Sunderland (H) | Houghton's Preview
To look at the fixtures list and see so many games between the end of November and the start of January could be somewhat daunting, but Jordan Houghton believes it is a great time for players and supporters.
Argyle take on Sunderland at Home Park on Saturday, which is the first of a ten-game run of fixtures in a little under six weeks, leading to New Year’s Day.
“We are footballers, and we want to be playing on the main stage, which is in front of all the fans,” said Jordan. “I’m really looking forward to so many games coming up. It's going to be tough, because of recovery with a short turn around, but that's why we play football. We want to be out there playing games.
“Across the whole season there's massive games, which are exciting for us as players. I'm sure the fans are excited as well, going to big stadiums against big teams. The home games are sold out every home game. I'm really looking forward to all the games and hopefully we can repay that their commitment with some points on the board going into it.
“We're really excited going into this festive period of games. It's busy, but I'm hoping to pick up some valuable points.”
Argyle have 16 points from their 16 games so far, and are in 19th place. This is contrasted with Sunderland, sixth in the league with 26 points. Interestingly, the sides have scored the same number of goals - 27 – and Jordan believes that the styles of play of the two teams could lead to an exciting encounter.
“This season they've signed quite a lot of young players, so it's going to quite energetic,” he said. “I think the young players play without that pressure of expectancy. I think it’s going to be a great game for the neutral to watch. I think we're going to see two teams playing in similar styles; no holding back and going for it. They've got some real threats, especially going forward. We've got to be solid at the back and then try and build from there.
“The games are so difficult, but I think, bar probably one or two, we've been in every game, sometimes the better side in games, we just haven't picked up as many points as we probably felt we deserved. But you don't get anything for that, so we've got a look to turn those positive performances or times where we think we've got a bit hard done by, we've got to turn that into ways where we can pick up points.
“We're not always going to play well for the whole season, so when the performances do dip a little bit, can we still pick up points and stay in games? For a large chunk of the season we’ve played some nice stuff, but then we need to finish those chances off, be solid at the back and pick up valuable points when feel like we deserve to.”