Play-Off Face-Off

DEREK Adams is happy that Argyle will face four of their direct rivals for a place in the Sky Bet League One play-offs over the last seven matches of the season.

The Pilgrims dropped to ninth place in the division after Monday’s game at Scunthorpe United was rained off, with Peterborough United, who they face at Home Park this Saturday, and Portsmouth, who rack up at the Theatre of Greens the following weekend, having overtaken them.

Scunthorpe remain above them on goal-difference, with the postponed clash rearranged for Tuesday, May 1, while Rotherham, who are six points ahead, having played a game more, are the final visitors of the season to Home Park, on April 24.

None of which is remotely daunting to the Pilgrims’ manager. He said: “We are delighted to be in the position we are in.

“We have got Peterborough and Portsmouth coming up over the next week; Rotherham coming here; then we go away to Scunthorpe. Destiny is in our own hands, so speak, because, if we win those games, we’ll be in the play-off positions.”

He is also content that the Glanford Park call-off sees his side looking up, rather than over their shoulder.

“It leaves us in a position where we have got a game in hand and it allows us to chase the pack in front,” he said. “That’s something we look forward to. We have always done that well in our time here – last year was a prime example. We did it last year and we’ll do it again this year.

“It’s a good position to be in.

“It looks like it could be three places that are up for grabs, with probably six teams, from Rotherham down – I think that’s the way it is going to look from now until the end of the season. Bristol Rovers and Bradford might have a say in that, depending on their run-in. Bradford have got a couple of games in hand so they could still come into the reckoning.”

First, though, is the visit of Peterborough, who bring with them the division’s top scorer, Jack Marriott.

“They have put themselves back into the play-off positions and have got some exciting, talented players,” said Derek. “Marriott has done exceptionally well for them this season and he is one we have to watch, one of the top players in this division.

“He has scored an outstanding rate of goals this season.

“They have got a few in the midfield and strikers who will also have to be watched. In saying that, they will obviously have to watch us because we have got exciting players as well.

“I am sure that Peterborough will have looked at our side and the way we play, and will try to stop us doing what we are good at.”

Argyle lost 2-1 in the reverse fixture on the opening day of the season, since when Peterborough have replaced manager Grant McCann with Derek’s fellow Scot, Steve Evans.

“They have done really well to get themselves back into the play-off positions,” said Derek. “They are not in a too dissimilar position now than they were when Grant was there.

“Grant McCann had done a good job for them and has put a good squad together and left that for Steve.

“It’s always good to see a Scottish manager down here in the South West and he will get a good welcome from the Plymouth Argyle fans when he gets here.”

The Home Park crowd will help create a platform on which for the Pilgrims to perform against Peterborough, one of three big home matches between now and the end of the regular league season.

“That’s what you came into this division and wanted,” said Derek. “The atmosphere has been great. They have seen a lot of good goals, a lot of creative play.

“Getting back to having a feelgood factor about the football club has always been our aim, and getting supporters back through the door. It’s up there with the Championship days of increasing the gates. We’re not there yet, but we’re continuing to make improvements.

“There’s no pressure on us. We’re enjoying it. With seven games to go, we have the possibility of 21 points, a good possibility of getting into the play-off positions.”