League Two betting preview: Plymouth set to climb the table

 

Plymouth climbed out of the basement's bottom two for the first time since August when snatching an unlikely point against title-chasing Crawley at Home Park last weekend and we should back them to follow up with victory over Port Vale at 7/2 this weekend.

Carl Fletcher has turned to experience in his bid to lift the Pilgrims out of the doldrums and clear of danger with the arrival of Darren Purse in November recently followed by the return of club legend Paul Wotton, both of whom add a commanding presence to the spine of the team.

Purse's career is widely perceived to have gone off the rails since he was shown the door by Sheffield Wednesday last January but it should be pointed out that he has only tasted defeat twice in 12 appearances this season, which isn't bad going for a player who was also embroiled in a relegation battle at Yeovil prior to switching Somerset for Devon.

Reports suggest the big 34-year-old defender is just beginning to rediscover his match fitness after a stop-start campaign and that coincides nicely with Wotton's move from Huish Park. Together, they have picked up four points from two matches with Argyle, the draw against Crawley coming on the back of a 2-1 win over Burton.

Indeed, the game against the Red Devils must have been a rather uplifting experience for the Pilgrims, first of all to snatch a result in stoppage time with a stunning overhead kick from French defender Maxime Blachard, then to reach the dressing room and discover that Dagenham's heavy defeat at Crewe had pushed them above the dotted line. Now Argyle should take their cue and scurry away from the scene without stopping to look over their shoulder.

Port Vale are a club in financial strife and it will take much more than a 1-0 penalty win on a windy day against out-of-sorts Rotherham to convince us that they are back on the up. The Valiants had to let their loan players go at the start of January and Micky Adams has admitted he won't be able to bring in any new players this month, so a turbulent end to the campaign awaits in spite of optimistic play-off talk.

The victory over the Millers was a welcome boost and nobody can blame Adams for trying to use it as a springboard but performance-wise, there was nothing significantly different at Don Valley to what had occurred in Vale's previous four matches, all of which ended in defeat.

Recommended bet:

1pt Plymouth to beat Port Vale at 7/2 (Ladbrokes, Stan James)

For more betting news and views, please visit Bestofthebets.com. You can also follow Mike Holden on Twitter: @Miguel_BOTB

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