Tisdale determined to make most of players' strengths in settled City side
One of the key strengths to this season's squad at Exeter City is its versatility and its ability to adapt during a game.
In recent games, it seems manager Paul Tisdale is changing formations and personnel more than ever – and to impressive effect.
Whether it be switching Scot Bennett from centre-half to centre-forward at Fleetwood Town, where he responded with both goals in Exeter's 2-1 win, or moving Arron Davies from right to left as was the case at Scunthorpe United last Saturday, you just do not know what Tisdale is going to do next.
Of course, you have to have the personnel blessed with the ability and football brain to cope with such change, but so far this season it is proving to be a useful weapon in Tisdale's armoury. "It is a huge benefit, but if our players were perfect players, there probably wouldn't be a need for me to make these sort of changes," he joked.
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"They all have strengths, which I try to get the most out of, and you can only really do it when you have a settled group of players.
"There are eight, nine, ten players that will, near enough, always be in the team and when you have that level of continuity through the principles within the team, the concept of how you play from one half to the next, you can alter. But you still have the same players in the team.
"I don't think you can do it if you are chopping and changing the players every week and the players respond very well. The key to it is making sure you don't make it difficult for certain players."
Tisdale added: "There are certain players that are very well acquainted with that level of versatility – Arron and Scot are the perfect example, they are very good all-round players and can cope with it."
It certainly gives his Exeter team an unpredictable persona which has so far been a huge advantage. However, it will be put to a stern test today by a Burton Albion side who fared well last year by reaching the League Two play-offs.
After a slow start to this season, the Brewers have begun to get into their stride and boast the second best away record in League Two with four wins from six so far, including victories at Chesterfield, Wycombe Wanderers and Fleetwood.
"They have a very good away record and they are a very well-organised, hard-working team," Tisdale said. "They know what they are doing, the play for each other and they have got a process about the way they play.
"We obviously know about the form they had last year and they seem to be rekindling that again and they need to be looked out for. I don't think they will be a pushover by any stretch of the imagination.
"Gary Rowett had a good year there last year, so he has built on that and there is continuity there. I am sure he is shrewd enough to know why they did well last year."
Exeter go into the game after a good week on the road that yielded four points from two away games. Scunthorpe were beaten 4-0 before the Grecians held Oxford United to a goalless draw on Tuesday.
"Confidence is good, but we can't take anything for granted," said Tisdale. "We came unstuck against Hartlepool and I'm determined not to do the same again.
"It is a confident place, but I can assure everyone that it is not a complacent place.
"Ultimately, it's about agreeing as a group how were are going to play and what we will do and performing. The focus on Saturday will be playing with some sort of unity."
That is something that was evidently lacking last time out at St James' Park, when Hartlepool United shocked City with a 3-0 win. The Grecians were poor on the field and the supporters were not much better off it with the atmosphere far from lively.
Tisdale did not want to be drawn on the subject, but did say: "We have to add our intensity on the pitch and I hope the supporters will push the team at the same time. We are on the same side together. There are times when the players lead the day and there are some times where we need the supporters to lead the team."
Exeter City (from): Krysiak, Pym; Woodman, Bennett, Baldwin, Coles, Sercombe, Oakley, Gow, Davies, Parkin, Doherty, Moore-Taylor, Dawson, Gill, O'Flynn, Reid, Nichols, Gosling, Keohane, Wannell, Jagger-Cane, Parkin, Tillson, Grimes, Jay, Wheeler.
Unavailable: Butterfield, Oakley (both injured), Chamberlain (on loan to Bath City), Bergqvist (on loan to Welling United).