Molesley calling for Grecians to keep level-headed in derby atmosphere
Ahead of the Devon Derby this weekend against Plymouth Argyle, City midfielder Mark Molesley is confident that they can keep tabs on their emotions to secure a result against their local rivals.
Mark was in the away dressing room when the sides met earlier in the season at St James Park – on loan with the Pilgrims from AFC Bournemouth at the time – but he’s looking forward to getting involved on behalf of Exeter this Saturday, and feels that keeping their cool in a raucous atmosphere will make a difference.
“It’s going to be a battle out there, but it’s about keeping your head in these games too and not getting sucked into the occasion too much,” Mark explained. “You’ve got to play the game and not the occasion – we’ve got to get away from all the hype and concentrate on our game.
“That’s something the manager installs in us – to keep level-headed. We’re thorough in our preparation and our game-plan, and it’s all about sticking to that.”
Molesley had been involved in a matchday squad for Bournemouth as the Cherries hosted Southampton two years ago, but the London-born midfielder confesses that the importance that fans at either end of the Devon Expressway wasn’t something he was too aware of until he arrived in the South West.
“I didn’t realise how big a derby it was, to be honest,” he admitted. “You soon realise when you turn up at St James Park with the amount of fans and that kind of presence what a big game it is. It really is a big game, and one I’m relishing being involved in again.
“I enjoyed the atmosphere and the scale of the game [at St James Park]. It was big, and they’re the sort of games you want to be playing in as a player, and games you want to be able to say you did play in as well. I haven’t played in too many big, big derby games like this, so I’m very much looking forward to it.”
When the teams clashed in December, City were in seventh and Plymouth in 20th. Since then, Exeter have climbed a place in League 2 while Argyle have dropped a position – and he is surprised to see a club like Argyle fighting to stave off relegation.
At the same time, Mark is grateful of the opportunity that the club offered him before he made the move to City, in giving him the opportunity to get some game-time for the Home Park side.
“Plymouth are a very big club, and I have a great deal of gratitude to them. They took me in on loan when I was desperate for games, when not many people wanted to take a chance on me because I had been out the game for a while. So I will be forever grateful to them, and I enjoyed my time down there.
“But I am surprised to see them down there near the bottom. I trained with them for four or five weeks, and they’ve got good quality players. They’re a big club with great support so that has been a surprise. But they’re sucked into a battle, and this is probably one of the hardest time to be playing them – like any of the clubs down there.
“Those games can be tougher than same of the top-of-the-table clashes, because they’re fighting for their lives. But we’re also fighting for promotion. We didn’t need any more spice for the local derby, but both teams are fighting for points for differing reasons – that should add to the mix to make for a very exciting game.”