Since the departure of Steven Schumacher to Stoke City in the middle of last month, Plymouth Argyle are yet to earn a Championship win under their interim management of Kevin Nancekivell after drawing 3-3 against Valerien Ismael’s Watford side at Home Park on New Year’s Day.
A frenetic first 45 minutes saw the Pilgrims race into a 3-2 lead thanks to strikes from the likes of Ryan Hardie and leading marksman Morgan Whittaker, but a second-half goal from the Hornets’ Ryan Andrews – only the youngster’s second in senior football – forced a share of the points.
The primary objective this term for last season’s League One winners was to avoid an immediate return to the third tier, and Saturday’s hosts are on track to do so, sitting 18th in the second-tier standings with 29 points from 26 games, seven points ahead of Danny Rohl’s Sheffield Wednesday in 22nd.
The Green Army have been weakened in the opening days of the January transfer window by the departure of midfielder Finn Azaz, who has been recalled to parent club Aston Villa ahead of a multi-million-pound switch to Championship playoff chasers Middlesbrough, who are currently under the stoic leadership of Michael Carrick.
Sutton were unable to get off to a much-needed winning start on New Year’s Day against Newport County, although it could have been a lot worse for the hosts at the VBS Community Stadium as the Exiles took a lead in the 79th minute through the strike of left-wing-back Shane Mcloughlin.
It looked as if Sutton were heading towards a 16th loss of the fourth-tier campaign before an added-time equaliser on Monday afternoon, with substitute midfielder Tope Fadahunsi bagging his first goal since coming back from a loan spell at Torquay United in the summer.
Despite that last-gasp point, Jason Goodliffe’s men are still up against it at the bottom of the Football League, lying in 23rd place in the League
Two standings, five points away from the safety of Colchester United in 22nd and just a point ahead of Troy Deeney’s Forest Green Rovers at the bottom.
United’s away form this campaign has been simply woeful – Sutton have managed just the single win on their 12 fourth-tier travels in 2023-24, losing nine matches and conceding an eye-watering 34 goals in the painful process, meaning the likes of Whittaker and Hardie will be licking their lips ahead of Saturday.