Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale says the players are not going to fall into the trap of expecting an easy match just because they are playing third-from-bottom Barnet on Saturday.
The Bees, managed by Mark McGhee, have won two of their last six League Two matches. However, City have an identical record during that time and having lost at home to Port Vale, when they were in the relegation zone earlier this season, they are fully aware that the gap between the teams at the top of the division and those towards the bottom is not that great.
“It would be easy (to assume that we should win) but we came unstuck against Port Vale in similar circumstances a month or two ago so we are not going to fall into that trap,” said Tis.
“I’m sure Mark McGhee and his players will have every aspiration to get a result and we have to do our very best to prevent that.
“It is like every other week really. You enter into it knowing the pitfalls and trying to be as positive as you can be but also being concerned about what could go wrong.
“And, I think, that is what we do every week and we will do the same with Barnet. We know they have got good players and we know that we have been strong at home, but it counts for nothing until the final whistle has blown and you have won.”
City dropped to sixth in the table on Boxing Day after their home match against Forest Green Rovers was abandoned at half-time due to a waterlogged pitch. The plus side of that is that the players will be fresher going into the game against Barnet than they would have been had they played another 45 minutes of football against Rovers, but their confidence might have taken a bit of a hit due to their fall in league position.
“I think you have got to realise that there is a positivity and a confidence that comes from being in a good position in the league,” said Tis.
“However, on the other hand, you have to keep in mind that it is about where you are on the last day of the season and there are x amount of games to go. There are 20-plus games to go and it is about an overall points tally and it will be about what we gain from those 20-odd games.
“We have got a target that we would look to and we need a certain amount of points. So sometimes you avoid being too precious about where you sit in the league although it does help a lot with confidence and positivity. However, there is little you can do when your match is abandoned and other teams win. You are incapable of effecting the league.”
Tis made a number of changes to the side for the match against Rovers and he admits there will be a balance to be struck this weekend with the players facing two games in three days.
“I’m not sure it was about rotation so much on Boxing Day, perhaps with one or two players,” said Tis. “I think generally, I have to make sure that I rotate when the players are under physical stress and two games this weekend, for example, in three days is a lot of football for those who are already vulnerable to any injury or two because of some sort of overload in their play.
“However, there was also an element of players not playing well enough and there being players in behind them that are able and ready to go and want to put pressure on. So there was some element of rotation and there was also some element of me selecting players who were ready to go to replace those that hadn’t done well enough.”
Standing tickets for the match against Barnet are still available and can be purchased in advance via this following link or by phoning 01392 411243. Tickets will also be available on the day of the match and you can also pay on the turnstiles.