Manager previews trip to Roots Hall
Grecians manager Paul Tisdale admitted that the last-minute equaliser by Liam Sercombe against Portsmouth at St James Park last Saturday has had an impact in setting a feel-good factor around the club ahead of this weekend’s visit to Southend United.
The 94th-minute strike settled the game at 1-1, and earned City a third game without defeat following another good performance.
So Tis acknowledged that the emotions in sport can often dictate performances going forward – for better and worse.
“It makes a huge difference to the way you feel and the spirit of the players, management, supporters, and everyone connected with the club going into the weekend and then into the following week,” said Tis. “So much of football in terms of the way you play and the way you perform is psychological and confidence-driven.
“Although it was only for a point, it makes a huge difference – in the same way that losing a point at Bristol Rovers in the last 30 seconds really hurts. Every point is important, but it does have a large effect on the way people feel. We are all driven by the way we feel.”
A trip to promotion-hopefuls Southend will provide another tough test – City haven’t won at Roots Hall in their last five attempts and the Shrimpers were pretty good value for their 2-0 win at St James Park earlier this season.
But Paul feels that the experience of that defeat should put Exeter in good stead and that performances in recent weeks should help.
Paul continued: “They played extremely well when they played us in November and beat us pretty convincingly with a pretty hard-working and tenacious team. We have to go and expect the same at Roots Hall this weekend.
“We’re back into a bit of better form – at the time we were in poor form, and they were in good form, so things change. As always we’ll be optimistic going into the game.”
On the fitness-front, there is only one fresh concern – Pat Baldwin, formerly a Shrimper, could miss out on a trip to his old stomping ground whilst Matt Gill, who has missed the past two matches, is also likely to remain sidelined.
“We have a couple of doubts in Pat Baldwin, who will be touch and go for the weekend, and Matt Gill is not fit,” Tis explained. “But apart from that most other players should be fit for the game.”
However, City’s newest addition Eliot Richards should be fighting fit and in contention for a place. Paul has been pleased with what he has seen in his first week with the club, despite not having had much chance to go through normal training sessions because of weather disruption.
“[Eliot] is doing very well,” continued Tis. “He has got talent – he needs to get to terms with some of the things we need to do as a team and fit our style of play.
“That has been particularly hard this week because we haven’t done a session on the grass as we haven’t had a pitch to work on. There is only so much you can do indoors and by cross-country running that enables him to understand the pattern of our play – but that’s the reality of the weather at the moment.
“He will in time pick it up very quickly and he’s a very talented player.”