Carey post BRovers 1

GRAHAM CAREY hopes Saturday’s point against Bristol Rovers can spark him back to his old self and see him re-discover his scintillating form of previous seasons.

The Irish midfielder, recalled to the Argyle starting line-up for Saturday’s 0-0 draw at the Memorial Stadium, is the first to admit his performance levels in the opening weeks of the 2018-19 Sky Bet League One campaign have been below his own personal standards.

Graham said: “It is frustrating because they are the kind of standards that I set on myself over the last few years, taking that responsibility, scoring goals, assisting goals and helping the team win.

“When I’m not playing well, I’m probably the harshest critic of myself. You can’t take all the plaudits and then moan about it when you get criticized – you have to just take it on the chin. Hopefully, today was a good stepping stone for me to kick back into form.

“My form hasn’t been great this season. The manager left me out. I came back today and I thought there were a few positives, from a personal standpoint, but there is still a long way to go.”

Looking for reasons to explain his struggle, Graham said: “It is probably that I am being a bit too hard on myself, being a bit rigid and not as free as I usually am, and not playing with that freedom that I usually do. That’ll come and hopefully today is a good start.”

Graham felt hard done by to not have opened his account for the season after being denied by Rovers on-loan keeper Jack Bonham who produced a wonderful second-half save to keep proceedings all square.

He said: “I thought it was going in the roof of the net. The ’keeper somehow put it over; that’s just the luck we’re having at the minute. But keep performing like that and I think it’ll turn.”

Even though our first win feels somewhat elusive, our No.10 feels the errors made in the opening seven matches of the league season are a quick fix.

He said: “It’s more individual mistakes that have been costing us – last season was red cards; this year its individual mistakes.

“But they are the kind of thing that you can iron out quite quickly as long as we stick to basics like we did today –  let the forward players attack and the defence concentrate on keeping a clean sheet. The forwards worked really hard and we nullified what [Bristol Rovers] were all about.

“It was a good game for us but we are still disappointed that we didn’t get three points. It was more like us today – the way we played, the way we were solid at the back, and creating chances. On another day, we could’ve had two or three [goals]. 

“I liked the way we kept going at it. Even when we did have chances and didn’t take them, we kept on the front foot and we were taking the game to them.”