IT was one of those did-I-hear-what-I-thought-I-heard moments.
It came after Argyle extended their unbeaten Sky Bet League One run to eight games with an excellent performance at Doncaster Rovers that earned them a 1-1 draw that was arguably the least that they deserved.
Pilgrims’ manager Derek Adams was asked by the Press in his post-match media conference to cast his thoughts ahead to the following weekend’s tasty visit of clear divisional leaders Wigan Athletic to Home Park.
That is when he appeared to say he wished he was Paul Cook.
Really? The same Paul Cook with who Derek spent many a match-day sharing, quite forcibly, differences of opinion with when the Wigan manager was in charge of Portsmouth.
Has that frosty relationship warmed to the point that Argyle’s gaffer now so admires his peer’s qualities so much that he wants to become like him?
“I’d love to be their manager,” said Derek.
Apparently so, then.
Wait, though – there was more.
“Because,” he continued, “you look at the players at his disposal – with 18 games to go, they are already promoted and it’s brilliant for them.”
So, then, not a desire to become Cook-like, just Derek drawing attention to the inequalities that exist in English football’s third tier.
Just for confirmation that he does not want to be manager of anyone other than Argyle, Derek added: “The way we are competing in this division and what we are competing with, I am delighted with the progress we are making.”
The inequalities were not overly apparent on the occasion that Argyle and Wigan met at the DW Stadium earlier in the season, when a late spot-kick conceded by Jakub Sokolik allowed the home side to claim the slimmest of 1-0 wins, as Argyle midfielder Jamie Ness noted following Saturday’s match.
He said: “We defended pretty well that night and we’ll have to do the same on Saturday but, at the same time, we’ll be able to offer a bit more going forward.”
The league leaders will arrive at a Home Park that has not witnessed a home defeat when Argyle have played 11 v 11 for 90 minutes since October 7.
“We have got a tough one,” said Jamie, “but, saying that, our home record has been really good recently so we’ll take confidence from that and look to keep the run going.”
The confidence has not been affected by Saturday’s failure to turn second-half dominance into three points after piling on the pressure following Ryan Edwards’ equaliser.
Jamie said: “In the second half, we pressed a bit more and I think that, the longer the game went on, our fitness levels started to show; we started to win second balls in midfield and started to put a bit of pressure on them. We kept the ball in their half a bit more and I felt like the [second] goal was coming; it was just a bit unfortunate that it didn’t drop for us.
“We were a little bit disappointed, considering the chances we had but, at the same time, at 1-0 down away from home at half-time, to come back showed good character in the second half.
“So we have got to take the positives from that, and the chances we created. We’ll take a point, we’ll move on, and look to continue the home run next week against Wigan.”