Elusive consistency is John Sheridan's target
Plymouth Argyle manager John Sheridan says consistency is the key to the prospects of the Pilgrims staying up this season.
Sheridan also believes six clubs are battling to avoid the two relegation slots from the Football League.
Only one point covers 19th-placed York City and bottom-of-the-table Accrington Stanley, with Torquay United, Argyle, Barnet and Aldershot Town between them.
Sheridan's side take on Paul Sturrock's Southend United at Roots Hall tonight hoping to build on their 2-1 home win over Fleetwood Town last Saturday. The Essex outfit are in eighth position in npower League Two, with six points separating them from a play-off spot, so both teams will be desperate for a victory.
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Sheridan said: "We are down where we are for a reason. It's important I try to get a winning mentality into the players' heads and they believe we are a good team.
"We are not a bad side on our day. We can beat any team in this division, but you have got to be consistent as an individual and as a team. If we can get that, we will be OK."
Sheridan has a record of four wins, four draws and three defeats in 11 matches as Argyle manager, after taking over from Carl Fletcher in January. The games they have lost have been at home to Oxford United (1-0), and away to Northampton Town (1-0) and Gillingham (2-1).
Sheridan said: "Since I have been here, I don't think any team has battered us in any way. We have been in most games. We haven't lost a game by more than one goal, and usually when we take the lead we go on and win.
"I'm pleased with the players' attitude. The work ethic is there and they are starting to understand how I want us to try to play, and what I expect of them, because they know I will be on their case if they don't," he added.
Only Aldershot and York are not in action tonight out of the bottom six clubs. Accrington host Wimbledon, Barnet entertain Fleetwood and Torquay take on Chesterfield.
After this evening, all of the relegation-threatened teams will have only seven games remaining this season.
Sheridan said: "It's very tight. We are all fighting and want to stay in this division so it's going to be really tough.
"We have just got to concentrate on ourselves – no one else. When you look at the table, you would think it will be two out of the bottom six.
"Someone would have to go on a really bad run and probably lose six out of their next seven if they are going to get involved in it."
Sheridan expects Sturrock, who had spells as Argyle manager from 2000 to 2004 and 2007 to 2009, to have Southend fired up tonight. Sheridan said: "I know Paul. I have got a lot of respect for him. He's a very experienced manager.
"I get on well with him. He knows the game inside out. I know he will be up for it and he will want to get his team back to winning ways against his old club. He did a brilliant job here [at Argyle]."
Sheridan has seen a move to bring a striker in on loan from a Championship club fall through, but he remains determined to add to his attacking options for the end-of-season run-in.
Sheridan revealed: "I was hoping to get a striker from a Championship club, but he's not quite fit enough. There are one or two others I'm looking at. Hopefully, I can bring in another player for this final push."