Ant and Docks

OBTAINING three points on Saturday at the expense of Portsmouth would be extra-special for two reasons, according to Antoni Sarcevic.

Firstly – and, in truth, mainly – Antoni and his fellow Pilgrims are desperate to score their first win of the season, no matter who the opposition is. However, the fact that Argyle’s next opponents are Portsmouth, at Fratton Park, adds a little spice.

Argyle and Pompey have developed a healthy on-field rivalry in recent years, mostly to do with finishing in very similar league positions for several seasons in succession, and this adds to a historical tension between supporters with roots of ships in ports rather than balls in nets.

Whatever the history, and whatever nickname you give the game, there is undoubted edge to it, which Antoni has noticed.

“Since I’ve come here it’s been a big fixture,” he said. “I know before that there was the play-offs. It’s two big fanbases; we fill it out every time and it’s a good atmosphere every time we play them. They are a good team, sitting nicely near the top of the table, but we want to take points from them.

“There is a rivalry that has grown over the last few years. Both teams have done very well in the leagues we’ve been in together.

“We don’t want to drop points; it’s been a tough start, but there’s no better way of getting the season up and running than on Saturday.

“If we can find a couple of wins from somewhere, starting with Saturday, that will keep us in good stead for the season.”

The lack of a league victory is not through want of trying. Argyle have only failed to score once in a game, have scored first in many, and have played some eye-catching football at times. However, the team know, as does Sarcevic, that the number that counts is the one on the scoreboard.

“This league is crazy,” he said. “You look at the stats from the Peterborough game, which we get after the game form the staff, and we doubled Peterborough stats.  But they’ve hit the back of the net five times and we haven’t. On Wednesday the penalty gets them lifted and back in the game. We’ve been in every game, it’s just finding the last bit, getting the ball in the net, and seeing out games. That will come.

“We finished last season strongly and there’s no reason we can’t do it again. We just don’t know how the three points will come. We might play brilliant football and win or we might win struffily. However we do it, we need to start getting the three points and do it quick.

“I think of it, finishing the season the way we did, we didn’t fear anyone. We need to take that mentality into games this season. We know we can beat any team around us. We need that mentality for Saturday to get three points.”