Tis keen to keep players feet on the ground ahead of Devon derby

Tis: "It's important we don't get too pleased with ourselves."

Paul Tisdale says his Exeter City side need to find the balance between being over-confident and not confident to maintain their recent results.

City take on Plymouth Argyle in the Devon derby on Saturday with both teams in great form. Tis and his men unbeaten in 12, having won 10 of those matches, and Argyle have lost just two of their last nine in League Two.

“It’s important we don’t get too pleased with ourselves,” said Tis. “We’ve got a big game on Saturday and a fair few more games after that. It’s about where we finish in May and that’s really what it comes down to, so we’re pleased but we have some more work to do.

“We have to get the balance right between being over-confident and not, somewhere in the middle is what’s best. I think we’ve earnt the opportunity to be optimistic but we’ve got to be really, really careful. 

“We’ve got to have a balanced approach like we do every game and be focused. One game at a time, it’s an old cliché, but it’s true.”

The Grecians have been free scoring of late, with a brilliant goal difference over the last 10 games having scored 28 and only conceded four. Results, including 4-0 wins over Crewe Alexandra and Leyton Orient, and 3-0 wins against Colchester United and Grimsby Town have gone a long way to building this form. 

However, Tis is expecting a much tighter contest at Home Park in such an important game for both sides promotion hopes alone, without the added bite of a derby.

“I’d be surprised if it was a big scoring game this week but you never know, you have to be ready for everything,” he said. 

“It’s a big three points at stake for both teams, it’s a Devon derby and it’ll be keenly fought. But it’s one game at a time and actually you have to play what’s in front of you. If the opportunity arises then we look to score goals but we’re expecting a really, really tough game. Both teams are in good form and it will be very competitive.

“When it comes to these games and the hype around it and what happens after. So at 5 o’clock on Saturday, whatever you’ve done leading up to the game will seem to be the right thing to do if you’ve won. We’re just doing exactly what we’ve done every week over the last six months and hopefully that’ll put us in the right frame of mind for the game.”

City are fourth in League Two, with many fans getting optimistic about an automatic promotion push. However, Tis is keeping the players’ feet on the ground.

“It’s my job to manage those expectations and that focus,” he said. 
“We’ve got three months to go of the season. We’ve got a fair few games. Fourth in February, great. But it’s about where we finish on the last game of the season, so really that’s my focus.”