Exeter City striker Ryan Bowman says he and the players have returned to training fighting fit and will be giving it their all on Thursday to get their play-off semi-final against Colchester off to a positive start.
Ryan, who scored 14 goals in the regular season, was on target the last time the two side met at the Colchester Community Stadium before the turn of the year, and he says while they can try and predict how their opponents might line-up on Thursday evening they will be very much concentrating on themselves.
“We have played them twice and we probably know them better than most clubs in the league, but we don’t like to concentrate too much on the opposition we just like to fully focus on ourselves,” he said. “We know kind of what to expect, but there could be injuries or they could have players test positive for covid-19. We just don’t know. So, we have just been going about the week, concentrating on ourselves and how we are going to go about the game and the different scenarios about what could happen and we are raring to go.
“I can’t wait for the games. All the players’ the spirits are high. Training has been really good quality and we just can’t wait for Thursday to give it everything we have got.”
The ability to hit the ground running has been helped by the work the players have done during the enforced break, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, and Ryan says once the players all got back together for training, such were the fitness levels of the squad, that most of the sessions were around ball work rather than running.
“When Boris Johnson and the government announced that you could go out to exercise once a day, we got given a program from the sports scientist at the football club,” explained Ryan. “We stuck to that and it was quite brutal to be honest. It was really tough and when we have come back it has been mostly ball work, because at home we have done the fitness work ourselves.”
Ryan also added it was nice to be back in training and see his teammates and with the measures that have been put in place by the club there is no worries with regards to player safety due to Covid-19 whilst at the training ground.
“Credit has to go to the staff, the management and everyone at the club, they have made our training ground as safe as it possibly could be,” said Ryan.
“They are working tirelessly throughout the day and night to make it as safe as it possible can be for us. We came in a week before everyone was back and we were doing individual bits with the coaches, keeping that two-metre distance, and then the following week we were all back in together. The spirits were really high and everyone just got on with the football side of things and now we are looking forward to the games.”
“Of course, it is nice to be back with the players,” added Ryan. “As much as a love my wife and my kids that is the only real people that I have been seeing and it has been the same for the majority of the squad.
“However, when we first got back into training and all the players were there. It was refreshing and it gave you a little lift. It was exciting. And when you spend the majority of the weeks and months of the season together you do miss your teammates, so it was good to be back.”
Ryan also had a message to the fans, who will not be able to attend the behind closed doors game, saying: “The main thing is people’s safety. That is why they have put the games on the TV for people to watch.
“The Exeter fans, I know, are really good people when you speak to them out of the ground and I don’t think we will get any people that will ruin that or go against the government guidelines. They will all stay at home and watch us and hopefully we will give them something to celebrate.
“We will give it our all, absolutely everything and leave nothing behind on the pitch and hopefully get where we want to be.”