and play to the best of our ability, I'm sure we'll be fine.
"We've got to focus on ourselves really. I did think they [Wimbledon] would win [the semi-final], but I don't really have a preferred opponent. We know what Wimbledon are about: they're a big, physical side, and if we play our football I'm sure the game will take care of itself and the result will be in our favour."
Argyle earned an extra few days' preparation for the final than their opponents by seeing off Portsmouth in dramatic style last weekend. The importance and the manner of the win has left spirits high across all of Plymouth, but Mellor knows that maintaining composure from now until the final is of key importance.
"It was a very tense game and could've gone either way," said Kelvin on the semi-final. "I think we did better than them in both of the games, really.
"I thought we had the better chances and obviously it was a great way to win, right at the end of the game. As soon as it went in it was too late: we knew we did it.
"We can't get too high. Obviously beating Portsmouth was a great achievement, and reaching Wembley is the biggest stage - it's top of the tree. We've just got to look forward to that game, relax into it and we'll be fine.
"As a team we were great in the play-offs and throughout the season. It's more than what we deserve to win it, so we just need to go and do it."
Kelvin and the rest of the squad will be roared on by over 30,000 Argyle fans at the final, and the defender expects the Green Army to create yet another memorable atmosphere upon their first visit to Wembley Stadium in two decades.
"We've had support all season and we knew there'd be a lot more fans coming to Wembley obviously," said Mellor. "It's been a long time since the club's been able to play there. They've been in administration and had their bad times, but now they want to see the good times, and hopefully we can bring that for them.
"I think it's going to be electric, to be fair. You're only going to be able to hear the Plymouth fans. They've been amazing all season and hopefully we can give them one more thing to cheer about."