ARGYLE will go into what some are calling Sky Bet League Two’s title-decider at leaders Doncaster Rovers on Sunday in confident mood.
It could be suggested that Derek Adams and his players would be more foolish, than confident, to expect to return from the Keepmoat Stadium with anything at all, much less a victory that would close the gap at the top to three points.
After all, Rovers not only possess the best home record in the division this season, they are also unbeaten in the league at the Keepmoat for almost a year, having won 16 and drawn six of their last 22 matches.
However, against that impressive statistic, second-placed Argyle can take confidence from being the best in the division on their travels and from having beaten Rovers when the teams met earlier in the season, winning 2-0 at Home Park in December.
Derek said: “We have got the best away record in the league against the team that has the best home record in the league, so something going to give on the day. It’s going to be tight.
“Doncaster have done very well at home, winning 13 games – we have also won 11 at home so, from that point of view, we got a bit of confidence at home – but on our travels, we have done really well; we’ve been able to win 11 games, and if we win Sunday that will make 12, which equals our target from last season.
“We’re very confident on the road and we’ve performed very well away from home. We’ve got a style of play away from home that suits us. We’ve got the confidence that we can go away and score goals and keep clean sheets.
“At home, we beat them 2-0. We were probably not the favourites going into the game; it gives our players confidence to know that we beat the team that’s in first position.
“We’re six points behind them and we know that, if we win the game, we can allow ourselves to have that final push, knowing that we have seven games to go to try and win the title.”
Argyle go into the top-of-the-table clash with the squad in as robust health as it has been all season, and with the Green Army in similarly fine fettle for the televised match.
“It’s important to have competition for places,” said Derek. “I’ve got 22 players to pick from, which is very good at this stage of the season.
“[Sky] have been able to pick up a very good [match] and we’re going to take a large away support with us. Hopefully, Doncaster can fill up their segregation as well.”
One player familiar to fans of both sides who will be missing from the match is Jordan Houghton, the Chelsea midfielder who was on loan at Home Park 12 months ago and who had his temporary loan with Doncaster this campaign cut short by a knee injury in February after having been an ever-present for Rovers.
“I really liked him as a boy and as a player,” said Derek. “He was ten games with us and has got undoubted ability; he keeps the ball moving; talks; organises; knows the game.
“I did try to get him back in the summer but, unfortunately he went to Doncaster and has done really well for them there this season.
“He’s had [the injury] before and he’s recovered. He’s got a very good strength of character and he’s mentally very strong.”