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Accrington v Exeter City: Troy Brown and Joel Grant back in contention

18 August 2016

Pair have returned to training, but Tis other key players still missing

Exeter City are still expected to have a few first team players out for their trip to Accrington Stanley on Saturday, but Joel Grant and Troy Brown are both back in training.

Joel has not featured yet for the Grecians this season, having picked up an injury before the campaign started, while Troy has been out since the opening day loss to Blackpool.

However, manager Paul Tisdale is still without a number of key players for the trip, which he admits is not ideal.

“We are still nowhere near having a full complement of players, which is frustrating,” he said. “However, we make a decision as a club that we carry a lot more younger players than most clubs to at League Two level, for obvious reasons.

“So where we lack in maybe proven first team players being available we have plenty of young players and that is when they get their chance. It doesn’t always help the manager in the short term, but it certainly give players the chance.”

Stanley have begun the season well, losing one of their opening four matches and knocking Bradford City out of the League Cup.

Tis is not surprised by their start though as he has Stanley – who finished fourth last season under John Coleman – as one of the best teams he came across last campaign.

“They were arguably the best football team in the league last year with a very fluid, positive, purposeful way,” said Tis. “It is not always a set process, but it is certainly there is a lot of belief in the way they played.

“They will have had one or two changes to the team since then, but we are expecting a very difficult game because in recent years, when I have played against John Coleman’s Accrington teams, they have always had some energy about them. Even when they are behind they find a way of raising their game. I admire them greatly and I imagine it will be a stiff test for us.”

City have, undoubtedly, not had the points total from the League Two games their performances have deserved so far this season. They have struck the woodwork four times so far this season, twice on the opening day of the campaign against Blackpool and once in the matches versus Hartlepool and Crawley.

They have also created more chances than their opponents in those three games. However, Tis said they couldn’t bemoan bad luck and had to focus on converting the opportunities they create.

“I wouldn’t call our play unlucky and our opponent’s play lucky, because if you hit the crossbar it means you haven’t got quite close enough,” he said. “What it does mean is we are getting into good situations. There are certainly areas that I want to improve on. We have had numerous half chances and I would like to turn them into more golden chances or increase the frequency of half chances.

“It is all about creating more opportunities and decreasing the frequency of opportunities against our goal. I think in all the games we seem to have had our fair share of opportunities. You couldn’t say the opposition have had more than us, but we have just got to find a way of scoring more goals than the opposition.

“I’m not overly concerned – obviously I’m a professional person and I’m not particularly pleased that we have lost three games, but I know we have got plenty of good players. We have not been able to recreate our pre-season performances because of a few changes to personnel, but I’m pretty sure we can find the right tune and get the results we need.”

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