Favourite Game

DESPITE some bookmakers suggesting otherwise...

...Derek Adams believes Argyle are not the underdogs in the Sky Bet League 2 play-offs, and will be taking the game to Portsmouth on Thursday.

Adams leads his side into two fixtures this week that will determine their chances of a trip to Wembley Stadium and hopes of promotion to League 1, but the odds have been literally stacked against the Greens by some bookies before a ball has been kicked. However, the boss does not think Argyle will be fighting from underneath against Pompey, using a rather relevant example of how the odds are not always accurate.

"Well, Leicester City weren't the favourites at the start of the season," said Derek. "If people want to do that, that's fair play to them, but from my point of view, we'll go there and try to win over two legs.

"We're not the underdogs - that's only by the bookmakers. If you look over the season, we've won more games than we did last year and we've collected 81 points, so we'll see." 
Both sides own 2-1 victories over the other from their meetings this season and will be clued up on each other's strategies and personnel. Derek, therefore, is much more interested in his own team, and preparing them as best as possible to deal with the unfamiliar nature of a two-legged tie.

"I don't know from their point of view team-wise, but we'll be looking at ourselves," said Adams, "and what problems we can cause them.

"We've seen each other twice this season, we know each other's strengths and weaknesses, and we'll try and take advantage of their weaknesses on Thursday night.

"I'm not going to go into [detail about] Portsmouth. What I want to look at is how we can deal with their strengths and weaknesses. We'll try and take the game to Portsmouth and try and win the match. We want to be attack-minded, and we don't want to be defensive, and I think that's important as well.

"We're going there to win the match, to try and be forceful and take the game to Portsmouth. Obviously we would like to come back here with that advantage, and we're going to try and do that. When you get to this stage in the season, it's important that you go and try and do as well as you can and use the players you've got in the best positions to affect the result."

The prospect of Argyle's first trip to Wembley for 20 years is all too tempting to dream about for Argyle fans, but Derek knows he must remain focused on the task at hand, and organising his side as diligently as ever for the semi-final.

"We've got two games to win first," said Adams. "We have to try and get over this hurdle and try and get into the final first.

"We've got to keep everybody on their toes. We've got to organise them; we've got to be the leader on the park and off the pitch, and push them to their full potential. We've got a squad here that are full of that."