Odds-on for relegation to promotion contenders; meet Plymouth Argyle

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It was only a few months ago that Plymouth Argyle were staring down the barrel of an immediate return to League Two.

At one stage in mid-November, the Pilgrims were rated odds-on at 2/9 to face the dreaded drop.

Now they’re 500/1 to go down and just 14/1 for a return to the Championship for the first time since 2010. It has been a remarkable turnaround from Derek Adams and co following a dismal first-half to the season.

The South-West club opened the season with nine defeats from their opening 12 games. They won only one home game from the start of the season until a 2-0 success over Northampton Town in mid-November.

Such a dismal run had them marked up as huge outsiders for promotion – hitting 500/1 at one stage in late-December following a 2-2 draw with Blackpool.

Now, though, they’re riding the crest of a wave. Plymouth have lost just once in the league since the start of December and are currently on a run of six successive victories.

They sit just inside the play-off spots. They also boast the division’s best form and a defence which has conceded only eight goals in its last 10 matches in League One.

Argyle’s impressive run has been in large part down to a tactical switch by Adams to 4-3-3. Forward Ryan Taylor now has support on either side from Graham Carey and Ruben Lameiras. That enables the Pilgrims to attack from all angles and utilise their depth of creativity.

The trio have bagged 17 goals between them so far this term while also contributing a total of 20 assists. Carey, in particular, has proved a valuable asset to the Home Park club.

The Irishman has shone since moving South from Ross County in 2015. He was voted Player of the Season during the 2015-16 campaign and has proved a vital cog in the Argyle machine as the Pilgrims have gone from strength-to-strength under Adams.

Sonny Bradley, too, appears to be finding his best form at Home Park. The powerful centre-half had formed a solid partnership with Ryan Edwards at the heart of Argyle’s defence before the latter was diagnosed with testicular cancer last month.

While Edwards begins his road to recovery, Bradley has maintained the pair’s good work alongside on-loan Bristol City youngster Zak Vyner. The 20-year-old has helped his new employers to three clean sheets since joining the club in January. He also scored a vital goal in Plymouth’s 2-1 victory over promotion-chasing Shrewsbury Town last month.

Adams has assembled a young, hungry and talented squad at Home Park. If they continue on their current run, they’ll have the necessary momentum to mount a serious promotion push via the play-offs.

All Odds and Markets correct as of date of publication

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Nick Murphy

Nick is a graduate of the University of East Anglia where he doubled up as the sports editor of the student newspaper Concrete. He also supports Dagenham & Redbridge and previously edited the matchday programme at Victoria Road. Other passions include darts, cricket, speedway and horse racing.