Plymouth Argyle boss sends troops into battle at League Two leaders with words of encouragement
Plymouth Argyle manager John Sheridan believes the pressure will be on leaders Gillingham instead of on his relegation-threatened team when they meet at Priestfield tomorrow.
Gillingham are a couple of points clear at the top of npower League Two, and have also played one match fewer than second-placed Port Vale.
They have been excellent on their travels, picking up 38 points out of a 51, but their recent results at home have not been so impressive.
Manager Martin Allen has seen the Gills lose two of their last three matches at Priestfield, to Wycombe Wanderers and Oxford United.
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Sheridan has taken encouragement from that form, and the fact that the Pilgrims put in an improved performance when they beat relegation rivals Barnet 2-1 at Home Park last weekend.
Even so, he knows Gillingham – who boast the best defensive record in the division – will provide the sternest of tests for his side as they chase more points in their fight for Football League safety.
Sheridan said: “Gillingham are up there at the top on merit. They are a good team. Martin Allen has got them really strong and organised.
“They are winning football matches, especially away from home, but they have lost one or two games at home.
“I think the pressure is more on Gillingham than us. Not many people will expect us to go and get anything there, but I certainly do. I’m sure, if Gillingham watched us last week, they will know we are a decent side.
“If we can take that performance against Barnet into the game on Saturday, we will have a chance of getting something. It’s important we do that,” the Argyle boss said. “We have got to go there and believe we can win.”
Gillingham are odds-on favourites with bookmakers to beat Argyle, but Sheridan added: “That doesn’t bother me, people look at the table and we are near the bottom and they are at the top.
“I know the lads are fighting really hard to get out of the position we are in, and that is all they can give me.
“Gillingham have got good experience in their side and Martin knows this league. They are playing consistently well and that’s why they are top of the league. We are not.
“But we know, on our day, we can beat anyone and that’s what we have got to get in our game – consistency. If we do that, we will match most teams.”
Only six points cover the bottom ten clubs in League Two, with Argyle in 23rd position after their win against Barnet.
Torquay United have been on the slide of late, while York City sacked manager Gary Mills after their 2-0 home defeat by Bradford City last Saturday and have appointed former Northern Ireland boss Nigel Worthington as his replacement.
Sheridan said: “We have just got to concentrate on ourselves. There are one or two teams who have got dragged into it who probably didn’t expect to be where they are now. The teams at the bottom are all performing and getting results, and we have got to be one of them.
“We have got to try to get out if it as quickly as we can. We have got some tough games coming up, but they are games which I know, if we perform, we can win.
“That’s what I have got to try to instil in my players – the belief they are going to win football matches.”