Tis: “A tough place to go”

Manager previews Northampton trip

Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale is expecting a typically tough encounter when the Grecians visit Northampton Town this coming weekend.

The Grecians won 2-1 at Sixfields last season, thanks to an injury-time winner from John O’Flynn.  It was the first time that Exeter had won a game at Sixfields, and the first time City had beaten Northampton away from home for 40 years.

With a small squad that has been furthered thinned through injury, Paul is expecting another tough encounter on Saturday.

And he is also looking forward to the coming weeks when injuries are due to pass and more strength in depth comes back into the team.

“We haven’t got a large group of players to select, and with two, three or four injuries, it becomes very difficult,” Paul explained.

“Fingers crossed, I’m hoping this will be the last game of this challenging period, because I’m hoping within the next seven days we’ll have those players returning.  Assuming we don’t get injuries on Saturday, suddenly we’ll have a different-look squad next week.

“But this week we go in with by and large the same players that played last week, and we’re fighting for our points.

“Northampton is a tough place to go to – we’ve not been that successful there too many times other than the win last year.  So we’re hoping to repeat last year’s performance and win.  It’ll be hard work and we’re looking forward to it.”

The Cobblers needed back-to-back wins on the last two games of 2013/14 campaign to avoid the drop out of the Football League – a team that was tipped to be amongst the promotion contenders ultimately only just survived exiting the division at the other end.

But Paul believes that with a fresh slate under Chris Wilder, Saturday’s hosts will be among the stronger teams in the division this year.

“Once you get into that period of the season when you’re fighting for your survival, no matter what players you’ve got, there can be anxious matches and it’s not easy to play your natural game,” said Tis of Northampton’s campaign last year.

“I would suggest now that they have got a blank canvas and have started again, they’ve got some good players and a competent manager and I would imagine they’ll be putting a team together that’s capable of challenging for the top third and a play-off place.”