COMEBACK ’keeper Kyle Letheren believes that the Pilgrims’ renaissance this season means they have earned a free shot at promotion to the Championship.
Kyle was recalled between the posts for Saturday’s 2-1 Sky Bet League One victory over Peterborough United after Remi Matthews was given time off to be with his wife and their new-born daughter.
Although Kyle was beaten by an early Jack Marriott goal, that was as bad as it got for the Welsh custodian as Argyle equalised before half-time through Ryan Taylor and then took all three points when Graham Carey converted an injury-time penalty.
The victory lifted the Pilgrims to a season-high fifth in the table with less than a month of the campaign to go – a distance away from the bottom spot they occupied in October after the away match at Blackburn in which Kyle suffered a torn thigh that ruled him out for several months.
If Argyle can maintain their form for the final half-dozen matches, they will book a place in the end-of-season play-offs but, regardless, Kyle believes they have surpassed all expectations this season after being promoted from League Two less than a year ago.
After completing his first 90 minutes for more than five months, he said: “There’s no pressure on us because we didn’t expect to be in this position, so we have got a free shot at getting promoted.
“To be where we are now is nothing short of brilliant. The boys have done fantastic to get where we are and we are not finished yet.
“There are going to be plenty of twists and turns and hopefully a few go in our favour from now until the end of the season.”
Kyle was phlegmatic about the 10th-minute goal that gave Posh the lead, scored with some aplomb by the division’s leading scorer.
“It was just a long ball down the middle,” said Kyle. “I saw Sonny [Bradley] was underneath it and I thought he might have to head it back to me, so I was a bit further out of my goal than I’d normally be.
“He just completely missed it.The minute it bounced, you could see Marriott glance at me and – very clever – he’s just lofted [the ball] over me. If I was 100% match-sharp, I like to think I would have dealt with it, maybe.
“These things happen to goalkeepers. You analyse them and you get on with it. It is what it is. We won the game, that’s all that matters.
“It was always going to be a tough, edgy game, obviously, with both of us vying for the play-offs. I think we expected that.
“They started the better team but after they scored, we were the better team throughout, to be honest. That’s the way I saw it from where I was.”
“It was good to get back out there. I was buzzing for it. The way that my first spell in the team ended was a bit infuriating – I’d just got in the team and to get injured like that was disappointing but I’m back now and that is the main thing.
“You have always got to take the chance when it comes because they don’t come around that often as a ’keeper, especially when you have got injured. You can be sat on the bench for a whole season sometimes.
“I’ve been sat on the bench for a whole season at numerous places and it’s infuriating but, at the same time, you have got to stay professional, train hard – which I do – and just take the opportunity when it comes. That’s what I plan to do.”