💬 Matt Taylor: "We have to perform better than last week."

City boss Matt Taylor expects a tough test from a Mansfield Town side he called ‘early season favourites’ ahead of the Grecians’ trip to the One Call Stadium on Saturday.

Mansfield have drawn both of their league games so far this season, so like City will be looking to pick up their first win of the season, and Taylor says it will a challenge to pick up points against the Nottinghamshire side.

“They’ve recruited well and invested heavily in their squad so they have some outstanding players,” he said.

“We go there with the confidence of the Salford away game and we know that as the home team it’s up to Mansfield to make the run-in in the game.

“We have to perform better than last week. We know that it was a below par performance as a collective and there were too many individuals who were off their game, so we’re looking for a response to the home performance against Port Vale.

“We know what a challenge going to Mansfield is, irrelevant of the crowd being there or not. They are one of the early season favourites because of the standards they’ve set themselves, so it’ll be a game to relish and look forward to.”

City head north with a fully fit squad following a strong week of training, despite Tuesday’s friendly with Bristol Rovers being called off due to a COVID-19 positive test amongst the Gas’ side.

“We missed the friendly on Tuesday, so we’re short of match practice. We’ve had a good week on the training pitch though and we’ve tried to replicate that and reintroduce some bodies to the squad. We’ll certainly be stronger.”