Midfielder looks ahead to derby fixture
On Sunday evening, an estimated 500 million people around the world tuned in to watch Real Madrid v Barcelona, just about the biggest match in world football.
Exeter City’s trip to Plymouth Argyle on Tuesday evening won’t quite have the same viewership as El Clásico, but the Devon Derby has no shortage of passion and means just as much for anyone involved.
Added to the fact that both Westcountry teams have their own agendas with all to play for with eight games spare, Tuesday evening kick-off promises a captivating match with a big three points at stake.
A 3-0 win last Saturday at home against Fleetwood hoisted the Grecians five places up the Sky Bet League 2 table, and both the result and the performance have left local lad Liam Sercombe in good spirits ahead of the game.
“Everyone knows how much it means for people around the club – it’s a massive game for all of our supporters,” said Sercombe. “The atmosphere is always really good and it’ll be a great game for both sets of fans. Hopefully we can come out on top and get the three points.
“We’ll get a good following at Home Park on Tuesday evening, and I feel that games under the floodlights always tend to have a better atmosphere too. Hopefully we can play as well as we did on Saturday. If we can play like that again, I’m sure we’ll get the win.
“We’ve needed a game like that, where things went for us. We had a lot of energy in the team and players working together. That’s probably the best we’ve played for a long, long time at the Park.
“So we have set ourselves up for the game against Plymouth in the best way possible. They’re aiming for the play-offs and we need to get ourselves as far away as we can from the relegation zone. It’s a big game for both teams.
“We don’t want to be around the bottom of the table come the end of the season – we want to get out of there as quickly as possible. And it’s only goal-difference that is keeping Plymouth outside the play-off places at the moment.
“It’s good that both teams have got something to play for. It’ll be an open game and both teams are going to attack; there’ll be a lot of chances in the game and we have to take ours.”
Sercombe, who bleeds red and white, was a goalscorer in last year’s derby match at St James Park, as well as being involved in the 3-1 win against the Pilgrims at SJP back in October.
The ankle injury sustained against Barnet last season kept him out of last year’s trip to Home Park, but now the 23-year-old is relishing his first opportunity to visit the local rivals since 2010.
“I really enjoy these games,” he continued. “I didn’t play at Home Park last year because of my injury, but I love being involved in these occasions. These are the first games I look for when the fixture list comes out, because in League 2 there aren’t too many massive games – but this is one of them.
“We’ve got a few local lads in the team now, and it’s a massive game for me personally. The fans love these types of games too and always want to get the bragging rights.
“But we’ve got to go and do it properly. If there’s a challenge there to be won, you’ve got to go and win it, but we’ve got to be sensible too.
“The main thing is that we come out on top and take the three points. The atmosphere is going to be different to normal, but you can’t let things get to you.”