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Tis: We Must Be Professional Against Dagenham

31 December 2015

City boss looks ahead to visit of John Still's men

EXETER CITY manager Paul Tisdale talked Dagenham & Redbridge, the January transfer window, Clinton Morrison and the FA Cup in a wide-ranging press conference on Thursday afternoon.

With the January window opening following the countdown to 2016 this evening, that was first on the agenda.

"It's impossible to say beforehand how important the January transfer window will be to us," Paul said. "We may find ourselves in a situation where we receive a considerable offer for a player, like we did last year, or we may get nothing at all. We may get a big cash injection like we did with the Matt Grimes sale, or things may stay the same. In terms of the business that we're looking to do, the truth is that it will be very little. There may be something which crops up that we feel will add to the mix, but we're not looking at any changes. I'm not releasing anybody, and other than the players who are out on loan, I am not trying to strip the squad away. The only major business will be if somebody comes in with a major offer for one of our players."

It was confirmed earlier this evening that an agreement had been reached with Clinton Morrison to see the striker remain with the Grecians until the end of the season. The City boss gave his thoughts on the reasoning behind the decision.

"Clinton isn't out of contract yet, but the intention on both my part and his part is to extend it until the end of the season," he said. "It's difficult to quantify his influence, other than the fact that he's a personable chap who has a very particular skillset that can add to the team. All players bring something different, and that's certainly something that Clinton does. He's in the twilight of his career, and he's enjoying every last minute of it; that shows through in the way that he comes to work, and he enjoys doing it. I'm sure he wouldn't be driving down to Exeter if he didn't. He's not a regular starter for us, but he has played his part. I'd like to keep the option of playing him or bringing him off the bench for the rest of the season."

Dagenham & Redbridge, who appointed the returning John Still as their manager on Thursday afternoon, visit St James Park for the Grecians' first match of 2016 on Saturday, and three crucial Sky Bet League 2 points are at stake ahead of next week's eagerly-anticipated FA Cup Third Round tie with Liverpool.

"Dagenham & Redbridge had a terrific win on Monday at Stevenage, and now have a new manager too," Paul said. "In terms of our preparation, the waters have been muddied by Dagenham's managerial change, and it will be a little bit unpredictable this weekend.

"We had Jamie McAllister, David Noble, Christian Ribeiro, Danny Butterfield and Troy Brown all in training on astro turf today, and that's the first time I've seen them train since their injuries. We've been unable to train at the Cliff Hill Training Ground because of the rain. Christian has actually come onto the pitch and played before I've seen him train, partly because we just needed to rush people back into it. Obviously we're still without Christy Pym, Ryan Harley and Will Hoskins, but other than that they're all coming back and looking to fight for a place.

"We've not had a run of things for a while, but you need to get the balance right between being optimistic and not spending the whole time talking about the injuries. We haven't picked up many results lately, even though I've thought that we've deserved better. The squad has grown; in the last five to six weeks, Ollie Watkins, Jamie Reid and Jordan Tillson have emerged, so through injuries we have another three young players who have stepped forward in terms of their standing in the team.

"The typical convention is that, if we pick a team to play Dagenham and we win, then we go with the same side in the following match. But I haven't decided what the team will be in either match. There are players who can suddenly emerge and put performances in. It will be a very different game against Liverpool, but first we have to do a professional job in beating Dagenham."

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