Manager looks to welcome players back to contention against MansfieldGrecians manager Paul Tisdale is pleased to be able to go into Saturday’s home game against Mansfield Town with a number of players in contention for a place in the squad.
Jamie Reid, who has had very limited playing-time in the last 12 months with a groin injury, is the only player that is guaranteed to miss the game. A number of others are returning to contention at the same time.
Jordan Moore-Taylor is just about ready to get back to action after picking up a pre-season foot injury in Brazil, while Christian Ribeiro – who wasn’t able to sign until the transfer embargo was lifted, but also sustained a groin injury – could make a competitive debut.
With Tom Nichols and Danny Butterfield getting over their respective niggles too, it means that the City boss suddenly has more of a wealth of options about who to start and who to use from the bench.
“We enter Saturday’s fixture with more or less a full squad,” said Tis. “Jamie Reid is a long-term absentee, but the rest of the players are remarkably all coming back at the same time.
“Including Alex Nicholls, we could have five players coming into the squad on Saturday.
“It’s a cliché when you hear managers talking about ‘you’re as good as your squad’ or ‘you’re as good as your bench’. But in the home games, which most of our supporter have seen, we have been one-nil up and ran out of steam.
“I see us having more options this week. It’s difficult when you’re stood on the touchline and you’re hanging onto a one-goal margin and you’re running out of legs.
“It was a similar story at Northampton – at 70 minutes we were running on empty and couldn’t hold on for the 90 minutes.
“I’m really hoping that this influx of players will give me the opportunity to be more flexible and make changes from the bench to add value and to add to the performance, rather than just holding on.”
Teenage duo Matt Grimes and Christy Pym, both set to make an appearance for England’s Under-20 squad against Romania on Friday, will both return to Devon the same evening and be selectable for the League 2 fixture against the Stags.
They are the only two in the Young Lions’ 22-man contingent that have a Saturday game to worry about, with the international break allowing their teammates a weekend away from domestic football.
But Paul is pleased that two local lads have had the chance to prove their ability on a bigger stage.
And he’ll also be making sure that the two boys have their heads back on the League 2 game once the Friday-night friendly is out the way.
“They’ll have to be [in contention] – we’ve got a small squad and I’m sure they’ll be involved in Friday night’s game, and I’m sure they’ll both be playing a part in Saturday’s game,” he continued.
“It’s not what you normally expect with an international call-up, for a player to be playing one evening and then being whisked away to play the next day, but that will be the case.
“We don’t normally have international call-ups at Exeter and it’s something we haven’t really had much experience with.
“We know they’ll be high as a kite on Friday night and our job on Saturday will be to get their feet back on the ground and the reality of League 2 well and truly enforced with their focus and preparation.
“It’ll be a different sport – it’s a different type of game and strategy.
“But what a good problem for them to have – I’m delighted for them and the club, and I’m really hoping and expecting them to turn a few heads and show people that it’s no flash in the pan.
“These players are capable of playing at this level and our system does work – lower-league football with young players coming through with the right talent and opportunity is as good a way as progressing as going to the big clubs and sitting there in an under-21 squad.”