Stewart believes insider knowledge will count for little on return to Exeter City
Former Exeter City striker Marcus Stewart does not believe his insider knowledge of the Grecians will give Bristol Rovers the edge in Saturday’s Westcountry derby.
The ex-Sunderland forward left City in the summer to become the Pirates’ development coach, after spending four years playing and coaching at St James’s Park.
Yet Stewart said the unpredictable nature of Paul Tisdale’s tactics and team selection mean it is hard to know how any information he has on the Grecians can be used.
“Regardless of what I know, Paul Tisdale is very unpredictable in the way he plays,” Stewart said.
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“He could play three at the back on Saturday – he may surprise you with something or he might not, that’s the way Tis is.
“You know Exeter are going to try to pass the ball and at some point they will control the game and look to dictate the tempo, that’s one of their strengths, but Tis is unpredictable so we will have to be careful.”
Rovers go into this weekend second from bottom in npower League Two, having failed to win a game so far this season.
Yet Stewart believes his side have got a good chance to break that run at St James’s Park, having seen the Pirates put in improved performances against Fleetwood Town and Plymouth Argyle in recent weeks.
The Bristolian, who scored nine goals in 85 appearances for the Grecians, is also looking forward to returning to his old club, although he has come up against City several times already this season in his new role with the Pirates.
Stewart, who started his career at the Memorial Ground, said: “It will be nice to come back. I spent a long time at the club, but I have been back a few times already with development games. This will be the third time in the last two months.
“I don’t know why we haven’t got results this season. But the lads aren’t feeling sorry for themselves, we are training well, have got good team spirit and there is a very positive mood around.
“I’m enjoying myself, there is a lot more to come from the team, there’s no doubt about that, and there’s a good chance we will see that on Saturday.”
One man Rovers will have to stop if they are to get a result at St James’s Park is City top scorer and former Pirates favourite Jamie Cureton.
The six-goal striker still lives in the Bristol area, as do a number of City players, and so admits he has extra motivation to pile the misery on the side he grew up supporting.
Cureton said: “I’m surprised at their poor start. They were one of the sides tipped to go up. Something’s not right there at the moment, I don’t know what, they are not winning games. I’m sure they will turn it around.
“I hope we will keep them where they are this weekend, but after that I wish them all the best. There are a few of us based near Bristol – Kevin [Amankwaah] and Tommy [Doherty] are Bristol City boys and Danny [Coles] has played for both so he gets stick from both sets of fans.
“The City boys will want to turn Rovers over because they will have mates who support City, and when you live in the city it is nice to walk around when you have won a game against one of the sides.
“It’s easier to take stick if you have won. I won’t want to go out if we get beaten.
“It would be nice to get the win and maybe I will pop to the shops and see if I can spot a few Rovers fans afterwards.”