Exeter City manager Matt Taylor says the players who have played in this season’s Checkatrade.com Trophy have earned the right to start against Peterborough United on Tuesday as the competition enters the knockout stages.
City topped their group with three wins from three games, and three clean sheets as well. Therefore, Matt is not going to make too many changes to the starting XI from the one that played Bristol Rovers at St James Park on Tuesday, November 13, especially with a Sky Bet League Two match away at Bury to think about as well.
“It is exactly the same really,” said Matt. “Those lads who have played in the competition so far have earned the right to play in the next round. We will use the game as we have done throughout this season in terms of minutes for the 'so called' fringe players, or the ones on who haven’t been getting the game time with the first team recently, and also an opportunity for our younger players to step up into the first team environment.
“They have had a good mindset towards the competition. It is always helpful when you get off to a good start in these competitions. So you look back to the Yeovil game and winning on the penalty shootout. That might have been a little bit of luck involved with that, but the lads on that night performed really well and that takes you into the next couple of games and the Bristol Rovers and West Ham games were good evenings for us.
“So, we want more of the same against Peterborough. It is an important game which we are going to look forward to and prepare for as best we can. The focus is always going to be the league and our league position. So Bury obviously plays a big part in our team selection on Tuesday night but it is a big night for our young players and our players who haven’t been getting the game time they want recently to make a mark.”
Peterborough have also impressed in this season’s competition. Despite not finishing top of their group, the Posh are unbeaten in their three group games as well, drawing two and winning one of their matches. They are also flying high in Sky Bet League One and Matt is expecting them to travel to Devon with a strong side.
“They will be in a similar situation to ourselves in the fact that the league will be their priority as well but they will bring a strong team down,” said Matt. “It is a night we have got to look forward to. A night we have got to relish in terms of another opportunity for our young players who always stand up to the plate and make a mark when they do play.
“It certainly won’t be easy. I am expecting a difficult night against a very strong Peterborough team, but it is one we have got to look forward to and the club always marks itself on nights like Tuesday night.”