Robbo: “We must meet Shrimps head-on”

Edwards looks forward to Morecambe’s visit to SJP

Exeter City assistant manager Rob Edwards is looking forward to hosting Morecambe this weekend – and feels that the Grecians will have to go toe-to-toe with the Shrimps to secure the right result.

City visited the Globe Arena at the start of the current campaign and despite dominating the play in the first half, Morecambe cranked things up in the second period and ultimately ran out 2-0 winners.

But the Grecians have gotten the right result against the Shrimps in the past – including a 3-0 win away in Lancashire last season – and Robbo feels it is important to face up to the threats that Morecambe can pose.

“We know Morecambe well from over the years – playing them in the Conference, in the play-off final and in the League,” said Edwards.  “They’re a committed bunch of guys and Jim Bentley, who was a player there and is now the manager, is a tough guy – so you know what to expect from Morecambe and their teams.

“As a player, you have to meet that head-on and match them at what they can do, and beat them at what you can do.  The players will know what to expect.

“We did very well up their last year to beat them – I’m sure they will be aware of what we can do as what we know about them.  They know we’ve got some good footballers and that we’re a good side, so it should be an interesting game.  But no doubt you need Morecambe’s aggression and competitiveness to get a result against them.”

A win against the Shrimps would be a welcome end to a barren patch of home results – last time out at the Park against Mansfield, the woodwork denied the Grecians three times as well as the Stags somehow resisting a second-half onslaught to cling onto a 1-0 win.

And despite having much the better of the play against Bristol Rovers last weekend, a last-minute winner by John-Joe O’Toole gave the Gas a 2-1 win in stoppage-time.  For Rob, those games have just demonstrated the fact that results in pro football are often decided by the finest of margins.

“Games are always close at first-team level, and you can lose a game on a mistake or win the game on a bit of good play,” he continued.  “We’ve certainly got as good players as other teams at this level, but it’s about getting the details together and hoping that the players can go out and do it.

“We were as good a team as Bristol Rovers, and we thought we were in the game, and Paul made the substitution to bring two strikers on to win the game – and we ended up losing it.

“The game is always on a knife-edge and finely balanced at first-team level – it always has been and always will be.  I think we’ve got a good enough group of players that we can certainly do something this year – they possibly need to believe in themselves a little bit more, and possibly we need to all believe in them a bit more and give them a bit of a push onto the front foot.

“Sometimes as a player, you can look and think it’s a bit too much, and think ‘how did we get on last week?’ and take that in.  It’s the job of Paul and the staff to free the players up, and to look at the one game and say ‘go and win that game and see where it takes us’.”

And despite not having ticked over masses of points in recent weeks, Rob is confident that City have the team to turn the corner and start stringing together the right kind of performances in the second half of the season.

He is hoping that City, like many clubs before, can find consistency in results that can get the Grecians dreaming of a play-off place once again.

“The beauty is that if you can put a run together, you can get into the play-offs very easily, or even further than that,” he explained.  “We’ve seen teams do that over the years – launching a bid after Christmas to get into the play-offs.  It’s very achievable.

“If we can put two or three results together, we’ll be close to the play-offs – and the players understand that better than anybody.  It is all about the next game, but if you’re able to put together a run over eight or nine games, you’re not going to be too far away.”