At one point before Christmas, Plymouth Argyle looked to be doomed. They were inconsistent and struggling desperately to get out of the bottom four.
Whilst they’re not safe by any stretch of the imagination, they’ve hoisted themselves up to the heady heights of 16th in the League One table. Under normal circumstances, that would be looking relatively safe approaching March.
This season’s League One is not normal, not at all. They’re five points clear of the bottom four, with ten teams separated by just seven points. As things stand, a couple of defeats could drag anyone from Southend in 13th down to 23rd.
Even Wimbledon, cast adrift at the bottom of the table, have found some form. They’ve closed the gap between themselves and safety to just four points.
That makes tomorrow’s game for Plymouth against Rochdale crucial. Dale are struggling having been beaten 4-3 at home by the Wombles in midweek and Plymouth know a win will further their hopes of League One football next season.
If they go with the XI we’ve selected below, we think they might just manage iit.
Letheren has replaced Arsenal loanee Matt Macey of late and has seized his chance.
He kept a clean sheet last time out and has been a key figure in the run that’s seen Argyle beaten once since Boxing Day.
The Manchester City youngster has made 27 starts at right back this season and if getting game time was the intention when he left the Etihad, it’s certainly worked.
He’s going to a have a big future ahead of him if he keeps up this level of performance.
6ft 5in Edwards has been a real presence at the back of late, not just physically but also in terms of his performance.
He’s formed a solid partnership with Niall Canavan and there’s little need to change that for the Rochdale clash.
The former Scunthorpe defender has 21 League One appearances to his name this season and along with Ryan Edwards has helped them to three clean sheets in 2019.
He’s sure to keep his place for the crucial six pointer.
Left back Sawyer is the club captain and a dead cert to start the game.
He’s been impressive in their recent run and if they’re to keep pulling away from the bottom four, they need their big players on form.
The tough tackling Songo’o often operates on the cusp of the laws with his crunching tackles, but screening the back four he’s a vital cog in the Pilgrims’ machine.
He’s going to be important tomorrow, snuffing out any threat offered by Dale.
Fox is vice-captain at Home Park and another of those key performers that Derek Adams needs on form.
He’s played 27 times this season and has had to endure a rough ride in the early matches. Like the rest of the team, he’s looked far more assured in recent weeks.
Carey was sensational last season, but he’s been a little less so this time out.
He bagged the goal that earned them a point against high-flying Portsmouth a fortnight ago and although he’s not been as prolific, he’s still a source of chances and goals.
The exciting attacking midfielder is in to double figures this season and he’s taken up where Carey left off.
He’s a real threat, tricky on the ball and as capable of creating as he is of scoring. Rochdale will have to keep a close eye on him.
The former Fleetwood man surely has to start as he’s been looking comfortable in recent weeks.
The key to Argyle keeping on the right track is consistency, both in terms of performance and personnel. That means retaining a successful line up, Sarcevic included.
Ladapo is the leading scorer at Home Park and offers a real focal point for the attack.
It pays to have a bruiser up top to balance out some of the creativity behind. He’s only got one in his last 12 outings, so he’s certainly due a goal.