Feeney praises 'phenomenal' hard work by Argyle manager Fletcher
Striker Warren Feeney has credited Carl Fletcher for working wonders as manager of Plymouth Argyle.
The Pilgrims had picked up only one point from their first nine npower League Two games this term when Fletcher, then aged 31, replaced Peter Reid as boss.
Fletcher has worked hard ever since, with coaches Romain Larrieu and Kevin Nancekivell, to turn around the team's fortunes. Now Argyle stand a fighting chance of escaping relegation from the Football League.
Today, the 21st-placed Pilgrims, who are unbeaten in their last five games, take on mid-table Aldershot Town at Home Park (3pm).
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Feeney said: "I think what the gaffer has done has been phenomenal.
"I have always been a big believer that it's easier to get a team promoted than keeping someone up. It's his first opportunity, really, and I think he has more than grabbed it with both hands."
Feeney, 31, signed for Argyle as a free agent at the start of August, when they were still in administration. Since then, the Pilgrims have encountered a series of twists and turns and ups and downs.
Feeney said: "From where the club was at the start of the season, what the gaffer has done is incredible.
"It's so hard to keep a team up because you've got to get confidence and you have got to get the right players.
"You have got to look at whether players want to come down here [to Plymouth].
"The gaffer's contract is up at the end of the season but I think it's going to take care of itself," he continued. "He's a young manager and I think he has done more than enough with the staff around him.
"So, fingers crossed, they [the club's board of directors] will see that. The fans seem to like what he has done and the players like him.
"He has got a good togetherness here and the boys have really taken to what he wants.
"With five games to go, we've just got to get over that line," added the Northern Ireland international.
Feeney has been a substitute for recent matches after recovering from injury. But he returned to the starting line-up for the 1-1 draw at Hereford United on Good Friday because Juvhel Tsoumou was ruled out by injury.
Tsoumou is one of three strikers who have been added to the Pilgrims squad in the past couple of months.
Alex MacDonald and Steve Fletcher have also been brought in, increasing the competition for attacking places in the team. Feeney has taken a philosophical view to his recent stint on the substitutes' bench.
The Ulsterman said: "I think I was unfortunate to get injured at the wrong time. It kept me out for a while and the boys came in and did well. But I'm a big believer you can't have enough strikers.
"At the end of the day, it's about keeping us up. It's not a personal thing.
"Whoever the gaffer feels is going to do it, that's what you've got to believe in," he added. "Yes, you want to play, but the most important thing is to keep Plymouth up. We want to be in this league next season.
"We've got one month left and we have just got to work hard as we can. We will be all right."
Feeney put in an industrious performance against Hereford and was heavily involved in the goal which gave the visitors a 30th-minute lead. He put the Bulls' former Yeovil Town centre-back Stefan Stam under pressure as the pair chased after a long clearance.
Stam then lifted the ball over goalkeeper David Cornell, who had come off his line, and it bounced into the empty net.
Feeney said: "To be fair, I was getting a bit of a joy, getting over the top of them.
"I always try to chase stuff down and make them defend. If I had been a bit closer, I might have claimed it!
"The point of it was to force him [Stam] into a mistake, and he did that.
"It was great to see it go in the net, but the most important thing for me was to get a game. I was buzzing when the gaffer gave me the shout. Hopefully, I can sustain that now until the end of the season."
Plymouth Argyle (from): Cole, Larrieu; Bignot, Berry, Nelson, Purse, Blanchard, Williams, Bhasera, Walton, Wotton, Soukouna, Hourihane, Daley, Lennox, Hemmings, Feeney, Chadwick, S Fletcher, MacDonald, Tsoumou, Lecointe, Young, Sims.