Grimes: “We can take on anyone”

Midfielder relishing the visit of Blackburn

Tuesday night sees Blackburn Rovers visit St James Park, for what should be a fascinating clash in the Round of 16 in the Under-21 Premier League Cup.

The young Grecians are just one game away from reaching the quarter-final stage of the national competition and midfielder Matt Grimes admitted that he cannot wait for the game. 

“I’m really looking forward to it,” he said.  “The under-21 side are a great bunch of lads, we’ve been playing well together and we have gelled well together. 

“You’ve seen Jordan Moore-Taylor and Tom Nichols coming through; they are playing really well and there are a lot more players that are going to get the chance later on in the season, I hope.  I’m just really looking forward to the occasion.”

City have been the headline-stealers for their feats in the cup so far, which include two Premier League scalps in Crystal Palace and Southampton. 

The team, overseen by assistant manager Rob Edwards, came from behind at Selhurst Park to beat the South Londoners 3-2 and then went on to comfortably overcome the Saints 2-0.

The later result is all the more impressive when you consider the talent that the Southampton Academy is famous for producing, not least the world’s most expensive player Gareth Bale and Arsenal’s Theo Walcott. 

Exeter are the only team left in the competition to have a first team that plays at a level lower than League 1, but Grimes revealed that their showings against their Premier League counterparts has left the players brimming with confidence. 

“There’s been a lot of talk about it in the dressing room,” he continued.  “There’s been a lot of confident talk because we have beaten Palace and Southampton.  At this present moment in time I think we can take on anyone.

“I can’t really put into words that would mean to reach the quarter-final stage of this competition.  I think we just need to keep playing well – we haven’t had a huge number of games together but hopefully on the night we will click like we did against Palace and Southampton. 

“I thought we were brilliant in both games so I just hope we can take that into Tuesday night and show what we can do.”

Paul Tisdale has been full of praise for the younger members of his team and said after the 3-1 win against Torquay that the most enjoyable thing about his role is seeing their development.

And for 18-year-old Grimes, it is the opportunities given to the younger players which make Exeter such a special club.  He is hoping that the players can reward that faith when they take to the field against their Championship opponents.

He explained: “For the first-team games, we are getting pushed through and fast-tracked.  We are all being given a chance at this club and that’s why this club is so special. 

“They trust their youth and on Tuesday, hopefully we will show why.”

Tickets for the Under-21 Premier League Cup tie against Blackburn are priced at £7 for adults and over-60s and £3 for under-18s and students.  All admission will be paid on entry through the Stadium Way turnstiles to the Flybe Stand.