Defender preparing for challenging game against bottom clubAhead of Saturday’s home fixture against League 2’s bottom side Hartlepool United, Grecians defender Christian Ribeiro is not taking anything for granted as City go for a fifth successive win.
The north-east club haven’t tasted victory in over a month, and a 3-0 home defeat against fellow strugglers Carlisle United last weekend left Pools propping up the rest of the table.
They have since parted company with manager Colin Cooper, and Ribeiro feels that their position at the foot of the table might be deceptive compared to the talent and ability they have to call on.
He also hopes that Exeter can continue forcing the issue and record a fifth straight league victory on Saturday.
“Often when teams chance their manager, they can end up having a good run of form,” Ribeiro said. “I’ve had that experience before with different clubs.
“So we have to make sure that everyone expects Hartlepool to be at their best and not thinking that they are going to be a wounded animal and they won’t be anywhere near where they should be.
“I think Saturday will be a deceptively tough game for us – they’re desperate for points and when you’re at the bottom you’re desperate for everything.
“So we have to make sure that we pass the ball as we can and play our game just as successfully as we have in the last few weeks, and hopefully we’ll get the rewards for it.
“It’s down to us to show our own quality and get the ball down and pass, and work the way out of the traps that they’ll be setting.
“We have to give our best performance and keep playing the way that we believe is the right way. That’s the way we will be successful – we know where our strengths are and we have to play to them every game.
“Any home game is an opportunity to win, whether the team is at the top or the bottom of the league. It’ll be a tough game – every game is tough, but hopefully we can get that win and keep it going. Five wins on the trot would be an amazing result for us.
“The table is still very tight and compact and another win would be great. If we keep our level of performance up that we’ve given in the other league games, we’ll have a great chance.”
City go into the game light on numbers, with injuries sidelining a handful of players and leaving question marks over a few more.
That could end up meaning a call into the starting line-up for some of the younger members of the squad, many of which featured in midweek against Coventry in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.
And Christian is backing his young teammates to step up to the mark if they are given the opportunity to play, and feels that the senior players will be there to help to guide them through the game too.
“It’s such a shame for Jordan to have got the injury that he has and everyone feels for him,” Christian continued. “He’s made a really good contribution in the last few weeks.
“Everyone wishes him a speedy recovery and hopefully we’ll have him back sooner rather than later.
“It’s part and parcel of the sport and we have a few more injuries than we would like, but it gives other people an opportunity to play.
“That’s the point of football – every week is a different game and we have some young lads now that will get their opportunity and some guys that got some experience in midweek, and we just have to try and put together what team we can and give ourselves the best chance of going for a win.
“They have been training with the first team long enough that they know what it’s all about, and they have improved all the time by training with senior professionals, and it’s their opportunity.
“It’s great for everyone – I’m really into giving the young lads a chance to play. We’ll have to wait and see what the team will be and who’s fit and who’s not, but if they young lads are in the first team then everyone will be making sure to help them along. They have a great opportunity hear and they just have to take it.”