Can City win the league? Yes, but it's not a safe bet
CAN City win the league? It was a question posed on Exeweb after the euphoric 3-1 victory over Plymouth Argyle.
It was met with some skepticism at the time, with another person posing the question could Exeter City win the FA Cup, just to poke fun at how stupid the whole idea of winning the league was.
However, three games on the whole scenario doesn't seem that far fetched at all – City at one stage on Tuesday night were a point clear at the top, with Chesterfield and Rochdale faltering.
However, like most people when asked three weeks ago if City could win the league, I would have said yes.
NEW FROM SYMPLY - a wet dog food in a tray freshly steamed with real meat and veg you can see minimum of 68% meat content up to 72% in the adult trays.
Terms: Come and try tray at introductory price of £1
Contact: 01271 440626
Valid until: Friday, January 31 2014
In fact all teams mathematically can still win the division, but if you are going to rule out sides on the notion that them now winning the division would take something extraordinary then Exeter City wouldn't be among those names.
Plymouth Argyle, Accrington Stanley and a Kevin Blackwell- managed Bury are teams you could have quite easily ruled out in August.
You could probably now add Northampton, Bristol Rovers, Cheltenham and a couple of others to that list. One side you wouldn't put on there now though is Hartlepool – they are going great and if I'm not ruling out them, then I'm certainly not ruling out City.
The question has to be will City win the league? If given £100 and told that I had to put it on who I thought would win League Two this season, would I back Exeter City?
And the answer to that is no. I have said before that an injury-free City are more than capable of getting promoted and are genuine contenders for a top three spot.
But let's not get carried away, if City had lost on Tuesday night they would be in sixth place.
They have had a good start, but with a small squad and the inability to strengthen it in January means sides like Chesterfield and Fleetwood have an upper hand in that respect. Just look at how that helped the likes of Bradford City, Rotherham and Port Vale when they added to their squads at the halfway stage last season.
But having ruled out City as my best bet for the title, I look around and don't really see anyone worth putting my money on.
After 13 games last season Gillingham had built up a 10-point lead over third placed-Fleetwood, with Port Vale in second only three points behind.
There were two real title contenders – but that isn't the case this campaign.
At the start of the season I was quick to rule out 6/1 favourites Portsmouth. Second favourites Fleetwood, in fifth, might still look like a good bet. They have plenty of money, but they under-achieved last year under rookie boss Graham Alexander and I expect the same to happen again.
Chesterfield look good at the start of the campaign, but their problems are the same as Fleetwood's.
Paul Cook is slightly more experienced than Alexander but he failed in his task with getting them promoted last season and, with their recent wobble, there is a reasonable chance he'll do it again.
Getting a good manager in is the most important appointment a chairman will make.
And I'm surprised the chairman of these clubs spend so much on their playing squads and little on getting in an experienced boss.
"Good managers, make good sides," as Brian Clough once said. "There's no such thing as a side making a good manager."
Which brings me nicely onto league leaders Rochdale.
They don't have the same budget as the likes of Chesterfield and Fleetwood, but they have a manager in Keith Hill who got the club promoted from this division in 2009/10.
They got relegated the season before last but having had a season to find their feet, and re-appoint Hill as boss, they had to be an outside bet at the start of the season and look a very good bet now.
But I guess if you turned that around and asked a Rochdale fan what they thought of Exeter City, they'd probably say: "They have a manager in Paul Tisdale, who has got them promoted from this division the season before, they got relegated the season before last but having had a season to regroup they have started well. They look a good bet."
So in conclusion I think what I'm trying to say is if you have a spare £100, City are as good a bet as anybody.
But with the league so tight and unpredictable at the moment, make sure you get good odds.