Tisdale admits last season's away form will be hard to repeat
Exeter City make their first trip to Mansfield Town since December 2001 today – and a repeat of that Friday night success would be a fine return against the reigning Conference champions.
A Barry McConnell penalty shortly after half-time was all that separated the two sides almost 12 years ago. Needless to say, the two teams on show today with be completely different, but having entered the league as Conference champions, manager Paul Tisdale is well aware of the threat they pose to his side.
“It will be new opposition for us,” Tisdale said. “We have had a brief look at them as we always do with any opposition, but essentially, it is a new team and a new challenge for us and something we are not that familiar with, so I’d be lying if I said we are totally au fait with their manager, their players, their system
“I suppose it will be learning experience and one which I hope we will win and get a result from.
NEW IN : for those cold winter nights highland check dog and cat beds in stock, fleecy and washable ideal for those nights snuggling by the fire...... available in 3 colourways
Contact: 01271 440626
Valid until: Saturday, January 25 2014
“Ourselves, Stevenage, Crawley and a number of others over the years have gone on to get another promotion, so there is no reason that we should look at Mansfield and think they will be easy opponents, because they won’t be. They will be difficult opponents and they won the Conference championship, so they will be a force to be reckoned with, I’m sure.
“They are playing at home now; obviously they played away at Scunthorpe on the opening day of the season and that is by no means an easy game. It is their first home game back in the Football League, so I am sure they will be very motivated for it.”
Field Mill may be of novel value to those travelling for the first time, but Tisdale does have one experience of the Stags and their impressive headquarters, which dates back to 2002.
“I have only been there once before,” he said. “When I was at Team Bath, we played them in the first round of the FA Cup in 2002, so I went there to watch them in a game against Colchester a week before we played them in the FA Cup.”
This will be Exeter’s first away trip of the season and if the benchmark for away form has been set at last season’s achievements, then it is pretty high. Eleven wins from 23 was a new club record for a single campaign and Tisdale admits it is a tough act to follow.
“It won’t be that easy. I have made adjustments to try and improve the home form, so by definition, that might alter the away form, I’m assuming,” he said. “We will have to try and achieve results in a different way and a new format with a bit of freshness to the side. Nothing has been proved yet this season with this team.
“We would love to win a dozen games away from home this season, but I will be happy to come even close to that.”
Tisdale also raised concerns that his players are not 100 per cent into their stride yet this campaign following defeat to Queen’s Park Rangers on Tuesday.
“We want to get through a season, I want to build the team over the course of a season and it is a marathon,” he said.
“We don’t want to go off too soon – we want to win every game, of course we do – but the weather has been so hot with the pitch so hard and it has been quite a fierce pre-season for the effects on the body.
“Maybe we are ten per cent down on where we would like to be, but we are not far away.
“I certainly don’t want to peak in the third or fourth week of pre-season, we want to get the team up and running and competitive and we can improve as we go through”
Exeter City (from): Krysiak, Pym; Woodman, Bennett, Baldwin, Coles, Sercombe, Oakley, Gow, Davies, Doherty, Moore-Taylor, Dawson, Reid, O’Flynn, Nichols, Gosling, Keohane, Wannell, Jagger Cane, Parkin, Tillson, Anderson, Grimes, Chamberlain, Wheeler.