Paul looks ahead to a tough trip to the Mem
Ahead of Exeter City’s trip to bottom-of-the-table Bristol Rovers on Saturday, City manager Paul Tisdale refused to take anything for granted from the fixture.
On paper, with City on a sizzling streak of form on the road and hoping to make a club record of ten away wins in a season, and the Pirates battling against the tide which could sweep them into the Non-League, the portents look good for City. But Tis was not getting carried away, know full well that Rovers are more than capable of earning a result on their day – especially with new boss John Ward at the helm.
“[Bristol Rovers] have just won 3-0 away from home at Fleetwood, so who knows,” said Tis. “We just have to approach every game like it’s the most important game of the season. We’re against a team that has to offer us some kind of a challenge.
“We can’t be complacent about any games – and not that we should be, and not that I have to find ways of keeping our focus. Bristol Rovers have a manager in that, if last week’s result is anything to go by, has got his team suddenly focused and determined.
“It’ll be a big crowd again on Saturday. I’m sure we’ll take a good contingent once again and it’ll be a good atmosphere and I think it’ll be a challenging game.”
The Memorial Stadium has been a happy hunting ground for City in recent years – including two wins in the 2010/11 season: the first being a shoot-out victory in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy; the second a 2-0 league win courtesy of two late strikes by Daniel Nardiello.
“We’ve also played well there and lost!” warned Tis. “But it’s a good place to play football, with a good atmosphere. We’ll take good support with us, and I think we enjoy playing there. Your mind is always given a more rosy outlook when you’ve won at places, and we won the last two times we played there.
“But that counts for nothing really – every game is a different game. All I know is that we’ve got a side against us that have just won 3-0 away from home. So they’ll go in with some confidence.”
With City now up to third in the table going into this West Country derby, Tisdale feels that the way his side are playing and the results they are stringing together are amongst the reasons that an undercurrent of optimism that the stay in the npower League 2 will be a short one.
“We shouldn’t be optimistic just because we’re third,” Tis continued. “Arguably there are a few teams around us that could win their games in hand – then suddenly we’re not third.
“But we’ve had two or three months of good form, and the team is getting better. They should be optimistic knowing that we’re in the top third of the table – there are 18 games to go and we’re beginning to tighten our team. If we slip out of third, we shouldn’t be any less optimistic.
“They should be heartened by what they see on the pitch. The commitment, the application, and cohesive nature in which we’re playing at the moment.”
Tickets in the standing terrace are still available for Saturday’s game, although places on the Grecian Travel coach are now completely sold out. Click here for details.