Plymouth Argyle Manager Paul Mariner is vowing to lead the Pilgrims back to the Championship after six seasons in The Football League's top division were ended by relegation to League 1.

Argyle's slide had effectively started midway through the 2008-09 campaign, falling from 12th in the table at Christmas to finish the season just one place and five points above the drop zone.

When former Ipswich Town, Arsenal and England striker Mariner - who began his playing career at Plymouth - subsequently took over from previous boss Paul Sturrock last December, the Pilgrims were second bottom.

And that's where they have stayed, collecting only 26 points from the 26 games in which Mariner has been in charge. But despite failing to help the Pilgrims avoid the drop, the 56-year-old Manager is confident he can get them back.

Mariner, who had spent five years as Assistant Manager of America's Major League Soccer club New England Revolution before returning to Home Park, said: "I am 100 per cent the right person to get the club back up.

"I care about this club and I know exactly what the team needs to be successful. We're not far off. We've had a lot of losses but we haven't really been played off the park by too many teams, so if we tinker with it a little bit we can get it right."

With finances tight at Home Park, Mariner knows that his budget will be restricted and that he will have to re-structure his playing squad, though he is hoping that inspirational captain Carl Fletcher will still be around to be his on-field General.

Mariner said: "Whenever Carl's been injured we've missed his ability and character. He's a fantastic professional and it's an absolute pleasure to work with him - and his experience will be invaluable in League 1.

"It goes without saying, though, that we're going to lose money through going down and we're going to have to cut our cloth accordingly. We're realists, and obviously some players will purely and simply have to go because of the financial burden."

A financial burden there will certainly be, but Argyle are nevertheless determined to push ahead with their ground expansion plans and their highly ambitious aim - announced in December - "to achieve Premier League football within five years."

To successfully achieve that five-year plan to reach the top flight, a rapid promotion from League 1 will be necessary. And that does not faze Mariner. "There are no guarantees," he said, "but that's the goal and that's the hope."

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