Loan star Jason Banton can be a matchwinner for Plymouth Argyle, says manager John Sheridan
MANAGER John Sheridan wants to see relegation-threatened Plymouth Argyle exploit the match-winning capabilities of winger Jason Banton.
The Pilgrims, bottom of League Two by three points, take on 21st-placed Barnet in a crucial clash at Home Park tomorrow (3pm).
Banton (right) suffered a thigh injury after scoring in the 1-1 draw away to AFC Wimbledon on Wimbledon but Sheridan hopes he will be fit for the visit of Barnet.
The 21-year-old has impressed during a one-month loan from Championship club Crystal Palace, grabbing three goals in five games.
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That is set to be extended for a second month, with Banton keen to assist Argyle in their fight for Football League survival.
Sheridan said: "Jason is very happy here and Palace have agreed to let him stay.
"I have spoken to Jason and, hopefully, everything will go to plan and we will get him for longer."
Sheridan continued: "He thinks he's a good player and, for me, that's a good thing. I like players believing in themselves.
"He's positive in the way he plays. He has got little things which are wrong in his game and I try to help him to be a better player.
"When Jason gets the ball he wants to excite people. He has scored three goals since he has been here and has been a big plus for us.
"He's a match-winner in my eyes so I would like him to get involved in games a little bit more. I think people around him could do that for us."
Had Banton's injury been more serious, Sheridan would have had to consider whether it was worth extending his loan.
However, fears he had torn his thigh muscle have been allayed and Banton could line-up against Barnet.
Sheridan said: "We will see how he is and, hopefully, he will have a good chance of making it."
Banton had not started a competitive first team match before his loan spell at Argyle, having made only one substitute appearance for Palace.
He was a teenage prospect at Arsenal, Blackburn Rovers and Liverpool but did not make the grade at any of them.
Sheridan said: "I think Jason enjoys being a footballer. He has been at good clubs in his younger years and it's about making that step up.
"He has come here and scoring one or two goals doesn't do you any harm.
"I like the way he wants to get at people. Hopefully, he will continue to do that and get us one or two results."
Banton's performances have not gone un-noticed by Palace's former Pilgrims' boss Ian Holloway, who has now offered him a new contract at Selhurst Park.
The winger put pen to paper on a deal until the end of this season when he first signed for the south London club as a free agent in October.
Holloway said: "Jason Banton is doing well at Plymouth and is an example of what a loan spell can do for a youngster."
Meanwhile, Sheridan has moved to keep striker Reuben Reid at Argyle.
Reid has had his loan from League One outfit Yeovil Town extended for a second month, starting with the game against Barnet.
He has started the last six games for the Pilgrims, without scoring any goals.
Sheridan thought a recent discussion with Reid had led to improved performances from the 24-year-old.
"He's slowly getting better and better," said Sheridan. "I had a chat with Reuben last week and he understands where I'm coming from.
"I expect a lot more from him because, in my eyes, he should be ripping this league up. So I spoke to him and I think his performance the other night (against Wimbledon) was a lot better – his workload especially.
"He could be an important player for us. If he can get a goal or two it will build his confidence a little bit more.
"I think the last couple of games he has improved after I have had a little chat with him and, hopefully, he will carry on doing that."
Sheridan added: "If he gets the work ethic in him, everything else will take care of itself."