Striker looking forward to derby against Rovers
Exeter City striker Tom Nichols is looking forward to being involved in another lively West Country derby when the Grecians travel to Bristol Rovers on Saturday.
City have prospered in all three of their derby fixtures to date this season, and Nichols is relishing the chance to maintain that perfect record in front of a big crowd. And it also offers Exeter a chance to get back on the points trail after a disappointing result – albeit with a dominant performance – last time out against Mansfield Town.
“For the first game of the season, Bristol Rovers brought a few fans – there’s always a good atmosphere with this game,” said Nichols. “I went to the game at the Memorial Stadium last year when we lost, but that was a great atmosphere.
“We lost last time out against Mansfield, and we need to get back to winning games – but we’re not playing badly at all. At Cheltenham too we played really well and didn’t deserve to lose that, but I’m sure it’ll turn round and we’ll start winning again.”
If Nichols starts against the Gas, it will be his sixth start on the spin for the first team. Having led the line in an accomplished fashion for the past month, he feels that the last couple of years have been very formative in preparing him for the rigours of first-team football.
“I’m delighted to be back involved – it has been brilliant,” he continued. “I feel like I’m ready now too.
“Looking back now to when I first played, I wonder whether I was mentally mature enough – I don’t think I was. I feel like I’m a completely different player now, both mentally and physically.
“I’ve learnt a lot in the past few years about myself and I won’t be giving up my shirt without a fight. Hopefully I can keep scoring goals and playing well and stay in the team.”
Tom will also find out on Friday whether he has been named as Sky Bet League 2 Player of the Month for December 2013. He faces stiff competition from Deon Burton, Ross Warner and Michael Flynn but insists that whether he picks up the gong or not, he is just happy to be playing his part for Exeter City – and hopefully helping the club to three points on Saturday.
“It’s nice to be nominated, but I’m not really thinking about that to be honest – I’m just concentrating on being ready for Saturday,” he said. “If I do win it then great, and if I don’t then I’ll just have to win it next month!
“I just want to play football and play for the team, and there’s no better feeling than playing well on a football pitch.”