Midfielder looking forward to meeting Newport at the Park
Newport County AFC are the visitors at St James Park on Saturday in the 3pm kick-off – and Grecians midfielder Liam Sercombe is looking forward to taking on some familiar faces and trying to get one over on them.
Full-back Billy Jones spent four seasons with the Grecians over two spells, and joined the Exiles recently after he departed Cheltenham by mutual consent, when Lenny Pidgeley tended the net for City during the 2011/12 season. Sercs is confident that Exeter can continue their fine league form at home this season with a fourth straight win.
“I got on well with Lenny and Billy,” said Liam. “Pidge is a character – he was a funny bloke on the coach, but I’m hoping we can stick a few past him and that maybe I can get my first goal of the season against him. I’d probably just celebrate in his face – that’d be nice!
“Billy’s a good player with a nice left-foot – he’s a threat with his delivery and Tis knows all about that, so we’ll have to be tight on set-pieces with him around. But I’m confident we’ll be able to get the victory.”
Liam is by no means taking lightly the challenge that lies ahead when Newport arrive in Devon. Similarly to a lot of teams that get promoted, the Exiles have begun well and are riding the crest of a wave – and with over 700 tickets sold to away fans already, it promises to be another atmospheric meeting at the Park.
“They’re still going to be buzzing,” Liam continued. “We’re only seven games in at the moment so every game they’re playing is big for them.
“You can’t underestimate teams that have come up from the Conference. When we came up in 2008 we got went up again – people won’t know too much about them and they’ll be enjoying themselves and that’s how they’ll be approaching each game.
“It went to show when we played Mansfield – they had just come up but they were a tough side. We’ve got to do some more work on the training ground to get ready for them but we’re going in with confidence that we’ll get three points.”
A fourth straight league win at home beckons, and Sercs is pleased that results at St James Park have seen a marked improvement from the last campaign.
Amongst other factors, he attributed it to a new-found resilience in the side, in terms of their physical toughness and their ability to continue playing their own dynamic game in different circumstances.
He continued: “Our home form is so much better than last year – we’re going into the game on Saturday looking to make it four wins out of four. We’re pleased with the way we have started so hopefully it will carry on.
“Last year when we weren’t doing great at home, the pressure was always on us. Now that has changed – the pressure will be on the opposition and we’re always confident going into home games that we’ll get the win.
“The thing I’m really enjoying this season is that we look a tough side to beat – it shows how far we’ve come. If that had been a few years ago – or even last year – if we had gone a goal down, we would have started to rush things or to hoof the ball up top and trying to pick up seconds balls.
“This year we’re patient, we’re not rushing things, and we’re getting the ball down and playing in the same way we would if it was nil-nil even if we’re a goal down.”
Sercombe is also pleased that so many people are seeing the best of Exeter this year. While a few hundred hardy travellers were treated to some fine displays on the road last season, thousands have been entertained so far at the Park by wins over Bristol Rovers, Wimbledon and York.
It has been particularly pleasing for local-lad Sercombe because of any concerns that had been raised during the summer about the squad’s potential this year – though he knows that they cannot rest of their laurels despite a fine start.
“I think last year some fans would probably have preferred to watch us away from home because we were picking up a lot of victories. So it’s good this year that so many fans that are coming to St James Park are seeing us play so well.
“A lot of people didn’t know where we were going to go this year because there were a lot of changes and we let a few players go. It’s good that we’ve turned that around and are doing well. Some people doubted us a little bit, so it’s pleasing that we’re proving anyone that doubted us wrong.
“We need to carry it on though – we can’t start well and then let it all go during the next couple of games. We need to keep picking up three points and I’m confident that we’ll keep doing that, starting with Newport on Saturday.”
Tickets are on sale to Exeter City supporters in advance of the fixture to buy from Reception at St James Park or online by clicking here. Exeter supporters will also be able to buy on the day of the game from the Ticket Booths around the ground or upon entry to the Big Bank.