Manager John Sheridan calls for 'courageous' Plymouth Argyle performance
MANAGER John Sheridan has called on his Argyle players to produce a 'courageous' performance in the crucial clash against Barnet at Home Park tomorrow.
The Pilgrims are propping up the rest of League Two, and are three points adrift of a position of safety with 12 games to go.
Barnet are in 21st position, four points above Argyle and with an identical goals scored and conceded record.
So there is a lot at stake in only the fourth ever Football League meeting at Home Park between the two clubs.
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Barnet are unbeaten in their last four games in League Two, picking up eight points out of a possible 12 and moving out of the relegation zone.
Sheridan has been frustrated by Argyle's 'lethargic' displays at Home Park since he was appointed as manager at the start of January.
The Pilgrims beat Morecambe 2-1 on January 12, after netting twice in the first 11 minutes, but have not won or scored in any of the last three games in front of their own fans.
Sheridan told Herald Sport: "We need to be courageous. We need to take chances, be positive, get on the ball and pass it around.
"We have been very lethargic at home. Other than my first game, when we got ourselves into a winning position early on, I can't really pinpoint where we have played well.
"We need more drive and endeavour, and the tempo of the game has got to be higher for us."
Argyle have dubbed tomorrow 'Big For Barnet' as they have pushed for a 10,000-plus attendance with a series of special ticket offers.
Sheridan said: "The more the better for us. If you are a footballer, you want to be going out and playing in front of big crowds. That's what they should be looking at.
"We are all here for the same thing at Plymouth. We want to stay in this division."
Sheridan has been hugely impressed with the support Argyle have received in recent matches, both home and away, despite their struggles on the pitch.
For example, there were 829 members of the Green Army in attendance for the 1-1 draw away to AFC Wimbledon, another of the relegation-threatened League Two sides, on Tuesday.
Sheridan said: "The fans have got right behind the team from day one, since I have been here. I honestly can't believe the support they give the team.
"It's easy me saying this, but for a team who are bottom of the League and getting the support they are getting is frightening.
"The fans have been different class and we need to give them a little bit of hope. Results do that and they give them a bit of belief.
"We need to do it, and we need to do it quickly."
Sheridan knows Argyle require wins, not draws, from their remaining six games at Home Park this season, starting against Barnet, to stand any chance of escaping relegation.
Barnet's head coach is 39-year-old former Netherlands international Edgar Davids, who has also been playing to a high standard in midfield for the north London club.
Their squad includes former Argyle players Graham Stack and Bondz N'Gala, while another past Pilgrim – Kenny Brown – is part of the coaching staff.
Sheridan said: "Barnet are a team who are in and around us so it's a good opportunity to get a little bit closer to them."
"They are a good footballing side. They are unbeaten in four. I think Davids is an excellent player.
"I played against him a few times and he has got that drive. He's still playing, so full credit to him.
"He has got them playing with a bit of confidence and they have had some good results.
"They will come here and look at us – we are bottom of the League – and see it as a good chance of getting three points.
"We have got to make sure it doesn't work out that way."
Argyle right-back Durrell Berry is still sidelined by tendonitis in a knee so Maxime Blanchard will continue to deputise for him.
FOLLOW live updates from Argyle's game against Barnet at Home Park tomorrow on The Herald website, www.thisisplymouth.co.uk.
There will also be a report on the website shortly after the final whistle.