Plymouth Argyle's Maxime Blanchard praises the 'passion' which Paul Wotton brings to the team
DEFENDER Maxime Blanchard has pointed to the presence of Paul Wotton as crucial to Argyle's chances of staying up this season.
Blanchard admires the passion that 35-year-old Wotton – third in the club's all-time appearance list on 470 matches – has for the relegation-threatened Pilgrims.
Wotton has played in the last three games for Argyle and they have picked up seven points to move up to 20th position in League Two.
He started the 0-0 draw with Bradford City and the 2-1 defeat of Fleetwood Town, both at Home Park, as the replacement for injured centre-back Anthony Charles.
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Wotton scored a penalty against Fleetwood to set the Pilgrims on their way to victory.
Charles returned for the game at Southend United on Tuesday, at the expense of Wotton, but hobbled out of the action before half-time.
Wotton was the substitute for Charles and scored another spot kick in the 2-0 win.
It has been a source of satisfaction for Blanchard that Argyle have kept two clean sheets in the last three matches.
He told Herald Sport: "I think Wottsie plays a big part in it as well. In difficult times you need players who care more for the club than they do for themselves.
"If there is one person here in the squad who that applies to, it's Wottsie. He gives passion to the team and it's very nice."
Argyle are two points clear of the relegation zone with seven games to go this season.
Blanchard, who has been playing at right-back recently, insisted the Pilgrims would take the fight for Football League survival one match a time, and not look any further than that.
He said: "The main target is to keep the club up. There is no place for ego at the moment. You play wherever you have to.
"The most important thing is winning games and saving the club from relegation. This is the only target we have."
Blanchard was Argyle's player-of-the-year in 2011/12 as they narrowly escaped dropping out of the League.
He put in a series of impressive performances in the centre of defence alongside Darren Purse.
Purse moved on to Port Vale in January and Blanchard had a spell out of the side before returning to the team at right-back because of a knee injury to Durrell Berry.
It is not a position the Frenchman is used to, although he did play there a few times for his previous club, Tranmere Rovers.
Blanchard has started the last seven games at right-back and Berry, now recovered from his injury, has not been able to reclaim his place.
"I'm trying to do a job for the team, and trying to be as good as I can," said Blanchard.
"Of course, I'm not a natural right-back. Hopefully, people are happy about me playing there."
Argyle's back-to-back wins against Fleetwood and Southend have raised hopes they can escape relegation.
Blanchard said: "It has given us a massive lift. It's good for the morale of everyone.
"I thought we put in a very solid performance against Southend, especially in the second half. Once you score a goal, you invite pressure a bit more.
"They (Southend) play long balls and have big players as well. I think we coped well with it."
The Argyle team coach did not arrive back at Home Park from Southend until 4.30am on Wednesday and Blanchard admitted it had been very tiring.
Blanchard said: "You just have to get as much as rest as you can, drink water, and things like that."
The players must now prepare for another long-distance trip, this time to north Derbyshire to take on mid-table Chesterfield.
Blanchard said: "It's a good thing we won on Tuesday! But this is what being a Plymouth Argyle player is about."
HEAVY snow and freezing temperatures have been forecast for Chesterfield for today and tomorrow. Any weather-related developments will be carried on The Herald website, thisisplymouth.co.uk