Manager looks ahead to trip to Newport
The Grecians travel to Newport County AFC on Sunday in search of three points and with the chance to pull themselves within a point of the Exiles in the Sky Bet League 2 table.
And manager Paul Tisdale is more than contented that his side are showing the fortitude and application that will hopefully ensure a comfortable close to the 2013/14 campaign.
The recent run of games hasn’t seen City harvest too many points, despite competing well in all the fixtures and often losing out in tightly-contested games by just a single goal – indeed, the last team to beat Exeter by more than the odd goal were current league-leaders Chesterfield back in December.
So while the results haven’t been falling in the desired way in recent weeks, the City manager is pleased to see the players still working hard for each other and giving their all towards the common cause. In particular it is the attitude of the players on the fringe of the first-team that have given plenty of cause for optimism.
“I’m asking them to apply themselves in the same way they have been – I’ve never seen a lack of application or discipline or any lack of loyalty to their teammates at the club,” said Tis. “We’ll keep doing our very best.
“The lines are very fine between winning and losing and we have to believe that we will get the required points if we do the right things, and I see nothing but positive reactions from the team, and especially from those that are not in the team, which says a lot about the squad we have. Everyone is pulling in the right direction – so as always, I can’t complain about the players.
“We can debate mistakes they make and decisions they make, but in terms of characteristics, I’m happy with what they are showing me.
“I don’t see one player in the team or out of it showing signs of disaffection or dissent, or being self-indulgent with their own issues. They’re all pulling together and that makes me very proud – and we have to turn that into results.”
Only four points currently separate Exeter and Newport, yet that manifests itself as nine positions in the Sky Bet League 2 table. Equally at the top end of the division, there are heated battles going on for the automatic promotion places and to qualify for the play-offs.
Paul feels that the closely-contested league table means that they will come across plenty of teams with all to play for in the run-in.
“When the league is as tight as it is, there is not one team in the league that is playing a dead-rubber,” he continued. “Every team has something to play for. That makes it very exciting and very anxious, and we can approach every game in the knowledge that the opposition will be just as motivated as we are.
“It’s going to be tight until the end and we all know what’s at stake. The lines are fine – we have been in every game, and since we played Chesterfield before Christmas, every game has been decided by one goal that we have played in and in every game there is an argument to say that we missed a chance to win it.
“I trust the players – on the whole they do very competently. We have to stick together and believe in each other. They have to hold their nerve, enjoy their work from Monday to Friday and do the business on a Saturday, and do what we always do – our very best.
“Recently we have been very positive in the way we have played in getting players forward, and then have been caught out with the odd counter-attack. We have also missed the odd glaring chance when games have been in the balance. I’ve not seen any team pin us back for a long, long time.
“But I know the scoreline has to give us results. We have to stay cool, win or lose, and if we win on Sunday we won’t be jumping around either.”