A Round-up of Argyle News
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Greens on Screen's Daily Diary is a compilation of Argyle news, with help from these and other Argyle-related sites.
On This Day:
Also included on the three most recent days, facts from Argyle's history.
Conor Hourihane, Onismor Bhasera, and Paul Wotton are among the players who have been offered new contracts by Argyle. Guy Branston, Jake Cole, Andres Gurrieri and Isaac Vassell have also been offered terms for next season and Tyler Harvey will sign his first professional deal. Anthony Charles, Ollie Chenoweth, Jamie Lowry and Jared Sims have been released, whilst Warren Feeney is not being retained, but will be given the opportunity to impress John Sheridan in pre-season, after missing the manager’s entire reign so far through injury. The club is also making Nick Chadwick and Rene Gilmartin available for transfer.
John Sheridan has agreed, in principle, to continue as Argyle manager after talks with James Brent. The details of the appointment are to be worked out and both parties are confident a deal will be finalised within the next few days. A club spokesman said: “Everyone at Home Park is thrilled that John is staying with us, pledges their full support to him and wishes him every continued success as manager.”
Maxime Blanchard will miss the first two games of next season following his dismissal at Rochdale on Saturday. This offence normally carries a one match suspension but because Blanchard has already been sent-off once this season, an additional one match ban applies.
Paul Wotton has ruled out talk of retirement and insists he has at least one more season in him, hopefully with Argyle. He said: "I have enjoyed it playing under the gaffer. I hope he stays and I hope I stay. I have no plans to retire. I'm not ready to retire and I feel I have got a minimum of another year left in me. In fact, I feel great. Everyone knows how much this club means to me and if I thought I couldn't be an asset then I wouldn't say so. It's an awesome football club and the fans, well, they never cease to amaze me. You would have thought we had won the league when they came onto the pitch at the end of the game on Saturday. That's how much Argyle means to them, and I feel exactly the same. They have got to be the best set of fans in the country." Wotton was disappointed Argyle did not end the season with a win or a draw against Rochdale, as that would have seen them to safety by their own efforts. He added: "We didn't want to end with two defeats but before then our form had been that of a promotion team. The most important thing is that we are still in the Football League and, hopefully, we can carry our form into next season. I would love to be in the mix."
Reuben Reid knew there was a lot at stake as Argyle battled to avoid relegation, not just for the players but also to staff who work for the club and local businesses which rely on match-day income. He said: "There were livelihoods on the line. Not only players, but people who work around the club. Even my mate, he owns a few restaurants in the city and when the team were in the Championship his business was booming. Fans would come down from places like Leicester and you would have hundreds of them on a night out spending their money. It would have been a travesty for a club of this size to be relegated, so it was massive for us to stay in the League. I couldn't even comprehend seeing the club in the Blue Square Premier." Argyle had strong support from the Argyle fans in the relegation run-in and Reid was grateful for that. He said: "They are the best I have ever experienced, hands down, and I have played for a few clubs! It was a 600-mile round trip to Rochdale and to see so many of them there was just amazing. Even at the Southend game on a Tuesday night they packed out their corner and were singing louder than the other guys. They have been like a 12th man for us."
The future of John Sheridan has not yet been settled but Argyle are already being linked with Torquay United forward Rene Howe, according to newspaper reports. Howe, who is out of contract, scored 16 goals for Torquay this season. Meanwhile, Sheridan’s former assistants at Chesterfield, Tommy Wright and Mark Crossley, left the Spireites yesterday.
James Brent wants John Sheridan to continue as manager of Argyle and is optimistic a deal can be struck that will see him stay at Home Park. Brent said: "The board and I are very positive about John. We will have a conversation this week. He has been very complimentary about the club, and incredibly complimentary about the fans. He hasn't come across fans like the Green Army. I would hope that we can reach an accommodation with him. That's certainly my wish, and I think and hope it's his wish. Fingers crossed, we can move forward with John. I have had very short conversations with him, which normally began with, 'Chairman, I don't want to talk about this until we are definitely safe'. From the club standpoint, we are keen for John to carry on leading us and the vibes are positive, unless I have misread them, that he is keen to carry on leading us. John is confident that should he remain with us, which is our working assumption. He can get us up to the top section of League Two next season. That's what we are going to support him to do." Argyle were 23rd in League Two, and had played two more games than many of their relegation rivals, when Sheridan arrived at Home Park. Brent said: "I think John has done an exceptional job and I believe there would be very few people who would question that. He has brought in good loan players but, most importantly, he has really got the whole team playing for Argyle and playing for the shirt. It is clear that when they go on the pitch they go on to win, they don't go on not to lose. He has got them winning more than they are losing, so that has got to be a good sign. We have got the summer now to rebuild and, hopefully, take it forward to the excitement of winning, not the terror of losing." Brent described watching the game against Rochdale as 'torture' and was very relieved results elsewhere went in Argyle's favour and they stayed up. "To be terrified on 52 points is extraordinary," he added.
Conor Hourihane has strongly hinted that he would consider signing a new contract with Argyle. "My contract is up and I'll be talking to the club and my agent during the week," he said. "And if the terms are right, then of course I'd consider staying, I've loved the two years that I've been here. But now the over-riding feeling I have now is one of relief that we've achieved what we wanted and that is to stay up. Yes, we'd have much preferred to end with a win or at least take a point away from Rochdale, but knowing it's all over more than makes up for that disappointment. The fans were fantastic, as they always are, and out-shouted the Rochdale supporters, so we would have to have done it for them. Everyone knows the importance of having great support and Argyle definitely do have that in the Green Army. But, in the end, we couldn't quite get the victory at Spotland, but we'd done the hard work in getting the 52 points and that proved enough to see us over the line." Hourihane paid tribute, too, to the squad and the impact of John Sheridan since he arrived in January. "The gaffer's been great since he came down here and I can't speak too highly of him," he said. "He has great experience in the game and the results we've achieved since he came here, are down to him getting the players to play the way he wants. Our form over the past couple of months shows we're on the right track and if we'd started the first half of season as we finished the second, then Argyle would have been in the play-offs."
Jake Cole insisted the feeling of relief in the Argyle camp at avoiding relegation must be replaced by a determination that 'it must not happen again'. "No, I don't want any more afternoons like this one or seasons like we've just had," he said. "I've been involved in a few tough relegation battles, both with Argyle and Barnet, who finally got relegated. This club is too big to be going into games like this and although we got there in the end, it's disappointing to have conceded a goal as it would have been nice to finish with a clean sheet. The main job is done in that we just wanted to stay in the Football League and I'm over the moon that we achieved that. But I would have liked for us to have gone until the end of the match without conceding and therefore winning a point which meant we would have stayed up anyway. I'm sure the fans, who have been excellent for us all year, would have appreciated that, too. But the most important thing is that the club has stayed up, Argyle are far too big to go down." Cole believes John Sheridan's managerial skills have tipped the balance in Argyle's favour and feels better times are ahead for the club. "The gaffer's been brilliant since he came in and recently we've picked up a lot of positive results and if anything been in promotion form," he said. "Hopefully, now the club can move on to better things. The fans have been brilliant with me over the past couple of years. My contract's up now as are the deals with a number of other players, and I'll be talking to club officials over the next few days and I'll leave it with them and see what they say."
Warren Feeney is hoping to play a part in pushing Argyle up the table next season. Feeney, who is out of contract in the summer, said: "It's tough watching the guys, but it has been for the past four months since I broke my ankle. There's nothing worse or frustrating than watching your team-mates on the pitch knowing you can't do anything about it. No-one wants to be down in the relegation zone particularly with a club of this size. But I'm a great believer in no-one's too big to go down. But fair play, the new gaffer has come in and he's turned it around, I think you can see the relief in the players. Yes, it's nice we're staying up but it's not an ideal situation you want to be in as a footballer, we ought to be celebrating for promotion not staying in the Football League. But at the end of the day, that's part and parcel of it, and, hopefully, we can kick on next season." Argyle went down to 10 men after 14 minutes at Rochdale, when Maxime Blanchard was red-carded for a professional foul. Feeney added: "I couldn't really see from where I was sitting whether the sending off was justified or not, but the consensus is that it probably was. And sometimes in football it works better for 10 men to play against 11 and you've got to accept the referee's decision. But it did make life harder and I just thank goodness that we've crossed that line. The fans have been phenomenal and you don't get brilliant support like that at every club, particularly when we've been fighting relegation for the past two seasons. Now, the only way is up for the club and I'd like to play a part in it next season. Obviously, I don't know what the club has in mind, but hopefully I can have a chat with the gaffer this week. My intentions are to be here, I love it down here, and would like to finish my career here if I was asked."
James Brent praised the travelling Argyle fans as 'absolutely brilliant' after more than 2,000 attended the game at Rochdale. The supporters travelled by all sorts of transport, including a number of coaches paid for by First European Securities. Brent said: "They have come by virtually every mode possible. People have left home at ridiculous times in the morning. We had one fan come across from Africa because he couldn't stay away. The Green Army is very special. What I would like to say is to thank FES, and Nik Barron in particular, for their support. All of our fans are super fans, but we have super fans who have the ability to do a bit extra and they do it. I'm really grateful to Nik and his company for the support they showed."
