First Things First

IT is no quirk that Argyle’s eight-game winless Sky Bet League One trot has coincided with an inability to do what they did in 22 of their 26 victories last season - score first.

In fact, the Pilgrims have yet to score in the opening half of any of their 12 league and cup matches.

Manager Derek Adams said: “In this league, you have to give yourself an opportunity by scoring first and we haven’t been able to do that. We have had opportunities early in the games; we have to put them away and that will gain confidence throughout the team. 

“We have been in very good areas on the pitch and it just about taking the chances.” 

Bristol Rovers’ Memorial Ground on Saturday is where and when Argyle will next attempt to address that anomaly and Derek accepts that the Gas will provide yet another stern test for his Pilgrims. 

“It’s a good league,” he said. “It’s better than I thought it was going to be; there are a lot better teams. In League Two, you have maybe got four or five good players in a team; we’re talking seven and eight in League One. 

“Bristol win one, lose one, win one, lose one – that’s the nature of the team that they have. It’ll be end to end because that’s the way they play their matches. 

“They are a very good team. They have done exceptionally well to get from the National League up into League One and have competed well at that level. They are finding their feet in League One again this year. They did well last year.” 

Argyle will be well supported – of course – after they quickly sold out the away sections at the Mem, which has noticeably improved since the football club became sole occupiers of the former rugby ground.

“It’s a good pitch and there is a very good atmosphere,” said Derek. “It’s very hostile and a difficult place to go to. 

“We are taking a full allocation and they will be in good voice, as they were at Wigan. They stayed behind and clapped the team off the pitch because they saw the effort the team are putting in.

“We are just not getting the rewards at this moment in time. 

“We are just going through a stage when we need to win matches. We’ll get a run together; we’ll get a bit of confidence with the wins. 

“We knew, at the start of the season where we were going to be at the end of the season and that’s in League One. That’s where we’re trying to stay.”