Sturrock rumours unsettling Pilgrims' progress

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The Independent Football

Plymouth Argyle will be relieved to see their manager, Paul Sturrock, back on the touchline for today's visit of Port Vale to Home Park if only to silence the rumour-mongers among their fans.

Sturrock missed Argyle's surprise 3-0 defeat at Tranmere in midweek due to illness but his absence fuelled new speculation that the Scot had been headhunted by Southampton as the man to replace Gordon Strachan.

The club's chairman, Paul Stapleton, says the gossip is unsettling for the club, particularly after the defeat at Tranmere cost them the Second Division leadership.

"These rumours are driving us all mad," he said. "We're in a great position and we don't want anything to muck it up. Paul Sturrock is staying with us. As far as I'm aware Southampton have appointed a manager to the end of the season in Steve Wigley and, according to the stories last week, Glenn Hoddle is going to take over for next season."

Because of Plymouth's loss, Bristol City took over at the top by winning 2-1 at Grimsby with a goal two minutes from time. They take on Wrexham today in search of an 11th consecutive victory.

After their experience last season, when Danny Wilson's side went top at Christmas only to suffer a disastrous New Year, eventually limping into the play-offs and defeat against Cardiff, Robins fans are taking nothing for granted. But their striker, Lee Peacock, insists last year's mistakes will not be repeated.

"We started to get a little bit too cocky and expected opposition teams to roll over," he said. "We went out there thinking we were going to win every game. We have to make sure that doesn't happen again.

"When you start to take things for granted you run the risk of blowing up and allowing other teams to sneak back into it." Mansfield Town's manager, Keith Curle, reckons second-placed Doncaster Rovers will be due a defeat when they travel to Field Mill for the Third Division's match of the day.

"They have been edging a few games 1-0 lately and are going through a blip in form," Curle said, aware that a win for his side would cut the gap between them and Doncaster to three points.

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