Coles seeking retribution for Exeter's Rovers defeat
Exeter City's 2-1 defeat to Bristol Rovers earlier this season still hurts Danny Coles, but tonight the Grecians' skipper is looking to right the wrongs of that defeat when the two sides meet at the Memorial Stadium.
The Devon team dominated large chunks of that game, but shot themselves in the foot, with two poor errors gifting Rovers both of their goals.
It is something that still rankles City's 31-year-old skipper, who hopes for better fortune against his former employers tonight – and the points that would take Exeter up to third place in npower League Two.
"I just want to put the result right from when they beat us earlier in the season. Simple as that," Coles said. "I have no hard feelings against the club whatsoever. I am going back there in a professional capacity and I want to take the three points and wish them luck after that.
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"It was a game typical of us at that time where they got two goals from our own mistakes and I think they were the only opportunities that they had.
"It's something that we want to put right because that is one result that hurt us. We are looking at those games from earlier in the season and want to put them right."
Coles' angst from the disappointment of previous failings stems from his personal frustrations that Exeter are not higher in the league. The former Hull City, Bristol City and Rovers player likes to study the league table and knows that such slip-ups earlier this campaign have cost the Grecians points which could have seen them much higher in the division.
Yet Coles still believes that, if Exeter can play to their potential, they are still in with a shout of not just automatic promotion this season, but silverware as well.
"One of the boys said after the win on Saturday about third place, but I said those top three places are still there, simple as that," he said. "Gillingham still have to come here and we have a lot of good games coming up.
"I think there is everything to play for in that top three, without a shadow of a doubt.
"If we want to get promoted and do something this year, we have to beat the better teams in the league. We will be looking to take Saturday's result into the Bristol Rovers game, they are doing really well now and did us a favour by beating Burton on Saturday, so hopefully we can turn them over. It will be a really difficult game, but we will prepare right for it and are looking forward to it."
Indeed, Rovers should not be taken lightly. They have improved considerably since the appointment of John Ward as manager and last Saturday's win was against a Burton Albion side who beat Exeter 4-2 only seven days previously.
"John Ward has come in and he's a good manager, isn't he? He's got them organised and they are hard working and they seem to know what they are doing," Coles added.
"I am sure they will have watched us and will set up to try and frustrate us, but we will have a game-plan and we will look to do that when we go there looking to get the three points."
Exeter go into the game off the back of a superb 3-0 win over Northampton Town last Saturday, which was arguably the Grecians' best performance on home soil this season. Despite the win, though, Coles was unhappy with certain sections of the home support for their tongue-in-cheek rendition of 'how bad must you be, we're winning at home' after City went in front.
"The performance was very good, but I don't think you'd have thought that going by what the supporters were singing," he said. "We don't really appreciate what they were singing in the first half when we were winning and I think at times, they have to back us a little bit better.
"We need to make St James' Park a fortress and singing songs against the players is going to have the opposite effect, unfortunately."
Coles is one of a number of players – and coaches – within the Exeter ranks to have connections with Bristol. He still lives in the city, along with Tommy Doherty, Kevin Amankwaah and Jamie Cureton, whom he travels to and from training with.
"It's good for us as it saves us a trip down [to Exeter], so it's like a home game for us," he joked. "People can make what they want of it, but to me, it is just another game."
Exeter City (from): Krysiak, Evans; Tully, Woodman, Bennett, Baldwin, Coles, Oakley, Cureton, Davies, Doherty, Amankwaah, O'Flynn, Bauza, Keohane, Molesley, Dawson, Moore-Taylor, Gosling, Micklewright, Roper.
Unavailable: Sercombe (ankle), Gow (ankle), Anderson (unknown), Molesley (suspended), Chamberlain, Wannell, Tillson, Jagger Cane (out on loan).