Tisdale hints at changes to reverse home form
Paul Tisdale is not one to take drastic action, but even he may be tempted to do something out of the ordinary for Exeter City's home clash with Barnet today.
A poor return of only 12 points from 12 home games in npower League Two has dented the Grecians' promotion aspirations. They are now tenth, two points off the final play-off berth.
Their form away from St James' Park is in stark contrast, with the seven wins from 11 games the joint-best in the division.
But another below-par and disjointed performance in front of the home faithful on Boxing Day, when City crashed to a 3-1 defeat against Oxford United, seemed to be the final straw for the manager, who hinted more than once in his post-match assessment that he will make changes to improve Exeter's fortunes.
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"We always move on to our next game and that is what we will do on Saturday against Barnet, but I am acutely aware of where we have failed in recent games at home and going back over the first part of the season, we have failed too many times in our games at home," he said.
"I have to do something about it, but it is a bit of a Rubik's Cube at the moment. But we will sort it out.
"We have to work into Saturday's game and try to find a cohesive pattern to our play. It is very easy when it all works, but when you get periods of the game like we did against Oxford where it doesn't work, it is hard to find."
Things started brightly against Oxford with Exeter enjoying their best start to a home game for quite some time, but for all their dominance, they couldn't find a goal. Oxford scored with their first meaningful attack, which led to a number of Exeter players going into their shells.
"I have been very patient with this group of players and they have rewarded me away from home with the way they have played, but at home, they haven't done," Tisdale said. "Maybe I need to look at every bit of effort and focus going into the 11 players that are playing on Saturday.
"If I have to make changes then I will look at those players, not the opposition.
"All I am worried about is how we play [today]. That is the key to our performance, so we will concentrate on our team and our players."
The City boss added: "One of the major problems we have got is that for the last month, we haven't been able to get on a grass pitch and do our training.
"We have been indoors, in the forest, on the heath and haven't been able to do the training we need and it doesn't look like it is going to change much. We are just going to have to do what we can do on Saturday to reverse this trend."
Tisdale also played down Alan Gow's actions at being substituted against Oxford. The Scot was not having his best game and stormed down the tunnel after Tisdale brought him off, along with the disappointing Liam Sercombe and striker John O'Flynn, with 33 minutes remaining.
"Everyone is frustrated at the moment," Tisdale said. "Alan hasn't trained regularly for the last five or six weeks and I have to show care to the players as well.
"I have to make sure that with a game coming so soon after the Oxford game, we have everyone fit and I start building some performances.
"At 3-0 down, I thought it was worth showing a bit of care to one or two of the players.
"Players will react in different ways and I have no problem with any of the players right now."
Barnet yesterday announced that Mark Robson had left his duties as joint head coach at the club.
Robson shared the role with former Ajax and Juventus midfielder Edgar Davids who signed as a player/coach in October. Davids will continue in his role as head coach and take full responsibility for first-team matters, starting today at St James' Park.
Exeter City (from): Krysiak, Evans; Tully, Woodman, Bennett, Baldwin, Coles, Sercombe, Oakley, Gow, Davies, Cureton, Doherty, Amankwaah, O'Flynn, Bauza, Keohane, Chamberlain, Dawson, Moore-Taylor, Jagger-Cane, Micklewright, Roper, Wannell.
Unavailable: Gosling, Frear, Knowles, Nichols (out on loan).