Pat Baldwin knows Exeter City will be hard at work during break from matches
There may be almost two weeks before their next game, but there will be no let-up for the players and coaching staff at Exeter City.
After a gruelling run of fixtures – the Grecians have played nine times since October 20 – Exeter have a mini-break after their participation in this season’s FA Cup ended at the first hurdle, with a 1-0 defeat at Bury leaving them inactive when the second round is played this weekend.
A number of their players are carrying knocks but, instead of giving players time off to recuperate and recharge their batteries ahead of a hectic December, manager Paul Tisdale had the Grecians back in training yesterday as the build-up to the npower League Two trip to Rochdale on December 8 begins.
“You could say it is nice to have a break but, when you lose a game, you want to get out there and play straight away,” said City defender Pat Baldwin, who needed stitches in a head wound after the 1-0 home defeat to Rotherham United last Saturday.
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“It is good to have a break and have a rest because we have a small squad but, at the same time, we want to crack on and get going for the games we have coming up.
“We are in all week training as normal and we will possibly have next weekend off, but then we are back in training the following week.
“It is on the training pitch where you improve yourselves as individuals and improve as a team, so we will be back in as normal.”
After the Rochdale game, the Grecians have Devon derbies with Plymouth Argyle at St James’ Park on December 15 (noon kick-off) and Torquay United (Plainmoor, December 22, 3pm) to look forward to.
“A lot of people have been telling me about these games and I love a good derby,” Baldwin added. “If the weather is like it was on Saturday, then it will be fantastic, but we just want to go into every game looking to win, like we normally do and hopefully we will do well.”
Saturday’s defeat to Rotherham was frustrating for Baldwin and his team-mates, who went into the game looking to build on excellent wins at Bradford City and League leaders Gillingham in the week preceding the clash.
The game was settled by a set-piece three minutes before half-time when Ian Sharps headed in at the near post to seal the points for the Millers.
Exeter had plenty of possession after the break, but could not turn that into chances, although they were not helped by a Rotherham side intent on killing time.
“We showed a good response to the losing spell we were on, but we are really disappointed because we really felt we could have kept the run going after the last few results,” Baldwin declared.
“It was a tight game and it could have gone either way. It felt as though, if it was going to go one way, a goal would come from a scrappy set-piece, and that was what happened.
“In the second half, they sat in and tried to defend their lead. They were trying to play for time after about five minutes, but they had every right to do that, they had to defend their lead.
“It was frustrating we couldn’t get a goal, but I thought the effort from the lads was different class, considering the week we had.
“It is frustrating when a team does play for time, but we have to find a way of combating that. At the moment, we are not creating enough at home, which is disappointing, but I’m sure the coaching staff we have will be working hard in the week to try and improve us.”
Rotherham manager Steve manager Steve Evans paid tribute to the Grecians, after his side’s success at the weekend. He was well pleased to see the Millers see off Exeter, after City’s wins on the road against Bradford City and League Two leaders Gillingham last week.
The Scotsman said: “It was a big win against a good team that we respect in Exeter, who have beaten Bradford away, which is tough, and gone to the league leaders and thoroughly deserved to win there. We did well and worked really hard.”