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Match preview: Exeter City v Luton Town

25 November 2016

Tis to wait on fitness of Lee Holmes

Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale will wait until Saturday morning before deciding if Lee Holmes is fit enough to play a part in the match with Luton Town.

Lee, who has four goals to his name this season, was knocked unconscious during the second-half of 3-2 defeat to Carlisle United on Saturday, December 19.

That forced him to miss Tuesday night’s 1-0 win over Leyton Orient, with concussion, but will he be in line for a recall this weekend?

“We are hoping Lee gets better as soon as possible and I’m not ruling anything out,” said Tis. “Liam McAlinden came in and did very well as an understudy and put in a performance that merits his possible selection, but I can’t afford to rule people in or out at this stage. We will wait until Saturday morning.”

Troy Brown is coming back into contention for a starting place having played the last 20 minutes at Brunton Park, while Ryan Harley and Jordan Tillson are also back in training and due to play in a reserve game against Cheltenham Town next Tuesday. 

It is not long since City played Luton Town, having faced Nathan Jones’ team in the FA Cup first round on November 5. Luton won 3-1 that day but does the fact that City played them so recently give them an insight into what to expect?

“Well, it comes into it," said Tis. "You would be foolish not to think about it. I have been asked this question a couple of times this week: How much of an advantage does it give you having played them three weeks ago? Well, it does give you some insight into the opposition, but don’t forget they have got an insight into us also. There is a plus and a minus to it. 

“What is important is how we both enter into the game, play it and that is really what it will come down to. So, with the match three weeks ago, yes there is a pointer in there somewhere but it is not the be-all-and-end-all of it. We start again, it is a fresh game and there is 95, 96 minutes to play.”

Does Tis’ side also take confidence from their clean sheet and three points at Orient as well, having lost in heartbreaking circumstances at Carlisle United three days earlier to two late goals.

“It can’t harm,” he said. “It was anxious last 10 minutes at Leyton Orient – off the back of the Carlisle experience. 

“You couldn’t be human and not feel some level of anxiety at the end of the game, having experienced that awful feeling leaving the North West on Saturday night. 

“So, well done to the players. It would have been great if we could have scored a second or third, which we came so close to doing so. It would have made life a lot less stressful, but the reality was we were 1-0 up, we had to hold on and the players did a good job. 

“There were some big moments - Robbie Simpson’s header from under the crossbar and Jordan Moore-Taylor’s clearance off the line – which did the job. It was good to get a clean sheet. 

“A 1-0 away win does is good for the morale. It is good for spirit. It is good for the levels of commitment and it gives you something back for the effort that you put in. It will do us a lot good and I hope we can take it into Saturday and have the same kind of mentality when we need it in that match.”


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