City forward previews visit of CarlisleCarlisle United visit St James Park on Saturday, with hosts Exeter City on an unbeaten run of eight games in Sky Bet League 2.
Exeter, in fact, have only had one blip in the last 14 league fixtures – a home defeat to bottom-side Hartlepool United – and Exeter City forward David Wheeler feels that has a lot to with the Grecians’ flexibility in playing styles this year.
Carlisle are sitting just a single place above the relegation zone, and undoubtedly the Grecians will be wary of another team that are battling hard to clamber their way up into mid-table.
But Wheeler feels that one of the biggest reasons that Exeter continue to keep the points coming in with regularity is because of their ability to adapt to the way the game is evolving.
“We have done well this year in mixing up the way we play,” David said. “In the games that we have done really well in, we have played some good passing and possession football.
“However we came up against Wycombe who pressed the life out of us for the and it was very difficult to play that way – so we adapted our game and played more direct and managed to get a win.
“It is encouraging that we are able to mix things up and I think that makes us very difficult to play against. However the game unfolds on Saturday, we’re going to have to deal with that – and I feel like we’ve got enough variation to be able to do that.
“It would be really nice to get a win as it would give us a bit more of a foothold in that top-ten region. And it would be good psychologically to make us feel like we’re really making waves.”
City go into the second of two home games on the spin, following a home draw against Burton Albion last weekend. Christian Ribeiro’s late header in front of the Thatchers Big Bank earned Exeter a point in tight game against the promotion-hopefuls.
David feels that it demonstrates that the team are able to find results, even when things aren’t quite going their way, and that it gives supporters reasons to believe until the final whistle.
“It goes to show how attacking we are this season,” he continued. “We are getting a lot more shots on goal and a lot more possession in the opposing half. The way that we control games this year compared to last year is paying dividends.
“We have a real belief now as well – we’re on a run of really good results and I think there is a feeling that we should be winning games, rather than just hoping to.
“A lot of the goals we have been scoring have been towards the end of the game. It makes it a lot more exciting for the fans I suppose – ideally for us it wouldn’t get to that!
“We would like to wrap a few more games up earlier on, but it’s great that we’re able to come on strong towards the end of games as well.”
With the recent addition of Ryan Harley, Alex Nicholls and Clinton Morrison to the squad, as well as Jamie Reid returning to full training recently, Exeter have a lot of firepower at the front end of the pitch.
While that means that Wheeler has had to make do with appearances from the bench in the last four games, he feels that having depth in the squad is healthy – especially if everyone puts their all into preparing for the weekend’s game.
“It’s very encouraging – we have a squad that isn’t far away from being fully-fit now,” David said. “There is going to be a lot more competition for places, which is healthy – especially going into the busy Christmas period.
“Even in training it is about trying to be your best every day and trying to show that you’re not happy just to be in a matchday squad and on the bench. Everyone wants to be in the starting line-up.
“If everyone is training hard and pushing each other every single day, it is certainly going to improve the performances of the squad as a whole on a Saturday.”