Paul Tisdale refuses to grumble despite Exeter City's troubles
It is incredible how fortunes can change so quickly in football, and Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale is finding that to his cost this week.
Just two weeks ago, the Grecians’ boss passed comment on how nice it was to have a fully fit squad at his disposal.
Not only so he could pick a full-strength first XI, but a strong bench as well that would allow him the opportunity to bring players on, in accordance with the progress of the game.
That will most certainly not be the case on Saturday as the Grecians plan for a tough examination at a Fleetwood Town side strongly fancied for a promotion push from League Two. In fact, so serious is Exeter’s injury list that Tisdale – perhaps half-jokingly – said his kit would be on the coach that headed to the Lancashire seaside yesterday morning.
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“We are not looking great. It’s funny, two weeks ago at Northampton, we had everyone fit,” Tisdale said. “We had to work very hard into the game and I had choices off the bench that I could make.
“This might be a very different trip. Going into the game, we have had fitness doubts over Sam Parkin, Pat Baldwin, Liam Sercombe, Christy Pym, David Wheeler, Jake Gosling and Aaron Dawson and none of those players are guaranteed to be fit.
“It’s amazing how things can change so quickly, but, either way, I’m not going to complain because we have enough players who can get a result.
“It makes it very difficult and I made the point at Northampton about having everyone available. It is not just about the 11, it is about me turning round with 20 minutes to go and thinking do I make a tough decision, a defensive decision, a bold decision – whatever it may be.
“Whether the game is 1-1 or whatever, they are the big moments for a manager and I had that choice at Northampton and I had it against York at home as well.
“That is twice in the first half dozen games where I have had a full squad and I don’t remember that being the case too often in the past few years. Going away from home with doubts is pretty normal.”
Had the roles been reversed and it was Fleetwood manager Graham Alexander troubled by a lengthy injury list, then the affluent Cod Army would no doubt delve into their finances to fund a loan signing or two to cover the shortfall.
As is well known, Exeter do not possess such financial luxury, so it is to youngsters Tisdale will turn in the hope they can take the next step in their development.
You could not begrudge Tisdale from casting an envious eye at managers with richer resources than he, but it is not something that troubles him as he believes the Grecians benefit from strength elsewhere.
“They do, but it us not something I am going to grumble about,” he said. “I am more than happy to be manager of Exeter City and do business the way that we do it because we have plenty of strength in other areas, plenty of strength with the personalities we have within the squad, the youth coming through and the supporters. There is a lot of strength in our group. We all have our strengths and perceived weaknesses, “Fleetwood have theirs and they are a different type of club to manage for Graham Alexander, but I am more than happy to compete with anybody.”
Asked whether he would like the chance to spend money, Tisdale said: “One day. Why not? But I am not one to look too far ahead.
“It is about working with the right people and being comfortable with your colleagues and comfortable with the ethos of the football club, regardless of budget. It’s about maximising what you have and hitting targets which are possible and I think we do that.”
Exeter City (from): Krysiak, Pym; Woodman, Bennett, Baldwin, Coles, Sercombe, Oakley, Gow, Davies, Doherty, Moore-Taylor, Dawson, O’Flynn, Reid, Nichols, Gosling, Keohane, Wannell, Jagger-Cane, Parkin, Tillson, Grimes, Jay, Wheeler.
Doubtful: Parkin, Baldwin, Sercombe, Pym, Dawson, Gosling, Wheeler.
Unavailable: Chamberlain (on loan to Bath City).