Danny: “I’ll lead by example”

Captain focused on a team effort in Devon Derby

Exeter City captain Danny Coles feels the squad are fully focused on putting together a strong team performance against rivals Plymouth Argyle on Saturday.

The centre-half knows as well as anyone about the different atmosphere and expectations that come with a derby fixture.  But equally he feels that staying attentive to the task in hand is just as important to making sure that Grecians secure the right result in the midday kick-off.

“Players can sometimes get caught up in the occasion,” said Coles.  “We’ve got to make sure that we stick to our plan going into the game and what we’re working on, and we can’t deviate from that. 

“If one player deviates it can mess us up a little bit.  We’ll be going into the game with a plan in mind and looking to get the three points.”

When the Pilgrims came to St James’ Park last season, there was very little turnaround time between the cup draw being made and the fixture being played.  This season however, the date has been set since the summer – but he feels that this hasn’t affected preparation or performances going into the game.  As a veteran of the Bristol derbies, the defender is a paragon of composure when it comes to big occasions.

“Because the last meeting was in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy and because it was a Tuesday night, there was nowhere near as much of a build-up to the game as there has been for this game,” continued Danny.

“This is going to be a little bit different as it’s a league game, so there’s a lot riding on it.  So it’s going to be a good occasion, but we’re going to be focusing on the game rather than the occasion.

“For me personally, the derby is not something that’s been especially on my radar.  For me it’s the old cliché – I take each game as it comes. 

“Now that it has come around though, being a derby game means that there’ll be a better atmosphere at the ground than usual.  So hopefully our supporters will come out in their numbers and cheer us on.”

Coles was only playing his fourth competitive match for Exeter when the sides last met.  This is the first time he’ll have led the team out of the tunnel as captain for such a fixture at St James’ Park though, and he insists that it is always an honour, on derby day or otherwise.

“To lead the team out in any game is special for me.  Obviously it’s going to be good to lead them out for a derby game, so it’s something I’ll look forward to and I’ll lead by example.

“Obviously we want to give the fans the bragging right, but by us getting the three points gets them that too.  So first and foremost, we’ll be looking to get the three points.

And the captain was keen to ask City supporters to channel their energy towards giving the team fantastic backing rather than getting caught up in any unpleasantries.

“I’d like to see fans come out in their numbers, give us a lot of support, enjoy it and just be sensible.”

Fans are reminded that the Devon Derby is an all ticket affair, meaning that there are no on-the-day sales and fans will not be able to pay at the turnstiles.  Therefore tomorrow (Friday) represents the final opportunity to purchase tickets for this fixture.  Reception will be open until 7pm tonight (Thursday) to give Known Supporters additional opportunities to get their tickets to see Exeter v Plymouth at St James' Park.