"There’s no discouragement
Shall make him once relent
His first avow’d intent
To be a Pilgrim"
The sheer unpredictability of this Walsall side was evident on Saturday as Dean Keates’ team ended a dismal winless run by taking Gillingham apart, and based on that performance it’s very tempting to think of us having a Barnsley-esque meteoric rise up the League One table. What has clearly been shown is that Andy Cook has undoubted scoring ability when presented with the kind of opportunity that comes with accurate service. The only cautionary note comes from comments seen on Gillingham’s equivalents of UTS where there was a lack of comprehension as to why their defence was such a complete disgrace, gifting us those three goals…
Be that as it may, here is the ideal challenge - another away fixture against a team apparently in good form. Argyle may occupy a relegation place but their 3 games in January have produced maximum points, transforming a season that started wretchedly when they only gathered 3 points from their first 10 games (including losing at Bescot in the opening game, of course). Current League One form for the Pilgrims:-
22 Dec Accrington Stanley (H) Lost 0-3
26 Dec AFC Wimbledon (A) Lost 2-1
29 Dec Burton Albion (A) Drew 1-1
1 Jan Oxford United (H) Won 3-0
12 Jan Southend United (A) Won 2-3
19 Jan Coventry City (H) Won 2-1
Almost as pleasing as the three points on Saturday was the achievement of a “clean sheet”, and a few more of those wouldn’t go amiss in the interests of improving what is still a worrying goal difference of -11. Argyle, however, also have problems in that direction having shipped 50 goals so far and running a goal difference of -14. The next few games will show whether Dean Keates’ activity in the transfer window really has shored up our full-back situation, strengthening the defence while still having Nicky Devlin and Luke Leahy free to go marauding upfield to provide the kind of service on which Andy Cook thrives. The acquisition of Matt Jarvis must also not be overlooked - having previously played for Gillingham there were consistent comments on their message board bemoaning the fact that they hadn’t gone for him.
Prediction? Based on Saturday’s performance I’m seriously considering driving down to the West Country to see this one, and a repeat of the season’s opener could well be on the cards. Another Saddlers away win coupled with another clean sheet … 0-2 with goals from Andy Cook (naturally) and Joe Edwards.