Severity of Matt Oakley injury made Paul Tisdale swoop for Matt Gill
Paul Tisdale revealed that the severity of Matt Oakley’s ankle injury forced him to bring Matt Gill back to Exeter City in a loan deal.
The Bristol Rovers midfielder has been told he has no future at the Memorial Stadium by the Pirates’ boss, John Ward, and he jumped at the opportunity to link up with Tisdale and the Grecians some four years since he left for Norwich City.
“Matt Oakley is going to be out well into the New Year, unfortunately,” Tisdale said. “It transpired that his ankle is not a simple injury and it is going to be a while.
“I needed someone to come in that knew how we play and would be a straight sort of replacement, as it were. The opportunity was there.
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“We signed Matt Gill on Friday morning. He hasn’t played too much football in the last year, so we shouldn’t expect too much of him too soon. But he will be a very useful addition to the squad and it brings the numbers back up again.”
Gill came on as a substitute at Scunthorpe United on Saturday, with Exeter already three goals in front. He slotted straight into that familiar midfield role of his in front of the back four and helped see out the game, with Exeter adding to their tally in stoppage time to claim a 4-0 win.
“He is one of the best defensive midfield players that we have had at the club,” Tisdale said. “Certainly since I’ve been involved with the club. His positional play and his talking is excellent.
“It was an ideal opportunity for him and he is a master at that defensive role, he filled all the right spots and he was a fantastic player to bring on in that situation.
“People will look at his ability to pass the ball, but his stand-out ability for me is his defensive play.”
As for the game itself, Tisdale admitted that the 4-0 scoreline perhaps flattered his side. Liam Sercombe (two), Arron Davies and Sam Parkin got the goals and the City manager had some sympathy for Scunthorpe counterpart, Brian Laws.
“It was a fantastic result and it’s all about whether you score more than the opposition, which we did,” Tisdale said. “I happen to think they [Scunthorpe] look a really good team and I don’t think 4-0 does them justice, but that’s football. We were on the wrong end of it last week [against Hartlepool United] and the correct end today.
“I suppose what gave us the platform was our defending. We had to be patient, we covered the right areas and we were tough in our own box. They were a good side and we had to be focused. Our capacity to concentrate and be tough defensively was very good.
“They got on top after the first 15 minutes and there weren’t too many times where we put passes together and moved them about. When we did, it opened up for us.”
Scunthorpe never gave in and, even at 3-0, you felt that Exeter had not won the game as the Iron continued to create chances and attack with promise. Tisdale said: “It was a very long 30 minutes, because one goal can quickly become two and two can quickly become three. We know that from Oldham [where City fought back from 3-0 down] a few years ago.
“I was just looking at those five-minute slots – could we get to 20 minutes [to go], could we get to 15, could we get to ten. At five minutes, I finally felt comfortable!
“I am sure they [Scunthorpe] will be disappointed with the number of shots they had, but we are good at playing like that. It is tough on them and great for us. We didn’t get too down last week when we lost and we won’t get too pleased. It’s three points and we move on to Oxford on Tuesday.”