City boss gives pre-match thoughts ahead of Bury trip
Ahead of the long trip up to Lancashire to face Bury on Saturday, Grecians manager Paul Tisdale is expecting to see a fixture where style will play second fiddle to substance for both teams, with important points at stake at this late stage in the season.
With six games remaining, the Shakers lie three points ahead of Exeter City in the table – their current 50-point tally currently has them in the top half of the Sky Bet League 2 standings.
Bury go in off the back of consecutive wins against Northampton Town and Bristol Rovers, and Tis feels that City have to be prepared for every eventuality and possibility if they’re going to take the all-important points from Gigg Lane.
“David Flitcroft will also be thinking practically, and will be thinking about the points as much as he is about the style of play,” said Tis. “There’ll be a balance everywhere.
“We have to be prepared for them to be on top form, for them to pass the ball or not, for the pitch to be good or the referee to make bad decisions. We have to be prepared for it all.
“We’ve had a dismal time at Bury in the past few years, especially with those FA Cup games, and we need to knuckle down and expect it to be difficult. We haven’t had the results up there, and it’s about time we got it. It’s all about the result on Saturday.”
Bury’s top-half standing is some distance from their position just a few months ago. A poor first half to the season saw the Shakers in the relegation places at Christmas, but since Flitcroft’s arrival in early December they have lost just four games.
With so many teams bunched within a few points of each other, Saturday’s game could end up being definitive for the two teams’ positions at the end of the season.
“Without knowing Bury’s situation too specifically, results tell you the story,” Paul continued. “David Flitcroft has taken on a team that were struggling, and he’s got them be competitive and win.
“We are going into this Saturday’s game against a team that have just won two games, and they will be feeling confident and it puts them in a comfortable position.
“But the league is so tight that things can change, as we found out last week. We had won two games and then we lost, and it feels different again. I think we have to appreciate that we are playing against a team in the ascendancy and who will be competitive.”
Exeter went into last weekend on the back of two wins, but fell to Accrington by a 1-0 defeat at St James Park.
Paul is hopeful that his players will buy into the gameplan against Bury and ensure that they execute the nuances that will help them to win the game.
“I tried to make the point to the players that individually none of them play poorly [against Accrington],” Paul said. “I watched the game again in slow motion as I often do, and I watched it very closely on Monday and Tuesday.
“In isolation, all of the players will have come out thinking, ‘I did okay – I was quick to the ball, passed well and didn’t make too many mistakes.’ In terms of their application and how they played, they all did quite well – but it didn’t match up with what I needed from the side.
“We didn’t put enough pressure on the opposition goal, and we allowed them to defensively sit into a certain type of pattern against us, and that’s when tactics come into it.
“I had no grievance with the players’ application, and it wasn’t a view on their attitude or that they were too complacent. It was purely down to the fact that they didn’t deliver certain things that I had asked which I thought would have an effect on the game.
“They all played well but as a team we weren’t efficient enough, and that’s what I need to get out of these games.
“I hope the players apply themselves in the same way [against Bury] – young or old, defence or attack. It’s not a case of being too intricate or clever; it’s about doing one or two things really well and allowing them to play with freedom.”