Image: Carl Barnard

Hull City could tempted to line up with a 4-4-2 against Plymouth Argyle. The idea may be that it’ll allow Fabio Carvalho and Ozan Tufan to form a formidable strike partnership, whilst giving ample opportunities out wide to…hang on, this doesn’t feel quite right.

See, I’ve spent more time than most would consider healthy this season analysing the styles, strengths and weaknesses of Argyle’s opponents. Here, it feels like something else may be necessary. At the start of the season, I set my normal nerdiness aside and issued what people like myself may describe as a rallying cry. I’ll let you decide whether it feels like weeks or years have passes since that win over Huddersfield. Either way, it’s time for some similar sentiments.

So yes, I could tell you that Jacob Greaves and Alfie Jones form one of the league’s best defensive partnerships. I could mention that Ryan Allsop is statistically one of the worst shot-stoppers in the Championship, and another pitch invasion past the man in Portsmouth’s goal for Peter Hartley’s header is a distinct possibility (the merits of such an invasion would be up for debate). I could share the opinion that putting a team with such attacking talent in the hands of Liam Rosenior is akin to giving the nuclear codes to a toddler.

It won’t, however, be the focus of the piece.

Hull are strong. In fact, if this was the squad of players champions Leicester City had put together, many wouldn’t look out of place. But Argyle beat Leicester, and that’s where we come in.

Talk to anybody who was at Home Park that night (just a few weeks ago remember) and they’ll tell you that the crowd made the difference. Argyle put in a solid display, getting their goal and defending resolutely, but they had to ride their luck at times. They needed some support, and boy did the fans respond. The way all sides of the ground raised their voices in unison was spine-tingling – I have it on good authority that it even brought grown men to tears.

On Saturday, Argyle face an even bigger game than their fixture with Leicester. I have a suspicion, no, I’m absolutely certain, that the team will need the support of their wonderful fans once more. Whatever happens elsewhere, one thing is guaranteed: if the Green Army sing their team to another victory, Argyle will maintain their place in the Championship.

I do appreciate how this sounds. Argyle have been asking their fans to step up for weeks now, and the supporters have always delivered. In many ways, with the exception of the Leicester game, the same cannot be said of those on the field. The Green Army travelled to Stoke in their droves, made plenty of noise, and witnesses a gutless performance on the field. When the same message to lend support goes out, despite the team giving us little to sing about, it can feel more than a little patronising.

I promise I don’t write this as a shill for the club, or to excuse anything that has happened at Argyle over the past few months. I have serious reservations about how the Home Park hierarchy have handled many issues, and I assure you these will be digested fully in the forthcoming pre-season period. However I, and I suspect you, can and will put that aside for just 90 more minutes.

This isn’t a case of me, a representative of Plymouth Argyle, saying “we need you.” It’s a case of me, a standard (if a little numbers-obsessed) supporter with no decision making-power whatsoever saying “they need us.”

Let’s come together and make Home Park a cauldron from the first whistle. Add a few decibels for those who would love to be there with us, but for whatever reason cannot. Don’t lose faith if things look difficult early on, or we hear bad news from elsewhere. And on that note, don’t be a nuisance and spread false scorelines. I don’t tend to support the death penalty, but will make an exception for this particular form of fake news.

I accept there will be frayed nerves; half of them will probably be my own. But we can overcome them by being in this together. By standing louder and prouder than anybody thought possible. By roaring the house down as a late break from midfield makes it 2-0. That’s it. Argyle are (staying) up.

We’ve suffered some punches in the last few months, but at its heart football is a game of moments. Moments that set pulses racing, that get us on the edge of our seats and, if we’re particularly lucky, make themselves at home in our minds for a lifetime. There’s a chance that maybe, just maybe, one of those moments is just around the corner. We may have to force it ourselves, but it can happen.

You don’t have to look far for inspiration. This time last year, Argyle had just won promotion by beating Burton Albion; it’s one of those occasions that will live in our memories forever. That day may feel so far removed from the Argyle we see today, but it isn’t in reality. On Saturday, Argyle will be playing for exactly the same thing they did on that glorious afternoon: Championship status. The same result would clinch it without doubt.

It’s time for another unforgettable Argyle occasion. We can do this. Sing them home.


Our latest youtube video: