Still in the Game

RYAN Brunt is still firmly involved in Argyle’s bid for promotion, despite having been sidelined since March.

The striker is currently stepping up his rehabilitation from his second cruciate ligament injury of his young career, but has kept in touch with his team-mates and manager Derek Adams, as well as watching every game he has missed at Home Park. 
Brunt’s own personal contribution of 10 goals to the Pilgrims cause ensured it was probably the best season of his career and thus he is very much invested in how the season will end for the Greens. 

“I’ve been speaking to the manager fairly regularly," said Ryan. "He’s supported me fantastically and been as supportive as he possibly can. He’s been updating me on how everything is going. Of course it’s been hard watching the lads because when you’re not playing and watching it is just the worst thing. 

"I’ve been to every home game and obviously the last few games have been frustrating but obviously were still in a good position to go and do it.”

The Pilgrims have a marquee play off semi-final with Portsmouth to look forward to having been denied automatic promotion by a late Cambridge comeback last Saturday. Brunt says his team mates are not disheartened, despite automatic promotion looking like a distinct possibility for most of the season. 

He said: “It was a big blow Saturday not getting automatics but the lads are more upbeat than I thought they’d be, and are focused on what needs to be achieved. I think the Hartlepool game is important because we need to go into the next two play-off games with a little bit of oomph behind us.

“I think from the neutral point of view it’ll be fantastic. I think it’s going to be really set up for us to go and put the performances in - and the fans will support us. It’s great to be involved in it still and the play-offs are a great occasion to show what we’re about and have been all season.”

Brunt was part of the side that lost to Wycombe in last year’s play-off semi finals and he believes that experience will serve the squad members that were part of the defeat well in this year’s games. 

“We learned a lot from the experience and having been through the process," said Ryan. "It’s human nature that sometimes players get nervous and we probably felt Wycombe were the Manchester United of the league when they weren’t.

“I think we need to take Portsmouth as a normal game and not create the atmosphere that this is a play-off game. The main thing is to try and play it as a normal game and take the tactics and what we’ve been doing well all season in to that game.”