JOHN SHERIDAN defended his decision to take off Lewis Alessandra during the second half of Plymouth Argyle’s 2-1 defeat by Bristol Rovers.
Tope Obadeyi replaced Alessandra in the 69th minute of the West Country clash at the Memorial Stadium.
Alessandra has been in fine form recently, taking his goal tally for the season to 12, but was not much of a factor in the game against Rovers.
He did have one chance in the first half, but headed wide of the far post after a cross from Maxime Blanchard.
Sheridan was annoyed at comments he heard from some members of the travelling Green Army about his decision to replace Alessandra.
With a busy schedule of matches still to come this month, the Pilgrims’ boss thought it was for the best.
Argyle have another five more matches up to and including the Devon derby against Exeter City at Home Park on March 25.
Alessandra is sure to be an important player for the Pilgrims over that period.
Sheridan said: “I heard one or two idiot supporters shouting ‘Sheridan this, Sheridan that’. Do they know what they are going on about?
“How many games have we got in the next couple of weeks?
“Am I taking Lewi off so we lose the game? I’m taking him off because we are saving him. He has played every game this season.”
Sheridan explained the same reason applied to 16-goal leading scorer Reuben Reid, who was replaced by Marvin Morgan in the 76th minute.
“I know it was only one or two shouting, but it was pathetic,” added Sheridan. “It was purely for the benefit of the team, and for Lewi.
“The game wasn’t going his way, and the game wasn’t going Reuben’s way, so I tried to make some changes.
“I made three changes last week (in the 5-0 home rout of Morecambe) and they were all involved in goals, so I was brilliant because I made some good subs.”
With the strength in depth of the Argyle squad, some players are not even getting on the bench.
On Saturday, 17-year-old left-back Ben Purrington and winger Nathan Thomas watched the game with the Green Army.
Purrington was not among the substitutes as former Rovers’ midfielder Dominic Blizzard was included on the bench.
Sheridan said: “I have got good players on the bench, and I’m leaving good players out as well. It’s very difficult.
“It’s probably the hardest part of my job. I think they are all good enough to start the game.
“I feel as though they are good enough to come off the bench and change the game, and that’s the way we will do it.
“We have got lots of games coming up, and we will probably pick up one or two injuries.
“I want them all ready and prepared for when they are going to be involved,” added the Pilgrims’ boss.
Reid and Alessandra have combined for 28 goals this season but Rovers coped well with them.
Sheridan said: “I honestly think it was because of the state of the game. I don’t think we strung two passes together all day.
“I don’t even think Bristol did, but they played better off their front men and caused us one or two problems.
“They put us on the back foot more than we did to them. They played the conditions and the pitch better than us.
“That is what I would say ended up costing us the game.”