Tis: “A tough nut to crack”

Manager looks ahead to Burton fixture

Grecians manager Paul Tisdale categorised Saturday’s counterparts Burton Albion as being amongst the strongest sides in Sky Bet League 2 ahead of their meeting at the Pirelli Stadium on Saturday.

The Brewers were 1-0 winners at St James Park earlier in the season in a well-contested but ultimately frustrating match, as Phil Edwards’ late winner settled matters.

Following an encouraging but goalless performance against Oxford United in midweek, Tis knows that his side will need to step up to the mark once again as they Brewers, if they are going to get the result they crave.

Burton are currently flying high in the division, and only a home defeat to Fleetwood last weekend halted their unbeaten run which had extended to ten games.

“We seem to have played against them a lot over the past eight or nine years,” said Tis.  They’re currently a very efficient team that are hard-working, and with a very good defensive mindset – they’re a tough nut to crack.

“They have responded to last year’s good results by putting in another good season.  That’s no surprise when you look at the way they play, how hard they work and the energy and strength they have in the team.

“There aren’t many teams in this division that have huge amounts of quality – it’s not a league that really attracts too many of that type of player.  This is a league of attrition that calls for discipline and commitment, and Burton seem to have lots of that.

“I see every reason why they will be roundabout the top teams at the end of the season.”

But Tis has plenty of reason to feel that his troops can take three points back from the Midlands.  Good performances since Christmas haven’t brought the results which they have merited, but spirits remain high because of the recent displays.

A win against Burton would be a great way to get City back into the swing and, hopefully, to begin a run of results that would see the Grecians reel in some of the teams above.

“We’re competitive at present – in every game we’ve played in over the past six weeks, we’ve given the opposition a competitive game and arguably had chances to win it,” he continued.

“The same has to be said for Tuesday [against Oxford] – it’s unusual compared to some of the home games recently that the opposition goalkeeper and back four were more worked than we were.

“We’re in a mid-table position, and if you string together two or three wins or two or three defeats, the table can have a very different complexion.  The games will come thick and fast, and there’s no reason why we can’t win two or three and get ourselves going.

“Based on the way we’ve played in the last couple of games, I think there’s a chance of it.  There’s still a heck of a long way to go, and most teams can lose games to anybody.  I will always go into every game with an optimistic view – that’s the way I look at it.”