Oakley believes City are primed to bounce back from midweek defeat
Matt Oakley is not dwelling on Exeter City's midweek defeat to Bristol Rovers and is backing his team-mates to respond to that disappointment at Fleetwood Town today.
The Grecians were beaten 2-0 by a Rovers side fighting to avoid the drop from npower League Two. But while the three points were a welcome boost in their battle to avoid the drop, they were a blow to Exeter's hopes of promotion with the Grecians missing the chance to push into the top three with a victory.
"We have looked at our statistics and our performances against the top teams had not been good enough," Oakley said. "But in the last two weeks, we have beaten Port Vale and Northampton, so we are addressing it.
"We bounced back really well after a defeat last time [when Exeter lost 4-2 to Burton Albion] with two wins and hopefully we can do that again.
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"I have never been to Fleetwood before and I am not looking forward to the journey, but I will be all right when we get there!
"I am sure we will be all right. We are in a good position in the league and we are a new team this year, We have gelled pretty well this and we are still in there with some decent games coming up.
"Hopefully, Fleetwood will try and play and it will be a decent football match because there wasn't much of that on Wednesday."
Indeed, the Grecians never really got going at the Memorial Stadium and Oakley, who has been in such superb form for Exeter since his return from injury, struggled to impose the kind of authority he had in City's wins at Port Vale and against Northampton.
That said, Oakley started in a more unfamiliar right-sided midfield role and it was no surprise to see him move infield when he became an isolated.
"After the result on Saturday, we were looking to put a nice little run together, but we came up against a side who are fighting for their lives and caused us a few problems really," he said.
"It was a difficult pitch because it was quite bobbly and whenever we did get anyone in space, we couldn't actually run with the ball.
"I just think there were too many of us that weren't on our games and we got punished with the two goals. Unfortunately, Artur [Krysiak] dropped one in there, but we have to move on and pick ourselves up for the game at Fleetwood."
While the defeat was disappointing one for the Grecians, Oakley believes that shock will stand Exeter in good stead for the long trek north. There was little time to work on anything on the training ground with the players off on Thursday and then setting off for today's game early yesterday morning.
Manager Paul Tisdale oversaw one training session at Lilleshall en route to the Lancashire coast today, but it has been more about rest and recuperation for the Grecians, who are in the midst of a run of two games a week.
"Sometimes defeats are not great for the fans that have travelled, but they do put you back in your place and you go back to doing those things that gets you the wins, which maybe you have lost a bit," Oakley said.
"Maybe we didn't do the basics very well at Bristol Rovers and our tidyness in our passing was not quite there. I don't think we really threatened their goalkeeper other than for a few set pieces and throw ins. Me and Jamie [Cureton] had a shot, but our forwards didn't get much service, so overall it wasn't a great performance from us.
"As I said, we were playing against a team that are fighting for their lives. Their fans got behind them and gave them the lift, but we will look to put that right on Saturday."
Tommy Doherty is Exeter's biggest injury concern after he was withdrawn against Rovers with a sore back. One of the few positives for Exeter to take from the game was a return to action for John O'Flynn, who is certain to be involved again today.
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).