Rob Edwards wary of the physical threat posed by Boothroyd's side
Rob Edwards feels it is imperative that Exeter City do not become embroiled in the physical aspect of taking on Northampton Town at St James' Park today and focus on playing their own game instead.
Aidy Boothroyd's side have barged their way to fourth place in npower League Two with their robust style of play and that method proved effective earlier in the season when they beat the Grecians 3-0 at Sixfields.
Exeter simply could not deal with their physical and aerial threat that day and it left manager Paul Tisdale bemoaning his side's defensive performance.
They can expect similar today with set plays, high balls and long throws Northampton's main attacking source, but Edwards feels Exeter will prevail if they can stamp their game on the guests instead.
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"Northampton are very good at what they do and whether you like that style of football or not, it is hard to play against, but when you are a football side, you have to go and stand up against them," Edwards said. "It is tough, but you have to believe in what you do as a team and the players are going to have to stay strong, no matter what happens.
"No matter how well we play, we know we are going to get it from them. You are guaranteed those long throws coming into our box and if you don't defend those properly, you can be on the end of a poor result, so the players have it all to do. They are under no illusions, it will be a tough game.
"I think it's about us believing in our brand of football and the fans sticking with it and believing in what Paul Tisdale teams are about.
"If we go and match them with how they play, I think they win the game, so I think it is important we play to our strengths and go with the plan."
To draw a comparison, Northampton are to League Two what Stoke City are to the Premier League. They are very effective in what they do and their style is aided by a number of players over 6ft.
Among those is the former Torquay United centre forward Adebayo Akinfenwa, whose goal against the Grecians earlier this season was one of 16 he has scored so far this season.
"I think it is obvious to everyone what his strengths are, but you have to be clever," Edwards added. "We have a saying at the club where we have to be 'street wise' on the pitch.
"I imagine that will be playing a couple of yards from Akinfenwa and playing loose, but there will come a time where the ball is above Akinfenwa and you have to go and put your head on it.
"Pat Baldwin and Danny Coles have been superb over the past three or four weeks and the challenge is there for them. I suppose my job as a coach is to remind them what they are going to get and see if they can deal with the challenge."
City go into the game buoyed by their fine 2-0 win at Port Vale on Tuesday and having won 2-0 in their last outing on home soil against Accrington Stanley.
Northampton will pose a more difficult threat than Stanley though, but with the big games coming thick and fast, Edwards feels the players are relishing the challenge.
"We are playing all the teams that are up there in March and it will be an exciting time," he said. "As a player, I think you look forward to the bigger games, don't you? You go into the games and there are more people in the ground, they are going for something and they are great to play in.
"I think the players are looking forward to playing at the moment. I know they were disappointed with the result at Burton, but I think they took that into the game on Tuesday and started with a real determination."
The Grecians have no fresh injury worries, but Tisdale will be forced to make one change to the side that beat Port Vale as Mark Molesley serves the first game of a three-match ban.
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).