Former Plymouth Argyle player Danis Salman's forthright and insightful views
I TALKED last time about the need for Plymouth Argyle to try out a new system and break away from a style that clearly wasn't working.
I had suggested that instead of sticking with the 4-4-2 with diagonal balls being pinged to no great, discernible affect across to Argyle's two big front men, manager John Sheridan and his coaching team should adopt a more flexible approach.
And what do you know, they do that and almost instantly Argyle's performances improved and both Sheridan and Gary Owers, his second in command, praised the change of formation.
Now, I'm not claiming that it was because of what I was urging him to do in my last column, that Sheridan felt compelled to give it a go.
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Obviously, other observers had commented and noted there was a lack of width and pace down the flanks at Argyle, and like me felt that we were not creating any chances – well, not ones that couldn't be easily defended against.
So, when Argyle went with the 3-5-2 format that I'd suggested in the JPT second-half at Swindon, then suddenly the team had more of a threat about it and less of a predictable same-old, same-old.
Against Portsmouth at Home Park last Saturday, Argyle again started with the 3-5-2, using players like Rommy Boco and Lewis Alessandra inside and closer to the strikers, with wing-backs taking their places on the flanks.
It worked really well in the first-half and one of the beneficiaries was Conor Hourihane who gave Argyle the lead in the Sky-televised game, which ended up in a 1-1 draw.
Not only was it a better game of football to watch, particularly to a television audience, but it also gave the home fans something to hang on to for the rest of the season, which hopefully, will kick on away to Hartlepool on Saturday.
But the system, which involves the inter-changing of midfield, defence and forwards, will only work properly when the tempo is maintained and the ball is moved around quickly. It showed in the second period against Pompey that Argyle had gone off the pace a bit and so the visitors saw more of the ball and consequently got into the game.
However, I honestly do think it is a system worth persevering with as we look a lot more comfortable and, equally importantly, way, way more effective.
As many regular readers of my fortnightly column will know by now, one of my other main gripes about the squad system is the lack of opportunity we are giving to the youngsters on Argyle's books.
It seems to me that youth players are not being given a fair crack at showing what they can do, and instead are offered cameo roles in which to prove their quality.
The obvious example, at the moment, is young city-born striker Tyler Harvey who has seen his chances of proving to Sheridan what he can do limited to substitute appearances.
And yet, not so long ago Sheridan was stating publicly, that if you're old enough, then you're good enough in his eyes.
Well, the only inference that you can draw from what he has said and what he has done, is that he doesn't rate the player enough to start him in a League Two match. Instead, we use the dreaded loan system, which I detest as it means Argyle are paying twice, in effect.
Also, there's talk of sending youngsters out on loan to gain experience! Really? To where? If they can't get into a struggling League Two side then the only other option is non-league or let them go and pursue a career elsewhere.