Exeter City Manager Matt Taylor says there is a buzz around the Cliff Hill Training Ground as the first week of pre-season training comes to an end.
“There is a buzz about the place. We are all raring to go” said the Grecians boss ahead of his first season at the helm.
“The lads have been in four days now, we’ve got another four and a half weeks to go. The first four days have gone as well as I could have expected. The lads have come back with a positive mindset and trained really hard.
“There will be some tired bodies over the next few days. They deserve their time off over the weekend, they will come back on Monday and we are going to start building towards the games now. Working them hard and keeping them as honest and fit as we can towards the start of the season. We are counting down the days now.”
The Cliff Hill Training Ground has been basked in glorious sunshine as Devon experiences a heatwave, Matt explained how the players are committed to giving their all, regardless of the conditions:
“Training can be difficult with the heat. We took the squad down to the beach yesterday and it was cloudy and misty! We’ve got an honest bunch they’ve worked hard and ran to their limits in the heat.
“A lot of teams go away for warm weather training, but we’ve been lucky to have a week of it in Devon!"
The first week of training sees Matt’s new backroom team working together and he is delighted with how the first few days have gone.
“My backroom staff are hand-picked to what I wanted. They have shown this week how organised they are and how willing they are to work with this group of players and the players have shown the same.
“There has been an honesty about our work this week and hopefully that will continue over the next four/five weeks and during the season.”
Matt Taylor has added quality to his squad, with the permanent signings of defender Aaron Martin, midfielder Nicky Law, striker Jonathan Forte and loan signing of Tristan Abrahams and he will be looking to add futher over the coming weeks.
“There will be more movement in the transfer window. I’m sure the fans have noticed the quality in the players I have brought in. I’m looking to bring quality and players that are going to improve the squad.
“It’s changed slightly with agents and managers phoning me now, people are getting a bit more nervous of where their future lies and hopefully we can pick up a couple more good players over the next couple of weeks.”
City's pre-season campaign starts next Tuesday as a youthful Grecians side travels to Bideford. City's first-team are then involved from Thursday night at Truro City.
“The Bideford game is one for our under-23s, there will be no senior pros involved. It’s a great opportunity for our fans to come and support the future generation of the club. We’ve got some fantastic young players that will be on show on Tuesday night.
“We start on Thursday at Truro and it’s very much a case of easing the boys back in. It will be two different elevens which will change at half-time. We are very much going there to get a positive result and start building towards the season.
“The games come thick and fast and suddenly it will be the first league match of the season.”
With just under a month to go until City open the 2018/19 campaign at home to Carlisle United, Matt was eager to emphasise just how important the fans are to making a positive start to the season. He added:
“The fans will be crucial throughout the season. We are hoping for a good start at home to Carlisle and the fans there on that day will be superb I’m sure in getting behind the team.
“They will need the help, not only on that day but throughout the season.”
Exeter City’s new Joma kit was revealed this week. The new bespoke design features a return to thinner red and white stripes and has a new striking collar. “It’s a fantastic new kit and everyone who has seen it is happy with it. The pre-sales have been good so far” commented Matt.
On Wednesday, July 11 Matt will bring his team to St James Park from 5pm to 6pm to launch the new kit and meet the fans for autographs and selfies. He encourages as many fans as possible to attend.
“We will be down there, the younger and older players will be there, signing shirts and interacting with the fans. Hopefully we will have a game to watch after if England win on Saturday too!
“I’m not bad at Table Tennis, I’m up for a challenge. If it’s winner stays on then I’ll be ok.”