Reuben Reid thinks Argyle retaining their Football League status is ‘a massive achievement’ but admitted he did not always think they could pull off their second successive escape. “I’m buzzing and happy we’ve got the job done,” he said. “Obviously this club should nowhere near be in the position it is in. It’s a joke, really, almost embarrassing. But, from where we were 18 games ago, to get to where we are today is a massive achievement. If you look at the results recently, before today, we were in the top four or five on form. Credit to the gaffer he’s brought players in and we’ve become a competent team. My first month was a joke, for me and the team. I really had a bad feeling about the situation because we weren’t playing well. But the gaffer kept ticking things over, kept giving the team his ideas. Thankfully, it’s come off because we’ve stayed in the league. I would play for the manager any day of the week. I trust him as a human being, aside from football. He tells you how it is. If you’re no good, you’re no good. If you’ve done well, you’ve done well. He won’t push it, he just lets you know how things are. I think that is the best way to do it. I’ve played a role completely different from what I’ve done before. I’m glad I’ve played the role because, if this makes sense, I’ve learnt something else to my game now. I’ve proved there’s another side to me. Normally I would float around, maybe I’d not run around so much but I’d get on the scoresheet or set someone up, but I’ve effectively learned to play a new position. As long as we are winning games, I don’t mind. I would have liked the Plymouth fans to see maybe a leaner, sharper Reuben with a few more goals, but the job’s done, so I’m happy.”
Onismor Bhasera thinks next season will be the first step back towards success for Argyle. “It is a relief to stay in the Football League,” he said. “This is a big club which should be in the Championship. It’s unfortunate that we ended up losing the last match, but it’s a job done. The loss can’t take away what we have done in the last couple of weeks. To stay in the League is a job well done by the lads. Their work-rate and performance has been spot on. We are happy now. It’s always frustrating to be part of relegation. I understand that things haven’t been going well for the past three or four years, it has been a very, very hard time on and off the pitch. But we managed to stay up. Next season will be a stepping-stone for the club to get back to where it belongs.”
After confirmation had been received that Argyle were safe yesterday, celebrations broke out between the players and fans. John Sheridan however, chose to keep a lid on any over-exuberance. “I don’t think there’s anything to celebrate,” he said, “I want the fans to celebrate more than we do. They are the ones who should be celebrating, not the players. It’s hard for me to celebrate, because we’ve just avoided relegation. The thing I’m most pleased about is keeping a club like Plymouth, and the support they have got, in the Football League. I’m proud, but, if you know me, you know I don’t think we should be celebrating too much. I understand the feeling for everyone involved in the club is relief. I don’t celebrate just for avoiding relegation. I’m not trying to sound harsh, but we’ve just avoided relegation by a point. I’m really proud of the players. They’ve done really well since I’ve come in. We always knew it was going to be hard. In the first week I came in, I said I thought we needed 52 points to stay up. We’ve got to set our standards and reflect on what you’re celebrating, reflect on what we’ve just done and reflect on whether we want it to happen again.” When asked whether the management team and substitutes were keeping tabs on other games, Sheridan replied: “I wasn’t asking, but I could hear one or two of the lads on the bench. Once the fans were singing a bit more, you could tell one or two results were going our way. We heard Northampton were 2-0 up, which was pleasing with 15 minutes to go, but you just don’t know do you in this division? The lads have been brilliant to keep us in the league. We’re all chuffed and there’s massive relief. You can see the relief in the support we’ve had today. They’ve been unbelievable again, they don’t shut up for 90 minutes, they get right behind the team. You can tell when the results were going our way they were trying to get behind the team, they are positive. They’ve been unbelievable, and you see what you could get if you were the other end of the table. There would be thousands more watching us.”
Midway through the first-half yesterday, Argyle were having the best of a tight game. However, as former Argyle striker George Donnelly got behind the defence, he was clipped by Maxime Blanchard. A free-kick was awarded, and a red-card shown, meaning Argyle faced a long period of time trying to secure a result with only ten men. “It was a sending-off,” admitted John Sheridan. “Max was the last man, it was bad positioning. The lad was clean through. I’m disappointed for Max. He was gutted, he doesn’t want to be sent off in a big game for us. It wasn’t a bad tackle or anything, it’s just the rules of football now. If you’re last man, you get sent off. I think it’s a stupid rule, but that’s the way it is. That’s when you think ‘Oh, here we go’. But I thought we defended really well. I thought a lot of Rochdale’s efforts were from long range. It’s a crying shame we didn’t get the draw, because I’d be more cheerful as we’d have done it ourselves and not relied on others. But we’ve beaten teams like Southend, Rotherham, Cheltenham and Exeter. Some of the results we’ve had since I’ve been here have been really good and we’ve played really well as well.”
John Sheridan has promised there will be no repeat of Argyle's relegation struggles should he stay on as manager next season, and admitted he was 'very relieved' that Argyle had narrowly avoided dropping out of the League. He said: "It's great for everyone involved. It's so important for a lot of people, the city of Plymouth, the players, the people who work at the club. If I'm here next season, believe me, this won't happen again. I can promise you that. They have been fighting relegation for the last two or three years. I think the players have done really well since I have come in, but we are all different as managers and my standards are different to everyone else. Believe me, we won't be near the bottom. If I'm here, we will be near the top because I will get the players, or whoever, I need. I'm going to have some decisions to make next week regarding myself and everyone at the club, players and staff. So things will get sorted out and, whatever is done and said, will be for the benefit of the club to push forward because they shouldn't be in this position. I have spoken briefly to the chairman. I'm very happy here. I think the club has got so much potential to push on. The support is there and you can attract players if you sort out the budget. There is only one place they can go, and that's forward. They can't go any further down. I'm really positive in that sense. I will sit down next week and, hopefully, get things sorted out."
Argyle lost 1-0 at Rochdale, but avoid relegation from League Two due to results elsewhere. Argyle: Cole, Berry, Blanchard, Branston, Bhasera, Bryan, Nelson, Wotton, Hourihane, Gurrieri, Reid. Subs – Chadwick, Harvey, Charles (not used – Gilmartin, Cowan-Hall, Murray, Young). Attendance – 4,272.
Paul Wotton has promised Argyle will do all they can to reward the strong support of fans by clinching Football League survival today. Argyle have sold 1,500 tickets in advance and 13 supporters' coaches leave Home Park early this morning. Wotton said: "You do run out of words really. We appreciate their support. "They spend their hard-earned cash to come and watch us. Hopefully, they will turn today into a home game atmosphere. I wouldn't be surprised if they outnumbered the Rochdale fans. We thank them for their support and we will do our best." John Sheridan said: "The fans have been unbelievable. I can't believe the support they do give the team considering where they are in the League and where they have been for the last two or three years. I think the fans appreciate the players are fighting for the cause, and they know we are trying to give our all and stay in the League. We have got one more game to go and, hopefully, it will be a good one. I know it's going to be a massive support there and they are going to be singing non-stop. I'm stood on the side of the pitch, like them, watching the game. It's down to the players to respond and I'm sure they will. We have trained really well this week. We know the importance of the game but there is no use going on about it. I'm not one of those who has meetings and keeps telling the players this, that and the other. I think we have been playing well of late and we have just got to carry that on. Our consistency has been good the last eight or nine games."
Argyle have released apprentices James Bradley, Andrew Elcock and Colin Watson. The trio are not being offered professional contracts ahead of the end of their apprenticeships in June, and a club statement said: "Everyone at the club thanks James, Andrew and Colin for representing the club during their time at Home Park and wishes them every success for the future."
Paul Wotton is excited about the prospect of playing in the crucial game at Rochdale tomorrow. He said: "I can't wait for it. We have had a real good week in training. We are on a good run of form. Our performances have been good even in games we have lost, other than the one against York. We are looking forward to it. The sooner it's kick-off time the better. I don't feel under pressure, not at all. It's completely in our hands and every team below us would swap with us, that's for sure. It will be a tough game. It's never easy when you are up against a team with nothing to play for, but we have done well away from home recently. To be honest, it's a case of 'let's get on with it'. I'm looking forward to it. I like playing in games when there is stuff riding on it." Argyle could have ensured their survival last Saturday with a draw against Rotherham United, but were beaten 1-0 and results elsewhere did them no favours. Wotton said: "We were disappointed in the changing room afterwards because we had lost the game. We have got good standards. Obviously, results didn't go our way then, and they haven't done. They probably won't again on Saturday. No-one is going to do us a favour so we have got to do it ourselves." Wotton has happy memories of the game at Rochdale in March 2002, which saw Argyle clinch automatic promotion from Division Three, but said: "There is probably more riding on the game on Saturday, isn't there? That was a great night and when we get the job done on Saturday all the emotions will come flooding out and it will feel very similar I would have thought, even though it's two different ends of the table. It would be wrong of me to say, 'These are the games you want to play in' because you don't. You want to play in games like the one in 2002. We know what we have got to do on Saturday and I genuinely am excited. I really am. I have got no apprehension or nerves. I don't think anyone else has. In fact, I'm sure they haven't. We trained yesterday and it was so bright it was unreal. We are looking forward to it." Rochdale's manager is Keith Hill, who played for Argyle from 1992 to 1996 when Wotton was starting out on his career. "I used to drive Hilly in when I was younger," said Wotton. "I have got a lot of time for Hilly. He was a big character in the changing room and has done really well as a manager."
