Pilgrims progress, or lack of

13 March 2010 09:17
Mariner woes ahead of Coventry game Plymouth Argyle come to The Ricoh just one place of the bottom of the table and seven point away from the drop zone and are in desperate need of points to ensure their Championship survival. A few weeks ago, both sets of fans  would have looked at this fixture and had the same thought, that Plymouth  might get one,or even three points from this game. Argyle have  proved to be a difficult side for Coventry to beat in recent years, but how things in football change in such a short time. Coventry have found some form and have surges to eighth place in the table and just three points from the last play off place. They will go into the game at their home ground full of confidence of victory. The Sky Blues beat The Pilgrims last December at Plymouth and will be out to do the double this afternoon and Plymouth boss Paul Mariner will have a selection headache as he is missing some of his key players. Plymouth go the Ricoh on the back of a 2-0 defeat midweek at QPR, but Mariner has looked at the positives, he said, "We feel that was one of the worst performances since I took over, and that was disappointing. We all feel that. We really didn't perform as a group. " // "We've analysed it, and the players are aware of certain things that we need to do better. We just tend to shoot ourselves in the foot, and we don't tend to be able to recover from that. We're looking to bounce back on Saturday. We feel we can do that. We can't do anything about yesterday, we can do a lot about today and tomorrow, and the players are in full agreement." Mariner has conceded his players have underachieved this season,saying, "You have to go right back to the basics, and you have to revamp and rethink absolutely everything. That's exactly what we've been trying to do since Tuesday. The three of us (Mariner, his assistant head coach John Carver and coach Geoff Crudgington) have been together constantly after the game. We had a word with the players on Thursday morning, and we told them exactly what we needed to do." "We've pointed out the obvious things, because sometimes you can't see the wood for the trees. You can't see the obvious things. I've said to the players that it isn't all broken. Yes, it was a performance that we weren't particularly pleased about, but it isn't all gone to nothing." "There's still a lot to work on, a lot to build on, and you have to maintain your belief systems. You have to give yourself the best opportunity. Our job is to put the players in the best frame of mind, come three o'clock on Saturday, to be successful. Then all you can do is hope that the training kicks in. As a coach, you can't play the game." Mariner's selection headache depend on the fitness of some of his players. Craig Noone might be fit, but not certain of even making the bench, Chris Clark and Réda Johnson are very doubtful. In Noone absence, Argyle do have two options for the left  midfield position. Alan Judge, who featured against QPR on Tuesday, or they could opt for  Yannick Bolasie, who impressed Mariner when he came on as substitute at Loftus Road. Bolasie has yet to start a first team game for Plymouth, but has made substitute appearances Mariner confirmed,"Bolasie has a chance of starting, He's learning quickly, a very fast learning curve, and that was noticeable in training today. The things that he wasn't doing before, he's doing now." Mariner then spoke about his other options, if Noone fails a fitness test. He said, "I thought Judge did OK the other night, but we were two down and we just had to inject some pace into the team." Judge is a right footed player, but Mariner was unconcerned, saying, "A lot of teams play people on the opposite side. Not many teams are going to the byline these days. What they're doing is they are cutting back in and they're fizzing balls to the far post, in between the defence and the goalkeeper. They're very difficult balls to defend." When asked about the threat Coventry City posed, Mariner replied, "They're uncompromising, as most teams are, they have quality in certain areas, and they're on a high. They're winning games, which is difficult to do in this division. I respect Chris Coleman, he has done a great job in the game, and he has put a good unit together. But I don't think there's anything to fear for the players." For his part, Coventry's manager Chris Coleman, said, "Anybody can beat anybody in this league, so we know we must not take anything for granted. Plymouth are fighting to get out of the relegation zone. We know how dangerous they are."