'We will have to be at our best'... Pilgrims boss ahead of Blues clash

The tribute to Paul Mariner at Home Park.

It's 'Paul Mariner Day' at Portman Road this weekend. Back in October at Home Park, Plymouth fans held their own tribute to a striker who played for both Town and Argyle - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

Ipswich Town entertain Plymouth Argyle this weekend, two of League One's in-form teams. MIKE BACON takes at look at the Pilgrims.

The story so far

Top of the current last six-game form table with six straight wins, there is little doubt Plymouth Argyle are the team to beat in League One.

On top of that they haven't conceded a goal in that time and, while none of those six victories have been against top eight sides, the confidence it has brought them as they push into the play-off zone has been immense.

Plymouth now sit in fourth place on 74 points, their six-game run pushing them close now to a play-off spot.

They have been there or thereabouts all season and, although a worrying run of taking one point from a possible 15 in November and December saw them drop down the table, they have come back strong.

Losing manager Ryan Lowe in December could have dented their promotion hopes, but Lowe's assistant, Steven Schumacher, has taken over and settled the team down and made them a force to be reckoned with in the division.

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Their recent run has been even more important as their run-in is as hard as any team in the top six.

After this weekend's game with Ipswich, Plymouth still have to play Oxford, Wycombe, Sunderland, Wigan and MK Dons.

Plymouth have won only two of their last 11 league encounters against the Blues, but that includes their most recent meeting in October last year, which saw them beat Town 2-1 at Home Park.

Plymouth Argyle manager Steven Schumacher ahead of the Sky Bet League One match at Home Park, Plymou

Plymouth manager Steven Schumacher - Credit: PA

Cracking March run delights boss

Plymouth manager Steven Schumacher admits to being 'really pleased' with the way his side has made the most of their games in hand.

"Coming into March we knew that we had a big month ahead of us because we had a few home games," he told Plymouth Live.

"We had the two games in hand coming up and we wanted to capitalise on it, we wanted to get as many points as possible because we know we have got a tough April.

"We have done exactly that. We have got 18 points out of 18 in the month and I'm really pleased.

"There is one more game to go this month, which is Ipswich at Portman Road, so we will have to be at our best to get something from that as well."

Permission granted for teen star!

Cornish schoolboy Freddie Issaka is set to be part of the Plymouth Argyle squad at Portman Road.

Issaka was an unused substitute when Argyle beat Cheltenham Town 2-0 at Home Park on Tuesday night.

The teenager became Argyle's youngest-ever player, aged 15 years and 34 days, when he appeared as a substitute in the 2-0 Papa John's Trophy defeat away to Newport County last August.

The Truro School student got his call-up to the senior squad because striker Luke Jephcott is away on international duty with Wales under-21s until next week.

Plymouth boss Schumacher said: "I think he will probably travel with us (today, Friday). We have to get permission to get him out of school."

George Edmundson gives Ipswich the lead at Home Park.

George Edmundson gives Ipswich the lead at Home Park. - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

The last time

League One leaders at the time, Plymouth extended their unbeaten run to 15 matches with a 2-1 comeback victory over Ipswich back in October at Home Park.

George Edmundson headed Town ahead in the 14th minute at the back post after the hosts failed to clear a corner.

Argyle levelled in the 44th minute. Skipper Joe Edwards clipped the ball past Christian Walton and although the keeper got a glove on the ball, it still looped towards goal where striker Luke Jephcott helped it over the line.

Argyle won it in the 50th minute when playmaker Conor Grant played a neat one-two with defender Brendan Galloway before sending the ball into the far corner past Walton.

The result kept Plymouth top, as Town slipped to 11th.

What the bookies say

You would think it was Town who had won their last six, not Plymouth, with almost all the bookies making the Blues odds-on favourites for victory. Indeed you can get what appears very generous odds for both a Plymouth win and of course, the draw.


Brazilian soccer legend Pele jokes with the media during a news conference today (Friday) at the new

Brazilian soccer legend Pele jokes with the media during a news conference today (Friday) at the new Manchester United Football Club Museum which he will officially open tomorrow. Photo by Owen Humphreys/PA - Credit: PA

Did you know?

In 1973 Plymouth Argyle, hosted a friendly match against Brazilian side Santos FC, one of the best clubs in the world at the time. Their line-up featured world-renowned player, Pelé. And despite the superstar scoring a penalty, it was Argyle who won!