John Sheridan has called on Argyle to control their own destiny rather than rely on results elsewhere as they fight to stay in the Football League. A win or a draw at Rochdale will see them escape relegation. A defeat would leave them vulnerable, although York City, Dagenham and Redbridge, Barnet and Wimbledon would all have to overtake them. Sheridan said: "It's a massive game. We definitely don't want to be going out of the Football League. What's at stake is really huge for the club, especially the size of this club. Unfortunately, we are still in a position where we can be relegated but it's in our own hands. We know if we go to Rochdale and get something we are safe. Hopefully, things will go our way in other games but the teams at the bottom are all fighting for the same cause and they are getting results, so we have got to look after ourselves really. We have got to carry on the way we have been playing, I think. We have played well over the last eight, nine, ten games. Our level of performance has really improved. Even games we have lost, we should have got more from them. We have got to take that standard of performance into the game against Rochdale and I'm sure we will get something. I know it's going to be a tough game. Keith Hill always has Rochdale playing good football, but we will have a massive support there. We have to go there 120 per cent believing we can stay in the League." Sheridan set a points target of 52 for Argyle to achieve safety when he took over as manager in January. They have reached that total with one game to go, but it has not been enough yet to banish the threat of relegation. Sheridan said: "We are on 52 points and I thought we would probably have been a bit more safe than what we are. Credit to all the teams at the bottom. I have said all along I think it's a very evenly-matched league. We didn't want it to go to the final game of the season but I'm looking forward to it. We will have massive support and, hopefully, everything will turn out okay for us." Although Argyle need a point to stay up, Sheridan insisted their approach would not be to play for a draw. He said: "I don't think I have ever gone out to try to get a draw. We have got to take the game to Rochdale. If you are a player and you have got 3,000 away fans singing for 90 minutes, hopefully it's going to give you a lift and it will push you on to get the result you want." Sheridan signed a contract with Argyle until the end of the season when he was appointed as manager and hinted yesterday he would be keen to extend his stay. He said: "I'm happy here. Listen, a lot rides on the game on Saturday. No-one is stupid. It's important we stay in the Football League. If we do that, I think it would make everyone's decisions and jobs a lot easier. I will get the game out the way and, hopefully, we stay up and everything will be sorted out. My job isn't done though. I have come here to keep them in the League. If I do that, I will be very pleased and proud. I know it's vitally important we get the right result and I really do think if we stay in the Football League we will kick on next season." Sheridan confirmed he had no new injury worries for the game against Rochdale, but an injury crisis at Yeovil Town almost led to them recalling Reuben Reid from his loan spell yesterday. Yeovil are set to take only 15 players to their away game against Bury tomorrow and manager Gary Johnson would have recalled Reid had striker Angelo Balanta not passed a fitness test yesterday.
Argyle beat Torquay United 4-1 at Home Park last night to win the Devon St Luke's Cup. The goals were scored by Isaac Vassell, Matt Lecointe (2) and Tyler Harvey. Argyle: Gilmartin, Watson, Bradley, Summers, Purrington, Vassell, Young, Sims, Hutchinson, Harvey, Lecointe. Subs – Chenoweth, Allen, Wheatley (not used - Asumadu-Sakyi).
Argyle have rejected an approach to share Home Park with Truro City next season, according to newspaper reports. Truro have been relegated from the Conference South and are set to leave their Treyew Road home ground. The club were rescued from administration last year by two local businessmen, but the freehold of Treyew Road had already been sold, when Kevin Heaney was chairman of the club. An Argyle source said: "It was looked at quite seriously given the fact that Truro City are a fellow South West club. There was a great enthusiasm to support Truro but there was a concern it would impact on the quality of the pitch at Home Park. I'm sure the two clubs will work together in other ways."
Argyle have seen a small increase in their average attendance at Home Park this season, despite another relegation battle. The total attendance for the 23 home matches was 163,202, an average of 7,095. That compares to 159,940 and 6,954 respectively in 2011/12.
Six professionals will be on duty for Argyle against Torquay United in the Devon St Luke's Cup final at Home Park tonight. Argyle (from): Rene Gilmartin, Ollie Chenoweth, Colin Watson, James Bradley, Nathan Summers, Ben Purrington, River Allen, Kieran Asumadu-Sakyi, Isaac Vassell, Luke Young, Jared Sims, Josh Hutchinson, Matt Lecointe, Tyler Harvey, Sol Wheatley.
Conor Hourihane is urging as many Argyle fans as possible to make the trip to Rochdale for the crucial season-ending game next weekend. He said: "We need everyone up there. If you are 50-50 about it, please just get yourself up there. Get behind the lads and be 'the 12th man' and I'm sure we will be celebrating come ten-to-five next Saturday." The narrow defeat by Rotherham has put Argyle back under pressure, and Hourihane continued: "We are gutted, as simple as that. We should be safe at this stage but we threw it away. It was a silly goal. There was nothing in the game. I thought it was going to be a stalemate. It looked that way and one lapse of concentration cost us big-time. I honestly can't believe it. It's such an anti-climax. We thought we would be celebrating now. If the game against Rochdale was on Tuesday it would be better. We are going to have a long week. We are just going to have to keep our heads down, keep focused, and go up to Rochdale and get the result we need to stay up. We have had a good away record recently, with wins against Chesterfield, Southend and Aldershot, and we should have got a point at Burton. Even if we were safe, we would go up to Rochdale looking to win the game. It's just a bit more added pressure now."
John Sheridan thought Onismor Bhasera was a worthy winner of the Argyle Player of the Season award. He said: Bas has done really well since I have been here. There are a few players who have done well but Bas has played nearly all season and I think it's fully deserved. He has impressed me while I have been here for the 18 games. I think he was a proper winner."
Conor Hourihane was pleased to have received the Young Player of the Season trophy on Saturday. He said: "I have worked hard since I have come down here. Two seasons in a row I have played a lot of games. I'm a firm believer in hard work pays off, and when I came down here it was either sink or swim for me. Luckily, it has turned out the right way."
John Sheridan blamed a lapse in concentration for Argyle's defeat by Rotherham United on Saturday. He said: "I thought we played well against a team who are going for automatic promotion. We matched them well and I didn't see any danger. We were taking the game to them in the second half and we switched off again. It was just a straight ball in the box and ends up in the back of the net. I don't think we deserved to lose, but that's life. It's gone now. Results haven't gone our way but it's still in our hands. I didn't want to rely on anyone else, I wanted us to take care of it ourselves. I have said all along it would probably go to the last game, and true to my word that's what is going to happen." A Barnet win, thanks to an injury time penalty save from former Argyle ‘keeper Graham Stack, and a Wimbledon draw meant Argyle's defeat by Rotherham leaves them still in relegation trouble. Sheridan said: "We have got to go to Rochdale and believe we can stay in this division. That's all I will be thinking of. If we give the same effort we have been giving in games we will be okay. We have played all the so-called best teams in this division and none of them have been better than us. We are definitely improving and I think we showed that on Saturday. I think the fans appreciated how we tried to play. I thought we played well and we looked compact. They are a good team. They are up there, they have got one of the biggest budgets, and they have got some of the best players for this division. We matched them all the way and didn't deserve to lose. It's a shame. Even a draw would have kept us up." Sheridan had hoped the last home game of the season would have been occasion to remember, and added: "I wanted to go out on the pitch and celebrate, and say one or two things, but I didn't think it was the right time to say one or two things. I think I have got to stay focused and when the job is done the time will come when I can thank everybody. Hopefully, that will be next week. Saturday was just one of those things. People kept saying we were alright, and I think it was only me saying that we weren't alright. I don't think any team is better than any other in this division. It's just that little bit of consistency. Over the last 10 games we have shown we are one of the better teams, but we are in a position where we can still get relegated so I have got to make sure I get the job done."
John Sheridan was proud of his players’ performance against Rotherham United, despite the narrow defeat which will see Argyle go into the last weekend of the season still unsure of League Two survival. “They couldn’t give me anymore,” said Sheridan “I’m proud of the players. We went for the result and I thought we deserved something from the game. I can’t fault their efforts, it’s just one of those things, they switched off and it ended up costing us.” A 75th minute goal separated promotion-chasing Rotherham from Argyle, something which Sheridan felt they did not deserve. He said “They’re a good team, they’re up there, with one of the biggest budgets. They’ve got some of the best players in this division. We matched them all the way, we didn’t deserve to lose, it’s a shame. A draw would have virtually kept us up.” Sheridan’s focus now turns to the game at Rochdale, which will decide Argyle’s future, a draw securing their Football League status. “I’m sure we will have a massive support next week, there’s no danger there,” he said. “We’re in a better position than four or five teams, that’s the way we have to look at it. And we know what we have to do. We’ll focus and I’ll get them prepared to get the result.”
Onismor Bhasera was yesterday named as the Argyle Player of the Season. Conor Hourihane won the Young Player of the Season award.
Argyle lost 1-0 to Rotherham at Home Park. Argyle: Cole, Blanchard, Branston, Nelson, Bhasera, Bryan, Wotton, Hourihane, Gurrieri, Cowan-Hall, Reid. Subs – Chadwick, Murray, Harvey (not used – Gilmartin, Berry, Charles, Young). Attendance – 10,648.
Onismor Bhasera has reflected on the fact that his career hung in the balance after he suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury in 2011. He was told at the time there was only a 50-50 chance he would make a successful comeback. Bhasera said: "I still remember when I saw the doctor when I had my cruciate ligament injury. He told me it was 50-50 I might not ever play again." Bhasera started this season playing on the left of midfield, when Carl Fletcher was still manager, but since John Sheridan took over he has reverted to his more usual left-back role. Bhasera has been pleased with the consistency he has shown, regardless of which position he has played in, and said: "I have been happy with my performances this season. I have put in a lot of hard work. I have listened to the things which I have been told, by Fletch before he left and after John Sheridan has come in. Unfortunately, some of the results didn't go our way this season, but that's football. But I have been happy with the consistency which I have had for the whole season." Bhasera is one of several senior players who are out of contract this summer and added: "To be honest, I don't know anything at the moment. Would I like to stay for longer? Yes, of course. This is a good club. But I'm just concentrating on the game."
John Sheridan has taken Guy Branston to task for the comments he made about Jason Banton. Sheridan said: "I don't want to make a big thing of it, but I just want to make it clear I don't like players talking about other players. Whatever needs to be said about a player when he leaves this club, I will do that. Guy Branston doesn't need to do it and I don't want any other player doing it, or there will be backlash from me. We wouldn't be in the position we are now had Jason Banton not played for this club."
