Tis: Getting closer to our best

City boss pleased with pre-season performances

EXETER CITY manager Paul Tisdale told of his delight at the progression of his players after the Grecians held their own for eighty minutes against League 1 Sheffield United at St James Park on Thursday.

“I was pleased with the performances against both Sheffield United and Bournemouth,” he said. “They were both very productive for us, and though it was a different type of football to that which we’re going to be used to in League 2, the players have worked really well. There’s a great level of cohesion in the group; the boys are building up the intensity in their play and, though we still have to tweak things here and there, I think we’re doing okay.

“Craig Woodman is out injured at the moment, as is Jordan Moore-Taylor, so the defence really picks itself at the moment, but they are very capable. There is a good connection developing between the defenders; they are looking more and more at ease, and now they are getting some games behind them. Craig has a niggle in his calf – he shouldn’t be out for too long, but it’s just not quite right. We’re hoping we can get that all sorted out, as he’s a key part of our group, and he’s missed a couple of games now, which is not ideal.”

Young defenders Kyle Egan and Toby Down were both handed invaluable opportunities of first-team experience against the Blades, both coming on amidst a flurry of changes for the final exchanges. The City boss was happy with their input.

“The two young full-backs did very well,” Tis said. “I saw them play against Fluminense and I thought they did really well. We had an opportunity tonight to give them each twenty minutes, something which doesn’t come up very often, so it was great experience for them, I thought. I know Toby is used to playing at the centre of defence as much as at left-back, but they both did well, coming into the team for the first time against good opposition.

“The last few games have been a hard ask for the front players, because they’ve had to do a lot of work off the ball while we’ve been defending at the back. Hopefully, over the next couple of weeks we’ll be able to provide them with a little more joy in the forward areas. We’ve worked very hard, however, and I don’t think that too many players have been off the pace.

“We’re getting closer to our team for Yeovil. These friendlies have allowed me an opportunity to see where we have strength. We’re going to have a three-day break, and they’ve had four weeks in training. It’ll be a tough week with intensive work in training next week.”