It’s time for Plymouth Argyle to prepare for another League Two fixture. Ahead of Saturday’s fixture with Mansfield, we’ve spoken once more to Mansfield Matters, who can also be found on Twitter, to get an opposition view on the game.
First of all, how have things been at Mansfield since we last spoke?
It’s safe to say that Mansfield’s plans have failed spectacularly! No matter what we’ve tried, we just can’t find the spark to turn our form around – we’re now under no illusions about the type of battle we’re in, and it’s not one to bring League One adventures like this time last year. It’s difficult to watch and travelling to you guys won’t be for the faint hearted!
You have, of course, switched managers since last time. Where did John Dempster go wrong?
Dempster was onto a hiding from the start, sadly. His inexperience quickly became a stick to beat him with, as the same players who threw away promotion last season and got Flitcroft sacked failed to stand up and be counted for a man with fresh ideas.
He had to go for the sake of trying to freshen things up, but I’m sure he’ll look back on his time with one massive regret – leaving a job he’d done so well in [the academy] for the harsh world of football management. Where did it go wrong for Dempster? Some meeting room somewhere where he agreed to take the job! Harsh, but fair. The players who disrespected him, and performed so badly, should be ashamed.
And how is Argyle legend Graham Coughlan settling into the job?
The festive period hasn’t been kind to Graham who has a massive job on his hands. He comes across really well and I’ve been impressed with his attitude and approach which is essentially improve or else… so expect numerous changes in the summer! I was worried by his lack of experience in management and still am, but I’ve seen much more promise and believe that if we can scrape through and survive, next season will be far better.
You mentioned Danny Rose last time, but who else would you say has been key to Mansfield’s fortunes this season?
Shouldn’t that read misfortunes?! If it did, it’d be far easier to answer! It’s a tough one to answer really as every key player has massively underperformed and that’s why Coughlan has told players, included captain Pearce, they can seek new challenges. We’ve seen a young lad called James Clarke break through at right back. He initially joined from Burnley for the Under 23s, but injuries to White and Gordon gave him the chance and he’s really shone – he’s a really good prospect for the future and will get better with more game time.
What sort of tactical style do you expect to set up with on Saturday?
Coughlan will try and play one sided again to utilise our limited resource with a narrow midfield three, but ultimately after half an hour of trying to play on the floor – our players will panic, go against the tactics, drop in to a 4-4-2 and hoof it long.
And are there any real weak links in the side you’re worried about?
Anytime you get a set piece I’ll be worried, as we just can’t defend!
What have you made of Plymouth Argyle’s season so far?
Exactly where I thought you’d be, comfortable in the play-offs and will be pushing top three when it really matters
What are your predictions for the rest of the League Two season?
It’ll depend on the Macclesfield situation for life at the bottom, at the top I’m surprised Crewe are still in the mix but that’s what sticking with a manager and developing over time does for you! Plymouth will go up, we’ll stutter on and maybe climb, depending on our transfer activity in the last week of the window!
And finally, what is your prediction for the game itself?
We’re in poor form, BUT it’s my birthday so you never know, we might sneak it 3-2?!