City manager previews trip to Globe Arena
Looking ahead to Exeter City’s trip to Morecambe on Saturday, Grecians manager Paul Tisdale is keenly aware of the challenge that lies ahead and the threats that Morecambe will pose when the game kicks off at 3pm.
City have never been defeated in Morecambe – at either the Globe or their previous home at Christie Park – but a new game offers a new challenge and another opportunity to win three points.
The two sides have had contrasting starts to the season – City have two wins and a draw in League 2 compared to the Shrimps’ two losses and a draw – but Tis knows that the team will have to work for consecutive wins against a fairly settled Morecambe side.
“We wanted to get the wheels turning and not to be trailing in other teams’ wake, and we’ve done that,” said Tis. “It’s been a decent start – there is a still lot to improve on, but I can’t complain.
“I take every away game assuming that we can win it just as much as a home game – I don’t view away games any less favourably than a home game and that’s the attitude we will take into the game on Saturday against Morecambe.
“Every game is different. The whistle goes at the beginning of the game, and it’s a fresh start. Previous games count for very little.
“Their manager [Jim Bentley] has been there a long time, as have a few of their players. So I think it will be a familiar Morecambe team, but we have to be wary of them. They had a good end to the season last year and they’ll be a good side.”
One of the selection decisions that the City boss might have to make on Saturday is whether to allow Matt Grimes to retain his starting berth. The 18-year-old midfielder was brought in after injuries to Liam Sercombe and Scot Bennett left Exeter a little lighter in the middle and he was one of the outstanding performers on a very good day against Wimbledon.
Grimes is still at the embryonic end of his career and Tis explained the importance of a careful selection process with players that are still learning the ropes in professional football.
He continued: “Matt could have done very little more on Saturday – he did as well as you could hope. Every game in the Football League is different – there are certain games that will suit certain players.
“The better player you become, the more rounded and experienced you become – and then you begin to understand how to adapt to different games so that you can have an effect no matter what the opposition, weather, or type of game.
“Matt has got a long way to go to prove to me or anybody that he is that versatile yet – but he will be. I have to decide which games I think suit him and which don’t, and hopefully very quickly all games will suit him. At that point you can say he’s an out-and-out first-team player.”
There is little doubting, however, that Grimes has forced his way into the thinking of the coaches and it serves as a reminder that impressing in reserve matches and training will go a long way towards earning the younger players opportunities that they can take.
While Grimes’ selection came about because of circumstances of injuries to others, it was still made a far easier decision by his willingness to grasp the nettle since graduating from the Academy during the summer.
“One thing is getting the opportunity, but you’ve got to be good enough to take it,” Tis said. “It didn’t seem to be that much of a decision last week – it just seemed to be right because he was playing so well. You still have to make the call, because you never know exactly how it is going to go – but he had done well enough in the reserve games and training for it to be a simpler decision.
“That’s what it’s about. The young players here are at a club that will give their players a chance. If you’ve got talent, application and determination to be ready for it and tough enough for it, you’ll always get the opportunity at Exeter.”