Pilgrims have plenty of rivals competing to beat relegation
JOHN SHERIDAN got off to a winning start as Argyle manager, and it was just as well he did considering the results elsewhere.
The Pilgrims clung on to beat Morecambe 2-1 in a tense finale at Home Park on Saturday to end a sequence of three successive defeats.
But the size of the task facing them as they fight against a disastrous relegation from the Football League should still not be underestimated.
Yes, Argyle moved up one position to 22nd in the table after the victory over Morecambe.
But they are only one point outside the relegation zone and have played two more matches than the teams below them – AFC Wimbledon and Bristol Rovers.
In addition, 21st-placed Aldershot Town are a point above the Pilgrims and have played two games fewer.
Argyle are going to need to start winning regularly over the rest of the season to stand a chance of beating the dreaded drop into the Football Conference.
Bristol Rovers are, for the time being, still bottom of the table but have shown signs of revival under recently-appointed manager John Ward.
He was all lined up to become Argyle's director of football only, at the last moment, to take up his new role at the Memorial Stadium.
Rovers have picked up seven points out of a possible 12 since Ward took over, including a 2-1 win at home to Argyle on January 1.
On Saturday, they won 3-0 at Fleetwood Town to give another indication they are more than capable of staying up.
Wimbledon were overtaken in the table by Argyle and dropped to 23rd after they were held to a 2-2 at home to Wycombe Wanderers.
The south London side were on course for a third consecutive league win until Matt McClure equalised in the 72nd minute.
Aldershot, meanwhile, beat Accrington Stanley 2-0 at the Recreation Ground as they continued their excellent start to 2013.
They have picked up nine points from their three games in January and will now be confident of escaping relegation.
Accrington, in 19th, look like a club Argyle must finish above if they are to retain their Football League status.
They have lost four out of five since their 1-1 draw at home to the Pilgrims on December 22.
Accrington visit Home Park on January 26 for what will be a crucial six-pointer, even three months before the end of the season.
Barnet are perennial relegation strugglers in League Two but have shown good form of late.
They are three points above Argyle in 20th, having played the same number of games, after an eye-catching 2-0 win at Rotherham United on Saturday.
There were a lot of doubters about the wisdom of Barnet appointing former Dutch international midfielder Edgar Davids as their boss earlier this season.
But, credit where credit is due, Davids has done an excellent job in turning around the Bees' fortunes and now it seems to have been an inspired move.
Morecambe are 18th in League Two after losing to Argyle, in what was only their second defeat in eight games.
So, many of the clubs at the bottom of the table are actually in decent form, making it even more important Argyle get on a good run of results themselves.