Plymouth Argyle captain Conor Hourihane bemused by Home Park struggles
CAPTAIN Conor Hourihane cannot explain why Plymouth Argyle are struggling so much in games at Home Park.
Fears of relegation from the Football League have increased after a 1-0 defeat by visiting Oxford United on Saturday.
A simple 16th minute goal from U's striker James Constable proved decisive as the Pilgrims put in an abject display, especially before half-time.
They have won only four of their 17 home League Two games this season and lost seven of them.
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Argyle dropped one position to 21st in the table, one point outside the relegation zone, after their defeat by Oxford.
Next up is a difficult trip to promotion-chasing Northampton Town this coming Saturday.
Hourihane told Herald Sport: "I don't know what happens to us when we are at home. I can't put my finger on it.
"I guarantee you we will play well against Northampton. Whether we win or not or draw or not, I don't know, but I guarantee we will play well.
"It's not going for us at Home Park at the moment. It's a strange one. We just have to keep going and, hopefully, it might turn around."
All seven of the signings made by manager John Sheridan since he was appointed as manager last month played against Oxford.
Six of them started the match, with Ronan Murray sent on as a second half substitute.
Hourihane (pictured) said: "People use the excuse you have to gel as a team, and all that, but I think that's a load of rubbish to be honest.
"We train enough every day to know each other. We just have to keep going and keep fighting."
Results elsewhere on Saturday did not favour Argyle, with Barnet moving above them after a 2-1 win at York City.
Aldershot Town, in 23rd, picked up an unexpected point with a 1-1 draw at Cheltenham Town.
AFC Wimbledon remained bottom of the table but scored two late goals to win 2-1 at home to Capital One Cup finalists Bradford City.
Hourihane said: "We just have to look at ourselves. I don't really care about anyone else.
"We have to get our heads down, show a bit of courage to stand up and be counted, and move on to next week."
The game against Northampton is then followed by a trip to Wimbledon on February 26.
Argyle will then play Barnet at Home Park on March 2 in another match which will have a major impact in their fight against relegation.
Hourihane said: "They are big games. Let's call a spade a spade. They are six-pointers. We need results out of them, it's as simple as that, really."
Argyle were awful in the first half against Oxford and fortunate not to trail by more than one goal.
There was some improvement from them after the break, but it was not enough.
Hourihane said: "At least we put up a fight in the second half. We had chances but they could have had five (goals) because we made a few bad mistakes.
"It's one of those things I suppose. You just have to forget about it and move on.
"We are all disappointed. I know we were four games unbeaten before Saturday but the form at home hasn't been good enough, definitely not.
"You want the fans to be on your side and our form hasn't been good enough."
Argyle had their second highest attendance of the season for the visit of Oxford, with 7,189 fans inside Home Park, including 311 away fans.
The increase in the crowd came about after the Pilgrims' recent improved results.
Hourihane said: "When you get on a little run people start coming back, which is nice, but then when you lose in front of them it is disappointing.
"At half-time they booed off us and I think we probably deserved that because we were rubbish.
"Like I say, our home form hasn't been good enough. Hopefully, the next two away games we will put in good performances."
Meanwhile, no decision has been taken yet on whether Argyle will extend the loan of 19-year-old Reading striker Gozie Ugwu.
His initial one-month stint with the Pilgrims ended after the game against Oxford.
Ugwu got his first start for Argyle on Saturday after making his debut as a substitute in the 2-1 win at Aldershot the previous weekend.
Prior to that, Ugwu had been sidelined by an ankle injury he suffered in training.