Manager John Sheridan takes positives from Jason Banton's performance on Plymouth Argyle debut
MANAGER John Sheridan took encouragement from the debut of winger Jason Banton in Plymouth Argyle’s goal-less draw with Dagenham and Redbridge at Home Park on Saturday.
Banton, 21, had signed on a one-month loan from Crystal Palace only 48 hours earlier.
He had one training session with his new team-mates before he was thrown into the starting line-up against Dagenham.
Banton showed pace and ability on the ball, forcing one good save out of visiting goalkeeper Chris Lewington shortly before the break.
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He also provided the cross from which striker Ronan Murray shot against the crossbar earlier in the first half.
Banton was substituted by Andres Gurrieri in the 78th minute as he tired in the closing stages.
Sheridan, though, was pleased with the contribution of Banton in a match which he thought Argyle should have won because of the chances they created.
It was Banton’s first career start, after only two previous substitute appearances.
The first of those was in October 2011, while he was on loan to Burton Albion from Leicester City.
The other was in Palace’s FA Cup third round tie at home to Stoke City on January 5.
Sheridan said: “I thought Jason played really well for his first game. He was a bright spark. He took care of the ball and got at them (Dagenham).
“He hasn’t played much first team football and got a bit of cramp towards the end but I was very pleased with his debut.
“He’s confident and he will excite you. You could see what he was trying to do. He did some really good things.
“He’s positive, he takes care of the ball and he looks comfortable with it.
“I’m really pleased he put in a good performance. It’s a shame we just didn’t get that win,” added Sheridan.
Meanwhile, Sheridan hopes centre-back Curtis Nelson will be fit for the trip to relegation rivals Aldershot Town this Saturday.
Nelson, 19, was ruled out of the draw with Dagenham by a groin injury which had been troubling him for a while.
The defender had been an ever present for the Pilgrims since the 1-0 defeat away to Rotherham United on October 27.
Sheridan said: “He has been playing the last couple of weeks with a bit of a groin injury. He trained the other day but it was still sore.
“I think it’s better that he missed a game and gets a week’s treatment in and is then ready for the next game, instead of being out for a couple of weeks.”
Argyle are in 22nd position in League Two after the draw against Dagenham but could drop into the relegation zone tomorrow night.
That is because bottom-of-the-table AFC Wimbledon have a catch-up game away to table-topping Port Vale.
A win for Wimbledon would see them move two points above Argyle, and still have played one match less than them.
Port Vale won 3-0 at home to struggling Accrington on Saturday, with former Pilgrims captain and centre-back Darren Purse getting one of the goals.