John Sheridan has admitted he could not have asked for a better response from the players since his arrival at Home Park. Argyle have picked up 28 points from 17 games since he took over as manager, with a record of eight wins, four draws and five defeats. He said: "The team were struggling at the time. It was a quick fix. I think I had 19 games. I knew I had to try to bring one or two people in, just to give everyone a lift and, luckily for me, it has come out okay. It's down to the players more than anyone else. I can only give my thoughts and opinions, and hopefully pick a team which is going to get us results. The lads who have come in, plus the lads who were already here, have done a tremendous job. They have all played their part. Their attitude has been spot on. I'm chuffed they have done that, and they have worked really hard while I have been here. I couldn't have asked for any more from them, but there is still two games to go. We are in a good position. If you had told me when I came here that we would be four points ahead with two games to go I would have taken that all day long. Full credit to everyone involved who have worked hard to get where we are." One player who has made an important contribution to the recent much-improved results has been Lee Cox. However, his loan spell from Swindon Town has been ended prematurely by a shoulder ligament injury which requires surgery and could keep him out of action for six months. Sheridan was sad to see Cox leave Home Park in such circumstances, and said: "He needs an operation and it's best for him to have it now. It's a crying shame because he has been a big lift for us. He has been very good in the dressing room and on the training ground. He's a bit of a character, and he has played a big part in his performances as well, to get us where we are at this moment." Should Argyle secure their League Two status tomorrow, planning for next season will get under way. Sheridan has so far refused to be drawn on whether he would be interested in extending his contract, and several senior players have deals which expire this summer, including Onismor Bhasera, Guy Branston, Jake Cole, Conor Hourihane and Paul Wotton. Sheridan added: "Let's hope, touch wood, that everything works out tomorrow. Then it gives me a week in advance to try to work one or two things out on what is going to happen next season."
John Sheridan has paid tribute to the Argyle fans for their support during another relegation battle. He said: "I'm looking forward to the game against Rotherham. I'm sure there will be a big crowd. The fans have been unbelievable since I have been here. They have played a massive part to get us where we are at this moment in time. Hopefully, this can be the last one and we can see it through." Promotion-chasing Rotherham are the visitors for the final game at Home Park this season, and Sheridan said: "I know Rotherham are going to come here and try to win the game. Hopefully, we can stand up to them and test ourselves against one of the better teams in the division. They have got a big squad and a lot of good players for this division. It doesn't really matter who they play. They are all going to be a threat and we have got to be ready for that." Sheridan was keen to point out that Argyle have faced, and performed well against, equally tough opposition recently. “I could say this about the last eight or nine games, it’s going to be a tough one,” he added. “I’ve always looked at every game and its going to be tough, Rotherham will be no different. Have a look over the last eight or nine games. All those games I thought were going to be tough but we did OK in them, the lot of them, so that’s what we’re going to do against Rotherham.”
Warren Feeney might not be able to make his comeback from a long-term ankle injury before the end of the season. He did return to training earlier this month, only to suffer a setback. John Sheridan said: "He probably came back a bit early. That's the way Warren is. He wanted to try to get in one or two games before the end of the season. Hopefully, with the treatment he has had, he won't be too far away to train properly with the lads again. He might not be out of the question just yet. It's probably 50-50."
Argyle cannot wait to play the "most important game of the season", according to Onismor Bhasera. He said: "We were buzzing after the win on Tuesday, but we have only done a bit of the job. There is still a massive job to be done this weekend. This is the most important game of the season. We have to make sure we collect three points and wrap it all up. The lads played very well against Chesterfield. I was very happy with the performance of everyone." Bhasera was grateful for the backing of the fans as Argyle have battled against relegation, and he hopes there can be a celebration after the game against Rotherham. He said: "The supporters have been very good since the start of the season. They come in numbers to support us away from home, despite having to travel for five or six hours. We really appreciate that." Argyle have won five out of their last seven games to move to the brink of safety. Bhasera said: "I think the guys have done very well to achieve that. A lot of hard work has been involved. I'm very happy with everyone, and I'm also happy for the club. We have managed to beat a lot of teams who are above us, but that doesn't give us the guarantee we are going to beat Rotherham. We have still got to put in the hard work, which we have been doing. It's going to be the biggest 90 minutes of the whole season and we can't wait." Bhasera has formed a good partnership on the left in recent weeks with Joe Bryan, who scored his first goal for the club against Chesterfield. After that game, Bryan said he rated Bhasera very highly as an unbeatable left-back in one-on-one situations. For his part, Bhasera has been impressed with Bryan's contribution. He said: "Thank you Joe for the compliment. It definitely is nice to hear! I must say, he's one of the best left midfielders I have played with in the same side. He's a good player. He has come here to add something into the team and things are working out for us."
Joe Bryan was thrilled to open his goalscoring account for Argyle in the vital win at Chesterfield on Tuesday. He said: “It was brilliant to score, but we are a team and however a goal comes everyone is going to be happy. I was glad I could contribute like that. I think that’s what has been lacking from my game when I have played over the last couple of seasons. I haven’t looked like scoring, but I think in the last couple of games I have had some chances. I’m getting forward more and getting more confident. Hopefully, I can add more goals before the end of the season. I definitely felt a goal was coming for me. I’m just glad it came on Tuesday. I have been told we haven’t lost a game under the new manager when we have gone in front, so that’s going to give us huge amounts of confidence.” Bryan’s goal against Chesterfield came in a period of the match when Argyle were starting to get on top. He said: “I have always been told the defender is going to expect you to go on the outside. He Brindley showed me a little gap to go inside so I thought, ‘All right, I will take it’ and I cut inside. I hit it to the far post and if a striker isn’t there or the ’keeper isn’t going to come and claim it, it’s going to go in. Luckily that’s what happened.” With Argyle up 2-0 Bryan was gifted a chance to make it 3-0 and put the game beyond reasonable doubt. Picking up a loose pass, he went round the ’keeper but his shot could only find the side-netting. “I had an absolute beast there!” he said. “I took it round the ’keeper, and got a bit panicky. Being in those open goal situations you think ‘Where on earth am I going to put this?’ And obviously I put it wide.” A win against Rotherham United on Saturday will see Argyle to safety. However, they might not need even that, depending on other results. Bryan added: “We will just get ready for Saturday and, hopefully, put it to bed. I’m fully confident we can.” Bryan has started every game for Argyle since making his debut in the draw with Bradford City on March 12th, and said: “I’m playing 90 minutes every week and it’s brilliant. I’m really enjoying it. The manager has told me to go out and enjoy myself and I’m playing in front of Bas who is a great player. He’s a quality left-back. He’s not just going to put it in the channel every time. He will pass it to my feet and get me running at people. I don’t have to worry about him getting beaten. I literally haven’t seen him get beaten on a one-on-one yet. It makes it a lot easier when you can just think about going forward because you have got an extremely solid left-back behind you. There was a worry, when I came in, that, being at the bottom of League 2, it was just going to be over my head and run one way, then back over my head and run the other way. But playing with players like Conor, Andy, Reuben, Bas, I was surprised that we play one touch and little one-two’s. We need to get the balance, I think. Sometimes, in our own half, we needed to get rid of it and not mess around. Do the little intricate stuff in the final third.” The second half against Chesterfield was a slightly different story. After they made two changes, they got a grip on the match for the first time, and pulled a goal back with more than half an hour remaining. “They didn’t have too many chances,” said Bryan. “I think that’s down to the back four and everyone doing their bit defensively. They made a lot of changes, put on wingers and stretched the game. But that gave us space to get it forward in the corners and hold it up to kill the time. When the fans get behind them and they bring on their big striker that’s their star man, they naturally have some pressure. They are going to have a spell in the game where they pressure us and look to get a goal. Every game has that, but it’s about how we deal with it. I don’t think they had many clear chances. They had a few crosses fizz across our box, but our back four defended it brilliantly. We got ourselves into a bit of a pickle when their goal went. Being 2-0 up is a horrible score because, if they score one, then the crowd get behind them, like they did. But I thought we defended really well, it was just ‘keep them out, keep them out, keep them out’.”
John Sheridan was delighted with the performance of his side at Chesterfield last night. “We played really well, and well deserved the victory,” he said. “Our first-half performance was outstanding. We should have beaten Burton but it was disappointing to lose with the last kick of the game, so it was a great response to come back here. We wanted three points and it’s a big lift for everyone involved.” With some of the pre-match focus on the departure of Jason Banton, the spotlight shifted to another loan player in Joe Bryan. Sheridan said: “He’s been top-drawer for us, a very good player. He’s a little tiger, he doesn’t half put a shift in, and he well deserved his goal. We had some good chances. I don’t think Chesterfield caused us too many problems. It took an own goal from us, it would have been a shame if that had had a big output on the game. It was sloppy goal for us to concede but I thought we defended well and it was a really great team effort. I tell the lads that I want them getting consistency in the game and I think we’re starting to show that.” There was evidence that the team had learned a lesson from the defeat at Burton, as they ran down the clock towards the end well away from their own goal. “That’s what good teams do,” said Sheridan. “We were quite clever and cute at times, when we put ball in the corners, a little bit of time-wasting, slowed the game down. That’s what good teams do. But, in the first half, I thought we were outstanding. That’s what’s got us the result. You get that advantage, 2-0 up, and it’s something to hang on to. We well deserved it.”
