City boss not reading into early-season form
York City provide the opposition for Exeter City at St James Park on Saturday in the 3pm kick-off – and despite having a fairly poor opening month to the season, Grecians manager Paul Tisdale is not reading too deeply into the early season form.
The Minstermen had an ideal start with a 1-0 win on the opening weekend against Northampton, but have only picked up a single point (home to Hartlepool) in their three games since. Tis feels that the table and the form guide will not begin to take any semblance of order for a good few weeks yet.
“York have not had a good start, but I suspect that they are a better side than results suggest,” said Tis.
“I believe that we have to wait a good few games before we can really see a pattern forming. It’s too soon after four games to write teams off.
“I haven’t been close to what York have done, and I’m not too close on their ins and outs and their preparation. But four games in, no side should be written off – we are still in August. There’s a long way to go yet – it is still early days.”
Nigel Worthington will occupy the opposition dugout – the former Northern Ireland man has bags of know-how through managing leading Norwich in the Premier League and his country at international level. Worthington joined the Minstermen in March last season – saving them from relegation with four wins in the last five games – and demonstrated the appeal that League 2 can hold as a challenge for managers of any level of experience.
“I have only met Nigel once, as he did a presentation when I did my UEFA Pro License, but I don’t know him well,” Paul continued.
“But he has a lot of experience and has managed at a very good level. Football jobs aren’t easy to come by and managers often want to stay in coaching and management, and Nigel has obviously decided that York fits for him.”
After a few injury niggles in recent weeks, it looks as though City’s squad will be close to full firepower for the York visit, with Liam Sercombe having overcome his groin injury and Pat Baldwin becoming a father last weekend with the birth of his firstborn son Finnley.
He continued: “Liam should be fit, and Pat will be available – we are near enough at full strength if not every player fit. We need to get through the next 48 hours yet but hopefully we will have every player fit.
“I would like to have selection issues and depth on the bench, so I did miss Pat [against Morecambe]. Would it have affected the game one way or the other? I don’t know, but we missed him.
“Liam has been out of training for almost three weeks, so we will have to see what happens on Saturday. Whether he goes straight back in, or if we edge him in, I don’t know yet. He has been very good this season but he has missed a lot of training.”
One area that could the right kind of selection headache for Tis is the centre of midfield. With Matt Oakley back from his shoulder complaints, Liam Sercombe over the ankle injury that dogged him over the past year, and Matt Grimes quickly putting himself on the radar, Paul has an array of options in in the middle of the park.
Scot Bennett, Tommy Doherty and Jimmy Keohane are all potential selections too, while Alan Gow can also play between the lines – so given a full-strength side, he can choose his horses for courses.
“As my wide players continue to play well, it means my other midfield players can stay central and I’m not having to move them into wider areas.
“As it stands, I am blessed with a good group in there and Matt Grimes has developed and started the season really well and earned himself a place in that group, which is another one into the mix. At the moment, it’s looking really strong.”