Exeter City manager Matt Taylor says his side will have to turn out a disciplined performance when they make the trip to Gigg Lane to take on Bury this weekend.
The Grecians will be looking to return to winning ways in Sky Bet League Two but come up against a free scoring Bury side who are looking to further consolidate their push for promotion back to Sky Bet League One.
On the trip north, Matt said: “It will be a tough encounter. They are in fine form, especially at home, they score a lot of goals, free flowing football, and they have a lot of good attacking players on show.
“We have got to back ourselves, we’ve got a good enough group of players to go there and certainly match them, give them a competitive game, and hopefully come out on top. It will take a lot of hard work, a lot of discipline, and a little bit of luck now and then.
“We went and did it at Colchester, who are a really good team at home, and I expect much more of the same from Bury this weekend. It will make any positive result even more sweet when you go to a tough place against a team in good form and you come back with something.”
City go into the match with their opponents who are two points ahead of the Grecians in fifth position, and with the chance to leapfrog the Shakers with a win on Saturday, Matt says he expects his side to have to soak up pressure at Gigg Lane but wants his team to make the most of every chance they get.
He continued: “You go away from home then there are times when you have to soak up some pressure, you’re never going to have it all your own way away from home. We know what threats they’ve got, as much as you prepare your team the best you possibly can, they will still hurt you at times.
“We’ll need the goalkeeper to play well, we’ll need the back four to play well and we’ll need the rest of the group to give them as much protection as possible. On the flip side of that we’ve got to take the game to the opposition and get that ball as far away from our goal as possible and try and hurt them at every opportunity. We know how tough it will be but it’s one we’re looking forward to.”
The Grecians go into the match reasonably rested with a number of the squad members having not played since the defeat to Macclesfield Town on November 27. Though some played in the Checkatrade Trophy match against Peterborough United in midweek, Matt says his side have had the chance to rest.
He continued: “It was a good reset for the whole bunch to be honest. The players had the weekend off to go home and recuperate. It’s always difficult because you don’t want to have a weekend with no game because you want to be in the cup competitions, but we used it as best we possibly could to get any fatigue levels out of the players and mentally have a refresh.
“We had a really positive meeting on Thursday and the lads have trained really well this week and I was pleased with the performance on Tuesday night.
“We have got to remember that some of this group are on the back of two play-off finals as well, they’ve had a long haul in terms of a big slog of fixtures over the last couple of seasons they’ve played a lot of games. Some of them deserve a weekend off now and then, and some of them needed the work.
“We have to get it right and balanced, you’re always striving for that as a manager or a coaching team, you need to get the balance between working them too hard and not enough, but it was a perfect opportunity for some of them just to refresh their minds as much as anything.”
The City boss also gave an update on the fitness of long-term absentees Hiram Boateng, Troy Brown and Alex Hartridge and their progression. He also revealed that Luke Croll looks set to miss out with a knock.
Matt said: “It’s not too bad, the long-term ones are still long-term. Hiram is getting closer and closer but he’s still a few weeks away. Troy is a couple of months away and Alex Hartridge is coming back into the fold.
“Hiram is on his own doing individual work with the coaches at the moment. He’ll, hopefully, go into more full contact training next week and once that happens then it’s all about judging how the injury reacts to that. Fingers crossed he gets through the next two weeks, because if he gets through that then all of a sudden, he’s ready for first team football.
“That’s the most important two weeks in terms of any injury, when you’re close to getting game time, so we’ll see how he gets through it. We certainly won’t rush him, but we know what an important player he is for us and we can’t wait to have him back. He’s got to be right, though, he can’t come back and break down, he’s got to be physically and mentally in the right place and we’ll train him accordingly over the next couple of weeks.
“Luke Croll has picked up an injury on the back of the Macclesfield game so won’t be available for this weekend. We’ve got a bit of illness and a couple haven’t trained today (Thursday) but there’s no excuse because we go to Bury with a good enough squad to go there and get a result.”
Up next at St James Park:
City take on Crewe Alexandra on Saturday, December 15 in a 3pm kick-off. Ticket prices are cheaper in advance. Click here to buy online.