Exeter City captain Jake Taylor was pleased to get back into the first day of pre-season, with a number of new faces at the club.
Goalkeeper Lewis Ward, who knows Jake from his time at Reading Academy, has joined along with midfielder Nigel Atangana and defender Tom Parkes. Added to that five new faces have joined Matt Taylor’s backroom staff with Steve Hale coming in as a goalkeeping coach, Dan Feasey and Gareth Law joining as physios, Conor Durbridge being appointed as a strength and conditioning coach and Matthew Higgins taking on the role of club secretary.
Jake says it is important all of these people buy into the ethos of Exeter City, which he thinks they have.
“We have got a good group of boys here and a good group of staff,” he said. “Seeing them on the first day, it is good to see that they have all bought into what this club is about and we are all looking forward to being together and pushing forward this season.
“I think whoever you sign down here, they have got to buy into whatever the club is about. I think if you are a nice person and you are good on the pitch, you earn respect straight away. They all seem like really nice boys and, hopefully, they can fit in well and do well for this club.”
The previous two summers, the City players haven’t had much of a close-season break with the campaigns extended by appearances in back-to-back play-off finals. However, this summer they had more time off. Jake admitted, while it was a good thing in some respects, he was itching to get back and see his teammates.
“To have a little bit longer off with your family and rest up before the start of the season is, obviously, a good thing,” he said.
“You try and fit in as much as you can but then I think the last few weeks you are looking forward to coming back and getting started again.
“Like I have said many times we have got a really good group here. I stay in contact with them throughout the close season to see how everyone is enjoying themselves and it is a nice vibe as soon as you get back. It is like we haven’t been apart and it is really nice to come back and see everyone again.”
This pre-season City travel to Jersey, with the players flying out tomorrow (Tuesday) before playing a game against the Jersey FA on Friday. Asked if it was nice to get a change of scenery in what is expected to be a tough pre-season, Jake said: "Yes, we are really looking forward to it.
“It will be nice to go away. It will be good for the new boys coming in and good to go away and get some good work behind us going into the next few weeks.
“Pre-season is going to be tough wherever we go. It is important that it is predominantly about getting your fitness up for the start of the season.”
That season starts with a home game against Macclesfield Town – a side that beat City twice last year. So what did Jake make of the opening day fixture?
“It is nice to get a home game,” he said. “Obviously, we didn’t do too well against them last year so it is important that we put that right. We will be looking forward to going into that game at home, in front of all of our fans, but it is important that we have a good pre-season first and prepare for that game properly.”
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