City boss enjoying seeing young stars start to shine
Reflecting on the 3-1 derby-day win against Torquay United, Exeter City boss Paul Tisdale was quick to praise the young players who made such an impact at Plainmoor.
Tis revealed that it had filled him with immense pride to see a number of the club’s developing players put in a great shift to bring the Grecians within five points of the play-offs.
Artur Krysiak, who signed for the club in 2010 from Birmingham City, denied the hosts’ Karl Hawley from the spot early on and pulled off a string of great saves. And 23-year-old David Wheeler, who only made his professional debut earlier this summer against Bristol Rovers, scored a fantastic solo effort to put the visitors 2-0 up.
“The most enjoyable thing for me is the development of our young players,” the City manager said.
“I looked across at injury time and we had Jimmy Keohane and David Wheeler on, who are our developing players, and even Artur Krysiak is considered one of ours. There are very few players that we haven’t put a lot of effort into.”
Exeter’s matchday squad contained seven players who came up through the Academy, four of those in the starting XI, including 20-year-old Tom Nichols who put the Grecians ahead with a scorching 25-yard goal. Meanwhile, former under-18 captain Matt Grimes was a 16th minute substitute for the injured Matt Gill.
With more developing youngsters featuring in the game than senior players, Tis was particularly impressed with the maturity they showed to quell both Torquay’s early pressure and the nervy finale set up by Hawley’s 74th minute strike to make the score 2-1.
“They will have learned a lot from it and came out of the game having earned their win and with a bit more experience about how to go about it and how to stay in games when we were getting battered like we were in the first half an hour,” he said.
“It’s not the end of the world if you’re getting battered – you stick with it, and they’ll all have benefitted from it.”
The victory ensured that the Grecians maintained their perfect record in West Country derbies this season but it was only their second win in their last 11 league games. As well as the obvious advantage of moving the club closer to the play-off spots, Tis felt that coming away from Plainmoor with all three points had another benefit – confidence for his young squad.
Although the young squad made a bright start to the campaign, the five straight defeats in all competitions which followed the impressive point at Oxford United and a winless November saw the Grecians drop into mid-table.
However, the performance and result on Sunday suggests to the manager that exciting times could be ahead if his current squad are given time to develop, a prospect which he is very excited by.
“It is about the results at the end of the day, and we have to keep faith in those players because in 50 or 60 games they are going to be a winning team,” Tis added.
“But, unusually, they are all coming through at the same time, which brings its problems.
“Along the way, we need a win. When we’re making our mistakes and developing, I’m loving it and really enjoying the opportunity to put a new team together and make a new story. I’m really enjoying it but we need a win along the way to keep us going in the right direction and give us the confidence to keep going.”