Captain Coles ready to pick up the pace in Exeter's push for promotion
Captain Danny Coles says it is time to stop ruing missed opportunities which could cost Exeter City promotion from npower League Two.
Whenever the Grecians have got themselves into a promising position this season, they have tended not to build on it, such as on Monday, when they missed the chance to go third by losing 1-0 to Torquay United in a Devon derby.
That game – and a number of others, especially on home soil, this campaign – left Coles a hugely frustrated figure and he has called on his team-mates to raise their game ahead of tomorrow's home clash with Aldershot Town.
"I see a few games as a missed opportunity," City's straight-talking skipper said. "Barnet at home [when City let a 2-0 lead slip to draw 2-2], Plymouth at home [which finished 1-1 after the Grecians had again taken the lead], are both games where we got a point, but I see them as two points dropped.
"The other night was three points dropped, without a doubt, and even the game at Torquay [which finished 1-1] was two points dropped. We need to put that right.
"We can talk about the negatives, but we have also only lost one game in seven games, so we have been on a good run. But now it's time to get the wheels turning again and start another run."
Aldershot arrive in Devon off the back of a heartbreaking FA Cup loss to Championship promotion-chasers Middlesbrough last weekend. Then, they equalised in the 89th minute before conceding a goal in stoppage time to bow out at the fourth-round stage.
Dean Holdsworth's side were beaten 2-1 by City at the Recreation Ground back in August, but they gained some revenge for that loss with a penalty shoot-out win at St James' Park in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy a few weeks later. They are currently 21st in League Two and only two points off the foot of the table. Not that Coles is taking much notice of where they sit.
"You look at Bristol Rovers, they went and won at Fleetwood and Rotherham back-to-back, so it goes to show you what this league is about," he said. "On their day, most teams can beat anyone, but we know we can beat any team in this league as well.
"We have done all right against Aldershot this year, so we will be looking to beat them on Saturday, without a doubt.
"I think they have quite a different side to when we played them last and I think they have improved a bit since we played them.
"It will be a difficult game and they are scrapping for points, but we need the points as well if we want to get ourselves up the table. We'll be scrapping even harder.We are looking forward to it. It's another good game for us to have. It was disappointing that we lost on Monday, but there were plenty of positives for us to take from the game anyway. I'm looking forward to Saturday."
Jamie Cureton netted both of Exeter's goals in that win in Hampshire, the first two of 16 he has scored for the Grecians this season. With John O'Flynn out with a hamstring injury, many were surprised not to see him start against the Gulls, but Coles refused to be drawn on the issue.
"You'll have to ask the manager about the formation. He makes the decisions and picks the team and that is his prerogative," Coles said. "Everyone has to respect that.
"Any time he [Cureton] plays, he makes a difference. He's such a threat in behind, his movement is first class and he does make a big difference.
"He looked like a likely scorer on Monday night when he came on, without a doubt."
Meanwhile, it was a quiet day on the transfer front yesterday with no movement in or out of St James' Park.
Elliott Frear extended his loan spell at Salisbury City until the end of the season but that was as far as any activity went, much to manager Paul Tisdale's delight.
"Fortunately, there were no offers for any of our players and sadly, there was no opportunity to bring anyone in," he said. "It hasn't been an issue, to be honest."