City manager lists potential casualty list ahead of Fleetwood
Less than two weeks ago, Exeter City physio Andy Procter had the freedom of the injury room to use as he pleased while the full complement of players were training freely at the Cat & Fiddle.
Now, ahead of the trip to Fleetwood Town on Saturday, the physio has been working nineteen to the dozen to patch up all the bumps and bruises that the City squad have sustained during the past week or so, with the intention of having as many in condition to compete at Highbury Stadium.
Compared with the trip to Sixfields, when the only selection headaches Paul Tisdale had was who not to start against Northampton, the landscape in terms of squad availability may well have changed dramatically.
Although the City manager might not have the plethora of options he would normally wish for, he is confident that his players are good enough to take a result in Lancashire.
“This might be a very different trip [to Northampton],” said Tis. “We’ve had injury doubts to Sam Parkin, Pat Baldwin, Liam Sercombe, Christy Pym, David Wheeler, Jake Gosling, Aaron Dawson and John O’Flynn. None of those players are guaranteed to be fit.
“It’s amazing how things work and change so quickly. Either way, I’m not going to complain – I have enough players that can get a result.
“I made the point at Northampton that we had every player available. It’s not just about the 11 – it is about me turning round with 20 minutes to go and deciding to make a tough decision, a defensive decision, a bold decision. When the game is nil-nil or one-all, those are the biggest moments for a manager and I had that choice.
“Twice in the first half a dozen games we have had a full squad available and I don’t remember that being the case too often in the past couple of years. I made the point at Northampton because it was so unusual – going away with doubts on Saturday is pretty normal.”
Even with a fit squad, a trip to Fleetwood would not be a task to take lightly. The Cod Army have had a bright start to what they are hoping will be a promotion season.
After some more summer investment in their playing side, Fleetwood are riding high in second in Sky Bet League 2 off the back of four consecutive wins – though Paul Tisdale is more than happy with the sustainable business model that he works with at St James Park and that he has a team that can mix it with the best in the division.
“I’m more than happy to be manager of Exeter City and do business the way we do it,” he continued. “We have plenty of strength in other areas – the personalities we have in the squad, in the youth coming through, with our supporters – there are lots of strengths in our group.
“We’ve all got our strengths and we’ve all got our perceived weaknesses, and Fleetwood will have theirs. It’ll be a different type of team and club to manage for Graham Alexander.
“For us, I’m more than happy to compete with anybody with what we’ve got. I think we’re capable of competing with anybody.”
Indeed, for the City manager, the working environment is the most important factor and he continues to enjoy his time at the wheel because of the milieu of the club.
Tis continued: “It’s about working with the right people and being comfortable with your colleagues and comfortable with the ethos of the football club, regardless of your budget. It seems to be the only subject ever spoken about within these circles.
“We will all do our best. It’s about maximising what you have and creating targets which you think are possible and I think we do that.”