Sturrock calls for backbone

PAUL Sturrock has called on his Pilgrims to show more backbone as they look to arrest a slide that has seen them drop ten places in ten games.

Derek Davis

By Derek Davis

PAUL Sturrock has called on his Pilgrims to show more backbone as they look to arrest a slide that has seen them drop ten places in ten games.

The Plymouth Argyle boss was not happy at the way his team capitulated when going a goal down at Nottingham Forest and then at home to Bristol City last week, and going on to lose both matches 2-0.

Sturrock said: “The one disappointment about the team in those two games was their reaction when they have lost a goal.

"I don't want to see any more of that, and I have already had words with them about it.

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"Yes, scoring goals has been a problem to us, but we have to roll our sleeves up and be even more determined.

"I'm hopeful the players will be appreciative of that."

Argyle have managed just one win in ten Championship matches, scoring just four time in that period and have dropped from sixth to 16 as a result.

Sturrock knows that Ipswich at Portman Road could really hurt them unless they can turn things around.

He said: “They have got players all over the football pitch that can hurt you, but we have got to go there and give it everything we have got.

"We didn't win any of the first five games of the season, and then went to Watford and Crystal Palace and won.

"It's getting to that stage again, where we have got to go and drag a result from one of the next two games - or both."

After this test, Plymouth go to Preston North End on Tuesday as they look to keep away from the bottom three.

He said: “We are going to fly to both games, thankfully, so that will help us.

"But with Derby at home next Saturday, making it three games in a week, we are going to be busy bees."

Sturrock has snapped up Blackburn Rovers' 20-year-old midfielder Alan Judge on loan until the end of the seasonand he goes staright into the squad.

Sturrock said: "We needed a freshness in midfield and he can play several positions in there.

"We've had him watched several times. He is a livewire, box-to-box type player. He is very similar to David Norris in that he is a pocket dynamo.

"He comes into the squad for Saturday. I will have a look at him in training and decide overnight.

"He is very hungry for the challenge and I have taken him as an offensive player to come from midfield and support the front two."

Argyle have David McNamee back from a three-match ban and is set to play at right-back, taking over from Mathias Doumbe.

Centre-back Craig Cathcart is struggling with a back injury he suffered against Bristol City - he didn't train today - so Krisztian Timar stands by.

Midfielder Simon Walton, who had a loan spell with Ipswich in Jim Magilton's first season as manager, goes into the squad and could start after scoring for the reserves in midfield.

Walton hasn't played in the first team since being transfer-listed after being sent-off for violent conduct in a 2-0 defeat at Barnsley on December 20.

Plymouth have recalled Ashley Barnes from his loan spell at Eastbourne Borough and have offered to allow former Manchester City striker Emile Mpenza to be paid up.