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Match Previews

Exeter City v Hartlepool United: Match preview

11 August 2016

Tis may look to youngsters again as injuries hit the squad

Manager Paul Tisdale is predicting changes to the starting XI on Saturday as Exeter City look to cope with some injuries within the squad.

Troy Brown, Troy Archibald-Henville and Lee Holmes all missed Tuesday night’s victory against Brentford, but the City boss would not be drawn on whether they would be back for this weekend.

However, he admits that a number of senior players maybe missing from the starting XI and that will force him to look to some of the young members of his squad to step up to the plate again.

Ethan Ampadu, aged 15, made his senior debut for City on Tuesday night as City knocked out Championship side Brentford in the EFL Cup.

He played alongside Pierce Sweeney, who was making only his second Football League appearance, while Connor Riley-Lowe also made only his sixth appearance in a City shirt on the left of midfield.

“Probably the one weakness we have got is that we haven’t got a deep squad of proven players,” said Tis. “We have got plenty of good young players you can see that yourselves, but we have three or four (senior players) potentially missing from Saturday who have already picked up injuries from the first two games.

“So already this team that has played all through pre-season is becoming unsettled and may need a bit of work. So, maybe, there will be some more changes to the team on Saturday.”

City lost the opening game of the season, 2-0 away at Blackpool, but having beaten Brentford 1-0 at home on Tuesday they go into the match in a confident mood.

“Exactly the same (as Brentford) would be ideal, but I’m sure Hartlepool United will have other ideas about that,” said Tis. “We have had a fantastic pre-season, we are very well set and somehow it didn’t quite come together at Blackpool but we have got every confidence that we can put a good season together.”

Ampadu - who broke Cliff Bastin’s record as the youngest ever player to play for City - picked up the man-of-the-match award, but Tis admits there is a lot he has to consider before he chooses whether or not to select him for Saturday’s game as well.

“That is the major debate for us over the next two or three weeks,” said Tis. “Firstly, he is on school holidays so, if you are going to play him, this is the time to do it because he can recover and do all the work that a professional player would do.

“If we get into October, November time it is completely different, of course.

“It is the perfect time to play him at the moment, but you have also got, not just the strain of playing, but the excitement and the high of completing a match – as he did on Tuesday – and being so well received. That carries on as well and you throw all those things into the mix and you have got to be careful.

“You will remember with Matt Grimes; he played one game and then came out and then played a couple and came back out again.

“That is things he has to learn and we have already him in the analysis suite today going through some of the mistakes he made on the pitch.

“We have to make sure that, just because he is young and talented, we don’t assume that he knows everything.

“We have to do our job correctly and be very careful that suddenly we don’t overdo it with him. There is a long road ahead for him.

“We have not got to do it all in a week. We will make those decisions week by week. There is no one way of doing it, but we have to be careful with him.”

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