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Fletcher will urge Argyle to be bold

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: November 09, 2012

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Plymouth Argyle manager Carl Fletcher has urged his players to prove how good they are when they take on npower League Two leaders Gillingham at Home Park tomorrow.

The Pilgrims are reeling right now after losing their last four matches – three in League Two and the other one in the FA Cup.

They face their toughest test of the season tomorrow, with Gillingham five points clear of second-placed Port Vale at the top of the table.

Fletcher hopes Argyle can recapture the form they showed when they won three successive matches in all competitions before embarking on their losing run.

Martin Allen's Gillingham side are the second highest scorers in League Two with 30 goals in 16 games and have conceded only ten, which is the lowest in the division.

The Kent team have been in fine form on their travels this season, with a record of six wins and one draw from eight away League games.

Their only defeat came in Devon when Torquay United beat them 2-1 at Plainmoor last month.

Gillingham are priced at evens with some bookmakers to win at Home Park tomorrow while Argyle are 11/4 shots.

Fletcher said: "No one expects us to win, really. Gillingham started the season well and it has snowballed for them, and they are getting some good results.

"We have got nothing to lose playing against the leaders. They are there on merit, scoring lots of goals and keeping clean sheets.

"It's a chance for us to go out there and show what we can do," the Pilgrims' boss added. "Can we be organised and know what we are doing defensively but, when we win the ball, can we keep it and create stuff?"

Gillingham's director of football Andy Hessenthaler was at Home Park on Wednesday when Argyle lost 2-1 to Burton Albion. That result left the Pilgrims in 19th position in the League Two table.

Hessenthaler was Gillingham's manager until the end of last season and took on his new role before the appointment of Allen in July. The experienced Allen, who has had spells in charge of Brentford, Notts County, Leicester City, Cheltenham Town and Milton Keynes Dons, was appointed by Barnet for the final three games of last term and they successfully escaped relegation from League Two.

Fletcher said: "Martin Allen has definitely got a knack of getting the best out of his players. We know it's going to be a tough game for us but we are looking forward to it. Hopefully, we can give the fans something to shout about."

Argyle's supporters have not as much to cheer this term as they would have liked. The Pilgrims have a home record of two wins, two draws and four defeats in League Two this term, after Burton became the latest team to triumph at Home Park during the current campaign.

Argyle have played 100 League games at Home Park since the start of the 2008/09 season and their record over that period of time does not make good reading.

They have lost 45 of them, won only 29 – less than one in three – and drawn 26, and been outscored by 138 goals to 112.

Fletcher has some thoughts on why Argyle have struggled so much. The Pilgrims' chief said: "It [Home Park] should be a hard place to come to, but I don't think it's as difficult as it was. We've got a nice pitch now and the stadium is quite good.

"It's a nice place to come to, especially at this level," he added.

Historically, Gillingham have found Home Park a difficult place to play at, winning on only four of their previous 32 league visits. But they did beat Argyle 1-0 on their last trip in March with a 23rd-minute goal from defender Joe Martin, before he was sent off later in the first half.

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