Full-back looks on to the Devon DerbyGrecians defender Christian Ribeiro is keenly anticipating his first involvement in a Devon Derby, having missed out first time around at Home Park, and feels that the two teams’ positions in the table add to what is already a big fixture.
The Grecians had just come out of a transfer embargo when they clashed with Plymouth Argyle at Home Park in August, but a training-ground injury picked up just before then kept his debut on hold.
City are quite a different proposition since that afternoon, when the Pilgrims came out 3-0 winners. An early struggle of a winless first seven games in the campaign for the Grecians was followed by a real about-turn and a climb into the play-off positions in December.
Results in recent weeks have left Exeter a short way shy of those play-off positions – of which Plymouth occupy one – so Ribeiro thinks that the relative positions give an extra dimension to what was always going to be a lively game.
“Obviously we’re really looking forward to it,” he said. “There is lots of pressure on it but it should be a really packed crowd.
“It’s a massive game for the location, but also for the league position. We want to get back up to those play-off positions so it’s really important.
“We want to get back on a good run and it would be great to start it off on Saturday. All the games for us are little cup finals, and this is going to be an important one.
“Hopefully we can play well, like we have done in the last couple of games. We’ve not quite had the rub of the green and I’m sure there’ll be moments on Saturday where we need little moments of luck.
“It’s really important that we get that crowd on our side and that’s going to need a few big tackles and a few key moments of momentum.
“That’s what we have to do – we want to make it a really positive Exeter atmosphere that really drives us on. The fans will do that I’m sure, and we’ve got to do our bit and make sure we really push them on.”
Argyle are on a run of three victories in a row – and haven’t conceded in any of those games.
But Ribeiro is far from fazed by that recent record, and feels that it is the perfect opportunity to prove their mettle and promotion credentials.
“I thought they were a good side when we played them earlier in the year,” Ribeiro continued. “They had a little bit of a stumble recently but they’re back on the wagon and they’re getting some good results.
“They are definitely looking towards the top of the table. We’re trying to be in those positions in and amongst it – we’ve got to prove it by being as good as them if not better.
“We know we can do it, and we definitely have the armoury to do it, but every game is different. Hopefully we’ve got the right gameplan, the right players, and we can really go for it and give everyone that positive that they’re looking for.”
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