Danny Coles backing midfield star to shine for Exeter City this season
Captain Danny Coles believes that midfielder Liam Sercombe could hold they key to Exeter City’s chances of success this season.
Sercombe has made a storming start to the new campaign with three outstanding performances for the Grecians in their games against Bristol Rovers, Queen’s Park Rangers and Mansfield Town.
The 23-year-old, a born and bred Exonian, saw his campaign ended prematurely last year when he broke his ankle in the 2-2 draw with Barnet in December. But now, he is playing better than ever before and Coles is convinced that if Sercombe can maintain that level, he can help the Grecians to glory this season.
“I think he is looking really sharp,” Coles said. “He’s worked so hard all through the dead season and in pre-season and I think he’s as sharp as he is ever going to be at the moment.
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“Credit to him because he has worked his toe off in the summer and he will only get stronger. Hopefully he can stay fit, which is the main thing.
“I have played with Liam for a few years now and I don’t think I have seen him as good as this. I think the start he has had to the season has been very good and this is a big season for him.
“Without a doubt there is a player in there and a very good player as well and as I said, if he can stay clear of injuries, I think he will be a very big player for us this season.”
Coles added: “The opportunity is there for Liam. He is in a team where he is going to play week in week out and he has to make sure that he grabs that chance.
“His attitude is spot on, it is exactly what you want and he keeps going, even when the chips are down.
“We also have some very good midfielder’s in there that he can learn off like Tommy Doherty with regards to the passing and his competitive side. As long as he is willing to learn and listen to people, then he has a good chance.”
Coles was speaking after the Grecians had drawn their second league game of the season 0-0 at League Two newcomers Mansfield Town. On paper, a point doesn’t seem a bad return at the home of the Conference champions, who romped to the title by winning 20 of their last 23 games earlier this year.
But a disappointed Coles felt City should have won the game. “We were pleased with the clean sheet, obviously. It is the first clean sheet of the season so there is something to build on with regards to that, but it was probably points dropped,” he said.
“I think we did enough to win the game, bar putting the ball in the back of the net.
“They were very simple with the way they played, we knew what to expect and we dealt with everything they had. It was all long ball and they were a typical League Two side I suppose.”
One of the major concerns for Exeter this season is who will get their goals following the departure of last season’s 21-goal top scorer Jamie Cureton. On Saturday, John O’Flynn missed a great chance to open his account for the campaign, but like many of City’s other chances on the day, the Irishman failed to test the Mansfield goalkeeper.
“I just think we need to take our chances,” Coles said. “We had a couple of chances on Saturday and on another day, I think we would have stuck them in the back of the net.
“We probably played the ball too much in the air to Sam Parkin from wider positions, but he’s been outstanding for us every since he has come here. Long may that continue, we need players running off him more and taking a gamble here and there and running inside of defenders, which David Wheeler is very good at doing.”
The Grecians now have a free week before their next game when AFC Wimbledon arrive at St James’ Park.
The match is being branded as Brazil day by the club with anyone that has a Brazilian passport being admitted to the game for free.