Manager hoping to tap into Bristol Rovers defeat again
For Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale, the biggest frustration about last weekend’s postponed fixture against Morecambe was the missed chance to channel the frustration of the defeat to Bristol Rovers into a palpable response.
After a constructive week in training, Tis felt that his troops had reached a mental space where they were primed for action against the Shrimps, and that they had used the scars from the 2-1 defeat at the Memorial Stadium to come out even stronger.
But despite that missed opportunity to put the training-ground work into action, Tis is hopeful that the players will still be able to tap that mindset and roll it over to this Saturday’s game away at AFC Wimbledon.
“You have prepped yourself and worked yourself up as a player, and then it doesn’t happen,” Tis said of last week’s postponed fixture. “You have a certain amount of energy there ready to, so I think all you can do is just ask them to do some training to get rid of that energy.
“The hard thing is that we had a really frustrating result at Bristol Rovers, and that was a real knock to everyone’s confidence because of the late goal. So we had a really big week last week in terms of rallying everybody’s spirits and gaining some belief again, and I felt that going into last weekend we really had them on a high.
“For me, it was the loss of that moment and that situation when you can gather the thoughts from the previous game – and you do gain something from the last week’s game, whether that is over-confidence or some kind of energy; you have to gather something, and we had gathered energy.
“But we lost that moment, and my hope is that we can find that again this week. I need to get something from the Bristol Rovers game which carries on to the next.
“What was evident going into last week’s game was that the players specifically were a little bit bruised from the Rovers game and it took two or three days to discuss it and feel sore about a few things, and then they responded during midweek. By the end of the week there was a very positive tone.”
One advantage, however, is that Tis might have some extra ammunition to call on which he didn’t have at his disposal last Saturday.
Two of City’s most influential players would have had to miss the Morecambe game, had it gone ahead, though they are not out of the woods yet and there are still a few bumps that need assessing.
“Alan Gow and David Wheeler were missing from last week’s match through injury and illness respectively,” he explained.
“They’ve trained today though so we’ll see how they respond ahead of Saturday, and there are one or two other that have got bumps and bruises.”
City’s corresponding fixture at Kingsmeadow last season ended 2-2, and it was certainly a rip-roaring affair. The Grecians twice went ahead through Jamie Reid on that occasion – who was making his full debut after having made one substitute appearance against Oxford – but Luke Moore struck back on both occasions.
And earlier this season, the Grecians triumphed over the Dons by a 2-0 scoreline at St James Park thanks to two John O'Flynn goals, in a game that was even more comfortable than score suggests.
“We’ve had some really good games against Wimbledon,” said Tis. “I know they play a lot of football on their pitch because they groundshare with Kingstonian, and now we’re in the middle of the season when pitches are going to be rather worn.