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Preview: Exeter City v Yeovil Town

23 March 2017

Tis: Players have to enjoy the stress of promotion challenge

Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale has urged his players to enjoy the challenge of being in a promotion battle as they prepare to take on Yeovil Town at St James Park on Saturday.

The Grecians are currently seventh in the table – a point inside the play-off places – but they know anything less than three points on Saturday could see them slip out of the promotion spots with Blackpool able to overtake them if they better the Grecians result.

However, Tis says the players must use the stressfulness of the situation as a positive and tackle the challenge head on. 

“There is lots of stress and it depends how you view that,” he said. “Do we enjoy it and do we meet it head on and march through all these stresses or do we worry too much and get gripped by anxiety? 

“We have had one game this year, recently, where I don’t think we met in the right, positive, optimistic fashion. It was the Accrington game at home and we just didn’t show enough enjoyment of the challenge, but other than that I think we have been pretty consistent with our competitive nature.

“The players are playing, of course, to instruction and direction but also playing on instinct and they are enjoying what they are doing.”

In contrast to City, Yeovil have little to play for, in terms of promotion and relegation, as they are 12 points clear of the drop zone but 13 off the play-off places. However, that is not fooling Tis into the thinking that they will be taking their foot of the gas when they visit St James Park.

“It depends which way you look at these things because a manager, a coach, a player – as a professional – will always have something to play,” said Tis. “It is his development, progress and reputation. If the team is managed and directed correctly, which I am sure they are, they will be 100 per cent focused. There is no doubt about that. As a manager you cannot afford to slip into periods of apathy or indifference as every game is highly important.”

Added to that it is also a local derby and Tis is expecting a tough game. 

“It will be highly competitive, a local derby and – regardless of league position, of form, of recent results – it will be hard fought and we will need to be at our best,” he said. 

“It is as simple as that. It is also at that time of the year when the weather turns better and the pitches become firmer and the games become quicker. The intensity of the game, I think, will be up a notch to your normal game and it will be a terrific match.”

Tis is hopeful that Jordan Moore-Taylor, who was subbed off after two minutes of the match at Luton Town last time out, will be back in contention for a place having recovered from his knock to the head. 

However, he does have some injury concerns around a few other players. 

“We have two or three in the medical room up to this point,” he said. “On a Thursday, or Friday, you tend to find out who is still struggling and who has recovered. 

“I’d be surprised if we had all XI players who started last week fit and playing this week, but I just don’t really know yet. There are two or three who are suffering bumps and bruises who I think will be fit for Saturday, but I just don’t know.”

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