City captain keen to keep up League 2 form
A fortnight has passed since the Grecians last turned out in League 2, drawing 1-1 with then-league leaders Luton Town at St James Park.
Between that afternoon and this coming Sunday’s visit to Newport County AFC, the Grecians suffered an FA Cup first-round exit in Warrington.
Until that point, Exeter had been performing particularly well in League 2 – winning six games from the last nine – and were there or thereabouts at the top of the form table.
Exeter City captain Scot Bennett has been particularly keen to consign the FA Cup defeat to history, and to pick up where they left off in their league form at Rodney Parade.
“As much as we’re disappointed and unhappy with the result that we came out with last Friday, we’ve got to move on quickly,” said the City skipper.
“Everyone knows that the league is the priority this year – obviously it would have been really nice to get a cup run, so we’re really disappointed – but we have to move on and go into Sunday playing like the performances that we have been playing and hopefully we can get the three points.
“We had a bit of a bad start and since then we’ve hit the ground running, and our run of form has been brilliant – so hopefully we can keep that going on Sunday and pick up the points. Hopefully our momentum will carry on in the league.”
Scot also feels that an extended break from football has been a healthy way of getting over the cup disappointment, and preparing themselves for Newport.
With two more days than normal between weekend games, it has allowed a bit more time for the players and management to get themselves ready for the trip to South Wales.
“For me personally after Friday, it took a good two or three days before I actually wanted to leave the house and show my face,” continued Scot.
“Having a nine-day gap has helped by giving us the time at the beginning of the week to be a bit depressed and down on the game, and we’ve come into training in the second half of the week to pick ourselves up and move on like we said.
“Hopefully we can prove it has helped by putting in another good performance on Sunday.”
Newport have built a reputation as a tough opponent – both in their style of play and their results. The Exiles are undefeated in the league at Rodney Parade since the first game of the 2014/15 campaign.
However Scot is pleased to see that the City team have been addressing any issues that they have had in matching their more robust opponents this season.
“Newport are going to be a tough team – they’ll put their bodies on the line again. We know more about League 2 football and hopefully we can put in a good performance.
He is also hopeful that the playing surface will be a little more favourable this season at Rodney Parade – last season’s game was contested on a hot, dry day on pitch that had been ravaged by a harsh winter.
“Their pitch isn’t always the best and we have to deal with that – we know that in League 2 every now and then we’ll come onto a pitch that isn’t at the standard that we like to play our football on.
“Newport have seven or eight games called off [last season] just before our game and they ended up having a lot of sand on the pitch which doesn’t help, but we’re playing them a bit earlier on in the year this season so hopefully it’ll be a bit better and we can go in and play the football we want to play.
“Our problem in the last couple of seasons has been when we’ve come up against a physical side that don’t want to play football, and sides that want to bully you and then hit the ball long, we have struggled and haven’t picked up the points that we should.
“This year we are starting to sort that out, and when there is a physical battle we are stepping up to the plate and putting our bodies on the line as much as them, and picking up the points.
“That’s something that we need to do against the teams that will hopefully finish lower than us, because we want to be at the top end of the table.”