REACTION: Lowe on League One Safety

Argyle manager Ryan Lowe expressed his satisfaction in securing Sky Bet League One status with two games of the season remaining, despite a 3-1 defeat at play-off chasing Oxford United.

Matty Taylor’s late double condemned Argyle to a second defeat on the bounce, despite Niall Ennis’ equaliser mid-way through the second half. However, results elsewhere ensured that no team in the bottom four places can match the Pilgrims’ current haul of 53 points.

Lowe said: “We’re mathematically safe in this division for next season, which was always the aim, with two games to go. I’d have bitten your hand off for that [at the start of the season].

“We had a false start, we probably gave the fans false hope, and probably gave myself false hope, because we were up there, and you’re thinking ‘go on, you can kick on.’

“That weren’t to be, the case was for us to go and get as many points as we possibly can that kept us in the division, and we’ve got that. I want to finish higher than where we are now.”

Having suffered a bruising defeat at home against Charlton Athletic in midweek, Lowe demanded a reaction from his players at the Kassam Stadium, and he felt that the team showed desire and commitment to the cause, even in defeat.

He said: “We were undone in early doors by an own-goal from Joe, and our goal was a great finish. In the first half, we had some moments, we caused them a few problems but we just didn’t have that clinical edge.

“I thought the lads gave us a reaction, it was what we wanted, they played some good stuff. On 70 minutes when we’ve got it back to 1-1, I’m thinking ‘carry on doing the same thing’, and then from a throw-in we don’t track runners.”

With mathematical safety secured, the focus of Lowe and the backroom team at Argyle shifts firmly to preparing for next season.

He said: “We’ve been saying the same things a lot of the season. Without being too critical of certain individuals, we know where we need to improve. The recruitment has started a long time ago for that [next season], we are on with it, we do need to find a solution – we can’t concede as many goals as we have conceded.

“Neil [Dewsnip, Director of Football], Andrew [Parkinson, CEO], Zac [Club Secretary], the Board and me and my staff are talking about recruitment, and now we know where we are, what league we’re going to be in, we can push forward with it and make sure we recruit better.”

Before a summer of transfer activity at Home Park, though, the Greens play out their remaining two fixtures – a home finale against promotion contenders Sunderland, before a trip to Kent to take on Gillingham on the final day.

“What we can do now is give the lads a bit more of a positive mindset, what we can say is what a game to come into – Sunderland at home,” said Lowe. “I want to make sure that we put on a show, because some lads we’re never going to see again.

“We want to go out with a bit of a bang, we’ve had two losses on the bounce, we want to pick up straight away and go out with two wins on the bounce, if we possibly can.”