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John Sheridan hopes goal threat Banton will be back in action before long

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: February 28, 2013

Goal celebrations for scorer Jason Banton (right) were soon curtailed for Plymouth Argyle at AFC Wimbledon on Tuesday. Picture: Dave Rowntree/Pinnacle

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Plymouth Argyle are hoping the thigh injury to on-loan Crystal Palace winger Jason Banton is not a serious one.

The 21-year-old limped out of the 1-1 draw at npower League Two relegation rivals Wimbledon on Tuesday, shortly after the half-hour mark.

Banton had put bottom-of-the-table Argyle into a 26th-minute lead with a low shot after a swift counter-attack.

It was only the Pilgrims’ third goal in their last six matches, and Banton has grabbed them all. His initial one-month loan from Palace is set to end after the visit of Barnet, who are in 21st position in the table, to Home Park on Saturday.

Banton was proving to be a constant attacking threat until his early exit against Wimbledon, who equalised with a goal from Harry Pell two minutes after Argyle’s opener.

Plymouth manager John Sheridan said: “Jason has picked up a thigh strain. Hopefully, he won’t be out for too long. It’s a shame because he’s a massive threat. He took his goal brilliantly and he’s a big player for us.”

Banton’s replacement in the 33rd minute of the match at Kingsmeadow was 18-year-old defender Jamie Richards, who made his Football League debut for Argyle.

Richards played at left-back, with Onismor Bhasera moving into the midfield role which had been vacated by Banton.

Sheridan turned to Richards rather than keeping Bhasera in defence and sending on Paris Cowan-Hall, Andres Gurrieri or Luke Young as a substitute. Richards had made one previous appearance for the Pilgrims in a Johnstone’s Paint Trophy tie.

Sheridan said: “It was difficult for Jamie because he has not played at left-back a lot but I thought he did all right. He’s a steady player and he has done well in training. He’s working hard to try to impress me and try to force his way into the team. I don’t think he did anything wrong. The pace of the game caught up with him in the end, but he did OK.”

Sheridan thought striker Reuben Reid had his best game for Argyle since starting his second spell at Home Park. Reid’s one-month loan from Yeovil Town has now ended and Sheridan is having discussions about his future.

The 24-year-old set up Banton for his goal against Wimbledon and also had a couple of chances himself. Sheridan said: “I will talk to Reuben and to his club. I thought that was probably his best game for us on Tuesday. He worked a lot harder.

“I had a chat with Reuben. For me, he should be one of the best strikers in this division.

“Reuben knows he has got to work harder. If he does that, and moves the ball quickly, he can be a big player for us.”

Sheridan will have to take into account the injury to Banton and the return of striker Nick Chadwick from a six-match suspension. Chadwick was a 65th-minute substitute for fellow striker Gozie Ugwu against Wimbledon.

Argyle’s draw against Wimbledon leaves them three points adrift of safety from relegation with 12 games to go. Sheridan said: “There was a lot at stake for both teams so, obviously, it was tense.

“I thought it was a good battling performance. We worked really hard. I can’t fault our effort.”

Sheridan was critical, however, of how Argyle relinquished their lead so soon after scoring. He said: “The biggest downer for me was how we conceded their goal. That was just players switching off.”

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