When asked, following the win over Chesterfield, if he thought Argyle were clear of relegation danger, John Sheridan replied: “Don’t ask me silly questions like that. Teams at the bottom of the league are winning and you just don’t know what results are going to go on, while there is still a chance we can go down, we have got to stay concentrated and make sure we stay in the league. While it’s still mathematical that people can still catch us, we’ll concentrate on getting the points we still need and focus on a tough team in Rotherham, who are going for automatic promotion. We know it’s going to be a tough game but, hopefully, we’ll compete and carry on what we’ve been doing. If we do that, we’ll have a chance.” Sheridan refused to speculate on whether he will stay on after the end of the season. "People have asked me about that, I'm not even thinking about it, I've still got a lot of work to do," he said. "I've told the chairman, we've spoken, and I'm really appreciative of him giving me the job and trying to keep them in the division.
Argyle won 2-1 at Chesterfield, the goals scored by Joe Bryan after 21 minutes and Curtis Nelson (26). Argyle: Cole, Berry, Branston, Nelson, Bhasera, Bryan, Wotton, Hourihane, Gurrieri, Cowan-Hall, Reid. Subs - Chadwick (not used – Gilmartin, Charles, Blanchard, Young, Harvey, Murray). Attendance – 4,988.
Argyle have the chance to ease their relegation fears at Chesterfield tonight, but Conor Hourihane knows a defeat would increase the probability that their fate will remain unresolved until the last day of the season. He said: "I reckon if we get a win tonight or on Saturday we will be all right. We obviously don't want it to go down to the last day because anything can happen then. A win tonight would definitely be a big step towards safety. If we get a win tonight, I can't really see us going down on 52 points, so it's a crucial game." Hourihane is set to return to duty as Argyle's captain tonight, having completed a two-match suspension. He said: "It has been very frustrating. I don't like sitting in the stands and not being able to help out the lads. The lads did very well against Cheltenham. I watched that one, obviously. I can't really comment on the Burton game because I wasn't there myself, but by all accounts they did all right. Hopefully now I can get back involved tonight and help them get another three points." As Hourihane is ready for a return to action, Lee Cox faces six months out because of torn shoulder ligaments. "Coxy has been a good player for us and when I was in the middle of the park with him we got on well together," said Hourihane, speaking before Cox revealed he would need surgery. "But you can't really dwell on the people that are out of the team. You have to get on with who you have. I'm sure whoever goes out there tonight will get the result we need." Argyle should have played Chesterfield on March 23rd but the fixture was postponed after heavy snow. Hourihane said: "I thought when the game got rescheduled it might be a good thing because Chesterfield might be a mid-table team and wouldn't be playing for anything, but they are in it to win it as well. They can get into the play-offs, but we probably need the points more than them. It's a similar situation to when we went to Southend and won. Southend were going for the play-offs and we put in a good performance, so we will be hoping for the same again."
Guy Branston believes Argyle can cope without Jason Banton after he was recalled by Crystal Palace. Branston thinks Banton has the talent to play in the Premier League in the future but admitted he had concerns over his workrate. Branston said: "We needed more from him. We got flashes once or twice in a game. Obviously, he can cause problems when he has those flashes. If his workrate improves, he will play in the Championship or League One, no doubt. If he works hard at his game he could even play in the Premier League, but it's about getting Jason Banton to believe in his ability. We saw flashes of it in training, but not enough. We have got players within the dressing room who can come in and fit in. I'm not going to lose sleep he has gone. For me, Joe Bryan is better than him. He's consistent, works hard and is willing to do the donkey work but also willing to go forward. We saw flashes of brilliance from Jason and he deserves his opportunity in the Championship. I can't praise him enough for his attitude when he was here. For me, I just wish he had run around a bit more." Conor Hourihane admitted the departure of Banton was a blow but he also thought it was a chance for another player to come to the fore. He said: "Jason is a great player and he's a great lad as well, but it's one of those things. He has gone now and someone else has to step up to the plate. I'm sure someone will, and hopefully it can come tonight."
Lee Cox will play no further part in Argyle's fight against relegation. He revealed, on Twitter, yesterday that he has torn shoulder ligaments and will be out of action for six months.
Guy Branston is aware of the task Argyle face as they travel to Chesterfield tonight. He said: “They’ve got an outside chance of the play-offs, I looked at the table this morning. Paul Cook has gone and done an excellent job there, unfortunately, the gaffer left, but these things happen, they will probably not give up the light until they know it is dead. That’s probably in one or two games time so they will give it a right go. That’s best for us anyway, we don’t want to go there and they’ve got nothing to play for as we might take our foot off the pedal. I think that’s what happened at York, we took our feet off the pedal a bit.” Branston revealed that the team had decided to push up and go for the win at Burton on Saturday when they won a late corner. Albion managed to counter from the set-piece and won one of their own, from which they scored. “We decided we wanted to go and win the football match,” said Branston. “As a team unit, we all decided and it cost us, we still have to make sure the door is shut at the back. We did, I think. We looked at it and, yes, they broke but we still won the tackles and put it out for a corner. The time ticked on and we conceded the goal that cost us the win. I was absolutely devastated at the end. The lads had done well to keep that clean sheet which we should have kept for the point to probably push us away further from the drop zone.” Despite the late defeat at Burton, Branston firmly believes they will avoid the drop. He said: “It’s still very much in our hands, which is the best way to be, I think. One win, depending on other results, should seal it. If it’s the end of the season, it’s the end of the season, at Rochdale. But I’d much rather do it tomorrow night.”
Guy Branston enjoyed playing alongside Maxime Blanchard against Burton at the weekend. Despite being with Argyle since January, Branston had not played alongside Blanchard at centre-back before. “I’ve had so many partners since I’ve been here, it’s mind boggling!” he said. “I’ve got a lot of time for Max, he is a great lad anyway. He wants to play centre-half and is an out and out centre-half in his head. He wants to be there all the time. He is somebody who is willing to stick his head in, but also willing to get the ball down calmly when he can. You need that, I need that alongside me as well. I need somebody who can get the ball down and start bopping it about because I’m more blood and thunder and he is a much calmer player. It was nice to play with him, it was really enjoyable.”
Guy Branston is full of praise for the effect John Sheridan has had on him and his team-mates since arriving at Home Park. He said: “The gaffer’s come in and given us the kick up the backside that a lot of us want and a lot of us needed, and we’re going out there and performing for him to the best of our abilities. Durrell was dropped out of the side for reasons but came back in at the weekend and had his best game since I’ve been here. I just think there is so much positiveness inside the dressing-room. We just want that for one more week, then we can really kick on next season.” Branston can sense Sheridan champing at the bit to get one over his former employers tonight. “He’ll be at it,” he said. “The gaffer’s a lively character anyway, he is somebody that says his piece and can’t wait to get at the lads in the right way and try and do the right things for the football club. There is so much emotion towards this game, you might see a Paulo Di Canio going on Tuesday if we beat them! I would love to see it if I’m being honest. I like getting back at my old clubs that have released me or where something has happened behind the scenes, I imagine he is the same.”
Jason Banton admitted to mixed emotions after he was recalled from his loan spell at Argyle by Crystal Palace. He said: "I'm delighted Palace have seen I have been doing well and have called me back, but it's a bit of a downer to leave Argyle. I found out just before kick-off when the gaffer told me. I didn't know anything about it. I just played my normal game and tried to do as much as I could for the team. We were unfortunate to lose in the last minute. I don't know what the plans are for me at Palace. I just know I'm due in today." Banton's six goals for Argyle make him their top scorer for the season and have given the club a chance of avoiding relegation. He said: "I'm a little disappointed I can't finish the job off, but at least I'm leaving Argyle for a positive reason and not on a negative." Banton became a firm favourite with the Argyle fans, particularly after he scored the winning goal in the Devon derby victory over Exeter City. He said: "If they stick by the team like they have since I have been here I can't see why we can't stay up. The support I have had from all of the fans, the coaching staff and everyone at the club has been tremendous. I could have asked for no better hospitality." Banton's last appearance for Argyle ended in bitter disappointment as Burton scored a winning goal with almost the last kick. He said: "We are all gutted to lose it like that. That's just football I guess. If you fall asleep for one second you get punished." Banton will continue to follow Argyle's fortunes from afar, and added: "They are a great bunch of lads and I have got close to them. I wasn't expecting to say goodbye so soon. I will be in contact with the players and the manager. I'm 100 per cent confident they will stay up."
John Sheridan has admitted the loss of Jason Banton for Argyle’s last three games of the season is ‘a blow’. He said: "Credit to Jason, he has been getting a bit of notice. Palace aren't winning games so they have called him back. He's their player and I respect that. They have helped us out and he has done really well for us. It's a big loss because he does things that other players can't do. He's off the cuff and he's always a threat. I'm sure Jason would have loved to have stayed but it's not his decision. Crystal Palace are his club and, like I said, I respect that. Jason has been quality for us. He's a great lad and I hope he does well. Good luck to him. But I have got to concentrate now on who I'm going to bring in and, hopefully, help us get us a result."
John Sheridan is delighted Argyle will not have to wait long to get Saturday’s defeat at Burton out of their system. “I’m pleased there is a game coming round quickly,” he said. “We can get our minds set on that game. Football’s cruel sometimes, but if we keep playing the way we’re playing we’ll have a good chance of getting something at Chesterfield.” Sheridan saw enough at Burton to convince himself that Argyle are a match for anyone on their day. He said: “Burton are a team that’s going for automatic promotion and I thought we were the better team. They’ve got a very good home record and they didn’t cause us many problems. The performance deserved something from the game. We could have gone home happy with picking a point up on the other teams around us. It’s a shame for the players, because they gave me their all. We looked really compact; we dealt with everything they had until the last kick of the game. It was a good performance, a good, solid performance. But it’s not all about performances, is it? It’s about getting something from the game. But I think the performance was really solid. The problem I had with us is that we didn’t retain the ball like I want us to retain. If we get a bit of belief and think we can pass it and move it around, I think we can cause teams problems.”
