THE soul-searching is over; the recriminations are dying on the chill wind that has blown around Home Park this week...
...Saturday is coming sharply into focus.
Argyle entertain Newport County in the Emirates FA Cup second round this weekend, with a chance to not only restore their fortunes after three successive defeats but also to book a place in the stage of the competition where the Premier league sides enter the fray.
Those three Sky Bet League Two losses – to Grimsby, Barnet and Morecambe – followed a streak of 14 matches unbeaten, as a result of which they remain firmly embedded in the promotion places.
“We just have to move on now,” said Pilgrims’ manager Derek Adams. “We have been on a very good run of form and now we have the FA Cup to look forward to this weekend.
“The FA Cup is something that everybody enjoys playing in. We would like to try to get to the following round.
“It’s a big game. Everybody knows that, if you can get to the next round there is the potential you can get a Premier League team – that’s what brings in some good finance.”
Although Argyle have been the victim of circumstances recently, as much as their own slightly off-colour form, there is no sense of hard luck at Home Park.
Derek said: “At times, we haven’t taken our chances when they have come along and we haven’t defended well enough in the games, coupled with decisions that haven’t gone with us – we’ve had a number of penalty claims turned down; we’ve had a sending-off, which we feel is not a sending-off. There’s a whole aspect of things that haven’t gone for us.”
Saturday’s trip to Morecambe saw two for the price of one, when Jordan Slew was sent off after receiving a second yellow card for diving after being tripped by goalkeeper Barry Roche in the penalty area.
Derek said: “It’s a penalty-kick because the goalkeeper has come out of his goal and he’s touched [Jordan’s] foot as he’s gone through. It shouldn’t have been a yellow card and should have been a penalty-kick for us.
“The goalkeeper rushed out of goal with his feet and he dived in. Jordan is going at full speed and it only takes a little nick for some to go over. We have seen it at a different angle and that’s what looks like happened.
“It didn’t help at that time in the match. It was the same against Barnet – Jake Jervis was exactly the same. They are big moments in the game. Jordan’s on Saturday was just after half-time; we go in at 1-1 and, all of a sudden, you don’t get a penalty-kick and have a player sent off.
“It’s difficult because we are looking to get back into the game and then you are down to ten players after that and it becomes even harder.
“It’s disappointing for him because, as I said after the game, I didn’t feel the first one was a bookable offence. It was a free-kick and nothing more.”
With Argyle a man down, Morecambe claimed their winner from a set-piece corner and Derek said: “We’ve lost goals in that manner over the last few games, which is something we haven’t done in the past. We will work on it again and deal with the crossed balls coming in.
“If you give too many corner-kicks away, it’s going to happen. We have got to keep giving away the corner-kicks first.”