City gaffer looking forward to kicking off
Grecians boss Paul Tisdale is looking forward to putting weeks of pre-season training and coaching into practical use for the first time this season when the season kicks off on Saturday against Bristol Rovers.
Speaking on Thursday, Tis was fairly clear in his mind of the starting line-up that he would be putting out against the Gas, whilst admitting that things could change at a moment’s notice. And with the weekend on the horizon, the City manager is itching to get started.
“I think I know my team – we’ve had three months to prepare for it, which is the longest preparation any club will have to prepare for a game,” he said.
“You couldn’t be better prepared – it didn’t help us much last year for the first game of the season mind you, so you can get it wrong! But we’re in a good place and ready to go.
Inevitably the first team-sheet of the season always appears illuminating at face value, but Paul insisted that it isn’t worth reading too much into it with such a long season lying ahead.
He continued: “Because there’s such a long build-up to this game, it’s almost seen as a judgement. But it’s not – it’s a selection.
“I don’t drop players; I select an 11. There are some players I’d like to select who I can’t, and it could all change on Tuesday against Queens Park Rangers. There are far more than 11 players who I’d like to select, and it’ll change as it always does.”
With 46 fixtures to come in Sky Bet League 2 this year, all will carry equal importance to the points tally. Though while the result of the Pirates match alone won’t define the season, Tis is keen to kickstart the campaign against their rivals with a victory.
“Every game is important, because it’s three points and it takes you onto the next game,” Paul continued. “Last year we lost 3-0, which I would never have predicted – but we did some things wrong and got turned over. But then it spurred us onto a win at Aldershot and a win at Accrington, so we came away with six points from the first three games.
“What matters is what you do over the 46 games – but we all want to start nicely and with a big win. So I’d take the win, but it’s about how we do over the long term and over the course of the year – and a good home win to start won’t harm that.
Striker Jamie Reid has been away at the Milk Cup for the under-19 youth tournament. After helping the Northern Ireland u19s to victories over Denmark and USA, the teenager has returned early from the competition with a view to featuring in the opening weekend.
“Jamie’s back – Rob Edwards spoke to the Northern Ireland and said that he would be very much in contention for Saturday, so with that in mind they’ve allowed him to come back. We wouldn’t have brought him back without a real purpose of him being involved and being ready to make an impact. He’s been very good in pre-season.”