Argyle saw a valuable point snatched from their grasp in the fourth minute of stoppage-time at Burton Albion yesterday. John Sheridan said: “It’s a real downer, it’s hard to speak sometimes when it happens like that. It would have been a massive point. It’s a shame for the lads because I thought we deserved something out of the game. We had a right go in the second half. We had good opportunities and I thought we were the better team.” The goal came from a corner won by Burton on the counter-attack after Argyle had lost control from a corner of their own. “We took a corner and they’ve ended up nearly scoring a goal from our corner,” said Sheridan. “Maybe we should have taken a point, been clever and kept it in there. We should be organised on the edge of the box. When the ball comes back out, we should be picking up and putting the ball back in their box, not defending and conceding a goal. It’s the problem with us at the moment. We do the little things poorly, good teams make the little things look really easy, we don’t. This is what I’m trying to get into them. But I think we’re improving. I’m not looking for excuses, I just thought we were a little naïve. It’s cruel. We didn’t deserve to concede a goal. But it’s the way it is.”
Jason Banton has been recalled from his loan spell by Crystal Palace. His form has led to the Crystal Palace manager taking him back to Selhurst Park early, in an attempt to revive his sides faltering play-off bid.
Argyle lost 1-0 at Burton Albion. Argyle: Cole, Berry, Blanchard, Branston, Bhasera, Bryan, Young, Nelson, Banton, Gurrieri, Reid. Subs - Cowan-Hall, Chadwick (not used – Gilmartin, Charles, Lecointe, Harvey). Attendance – 4,392.
Jason Banton admits he has loved playing under the management of John Sheridan. He said: "John has been perfect with me. He makes you feel like every time you go forward you are going to score. He has been brilliant since I have come here." Banton started his loan spell playing on the left of midfield, but recently he has been moved into a more central role behind lone striker Reuben Reid. He said: "The gaffer calls it a free role but obviously you have still got to do your defensive duties. It has allowed me to get on the ball a lot more. I'm enjoying it." Banton's experience of first team football had been limited to only two substitute appearances before his move to Argyle, and he continued: "This is the first time I have played a run of games. To come into a relegation battle has been a bit difficult, but you just try not to think about it when you are on pitch. At the end of the day, it's 11 v 11 and so far we have done well." Burton Albion have won 15 of their 21 home games this season, scoring 45 goals. Banton said: "We have been working hard on the training pitch this week. I'm sure whoever is in the team, they will be fully up for it. I'm feeling confident, especially after that win against Cheltenham." Argyle have relied heavily on Banton to score goals for them but he insisted he did not feel under any pressure because of that. H said: "At first, it was nearly always me scoring the goals but now Reubs is getting a few and both Joe Bryan and Andres Gurrieri are attacking options. There are goals there, so I don't really feel under pressure at all."
Andres Gurrieri is delighted with how Argyle have been playing lately. He said: “It’s been brilliant, especially at home. We’ve got so strong playing at home in the last five games here, we’ve won four and drawn one and that’s very good, with many clean shees. We won the Exeter derby and that was brilliant. So we’re playing well, we’re creating chances and scoring goals. When things are going like that it’s always very good for the team, so we have to keep doing the same things and keep working hard.” Despite the run of form, Gurrieri was keen to point out that the team are remaining firmly grounded and not getting carried away. He said: “We are not already safe but we know we are going in the right direction so we have to keep doing the same things. We know that, with the pressure we are still under, we are not already safe. But we know that when we go out on to the pitch, we have to do what we keep doing what we are training during the week and work very hard and then the three points take care of themselves. Winning brings confidence to the team; we had some tough moments before we started getting good results.”
John Sheridan and Jason Banton have won the League Two manager and player-of-the-month awards for March respectively. Sheridan is the first Argyle boss to receive a manager-of-the-month award since Paul Sturrock in December 2003, and said: "It's always nice to get some appreciation for what you are trying to do but there is still a lot of hard work to do. It's an award for winning four games of football and drawing another one within a month, and a big part of it is down to the players. They have shown the battling qualities to get the results for the club. It has been a team effort by everybody involved. Now we have got to make sure it's worth something at the end of the season. I will probably enjoy the award more then. I never like to see any manager lose his job but I have come in and things have gone okay. I have got a response from the players and that is all I could ask for." Banton has scored six goals in 13 games for Argyle, with three of them coming in March, including the winner against Exeter. Sheridan said: "Jason has had a chance to come here on loan and play first team football and his goals have played a big part in us getting results. I'm sure Jason would say it's about the team, but his goals have been a big plus. They have got us results and points which we were after. It's good for Jason to get this award and will get people talking about him. Hopefully, he will score some more goals before the end of the season."
Gary Owers has warned that Argyle must not get carried away by their recent improved results. He said: "I think the fans are enjoying what they are seeing at the moment. We have certainly had some good results but we haven't cracked it. We are trying to remain grounded and make sure we get enough points to ensure that we are safe. The players know they have got to come in and work very hard. We are not just out there having a kick-about. We are preparing for the game at Burton like we prepare every other week. As you can imagine, we have got a few wins under our belt and the players seem to be growing in confidence, and I think they are all looking forward to it." Owers carried out the pre-match media conference at yesterday in the absence of John Sheridan, who has been away from the club this week, and watched Burton beat Wycombe Wanderers on Tuesday. Owers said: "John has taken in two or three games this week and Burton was one of them. We get reports on every game and we watch videos on every opposition we are going to play. Hopefully, we will get it right. We know it's going to be tough. Burton have got an excellent home record and have reacted well off a bad defeat at Port Vale, but I think we can go there and get something. We are both under pressure, but obviously the pressures are different. They are trying to get out of the league and we are trying to stay in it, so it's a big game for both teams."
Andres Gurrieri has targeted three points for Argyle on his return to former club Burton Albion tomorrow. He said: "I'm looking forward to going back to Burton. I have got some friends there but I really want to win and show them what they lost when they let me go. Macca is there so it's going to be nice to see him but when the game starts you forget about who is in front of you. You just want to win and do the best for Argyle. That's what is in my mind. I know most of the players. I had a very good relationship with Calvin Zola, the striker. I still keep in touch with some of them. There are some good people who work there, like the kit man, so it's going to be nice for me to be there and see old faces." Gurrieri played for Argyle when they were beaten by Burton at Home Park in November, and said: "Even though they won that game, I didn't see a great team against us. They have scored many, many goals this season. If you do that and defend well you get good results. They are doing well, and it's a happy surprise for me." Gurrieri was not in Argyle's first team when John Sheridan took over as manager, but has recently seen much more action. This week, Sheridan praised the ability of Gurrieri to retain possession of the ball as one of the reasons for the recent improved results. Gurrieri added: "I'm pleased with the way I have played in the last few games. I always try to keep the ball moving and create chances. I think the whole team has to do that. It's not about one or two players. Then things turn out well."
Argyle have delayed a decision until today on whether Paul Wotton will be fit to face Burton Albion tomorrow. Wotton had to be substituted during the second half of the win over Cheltenham Town last Saturday because of a groin injury, but Gary Owers refused to rule him out. He said: "We will have a better idea on Wottsy today. You would never rule him out if he has got a chance." Definitely ruled out of the trip to Burton is Lee Cox. Owers said: "His shoulder is still sore and I think he's having a scan or an X-ray. He's not in the squad for tomorrow." Argyle are set to be captained again by Curtis Nelson as Conor Hourihane completes a two-match suspension, and Owers added: "Conor has been in good form but the focus is always on the players who are going to play. The lads who came in last week did excellent and it's up to them to try to keep him out of the team." With the suspension of Hourihane, injuries and Jamie Richards' loan to Weymouth, John Sheridan does not have a large squad to select from. Owers said: "We are light in numbers, actually, so it's about looking after players during the week, keeping them sharp but making sure they stay fit. Hopefully, everybody wants to play at the minute." Burton's probable starting line-up includes two former Argyle players, in Damien McCrory and Alex MacDonald. Owers said: "I saw a little bit of Alex when he was here and, obviously, he has gone to Burton and done okay. But, with any team we play, we don't particularly spend too much time concentrating on the opposition. They have all got good players. What we do is the focus of our attention."
John Sheridan is not one to study the league standings, but his coach Gary Owers will do his worrying for him. “I do it,” admitted Owers. “’Til my eyes are blurred, but what’s the point? You can’t predict what will happen. You can guess as much as you want, we’ve just got to try and do our jobs and get the points we need. I’m surprised nobody has mentioned the figure that is mathematically certain which is 55 points. Nobody talks about, they talk about a number of points but there is a number that will see us safe.” Last season, Argyle survived with a total of 46 points, but the points required for safety this campaign could well break the division’s record. Owers said: “It’s incredible, but all of the leagues are the same. The bottom of the Championship, the bottom of League One, the top of League One. It just shows that below the Premier League everything seems to be levelling out.”
Burton Albion are pushing for promotion and have an excellent home record, but Gary Owers is not daunted by the prospect of facing them tomorrow. He said: “I think we probably went to Northampton and they had a similar record and, on the day, we were unlucky not to get anything. We’ve played the teams at the top now, our last couple games have been against teams at the top end of the table. I don’t think it makes any difference and I think we’ve done better in those games. I mean the biggest difference is probably the size of their playing areas. If you compare our pitch to theirs there is a massive difference and that’s probably the reason that they’re doing so well.”
Argyle will play Torquay United in the final of the Devon St Luke's Cup at Home Park on April 23rd, at7.30pm. Torquay were supposed to host the match but it has been switched to Home Park to avoid causing damage to the pitch at Plainmoor, four days ahead of a League Two game against Bristol Rovers.
