Midfielder keen to get going againAfter a summer away from competitive football, midfielder Liam Sercombe is raring to go for when the season starts again this Saturday against Portsmouth.
City could hardly have a more exciting start to the year, with Pompey’s visit followed closely by the visit of Bournemouth in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday, before the Devon Derby at Plymouth Argyle the following weekend.
“As soon as the fixture list comes out, you just want to get back into it,” said Liam. “You need your rest, get your mind off football, but then you want to get back and get fit.
“We all seem a bit fitter now – we’ve had a few ill ones this week but they’re back in training now and we’re looking forward to the first game.
“It’ll be a tough game against Portsmouth – they’re favourites to go up, and some are saying that we’re favourites to go down. But it’ll be a good game – a lot of people will think Portsmouth will win it but we’re not just going to let that happen. We’ll give it everything and hopefully come out on top.”
Exeter have had amongst the least alterations to the squad this season. A handful of players were released, and four youngsters have joined from the under-18s, but there have been no arrivals from outside the club – with the exception of Graham Cummins and Christian Ribeiro, who continue to train with the club while the transfer embargo persists.
Portsmouth on the other hand had some wholesale changes – 17 players departed Fratton Park this summer – and the City man feels that might play into Exeter’s hands.
“We haven’t had a lot of changes in the squad so everyone’s familiar with the formation and the way we play already,” he continued.
“Some people think that we need a few changes and a few new players, but Tis is happy with the squad he’s got and that’s the way it’s got to be at this club. There’s no funds to bring players in and we’re under an embargo, so we just have to deal with that, move on, and get on with the game.
“Other teams will have to get a bit of bonding together and they won’t be able to play freely like us. We know all our players – other teams will need their time and it’s good that we’ve got Portsmouth at the start of the season really because they’ve had so many changes.”
Portsmouth’s 1,600 allocation was snapped up in a little more than a day, and Liam feels that the famously-noisy Pompey fans will help to make the day a special occasion, and hopefully spur City’s supporters on in competition too.
“The atmosphere that Portsmouth will bring will be quality for us and for them,” said Sercombe. “It’s nice to get into the start of the season in a good atmosphere, and then we’ve got Bournemouth and Plymouth after that – so it’s three games that will have a big atmosphere.
“You can definitely feel the atmosphere when you’re on the pitch. Whether you’re having a bad game or a good game but the atmosphere is there, it changes everything about you.
“You get your confidence back and do things you wouldn’t normally, and it’s good to get that. That’s why bigger clubs have massive atmospheres, and hopefully they bring that on Saturday.”
He also hoped that the supporters have the endurance to stick by the team this season, win, lose or draw.
While he is confident that the team has talent and potential, he felt that it was important that the supporters continue to give their backing to the team when they need it most – and hoped that City will reward their loyalty this year.
He continued: “Fans want to win every single game, and so do we. Everyone hates losing, especially sportspeople. We have to give everything to get the three points each week – but that won’t happen every week.
“So the fans have got to stick with us – we’ve got a good bunch. It’s like a little family here, it’s not massive, so I hope that they can stick by us and be patient with us. We’ve got a young squad coming through so we’re going to need a little bit of time. Hopefully we can give something back this season.”