Wheeler: “It has been a massive turnaround”

City man reflects on first half of the season

The final whistle of the Boxing Day game at home against Cheltenham Town will mark the halfway stage of Exeter City’s Sky Bet League 2 campaign for the 2014/15 season.

However even the first half of the season itself has been split into two periods, feels Grecians attacker David Wheeler.  A difficult start, and then a complete u-turn in performances and results.

In early September, with Exeter sitting at the foot of the table, it seemed unlikely that the Grecians would be challenging in the upper echelons of the division before the New Year.

But a win on Friday against the Robins at the Park could see the Grecians enter the second half of the campaign in a top-seven position, with a view to bringing that momentum into the Spring months.

“We had a pretty poor start which was probably in large part due to the disruption of a normal pre-season schedule,” David said.  “It was an incredible thing to be involved in the Brazil trip but it hampered out preparations a bit.  That might have contributed to a slow start to the season.

“But since then it has been a massive turnaround.  Had it not been for those early losses, I think we could be really near the top.

“It helps that most of our team play the same kind of football.  We haven’t got any players that only like a tackle, or just hooks it on, or just plays long.  We’ve got players that like to play tidy football.”

Many of the results in recent weeks have been against teams that are also vying for contention at the top end of the table.

However Exeter’s next ten games come against teams that are currently below them in the table, meaning the derby against Plymouth Argyle on 21st February is the next team that City face which currently sit higher in the rankings.

Consequently David is taking nothing for granted in the coming months and expects to face some stubborn sides soon.

“It almost suits us when teams try and pass and play football against us, because we fancy our chances whenever that sort of game comes around,” he said.

“Ironically it’s the games that are a bit scrappy and a bit more frenetic that we need to cope with.”

Stevenage are in a similar camp, and went 13th with a 1-0 win against the Grecians at Broadhall Way on Saturday.

And while Exeter didn’t get the right result, Wheeler felt that they weren’t far away from getting all three points in a game that was delicately poised until Charlie Lee scored an 83rd-minute winner.

“For most of the game it was in the balance,” he said.  “We had a few good chances in the first half – they hit the bar and had a couple of half-chances but other than that I didn’t feel that they threatened us that much during the game.

“Nil-nil would have probably been a fair result in the end, but it was a shame that it didn’t work out that way.  It was a couple of errors on our part that led to their goal, rather than us being broken down and that’s the more frustrating thing.

“I didn’t think we played badly – we caused them problems and our general play was relatively good on a pitch that was difficult to play on.”