Tis: “Reasons to believe”

Manager looks ahead to Rovers clash

Ahead of the trip to the Memorial Stadium on Saturday, Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale is hopeful that his side can maintain their perfect record in derby fixtures this season with a win over Bristol Rovers.

City had already improved on last season’s West Country derby record by 5pm on the opening Saturday of the season, as the Grecians earned a 2-1 win against Rovers courtesy of a late header by Sam Parkin.

And with a 3-1 win over Plymouth Argyle in October and a 3-1 win at Torquay two weeks ago, Tis is hopeful of securing the bragging rights once again for the fans.

“We’ve given our supporters reason to believe in our derbies this year, which pleases me because it’s something that we have actively focused on this year,” said Tis.  “I know there last year we were under par, but we’ve won games there before.  We’ve had some good days there in the past three or four years.

“I’m hoping that we have supporters that will make the trip and encourage the team, and will no doubt believe as I do that it is possible to get a good result there.”

The injury list isn’t particularly long at the moment for Exeter, with Matt Oakley the only long term injury.  Two players that used to ply their trade at the Memorial Stadium are closing in on contention – Matt Gill is still recovering from the hamstring tweak that caused an early withdrawal at Plainmoor, while club captain Danny Coles recently had arthroscopic surgery on his knee.

Paul explained: “Matt Gill and Danny Coles, two ex-Bristol Rovers players, are both in training this week – it may be a weekend too soon for them, so we’ll see on Friday lunchtime.  But apart from that, most if not all players are ready to go.”

Either way, the squad is ever being boosted by the emergence of the younger players – and in particular those that grabbed the headlines with a 2-1 win against Blackburn Rovers in midweek in the Under-21 Premier League Cup.

And the City manager is keen that those players which were so impressive on Tuesday will still be involved in first-team affairs as usual as required for Saturday.

“They’re going to keep playing,” he said.  “Every now and then I’ve left Matt Grimes out for a rest, but generally these players are going to keep playing.

“Tuesday night will only have benefitted them.  It’s nice to experience winning games, and the big smile you have on your face when you finish a cup game and the experience of beating a supposedly big team.  It’s good experience for them.”