Perfect Prep

DEFENDER Niall Canavan believes the Pilgrims are still a work in progress, despite their impressive 4-0 Sky Bet League Two drubbing of Leyton Orient on Tuesday night.

The Greens are now unbeaten in six games across all competitions, winning their last two. Canavan has been the central part of a defensive unit that has also kept clean sheets in their last two games.

“It’s not bad,” said Canavan. “We’ve got back to what we want to be doing - and we set our stall out as a group before this week knowing what is coming on Saturday [the game against Exeter].

“I think for the most part this season, the goals we have conceded have been from a lapse in concentration from one or two, or missing the ball slightly, or mistiming something.”

“As soon as we cut out the errors, we know we will start to do much better. The last couple of games we’ve been pretty clean in our work and limited the opportunities for the opposition and that shows in the results.

“We knew we wanted to build through these two games [wins over Carlisle and Leyton Orient] and lead us into Saturday in the best possible way. So as far as that goes, I think we’ve done that job and now our focus is on the derby.”

Niall has recently been key to the ‘build from the back’ style of play that Ryan Lowe has implemented since his arrival at the club; which is something the central defender seems to be relishing.

“It’s nice to be given that role and be given the confidence to go and get on the ball and play the passes that they know I can play,” said Niall.

“I’ve been asked about it before the season, have you always had that passing range? Yeah, you don’t just wake up and find it one day.

“Obviously, it goes with the style that the managers want to play, and I think I’ve said before we’re really suited with wide players coming through.”

With the travelling side recently appointing a new manager in Carl Fletcher, Argyle were expecting an Orient side that were coming to prove a point, especially after their own 4-0 win away at Grimsby on Saturday.

However, an outstanding first-half performance quickly put the game to bed. Niall enjoyed watching the goals go in from his vantage point at the heart of the Greens’ defence.

“It’s nice to see them go in. I felt that we were on top and it’s nice to really take advantage of that,” said Canavan. “We’ve had some good halves of football this season and we’ve maybe not come away as clear in front as we should’ve been, so it was nice.”

Two halves of football are rarely the same, though, and with the goals in the bag, the Pilgrims went to work on an efficient, if slightly less exciting, second-half effort.

“We spoke at half time and said that the job is not done, and we have to be very professional in our work,” said Niall. “I thought we were that at times and I think Saturday [against Carlisle] as well, we had to dig in and as a group we really stuck to our task.”

There is a sense that the Greens might be peaking at the right time, ahead of Saturday’s highly-anticipated clash with the Grecians. As far as Niall is concerned, though, it is business as usual.

“Like I said, we’ve spoken before this week saying how we wanted six points from these two games leading up to the derby and that’s what we’ve got,” he said.

“We’ve very much taken it a game at a time and looking to build from one to the next, but we did set a stall out and say this is what we wanted. It can really kick us on to what is a good period of the season for us leading up to Christmas.”