The Magic Number
THREE games left. Win them all and Argyle make the play-offs. What could be simpler?
Rotherham United, meanwhile, have two games remaining. They are currently fourth. Win both games, and they will finish fourth. Lose both and – get this – they will finish fourth.
The Merry Millers sit in glorious isolation, the only team doing anything like bridging the gap between Shrewsbury, in third, and the 18-point gap to Charlton, in fifth.
What kind of Rotherham side we see at Home Park, is a different matter entirely. Do they rest or seek continuity? Do they avoid injuries or keep ticking over? Does relaxing in fourth mean they will be so off their game for a glorified friendly that Argyle can take advantage, or will having no weight on their shoulders allow them to express themselves?
Questions all to be answered on Saturday afternoon at a Home Park sure to be buzzing – even more than it has been this season. The Green Army will be up for this game like no other, according to manager Derek Adams.
He said: “They will be because it’s the last home game of the regular season on Saturday and we are looking at a capacity crowd for the game. We have still got an opportunity of finishing off in the play-offs.
“I think to be in this position at the end of the season is fabulous. We have had a very good season and we want to continue that. We have a home game against Rotherham, a team who have already booked themselves into the play off positions and we will have a near capacity crowd to enjoy the last home game before the play off games.
“It might relax them a bit. It gives them an opportunity to get ready for the play offs. It’s not to say that the two of us may find each other playing in the play-offs so it will be an interesting match for both teams.
“We could either meet in the play-off semi-finals or even the play-off final.
Playing Rotherham, whatever their mood, will be different to Argyle’s last two games. A defeat ay Northampton was followed by a point in a vastly improved performance at Rochdale. Both of those sides are fighting for their Sky Bet League One life. A different challenge awaits on Saturday.
“I think that’s the case,” said Derek. “You look at Rochdale the other night they wanted to get the victory to get themselves out of the relegation zone. They got a point and it propelled them a couple of places up the league.”
Another bonus for Argyle is the venue. Rotherham head to Home Park to face the Pilgrims in what has been a happy place of late, with Argyle scoring 34 points from a possible 39 since late November.
“That’s some record,” noted the Gaffer. “To get promoted out of League Two was difficult as it is and to do that in League One it shows the players have coped playing at home. The atmosphere is fabulous at home and it will continue to be that way.
“We had that period at the start of the season where we found it difficult. It is an amazing statistic that we keep on moving forward and that is what you have to do at any business level or football club.”
For many a year the Green Army have been known in football for their support, in number and volume, but this season, at Home Park especially, they have stepped up. When times were bad, few audible groans stood out. Now times are better, seats are being filled and scarves are flying high.
This Saturday, on #WeAreArgyle Day, you can expect all of those positive traits to go up another notch, if such a thing is possible.
“We are going to have a near capacity crowd on Saturday,” said Derek. “Ticket sales are going really well and there is only a couple of hundred left.
“I’m quite lucky that I stand in the dugout and face the supporters, they face the main stand and aren’t quit as lucky. Hopefully in a few months’ time it will be refurbished and they can have a stadium they will be proud of.”