Plymouth Argyle boss pleased that new approach paying off
ARGYLE'S sudden surge of goals has come because they are retaining possession of the ball better, according to manager Carl Fletcher.
They have netted nine times in the last three matches, which includes the 4-1 win against Barnet in their last away game on October 13.
The Pilgrims, who are 15th in League Two, have scored one more goal than fourth-placed Cheltenham Town, who are their opponents at Whaddon Road tonight.
Argyle have adopted more of a passing style of football this season after narrowly escaping relegation last term and it has started to pay off in recent weeks.
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They have won three and lost only one of their last seven League Two games.
Fletcher told Herald Sport: "We were great defensively at the end of the season but we couldn't pass for toffee which, in turn, didn't create a lot of chances for us.
"It was a case of needs must and we did what we had to do. This year we wanted to look after the ball more and keep possession.
"If you have got the ball, you are going to have more time for players to get in the box and move defences around and create holes."
Another by-product of retaining possession better has been the six penalties awarded to Argyle in their last seven matches in all competitions.
Five of those spot kicks have been successfully converted, with on-loan Aldershot Town forward Guy Madjo getting two in the 3-1 home win against Rochdale on Saturday.
The only penalty miss came when striker Rhys Griffiths had his attempt saved when Argyle went down 2-1 to AFC Wimbledon at Home Park on October 6.
However, Griffiths followed up and tucked the loose ball into the net.
Fletcher said: "If you keep the ball it gives more chance for midfielders to get in the box and my full-backs can get higher up the pitch.
"It's not just a chance of lumping it forward and hoping someone gets there, or putting a ball in the box and no-one is in there because they can't catch up."
Fletcher added: "I think it also helps we have got some good, tricky players who are quick with their feet and are very good technically in tight situations.
"Sometimes, it's just the way it goes. If penalties keep coming our way we will keep taking them."
League Two is proving to be so competitive this season 15th-placed Argyle are only five points behind Fleetwood Town, who are third.
Only two points separate the Pilgrims from the last play-off spot, which is currently occupied by Exeter City.
Argyle have two tough away games coming up, though, starting against Cheltenham before travelling to pre-season title favourites Rotherham United on Saturday.
Fletcher said: "We aren't looking at the table too much, to be honest. We are concentrating on what we need to do to try to get a bit of consistency and some good performances.
"If we do that, the league table will take care of itself."
Cheltenham were beaten play-off finalists last season, losing 2-0 to Crewe Alexandra at Wembley.
Former Argyle midfielder Luke Summerfield moved on from the Robins in the summer, signing for League One outfit Shrewsbury Town instead.
The bulk of their squad is the same as last season, however, when Cheltenham did the double over the Pilgrims with 2-1 wins at home and away.
Fletcher said: "They have got quite a settled side and when you play them at their place it's really tough.
"They will go into the game as favourites and we have got to go up there and make sure we are fully prepared."
Argyle are waiting on the fitness of Onismor Bhasera, Paris Cowan-Hall and Rhys Griffiths.
Cowan-Hall had to be substituted against Rochdale because of a dead leg. Bhasera and Griffiths were both ruled out of the match.