Manager Matt Taylor says the Exeter City players are relishing the chance to play in front of a full house at St James Park this Saturday.
The Grecians take on Plymouth Argyle in the Devon derby, with tickets selling out for the match nearly two weeks ago. It is the first time a Devon derby has sold out in advance since the 1980s and Matt says that reflects how well both teams have started this season.
“I think it is the magnitude of the game at the moment,” he said. “It is two teams that a lot of people think will be challenging at the right end of the table come the end of the season.
“Plus, we have not played them for a while. We didn’t play them last season. So, it is a reintroduction back into that type of fixture. It is great for us that the stadium is sold out. Hopefully, all those fans coming to the game on Saturday can behave in the right manner and enjoy a good game of football.”
St James Park has been redeveloped since the last Devon derby was held in Exeter. So, it will be the first time all four corners of the new stadium have been full and Matt says that is something the players are excited to see.
“It will be brilliant,” he said. “Days like this, at the Park, when it is full and the Big Bank is bouncing, is what you look forward to. It is pressure moments as players, as a manager and as a group of staff but that is why you go to work in terms of football.
“That is what you are in the game for. You want to play in front of a lot of people and play in front of a full house in big games where there is a real prize at stake. And, hopefully, the players can step forward and put in a real performance that fits the game.”
City go into the match though on the back of two away defeats, while Plymouth are full of confidence having won their last two fixtures at Home Park.
So, does Matt think those contrasting forms will have any part to play come Saturday at 1pm?
“Everything plays its part,” he said. “However, you will only know by 3pm on Saturday how much. We were disappointed with our own performance at Cambridge. Tuesday night (at Scunthorpe) there wasn’t too much wrong.
“We were on the end of a great strike in terms of the opening goal and then got back in the game really well but just defended a couple of big moments poorly.
“We still had a bit of luck against us in terms of a disallowed goal and a scale of performance we created chances and we were in that game, so it is one for us to learn from.
“I was disappointed last weekend and I can’t hide that fact, but I think the players understood that their performance levels have been better this season and when you drop off a certain standard you get punished, no matter who you are playing against.
“Does form go out of the window, because it is a derby game? I am not so sure, but it certainly is a game everybody seems ready for and is looking forward to.”