Argyle beat Exeter City 1-0 in the semi-final of the St Luke's Devon Cup at Home Park last night, the goal scored by Tyler Harvey after 71 minutes. Argyle: Gilmartin, Berry, Bentley, Charles, Watson, Cowan-Hall, Lecointe, Sims, Murray, Harvey, Chadwick. Subs – Vassell, Allen, Hutchinson (not used - Chenoweth, Asumadu-Sakyi). Attendance – 236.
John Sheridan and Jason Banton have been nominated for the League Two manager-of-the-month and player-of-the-month awards for March. James Brent congratulated them, and said: "I'm absolutely delighted about both nominations and I think they are well deserved. To my unpractised eye, the recent successful matches have been very much a team effort. So I think many of our other players could have been nominated for the award as well." Sheridan has a record of seven wins, four draws and four defeats since he was appointed as manager in January. Brent said: "I think John is one of the most measured people I have met. He's very focused on making sure Argyle stay up. I'm sure this nomination will not affect that steely determination to ensure we avoid relegation. Jason is fun to watch. Ever since the first match he has played for us he has been very impressive."
Curtis Nelson has admitted he learned a lot watching from the stands during his two-month injury lay-off. He was struck by the performances and professionalism of Guy Branston and Paul Wotton at centre-back, and believes the duo are good role models for young players. Nelson said: "It was a tough decision to pull myself out of the team but for your career's sake, and for everybody's sake, you have got to make the right decision and be sensible. It was frustrating being out, but I think the lads have been brilliant. The attitude and the work ethic has been spot on, and the training has been really good, so I think that's why we are picking up the results we are. You can see and learn a lot more when you are watching from up in the stands than you do on the sideline. Brano and Wottsie have been a really solid partnership and they are people to learn off for the young players, and not just for defenders, because of their attitudes." Nelson made his debut for Argyle playing in midfield as a second half substitute in a League Cup tie against Millwall in August 2010. However, the bulk of his appearances have come at centre-back. He said: "It was a change being in midfield on Saturday but I have played there a few times before, a couple of years back. The gaffer asked me to do a job and I did it, but it's not a natural position for me. For me, centre midfield is more of a defensive role, rather than bombing on like Conor would do. I'm just happy we got the result."
Durrell Berry, Anthony Charles and Paris Cowan-Hall have been included in a strong squad for Argyle's Devon Bowl semi-final against Exeter City at Home Park tonight. Nick Chadwick, Tyler Harvey and Ronan Murray will also be in the team. Argyle (from): Rene Gilmartin, Ollie Chenoweth, Durrell Berry, James Bradley, Anthony Charles, Colin Watson, Paris Cowan-Hall, Jared Sims, Matt Lecointe, Ronan Murray, Tyler Harvey, Isaac Vassell, Nick Chadwick, River Allen, Aaron Bentley, Kieran Asumadu-Sakyi.
Curtis Nelson, usually a defender, played in the centre of midfield against Cheltenham Town. John Sheridan said: "“It was a bit of leadership, and hopefully he’ll respond and it will give him a bit of belief. He’ll probably think I think something of him, which I do. He has been out a while injured so I thought I would throw him in there, and he looked a bit rusty. It's a difficult position to play in but I thought him and Youngy did well. They did what they had to do. I did ask him had he played there before and he said 'yes'. I thought, with his energy, it won’t be a problem to him. He’s not a passer and he’s not going to spray it around, but he could be a bit of a destroyer, to upset and do the ugly things for us. I'm not frightened of throwing someone in, whether he's a centre-half and people don't think he can play there. As long as I think he can play there, it doesn't bother me. It went well today, and it’s alright because we won.”
Argyle lost Paul Wotton in the second half against Cheltenham Town because of a groin injury. He was replaced by Anthony Charles, who returned to training last week after a groin injury of his own. John Sheridan said: "We will see how Wotts is. He did say he was injured but I left him on. I probably should have taken him off. We have had a few groin injuries, little niggles. There were four or five in a bit of doubt before the game and Wotts was one of them, but they all declared themselves fit. Charlesy has only trained a couple of days so we need to get him match fit as quickly as possible." Argyle were without Lee Cox for the game, ruled out for the second successive match by a shoulder injury, but he could be fit for the visit to Burton Albion this weekend. Sheridan said: "It's one of those he has just got to rest for seven days and then we will assess him. We haven't got a game during the week so he will get a bit of treatment. Hopefully, it will settle down."
Joe Bryan has impressed since arriving on-loan from Bristol City, and was named man of the match against Cheltenham Town. John Sheridan said: “I thought he was excellent. I think he does the basics and knows what his strengths are. He’s got energy and, in a tackle, he won’t back out of anything. He’s good in the air for his size. He’s steady. Him and Baz are very strong down that side. They were today anyway, they kept McGlashan very quiet, and he’s a big threat. Baz dominated him, and Joe was really effective going forward, as well.” On the opposite wing was Andres Gurrieri, who put in another solid performance. “The thing I had when I first came in is that we didn’t retain the ball in the opposition’s half," said Sheridan. "I said it a lot of times. It was our downfall. If you don’t retain it, and don’t work hard to retain it in the opposition’s half, you’ll be on the back foot. I was adjusting and trying to sort my team out. I had to come in and try to do things quickly, but I think Andres has played a big part in the results we’ve had of late, especially at home. He’s got that bit of nous and takes care of it. He’s not frightened of taking that extra touch. He slows the game down because he’s confident he will keep control of the ball. That helps us.”
John Sheridan is starting to find the qualities that he sought in his team, and with it the points that the club desperately needed. “I’ve always said that the magic work is consistency,” he said. “This is what I’m trying to get out of the players. I won’t leave them alone until I get it. I think we are improving. The York game was a downer. It was the way we performed, more than anything. I’ll accept losing games, but it was the manner. I thought this was a very good performance, a great comeback from a disappointing one at York, where we weren’t at the races. To come back and give that performance against a very good team going for automatic promotion was outstanding from the players. We could have scored a lot more goals than we did. Generally, I’ve been very pleased with the way we’ve been playing, we’re improved and we look solid. We’ve got a very good habit in keeping clean sheets. We’re doing it well at the moment. But it’s as a team, it’s not just the defenders and the 'keeper. I thought we worked very hard from the front today and that’s what won us the game. I thought my front four worked really hard and it unsettled them.” Much of the unsettling was done by Reuben Reid, who had probably his best ever performance at Home Park, and he capped it with the opening goal. “He could have scored a hat-trick, couldn’t he?” said Sheridan. “I think that he worked very hard and got his reward. It’s about being in the right place at the right time.” A second goal was added after the break, after Onismor Bhasera hammered a ball into the box and it was turned into his own net by defender Michael Hector. Sheridan added: “Baz and Joe down the left were really strong. They were a solid and a threat all day. Baz got into a dangerous area and was effective. He drove in there and got a little bit of luck. It was a good ball in and it takes a deflection. But we’ve had good opportunities to score goals today. Plenty of better opportunities. But to win 2-0 is very pleasing. They had one or two chances. They are a threat, they’re a good team, so I was on edge. It would have been great to get that third goal, and if we had have got the third we might have got four or five. But I’m not grumbling. Full credit to the players.”
Curtis Nelson was told he was returning to Argyle’s starting 11 against Cheltenham Town, but was also then handed the captain’s armband in the absence of Conor Hourihane. “It was a great honour," he said. "You are proud to be a captain at any time. To be a captain at such a young age, I wasn’t expecting it. I wasn’t expecting it because you have got people like Wottsy and Brano. Wottsy, who has played 600-odd games, and Brano, who has got years of experience. Obviously, you are going to be surprised. I don’t think it really matters who is captain, it was great to get the win, that’s the main thing. It was an unbelievable win, we played really well. We are three points clear with a game in hand. The main thing is to keep winning games and picking up points. I believe we’ll get out of it. I’ve not been involved for a while, so to come in and get a result is a massive boost, for me personally and for the team. It was a tough decision to pull myself out, because you don’t want to pull yourself out, but I think you have to make the right decision and be sensible. I think knowing that you’ve got players that can come in and do jobs is nice. Credit to the boys who have been doing really well for the last few months since the gaffer has come in.” The captaincy was a surprise to many, but so was the position Nelson returned in. He and Luke Young filled in in the centre of midfield in the absence of Hourihane and Lee Cox. “I’ve played there a few times before,” said Nelson. “It’s a change from playing at centre-back or right-back but you just do your job. The gaffer told me to do a job and you can’t really do more than that. It’s not a natural position for me. For me, centre midfield is still a defensive role. I’m not going to go bombing on like Conor would do. I’m just happy we got the result, really.”
Argyle beat Cheltenham Town 2-0 at Home Park, the goals scored by Rueben Reid after 40 minutes and a Michael Hector own goal (54). Argyle: Cole, Blanchard, Branston, Nelson, Bhasera, Bryan, Young, Wotton, Banton, Gurrieri, Reid. Subs – Charles, Cowan-Hall, Murray (not used – Gilmartin, Berry, Chadwick, Harvey). Attendance – 7,941.
Guy Branston knows Argyle face a test of their character when they play Cheltenham Town today. He said: "Being under the cosh as a group of lads, you see the real characters that are around. That's important because you want to know who is in the trenches with you. It's important you build character as a group rather than as individuals. Football is very much a team game. I love the big games. It's where I come out and do my best." York had gone 16 games without a win until they beat Argyle on Monday, boosting their own chances of escaping relegation. Branston said: "It was very disappointing on Monday but we have licked our wounds. We have trained at a good intensity. The lads have looked at it, and that gives me enthusiasm to train. I want to go into training sessions which are vibrant and happy, and also competitive. We have had some good sessions this week." Cheltenham were beaten play-off finalists last season and manager Mark Yates has targeted automatic promotion this time around. Branston has a lot of respect for Yates and what he has achieved. He said: "Mark Yates has done a magnificent job there. He gets his players in from places you don't expect. He gets backing from his chairman and brings in the right players at the right time. He doesn't have a massive budget but that's not always important at this level. It's about getting a good team unit and he seems to do that. I have met him a few times and he comes across as a very polite bloke and a man who knows his stuff. I have played against Cheltenham in the last few years and they have been tough to beat. They are very organised. They will come down here knowing all about us. They will be prepared and this could probably be our toughest game."
