Pilgrims plot survival path with win in 'six-pointer' against Accrington
Plymouth Argyle can improve their chances of escaping relegation from npower League Two, and add to the worries of Accrington Stanley, by beating them at Home Park today.
There is a lot of football to be played between now and the end of the npower League Two season, on April 27, but both teams know this is a "six-pointer" for them.
A win for Argyle would see them move above Accrington on goal difference, having played the same number of matches. However, a victory for the 19th-placed visitors would see them open up a six-point gap on the Pilgrims.
John Sheridan, in his second match as manager, wants to see Argyle take the fight to Accrington from the kick-off. He said: "If we can win the game, I think we go above Accrington. That's what we have got to look at. We are in a position where we need to win football matches. We are the home team and hopefully on the day we are going to take the game to them."
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Argyle started Sheridan's tenure with a 2-1 victory over Morecambe at Home Park on January 12, before their away game against Southend United last Saturday was postponed because of a frozen pitch.
Accrington have been on the slide for some time and will see their clash against the struggling Pilgrims as an opportunity to put a halt to that.
The Lancashire side were 14th in League Two, closer in terms of points to a play-off position than the relegation zone, after winning 3-1 at Fleetwood Town on November 20. However, their record in the past ten League games has been one win, two draws and seven defeats.
Accrington's only victory came against visiting Chesterfield on January 1, when they triumphed 1-0. Since then, they have lost 2-0 at home to Dagenham and Redbridge and by the same scoreline at Aldershot Town. It was as recently as December 22 that Argyle last met Accrington, drawing 1-1 at the Crown Ground after substitute Warren Feeney had a late penalty saved.
Sheridan said: "Accrington are one of those sides that on their day can beat anyone. Only a couple of weeks ago they beat Chesterfield, who are going really well.
"They are in a position where they don't want to be and they will look at our position and they will feel they can come and get something. We have got to make sure that doesn't happen."
Accrington's attack is likely to be led by 34-year-old former England international James Beattie, who is now a player-coach at the Lancashire club.
Beattie scored the equaliser for Accrington when they drew with Argyle last month.
Sheridan said: "He has been around and played at a high level. I'm sure he will be a handful on the day."
Argyle will have almost a fully-fit squad for the visit of Accrington. Nick Chadwick, who will serve the second game of a six-match suspension, and injured fellow striker Feeney are the only absentees.
Sheridan said: "The players have trained really well again so we will go into the game and be positive and hopefully, more than anything, get the three points we are after."
Defender Anthony Charles and striker Gozie Ugwu will hope to make their debuts after signing for the Pilgrims last week. Charles was a free agent after leaving Northampton Town and Ugwu arrived on an initial one-month loan from Reading.
Sheridan admitted the wintry weather this week had hampered preparations for the game against Accrington. The Pilgrims squad used a 3G artificial pitch in Saltash before returning to their Harper's Park training ground on Thursday.
Sheridan said: "It's difficult but we have just got to get on with what we have. Everyone has trained the best they can and we are all working towards this game."
The visit of Accrington will be followed by another home match next Saturday, against Dagenham and Redbridge. Sheridan said: "I think if we show what we can do we can win both, but they are against two teams who are in and around us and they will be difficult games."
Plymouth Argyle (from): Gilmartin, Cole, Chenoweth; Berry, Branston, Charles, Nelson, Blanchard, Bhasera, Williams, Lowry, Hourihane, Wotton, Young, Gurrieri, Cowan-Hall, Murray, Ugwu, Harvey, Lecointe, Vassell, Richards.
Unavailable: Chadwick (suspended), Feeney (ankle).