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Sheridan confident of taking points from tough away-day assignments

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: February 23, 2013

Plymouth Argyle manager John Sheridan will be directing operations today at Northampton Dave Rowntree/Pinnacle

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Manager John Sheridan knows Plymouth Argyle must upset the form book when they play Northampton Town at Sixfields Stadium today.

Sixth-placed Northampton are odds-on favourites to win after a good run of recent results has propelled them towards the top of the npower League Two table.

Argyle, meanwhile, are in a lowly 22nd position and are only above the two clubs in the relegation zone – Barnet and AFC Wimbledon – on goal difference.

Northampton have the second-best home record in the division with 11 wins, two draws and three defeats from 16 games.

The Cobblers have tasted victory in their last five matches at Sixfields Stadium, most recently a 3-1 defeat of Rochdale on February 9. They also share the best defensive home record in League Two along with Capital One Cup finalists Bradford City, with both conceding only 14 goals.

Sheridan knows the odds are stacked against his side but promised they would be well prepared for the task.

The Plymouth boss said: "It's going to be tough. I know how Northampton play and we have been working on what their threats are.

"They do the ugly things, and do them really well. That's why they are up near the top, but we are going to fight to get something out of the game.

"Northampton have won their last five at home but we won our last away game [2-1 at Aldershot Town on February 9]. That's what I will look at."

Two points cover the bottom five clubs in League Two but Sheridan believes all the teams up to York City in 17th are still under threat from relegation.

Argyle had been unbeaten in four matches under Sheridan's management until they lost 1-0 to Oxford United at Home Park last Saturday. The Pilgrims' manager said: "There are eight teams who I feel are going to be in the fight to avoid relegation. In the last five games, we've got the best defensive record out of all of them.

"At the same time, we've only scored four goals. If you're going to win football matches' you need to score goals," he admitted.

"I think our performances have got to be more positive and we've got to believe we are going to create problems for the opposition. That's something I've got to look at. Whether I have to pick a different formation when we play at home, I will do that.

"Whatever I think I have to do to get a positive result, I will do it." For the time being, though, Argyle have back-to-back away games to concentrate on, with the trip to Northampton today followed by a vital clash at bottom-of-the-table Wimbledon next Tuesday.

Sheridan said: "We've got two tough away games now, against teams who are going to be in your face. We've got to believe we can get something from both games."

The Argyle boss added: "I've had a meeting with the players and I want them to be brave. I would rather see them do the right things, and be confident of doing the right things, than not trying it all.

"I wasn't happy at all with the style of the performance last week [against Oxford] and I know we can do a lot better.

"We will go to Northampton and we will have a go. Hopefully, we will get something."

The Cobblers have defender David Artell back in their squad, after his recovery from an tendon Achilles injury.

Plymouth Argyle (from): Cole, Chenoweth; Berry, Branston, Charles, Blanchard, Bhasera, Lowry, Cox, Hourihane, Wotton, Young, Gurrieri, Cowan-Hall, Murray, Ugwu, Banton, Reid, Harvey, Lecointe, Vassell, Richards.

Unavailable: Chadwick (suspended), Nelson (groin), Feeney (ankle), Gilmartin (hamstring).

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