Amankwaah enjoying diligent defensive form
Exeter City right-back Kevin Amankwaah is confident that the Grecians can keep their excellent defensive performance going when Bradford City visit on Saturday.
Amankwaah and Steve Tully have both been deployed at right-back during the season, and both have played large parts in a defence that has kept a quite staggering nine clean-sheets since the turn of the calendar year. The rear-guard has looked more and more commanding as the campaign has gone on, and the full-back feels that the defensive unit are benefitting from the familiarity of each other that comes naturally with more and more games.
“We know that if we keep a solid base then the worst we can get is a draw,” said Kev. “Obviously with Tulls in as well, generally since the start of the year as a back four whoever has come in has done well.
“We all know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, so it’s good to help each other. We’re doing well at the back – it’s good for the people in front of us to know that they’ve got a good base to work from.”
Exeter kept the Bantams at bay earlier this season – an achievement that Arsenal and Aston Villa failed to reach during their League Cup ties – and it needed a resolute performance that afternoon to hold onto an excellent 1-0 victory. Amankwaah feels that City have a side that are capable of repeating the feat at St James Park.
“We played really well when we came up against them earlier in the season – we had another clean sheet there,” he continued. “We haven’t come up against any team in this league that we feel have totally outplayed us, and we feel Bradford will be the same.
“They’re obviously a good team – they’re no mugs. They’ve done well in the cup this year, but we’re at home and we feel we can do a job on them.
“We’re doing really well regarding keeping clean-sheets. They’ve got some very good attacking talent. But we’re confident in our own ability, and whatever they throw out there, we feel we can deal with it.”
Following the Bantams’ visit on Saturday, City will finally be out of the habit of playing twice a week – with the exception of the Easter Monday meeting with Rochdale. With a lot of days lost to travelling and recovery, it has meant for limited time on the training pitch – but Kev feels that the squad is holding up well in spite of the amount of games that they have had to traverse.
“It’s about getting that recovery day out the way, just to settle the muscles down after the game. But then when we start training again, our bodies seem to be back to 100 per cent.
“We know it’s hard – we’ve had a lot of games in midweek and at weekends. But that’s part and parcel – we’re nearly through that now, and this is the last Tuesday-Saturday we’ve got going into the run-in, apart from the Easter game.
“It’s been a very busy schedule, and it’s going to be a relief just to start playing on Saturdays – but when we do play on Saturdays, we know we need to win because otherwise we haven’t got the Tuesday game to get it out of our system. It’ll be nice to get back to a nice long week to do some proper work, rather than all these games.”