Exeter City manager Matt Taylor is pleased to be welcoming back players for selection as his side set their sights on a tough test away at Colchester United this weekend.
Lee Martin and Dean Moxey are now available to play after returning from injury and suspension respectively. Added to that the Grecians have the likes of Chiedozie Ogbene back fit and the likes of Jimmy Oates, Matt Jay and Archie Collins also played 90 minutes in this week’s 1-1 draw with Plymouth Argyle in the Central Reserve League.
On his squad situation, Matt said: “Lee Martin has trained this week so hopefully he’ll be in contention, he’ll travel with the squad. Dean Moxey is coming back from suspension but we also did a bit of exploration into a couple of long-term injuries, but he’s come through it okay, I’ve got to use him when I see fit. The rest of the group have come through the week relatively unscathed.
“Deano (Dean Moxey) got 60 minutes, Jimmy Oates got a full 90 as well as Matt Jay and Archie Collins, and Chio (Chiedozie Ogbene) got 70 minutes because we’re still building him back up after his injury.
“It was a positive game, I’ve said how I’ve been frustrated by the lack of competitive reserve team action we’ve had. It was a proper game of football, Plymouth were on top in the first half and second half we came back into it and finished the stronger team. It was good to get minutes for lads who needed them and that should stand them in good stead for the next two games on Saturday and Tuesday.
“We got some good work into the lads this week. It’s been a cold but dry week so that standard of training has been where we need it to be. We’ll finish it off with a short, sharp, session tomorrow and we’re looking forward to Saturday.”
Matt will also take charge of his 25th game since being appointed as manager, and despite admitting how quick the time is flying by, he is relatively pleased with how his side have done in recent months.
He continued: “It’s gone pretty quickly, we’ve had a decent enough start, but we still want more from the group and more in terms of the results that we’ve got recently. The performances, certainly in the last couple of games, have been where we need it to be and we’re looking to build on that.”
Matt’s side will be targeting a return to winning ways following the draw over Northampton Town last weekend, but the City boss is well aware of the threat that United will pose on their home turf.
Matt said: “It’s going to be a tough test, Colchester are in food form and are above us in the table, they’ve been excellent, certainly in terms of their home games. It’s going to be a tough test, the journey aside, we have players coming back to fitness, so we should be stronger than we have been in the last couple of weeks and it should be a good game of football.
“I spoke to the lads this morning and asked them who remembered last season where we were 3-0 down after 40 minutes and out of the game. We have to be right on our metal right from minute one, but we have some good players coming back into the fold now, we showed glimpses last weekend of the attacking threat that we’ve got, and we need to show that on Saturday, but also, we have to be resolute because it’s a tough place to go.
'Hopefully the fans will make the journey, it’s such a long one, I think only Carlisle is longer than Colchester in terms of the distance travelled but hopefully we can make it worthwhile."
When asked if his side will have last season’s encounter, a 3-1 loss at the JobServe Community Stadium in mind when preparing for the match, the City boss said: “It’s always different personnel and different setups, formations and preparations, but it won’t be too dissimilar.
“We’ve got to stop that happening in terms of a quick start from them. We have to get the ball as far away from our goal as possible and maintain a foothold in the game, it won’t be easy and we’re expecting a tough test, but it’s one you relish as a manager and as a player.”
City defender Dara O’Shea has recently been nominated for the Checkatrade Trophy player of the round as City fended off Yeovil Town, West Ham United’s under-21s and Bristol Rovers without conceding a goal, and Matt credited the on-loan defender for his efforts.
He said: “We kept three clean sheets in that competition and he’s (Dara) been part of that. The big thing for Dara now is to step up and do that at League Two level, he’s showed his capabilities, he’s still a young defender and there’s a lot to come from him in terms of his progression. We’re pleased to have him on loan from West Brom, we’ll keep developing him and working on him and hopefully he can show his attributes in the next few weeks.
“They’ve all got to be patient. Dara and Tristan (Abrahams) have been patient in terms of getting an opportunity and they are both in the fold at the moment. Chio (Chiedozie Ogbene) is the same, he was so unlucky to get injured when he was coming into the mix in terms of selection so he’s got to fight his way back into that mindset of being a first team regular, and once he’s done that, then he has to keep producing displays.”
Up next at St James Park:
City take on Tranmere Rovers on Saturday, March 2 in a 3pm kick-off. Ticket prices are cheaper in advance. Click here to buy online.