Midfielder looks ahead to Fleetwood visit
Grecians midfielder Matt Grimes admitted that watching on from the sidelines last Sunday at Newport wasn’t an unwelcome rest – but that he is hopeful of getting back onto the pitch this weekend against Fleetwood Town and helping City to winning ways at home.
As an unused sub against the Exiles, it was the first senior game since the trip to Rochdale in November that Grimes hadn’t been involved in – and with the Rodney Parade pitch completely churned up, it wouldn’t have been the ideal surface to showcase his ability. Should Grimes feature against Fleetwood, it will be a 30th first-team game for the 18-year-old in his first year as a pro.
The teenager has been one of City’s brightest sparks this season with his metronomic performances in midfield, and has adapted seamlessly to life in adult football.
He feels that City are confident that the results are just around the corner and that they will get the spoils they deserve if they continue to put in the right kinds of performances.
“We’ve had a lot of games on Saturdays and Tuesdays for a number of weeks, so it was good to give my legs a little bit of a break [against Newport],” said Grimes. “Obviously I want to play every week, but it was nice to sit back a bit and see what things we are doing well and what we’re not doing so well, and see what the manager sees from the touchline.
“I warmed up and saw the pitch before the game, and it wasn’t one that I would look forward to playing on! But you have to take each challenge as it comes – there are many pitches like that in League 2. Any game that the manager wants me to play in when conditions are like that, I’m happy to do so.
“At the start of the season, I was never expecting to play as many times as I have. I was targeting five or so, just to get a feel for League 2 football.
“I’m blown away with how it has gone, but I’m always looking to improve, keep my head down and keep plugging away, and hopefully keep pushing on to get more and more.”
“We are playing good enough football to stay up, if not to push up to mid-table. At the start of the year we were thinking about promotion – things have not really gone for us this season, but we need to keep going and keep sticking together and hopefully get a few results.
“The lads have just got to stomach it and have the bottle to keep playing even if results aren’t going our way. We need to keep pulling together and trusting in what we’re doing. It hasn’t gone too far wrong in terms of performances, but obviously results aren’t going our way.
“We’ve not really had a game when we’ve thought that we’ve not done very well and that we deserve to lose – so long as we keep doing that and keep fighting, performances will turn into wins. The league table is so tight – a couple of wins back to back and we’ll be looking safe.”
The reverse fixture against the Cod Army earlier this season saw Exeter travel to Lancashire with a plan, and they executed it to a tee. Exeter took a lot of pressure in the first hour of the game but limited their hosts to firing from distance, until Matty Blair finally tucked in a shot.
But Scot Bennett switched from centre-half to centre-forward for the closing stages and scored twice, as the Grecians secured a superb victory in Lancashire.
Grimes isn’t looking too deeply into that result though – 28 games and almost six months have passed since then and he feels that this will be a different affair.
“It was a good away win [against Fleetwood],” he continued. “I thought they were a well-structured side and we played quite well against them, and they liked to play football.
“But the teams have changed – players have come in on loan, players have left, their tactics and formation will have changed. So we can’t say what this weekend’s game will be like based on what it was like then.
“If we keep doing what we’ve been told to do by the manager and keep doing the right things, we can get a result.”
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