SCOTT ARFIELD looked ahead to promotion-chasing Town’s trip to Tranmere tomorrow and said: “Let’s forget the rest and focus on ourselves.”
The 22-year-old midfielder has a healthy respect for all the clubs competing with Lee Clark’s side for automatic promotion from League I.
The four immediately below Town fight it out among themselves in the latest round of fixtures, with Peterborough hosting Bournemouth tonight and Southampton taking on MK Dons on the South coast tomorrow.
Then on Tuesday, Peterborough and Bournemouth play their games in hand on Town away to Dagenham and Redbridge and Bristol Rovers respectively, while Southampton, who have played three less than Clark’s men, host Charlton.
Arfield will be keeping tabs on the various scorelines, but not getting into a sweat.
“There are some good sides slugging it out, but there’s no point in worrying about things we can’t influence,” said the former Falkirk man who is hoping for his 35th Town start and 45th appearance in all at Prenton Park.
“The important thing is to concentrate on ourselves. We’re in second place, we’re on a great run (18 unbeaten in the league with four wins in the last five matches) and if we keep working hard and doing the things which have got us to where we are, then we don’t need to fear any side.
“The only thing we can affect directly is our own results, and regardless of who we’re playing, we feel we have the ability to win if we apply ourselves properly, and that’s what we aim to do.”
Scotland B and Under 21 international Arfield, who played more than 100 Scottish Premier League games for Falkirk, made his seventh straight Town start against Notts County last Sunday, and was delighted to play his part in a slick 3-0 win.
“We got off to a great start, kept putting pressure on them and stayed patient, because it took us a while to get that breakthrough goal,” he said.
“Having got one up by half-time, we talked about maintaining the tempo at the start of the second half, because too often we’ve dropped off a little.
“We got back at it right from the kick-off and to get those two goals in close succession to kill the game off was pleasing.”
Town are chasing a third successive win in trips to Prenton Park after 2-0 triumphs in last season’s league clash and this term’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy meeting.
But one-time Galpharm trialist Mark McChrystal, who is optimistic about beating a hamstring niggle and featuring in the game, says Rovers are determined to build on Monday’s gutsy goalless draw at Oldham as they bid to pull away from the danger zone.
“I look at every game as one-off. I don’t really read too much into the opponents’ form,” said the former Derry City defender.
“I think it is dangerous to look at the form book and say we can expect three points in one match or expect nothing from another. We have to look at our own game.”
The 26-year-old, whose normal centre-back partner Ian Goodison starts a two-match ban after 10 bookings, is targeting a third successive clean sheet after Colchester were beaten 1-0 in Rovers’ last home game.
“I think we work well as a team and put everything into it. It’s all about doing whatever it takes to get a result. When we do keep a clean sheet, we have a chance of winning games,” he added.
With Les Parry’s team 18th on 43 points, three above the drop zone, he continued: “I like to take it one game at a time, as the cliche goes, but I think you need to have a target.
“We have spoken about it with the gaffer and we are talking about the 50-point mark, although with the way things are going, it may need a few more than that to keep us safe.”