In Our Hands
AT the unfamiliarly early time of 7.30pm on Tuesday, all talk about ballboys and shirt colours will instantly fade and Argyle’s Sky Bet League Two promotion push will return sharply into focus.
The Pilgrims host Blackpool at Home Park in a game originally scheduled to have been played in January but put back because of the visitors’ involvement in the FA Cup.
The match is the second-placed Pilgrims’ game in hand on leaders Doncaster Rovers and victory would cut the margin between the two sides to just one point, with the pair less than three weeks away from a televised Sunday clash at the Keepmoat Stadium.
It would also put further distance between Argyle and the chasing pack – of who only Portsmouth are in action this midweek, against Crawley Town.
Pilgrims’ manager Derek Adams said: “There are only four teams playing and that gives us the opportunity to try to get points on the board when the other teams in the division are not playing.
“At this stage in the season, when there are only 12 games to go, any point is vital.”
On the subject of points, Derek knows exactly what total will be enough to end the Pilgrims’ six-season stay in League Two. He is not telling, though.
“We are well aware of how many wins we need between now and the end of the season,” he said. “We have got that in our minds and we are going to try to get that.
“We’ve won the most games in the league, which is 20, and I think, from that point of view, it shows you how well we’ve done.
“You look at this league; it’s a difficult league to do that in. There’s only ourselves and Doncaster who have been able to do that so far. So we’ve put ourselves in a very good position. When you’re at home, you want to keep that going.
“We have got a very good squad and have got a lot of players who have performed well. It is just about keeping that freshness, keeping the players fit, and getting the wins on the board that we require.”
All talk of Argyle’s aspirations should not detract from Tuesday night opponents who have lost only nine times this season – including to Argyle at Bloomfield Road in August – and who have ambitions of their own.
“It’s a difficult game,” said Derek. “They are good side. They are a team that came down from League One and have performed well this season.
“They have got a decent record and they are trying to push into the play-off positions. I thought they played very well against us at the start of the season.”