OPINION: A fruitful October will show City are capable of progress
AS I have mentioned before the word 'promotion' isn't one you hear often when interviewing players and management at Exeter City this season.
You will hear them talking about wanting to progress as a team, rather than setting any aims for a top three finish.
So perhaps, having only just signed, Danny Butterfield hadn't read the script when he told reporters, ahead of Saturday's match with Newport County, that he thought the club had a good chance of getting promoted.
You can understand why management at City are trying to keep a lid on expectation levels, having come so close to promotion last season only to miss out, but it was refreshing to hear Butterfield's viewpoint especially as he already has a number of promotions on his CV.
Having watched from the stands on Saturday as City fell to a disappointing 2-0 defeat to Newport County, you get the feeling Butterfield's view won't have changed that much.
City, as they have done in every game this season, where competitive for large parts of the match but had a 30-minute spell, this time at the start of the second half, when they were second best.
I actually thought for the first 20 minutes City were the better side and had Alan Gow managed to put away one of his shots from the edge of the box or John O'Flynn been awarded the penalty he deserved then, having got the first goal, the match would have been completely different.
However, you do wonder what the assessment of City's promotion prospects might be at the end of October?
If you include the trip to Fleetwood, this Saturday, then it is a tough looking month.
I have to say I thought City's start to the season looked a relatively easy one on paper.
At the start of the campaign, I thought the trip away to Northampton looked a tricky tie, but other than that they weren't facing a team that had finished in the top half of League Two last season in their first nine games. Of course you can't always judge games like that. As it panned out Northampton don't appear to be the same side they were last season and AFC Wimbledon look a lot more formidable. City got victories in both and you would probably say the Northampton win was still the trickier one to achieve.
But there is little doubt that the next six games will be tough to get results from.
Fleetwood are on the back of four straight wins and appear to be a stronger side this season, than last, with Graham Alexander having a summer to bring in his own players.
Plymouth, while struggling in the bottom half of the table, is always a more difficult match for City just because it is a derby.
Hartlepool is the one exception – a solitary league win against Accrington doesn't suggest they will pose too much of a threat at the Park – but following that City face consecutive away matches at Scunthorpe and Oxford United, both in the space of four days.
That double header reminds me of last winter when City had to travel to Bradford City, on Saturday, November 17, and then to league leaders Gillingham the following Tuesday.
November was City's month of death, one in which their aspiration could have been severely dented with Rotherham and Fleetwood also thrown into the mix.
However, City managed to come through relatively unscathed losing just one and winning three of the five games.
This time October is the problematic month, but if they can pick up a similar points total then we might get a few more players dreaming of a return to League One. Although I fully expect them, and probably even Butterfield by that point, to be telling reporters they are aiming for progress.