Baldwin hoping to deliver usual high standards
Exeter City centre-half Pat Baldwin stressed how important it is for him and his teammates to maintain their usual standards of discipline and decision-making in this weekend’s Devon Derby.
The Pilgrims arrive on Saturday for the 1pm kick-off, having earned a 1-1 draw last season at the Park when the old rivals clashed in League 2.
The defender acknowledged the importance of the fixture for the city of Exeter and is confident that he and his teammates will take a measured approach to the fixture in order to secure another good result, and the result that all Grecians are craving against Argyle.
“As a player you are fully aware of how important the game is, and the fans do what the fans do,” said Pat. “They’ve got every right to be like that because a local rivalry is brilliant, as long as it’s a healthy rivalry, which it is.
“From a player’s point of view, it’s important to stay focused on your normal game and not get carried away with the occasion.”
Experience is often the key to composure, and with a number of players in the squad that have played on the big stage, Baldwin is sure that the senior players will hold their nerve and guide the younger lads where necessary.
A number of the players that are expected to be in Saturday’s squad will have played in the derby last season, and for the former Colchester man that offers an additional reference-point.
“[As a younger player], you listen to the crowd and the fans, people talking to you in the street, and you get overhyped and do things you wouldn’t normally do in a game,” explained Pat. “As you get older, you become more chilled out, more professional, and more focused and I think that’s how it should be.
“The older pros will have played in local rivalries, which is helpful for the younger players. It’s also helpful to have been involved in the team last year, because you remember the disappointment of losing.
“No-one likes to lose any game, and especially against your local rivals it hurts even more. It’s going to be in the back of our minds, and that’s only natural because you want to win every game and rectify the results from last year. But it is important we stayed focused and concentrate on our performance.”
As in all derbies, the St James Park crowd have a part to play in the fixture and he is willing the crowd to back the team on Saturday and beyond.
Baldwin said: “It’s another old cliché about the 12th man, but it really does help. When the fans get behind you – and especially at St James Park where the crowd does get behind you – it does help, hugely.
“So long as they stay positive, stick with us and stay patient when things don’t always go right, we can achieve a lot this year.”
Tickets for the Devon Derby are available to buy by phone, online or in person at Reception but all tickets must be bought in advance of the day of the game for this ALL TICKET match. Click here for full ticketing details.