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Match preview: Exeter City v Stevenage

16 February 2017

Tis pleased with performances going into Stevenage match

Manager Paul Tisdale hinted that there won’t be too many changes to the starting XI on Saturday as Exeter City go in search of their first win in three matches.

The Grecians play Stevenage at home this weekend having conceded two late goals to draw with Notts County on Tuesday and three away at Plymouth Argyle in a Devon derby loss.

However, prior to those two games, City had let in just four goals in a 12-game unbeaten run that took them from the bottom of the table to fourth in 70 days. 

So, having slipped to sixth on the back of the last two games, is Tis concerned by the goals the team have let in recently?

“As a professional person you look at everything because it is our livelihood and it is where your focus is every day,” said Tis. “However, I haven’t been upset with the performances at all. 

“I think any team development, and any progress you are making, will start with performance and how you play as a team. We have done that, constantly. We did it at Plymouth and we did it at Notts County on Tuesday. 

“Tuesday was just one of those things that happens during the course of a season. You could watch the video over and over and over again and you could really pick fault if you really wanted to. 

“However, we were down to 10 men and the opposition were having a real go. They were throwing everything at us for the last couple of minutes. 

“Okay, we lost a couple of points but that is all it needs to be. We don’t want to lose anymore; we don’t want to lose our confidence or the belief in what we are doing. We played as well on Tuesday as we have played in any game this season.” 

Stevenage go into the game having won their last four matches, but City have five wins on the spin at St James Park as well. Tis was unwilling to get drawn into talk of making it six on the bounce though. 

“We have had five wins at home, but I don’t want to say six until we have done it,” he said. “You can retrospectively view your results a little bit too romantically and think of all the goals you have scored, but you can easily forget the hard work and the team effort that has gone into creating those wins. 

“You might see a 3-0 or a 4-0 win and think ‘that was easy’, but it is not. For an hour, 70 or 80 minutes you have had to work your socks off in every one of those results – be it a team in the bottom three or the top six – has been built on a very determined, focused approach. I want no different this week.”

City are without Jake Taylor for the match against the Boro as he was sent off for too bookable offences last time out at Meadow Lane. 

Tis has a number of options available to him, such as playing Jordan Tillson in the centre of the park or moving Ryan Harley into a holding midfield role and bringing in Joel Grant into an attacking midfield position.

However, Tis wants to disrupt the team selection as little as possible going into Saturday’s match.

Asked what his plans were, Tis said: “I will keep that to myself for the time being, but there won’t be too much need for too many changes. 

“I know we haven’t won in the last two games, but I am pleased with the team. So, it will be about fresh legs and how I’d like to use the bench and things like that, but I see no reason to change too much.”