Monday, 16 March 2009

Three - is it the magic number?

After defeat at the hands of fellow strugglers Norwich, in a pretty abysmal display, Luggy has said Plymouth need three more wins to survive, but I think it might take a little more than that. There are still seven games left and granted three victories would push the points total up to a pretty tasty 52 but Barnsley, Southampton, Forest and Norwich all look capable of picking up the points and it's tight at the bottom.

Speaking to BBC Radio Devon Luggy said: "The important thing for us is that we need to win three games,
"We need to get into the 52 point bracket if we're going to be safe.
"That puts a lot of pressure on us, but in the last three or four games we've been undefeated at home and we're going to very much have to call on the players again."

I imagine most of the Home Park faithful would be happy if the season ended now, out of the bottom three and ending a campaign that started with a lot of promise but failing to deliver. Unfortunately though, that can't happen and promotion-chasing Burnley visit on Saturday.

As a neutral (I say that but since writing on this blog I've been looking out for the Argyle scores and watching high-lights, reading match reports etc so probably not as neutral as I once was) I've had a look through the remaining fixtures to see if I can pick out where these three wins are going to come from.

The smart betting money will probably go on Burnley this Saturday but as Sturrock said, the Pilgrims have been pretty good at home lately. I don't want to jinx anything but I can see Plymouth getting a draw out of this, maybe even a win, Burnley have played nearly 50 games this season and they travel to Ipswich tomorrow night. As yet I haven't seen many signs of fatigue from Coyle's boys but all that football will catch up with them sooner or later.

The real bonus for the Pilgrims is they've got four remaining fixtures at home and three away. The away ties are against Blackpool, Birmingham andf QPR. Probably best write the games against Brum and QPR off and if they get anything there it's a bonus, but beating either is not beyond the realms of possibility. The Blackpool game in two weeks could be crucial and they have been beaten nine times at home already, this is probably the game Sturrock will want to win most but even if they are beaten there are still five games after that to salvage the season.

Home ties against Barnsley, Doncaster and Coventry all look like ties Plymouth should win on paper. Donny have impressed me this season and they've upset the sports betting odds somewhat by staying up, as they all but have. Plymouth have more quality in their side than Donny and now they've done the work they might take their foot off the pedal and be an easier side to beat. Coventry play some nice football and I'm a big fan of Coleman (anyone know why Fulham sacked him? I'm still amazed they did that), they're another mid table side and you would hope Argyle will have enough about them to beat a team with very little to play for.

The Barnsley game could be massive, it's on the last day of the season and if both teams are still in the mix it could be a real battle. The Tykes aren't a bad side and they've beaten both Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday in their derby games this season. I'm a lot happier the game is at Home Park and I think if they need too, and the fans get behind them, the Argyle should be able to see the Yorkshire side off.

I'm fairly confident the Pilgrims will be alright at the end of the season. I do think it might take a bit more than the three wins Sturrock has targeted though, but the fixture list has been fairly kind and they should be able to rack up enough points to preserve their Championship status.

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