Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale admits Coventry City will be a strong contender for promotion this season ahead of the two sides' meeting at St James Park on Saturday.
Coventry sit third in the table – two points ahead of the Grecians in eighth. It is very close at the top end of the table, but Tis expects that Coventry will be one of the front-runners for a place in League One when the season enters the final stages in May.
“We have had a good chance to look at them now over the first half of the season and they are a contender for promotion,” he said.
“They are defensively very, very good. They are very well organised, they have got a good structure and they have got some good players.
“It is a nice template for a good team and I think that they will be, no doubt, a contender, if not for the play-offs then the automatics as well. It will be a tough test for us.
Asked if the game was more important because they were a promotion rival, Tis said: “Yes, absolutely and we have got a tough month coming up ahead of us but there is no reason to be negative about it we have always had the ability to compete with the top teams in our league over the past three or four years and I see no reason why we can’t do that this season.”
City lost 2-0 away at Coventry in September – a defeat that ended an eight-game unbeaten start to the season. Asked if there is something you can take away from the games earlier in the campaign, when you face a team second time around Tis added: “Sometimes you can but sometimes there is nothing there to do that.
“When it is the same manager, when there is the same system in place then, yes. A lot of the teams have changed managers by the time you play them the second time around but Coventry, along with Notts County, Luton Town, and Wycombe – the games coming up soon – we have played them before this season and it is the same manager.
“Therefore, they are some things we can take from it. Those things I am not going to relay through the press, but it is obvious that you do. We are not going to overdo that though because it is about how we develop as a team and how we need to function.”