In the first of a regular series, REP chats to a supporter of our next opponents to get their views on the next match.
Josh, a 16 year-old Plymouth fan gives his views on Vale’s cup replay on Tuesday night…
How long have you been a supporter?
I have been supporting Argyle all my life. I love it, even when the times get rough. That’s what real football is all about. It’s real fans, all together, singing together and uniting together. You’ll struggle to find fans more proud of their clubs than at Plymouth Argyle.
How are your team doing (current form and in relation to the expectation of fans at the start of the season)?
After a slow start to the season, Argyle are now kicking on and are just five points off the play offs…
After a slow start to the season, Argyle are now kicking on and are just five points off the play offs, it all seems like last season was such a long time ago now. We’ve got some new additions to the team, the most notable including Luke McCormick, Neal Trotman, Lewis Alessandra and (a man who I have no doubt is one of the best players in this league ) Jason Banton.
Tell us more about Banton?
To be honest, I think he’s the best player we’ve had in years now. He’s exactly the sort of bloke everyone really wants too, a match winner.
The fans adore him down here and after signing he even admitted he rejected League One clubs for a chance to come back down here, not many players will do that!
What role does he fill?
The thing is, we learnt something that MK Dons didn’t seem too, which is don’t play him in a set position with set roles. He comes into his own when playing the free role behind strikers. Let him get on the ball and do his magic, some goals of his are really spectacular as well.
On his day, I have no doubts whatsoever that he can be the best player in League Two. Better than this though, he’s ours for at least 18 months! A TRANSFER! It’s a rarity for us but pleasing. Signs that we are 100% on the up! I doubt you could find one Argyle fan unhappy with this signing!
What are your thoughts on your manager?
At the start of the season Sheridan himself said play-offs at a minimum. Unfortunately though the start wasn’t great as home game losses against Fleetwood and Wycombe were lost 2-0 and 3-0 respectively. The team looked disorganised, out of sorts and passionless. A 3-1 defeat to arch rivals Exeter just summed up how the team was doing. It was all too familiar for Argyle: signings not fitting in, losing games, scrappy and poor football.
As the final whistle at Exeter went, we found ourselves twelve points behind them. However, since then, our fortunes have changed slightly. We’ve been beaten only twice in the last 16 games, we are in a very good spell with many contributing. A fairly large part of this has come down to just a few players.
Which players are they?
Firstly, Andres Gurrieri was brought in for the utterly useless Rommy Boco: it’s just a shame it took so long.
Next, was 17 year old Ben Purrington. He’s a left back, brought in to replace the three men who had tried and failed to fill that spot during the season – so far he’s made 4 appearances, 2 assists and 1 goal, so he is slotting in nicely. He’s fierce and brave and you’d think he’d been playing League football for years.
Those moves coupled with Lewis Alessandra’s improvement, and Reuben Reid’s goals meant that things started to look much rosier. Striker Caolan Lavery was also a huge boost to the team although he’s now been recalled from his loan spell. Everyone slotted in together.
What have been the high points?
Highlights of recent times include the 5-0 thrashing of Lincoln and the defeat of second in the table Oxford. As well as this, the fightback against Vale was one of the more memorable games of recent years. We now sit a point above Exeter. Impressive? Damn right!
Does the manager deserve praise for this turnaround?
The team play well together, look solid at the back but now always dangerous going forward. I’m very happy, things are looking bright for The Pilgrims at the moment!
Yes, credit has to go to Sheridan for his improvement of the team. Many called for his head during the poor run, and I’ll be the first to admit I was one of them, things just seemed too familiar. Yet, so much has changed since then, the team play well together, look solid at the back but now always dangerous going forward. I’m very happy, things are looking bright for The Pilgrims at the moment!
What are your thoughts on your board and off-field club activities?
The board and other off field activities I have little opinion of, it’s not something that really bothers me all that much. One thing I will say though, is that they provided the support and funds for Sheridan to bring Banton back, our first transfer in four years and our first during the Brent-era!
Any views on Port Vale and our players?
I don’t actually know a tremendous amount about Port Vale, one of the few players I do know a bit about is Tom Pope (right), he’s a great goalscorer and shares the exact same full name as my brother (fun fact there)!
I remember is at the same time last year, we went to Vale and lost 4-0. This season, we played very well but somehow found ourselves 2-0 down at half time. You shouldn’t write the Argyle off though, we know how to fight back! I love FA Cup games, and it was a real classic.
A score prediction (and potential scorers for both sides)?
My prediction for the game is an Argyle win, 2-0 with Reid and Alessandra to score. We’re in good form and I really would hope we’d win at our ground, a place which is quickly becoming our fortress. We’ve scored eight goals in two FA Cup games, and even though you’re better than us I’m afraid I just can’t look past us on this one!
What team do you expect to play?
Cole, Blanchard, Trotman, Nelson, Purrington, Gurrieri, Blizzard, Hourihane (C), Thomas, Alessandra and Reid.
Thanks to Josh for answering our questions.