Argyle face a promotion chasing Cheltenham Town side at Home Park tomorrow. John Sheridan said: "We know Cheltenham have got their strengths and we think they might have one or two weaknesses, but they are going really well. I think they will bring a few fans as well. They are one of the closest teams to us, distance-wise. They are a strong, organised team and Mark has done a good job there. He thinks they can go for automatic promotion so they are going to come here to get three points. We have got to be ready for them. If we show the level of performance we did, previous to York, we will have a chance of getting something from it. I'm convinced we will stay up. I'm going to stay positive. If we win on Saturday everything takes care of itself. It's about getting together, showing a bit of grit and battling through and we've done that in previous games so we'll try and get back to that standard that we've shown.” Sheridan spoke of how instrumental the crowd have been in spurring on the team in their recent impressive home form. He said: “In the home games against Barnet, Fleetwood and Exeter there was unbelievable the support. We want that for the last two games but I know we're going to get that anyway so I don't need to ask. They've been a very big part and we want them to carry on being a big part.”
Lee Cox is struggling to be fit for the visit of Cheltenham Town to Home Park tomorrow. Cox suffered a shoulder injury in the win over Exeter City last Saturday and was ruled out of the defeat at York City on Monday. With Conor Hourihane starting a two-match suspension tomorrow, John Sheridan could be forced into selecting a new central midfield pairing. Luke Young looks set to start the match but it remains to be seen who will play alongside him. Sheridan said: "If players aren't available, I don't really talk about them. They have done well for me but I have got to concentrate on whoever comes in and performs. It looks like Coxy isn't going to be fit, so it will be two new people in there, in the middle of the pitch. Whoever I put in there will, hopefully, fight for the cause. The two new people will be people who know how we play and how we have performed. Hopefully, they have watched and looked at what has got us results. They will know how we want to play and how I want them to affect the game." Sheridan has not disclosed who will be captain in the absence of Hourihane. He said: "Hopefully, there will be about six or seven captains out there playing." The two most likely candidates to take over the armband are former skipper Paul Wotton and Guy Branston. The defensive options available to Sheridan have increased with the return from a groin injury of Curtis Nelson, and Anthony Charles has returned to training after a similar problem. Charles picked up a groin injury in the defeat at Gillingham on March 9th, then suffered a recurrence of the problem on his return to action at Southend United ten days later. Sheridan said: "We will see how he is tomorrow and make a decision on him."
John Sheridan has spoken about the help he has received from Neil Warnock since taking over as Argyle manager. Warnock parted company with Leeds United on Monday and looks set to retire from management. Warnock has not ruled out remaining in football in another capacity, but plans to be based at his long-time home in Cornwall. Warnock has stated he is keen to attend Argyle's game against Cheltenham Town tomorrow, but did not want his presence to detract from the task that Sheridan and his players will be taking on. However, Sheridan insisted that was not an issue for him. He said: "Neil would be very welcome. I have spoken to him a few times since I have been here and he has tried to help me out regarding players and what have you. He's someone I would ask if I wanted advice off anyone. I'm not frightened of ringing an experienced manager who has been in the game a long time and asking his opinion on something. I would do that any time. His son is here and I know Neil has got a lot of affection and time for the club. He still lives in the area. Neil coming to the game wouldn't bother me one little bit." Sheridan has reiterated no decision about his future at Argyle will be made until the club's fate is resolved one way or another. Sheridan was asked whether he had talked to James Brent about his future beyond the end of this season, and he replied: "We have briefly spoken. I'm very happy to be here and feel privileged to manage the club, but the only thing on my mind is keeping them in this division. If and when that happens, everything will take care of itself. The chairman has been spot on. Everyone at the club has been spot on with me."
Paul Wotton insists there is no point expecting other teams to 'help' Argyle in their relegation fight. Last season results often went Argyle’s way, even if they dropped points. This season, that does not appear to be happening as much, and Wotton said: "They are going to go against us. We can't rely on anyone else, nobody's going to do us a favour. We've done fantastically to get ourselves to the position of winning three games in a row and we've been hard to beat and all the rest of it. It's bitterly disappointing to lose to York, because we've set high standards for ourselves in the last few weeks and we didn't quite match them. I think we've got to pick ourselves up and go again. What else can we do? You can't sit there and wallow in self-pity, because we're not in the bottom two and we were, three weeks ago, weren't we? It's all to play for, so we need to recover and pick ourselves up." Argyle face fourth-placed Cheltenham Town at Home Park on Saturday and it was suggested they would be difficult opposition because they were going for promotion, but Wotton reeled off a list teams who were doing the same thing, including Southend, Fleetwood and Exeter, all of whom Argyle had taken points from. "I say it every week, but it's another big game on Saturday," he said. "It is what it is, you can't pick and choose who you play against. We've had three wins and a draw at home, which coincides with tremendous support from the fans. We were disappointed for them at York because we felt we had let them down. Obviously, we can repay them with a good performance on Saturday." Wotton agreed that this relegation battle might go down to the last game of the season. He said: "I hope it doesn't, but yes, there are a lot of teams in there. It is full of cliches, about taking it game by game and there still being twists and turns. That's exactly what Monday proved."
Conor Hourihane will be suspended for two matches after picking up his tenth yellow card of the season against York City on Monday. Hourihane will miss the game with Cheltenham Town on Saturday and the trip to Burton Albion on April 13th.
John Sheridan described Argyle's performance as 'totally unacceptable' in their defeat by York City yesterday. He said: "We were not good enough at all. It was a very poor performance. We didn't deserve anything. I don't think we were up for it, and there is no reason why we shouldn't have been, especially after the derby game and winning three games on the spin. We looked like a team who had already been relegated. I can't explain why. It was a very poor performance." York, without a win in 16 games, played as though as their lives depended on it. Sheridan said: "That's why I never get carried away, because I know what's around the corner, performances like that. I'm not being disrespectful to players at this level but they have to listen and learn and concentrate all the time. They can't get carried away with anything, and I will make sure they don't. That's the way I am. They have got to understand that because that performance was nowhere near good enough. We were second all over the pitch. We couldn't even put two passes together." The trip to York was Argyle's longest of the season and came after the Devon derby against Exeter. However, their opponents had also been on the road over Easter. Sheridan said: "I thought we looked tired but I'm not making that as an excuse York had played a game at Bristol. It was not good enough and I won't accept that kind of performance. I don't mind losing, but it was the way we lost it. We were playing against a team who we could have got away from, but York wanted it more than us, and I will hold my hands up." The attendance of 4,682 included 671 Argyle fans and Sheridan added: "We had another brilliant following, all the way here, and a performance like that was totally unacceptable. I won't stand for it, but we have lost the game and it has got to go. We are right in it again. I have said all along it's going to go right to the wire. All the teams at the bottom are fighting for their lives and are getting results, and it has worked that way again. We have got to try to win games because if we don't we will find ourselves in a very precarious position. I have never said 'we are safe' or 'we are a good team' because I know what's around the corner, performances like this. That's why I am the way I am, and I will carry on being the way I am until I get it right. I can't be too hard on the players because I think it would be the wrong thing to do, but I will tell the truth when I have to. The performance was not good enough, nowhere near good enough. So I have got to try to get them up for the game against Cheltenham, which is another must win now." Argyle hardly had a shot on target against York and were without Lee Cox because of a shoulder injury he suffered against Exeter. Sheridan continued: "We haven't created anything all game. Our ball retention was shocking, we didn't pick up second balls and we didn't get any passing going. I'm not going to say we played really poorly because Lee Cox didn't play. He has been a part of what we have done of late, but I expect players to come in and do as well as him. I made one or two changes. I was going to make more changes, and I probably should have done in hindsight because we looked shattered. We weren't at the races at all. But I went with near enough the same team which had a brilliant result at Southend." Argyle are on 46 points with five games remaining and when asked whether 50 points would be enough to escape relegation, Sheridan replied: "And the rest. I don't know what the target is. All the teams at the bottom are fighting for their lives. You think you get a little leeway and then you lose and the others are winning. It's very tight, and I have said all along it's going to be like that."
Argyle lose 2-0 at York City. Argyle: Cole, Blanchard, Wotton, Branston, Bhasera, Cowan-Hall, Hourihane, Banton, Young, Bryan, Reid. Subs - Harvey, Chadwick, Murray (not used - Gurrieri, Nelson, Gilmartin, Berry). Attendance - 4,682.
Devon and Cornwall Police announce that three people were arrested for public order offences and a police officer suffered a minor injury during the scuffles after the Devon derby on Saturday.
Paris Cowan-Hall feels Argyle go to York full of confidence - “All the boys are buzzing with confidence at the moment,” he said. “And if we go to York and win we're on a very good run. There's ups and downs in football, and the moment you lose a game your head can drop but at the moment we are on a high and hopefully we can take that into the next game. It was a massive three points against Exeter, but the games against York and Cheltenham will also be huge for us.”
Argyle are set to be without influential midfielder Lee Cox for their vital away game against League Two relegation rivals York City. The 22-year-old loan signing from Swindon Town suffered a shoulder injury in the 1-0 victory over Exeter City at Home Park on Easter Saturday.
Championship side Leeds United part company with former Argyle boss Neil Warnock, who leaves Elland Road with just six games of the season to go.
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