Kevin Amankwaah ready for Exeter City challenge
Kevin Amankwaah is hoping that Exeter City can take advantage of the fact they are playing many of their promotion rivals in the coming weeks and pull clear of the play-off pack in npower League Two.
The Grecians travel to third-placed Burton Albion tomorrow before a tough examination at Port Vale, who are second. But with ten away wins already this season, Amankwaah and his team-mates fear no one and hope to continue that fine form to keep up City's hopes of automatic promotion.
"We had the chance to hang on to third spot against Torquay, but it didn't go to plan," Amankwaah said. "Now, we are playing a lot of teams in and around us and hopefully, we will see ourselves pull away, so we will see how it goes.
"We have Burton on Saturday and then Port Vale on Tuesday and we know they are strong. They came to us and won 2-0, they had a game plan and it worked well for them on the day, but we feel we had chances to win that game, it just didn't go our way.
"They are a good team, but it showed last week that they can lose at home [the Valiants lost 1-0 to Morecambe] and we are hopeful that we can do that to them again.
"We have been so strong on the road this year. We go into both games feeling really confident."
Before the trip to the Potteries though, Amankwaah returns to Burton for the first time since he left the club in December 2011 after making eight appearances. Since then, the Brewers have replaced Paul Peschisolido as manager with Gary Rowett and they are perhaps this season's surprise package and currently lie third.
"I am looking forward to going back a lot," he said. "I had a good four months there and did really well while I was there, so it will be nice to go back and play against some old team-mates.
"There are quite a few that are still there, although a lot have moved on, but five or six still remain.
"They have done really well. They have really good home form at the moment and that is holding them in good stead. Their away form has picked up as well in recent weeks, so it should be a good game.
"They won quite handsomely away from home [4-0 at Fleetwood] like we did against Morecambe and we have to be on our guard because they are in good form."
The Brewers' home form is the reason for their success so far this season. Their 11 wins at the Pirelli Stadium is matched only by Northampton, but with Exeter in club-record breaking away form, then something will have to give in Staffordshire tomorrow.
"We have that game in hand against them, so it will be good to beat them and still have that to our advantage and we will be going all out to get the win," Amankwaah said.
"It's really close, we won the other night and went up to third and we have dropped down to seventh without playing a game. It's really tight and every win is vital at the moment.
"Our next few games are all against our promotion rivals, so it should be an exciting few weeks for Exeter. I really relish and enjoy this part of the season, we are in a good bit of form at the moment and it would be good to take that into our games and take points off our rivals."
Indeed, the games get no easier for Exeter in March. They play seven times and every game will have an impact at either end of the table with clashes against promotion rivals Northampton, Fleetwood, Gillingham, Bradford and Rotherham.
Exeter also face tricky away games against Bristol Rovers and Plymouth Argyle who both need the points in their battle to stay in the division.
"We don't have the biggest of squads, but we have shown that we have players that can come in and play well," Amankwaah said. "Gozzy [Jake Gosling] came in last week and did well on the left wing and we feel we have strength in all areas of the pitch.
"So long as we can keep everyone fit and happy. There are 14 games to go and keeping everyone fit will be vital."