Tisdale wants to see evidence of training ground labour in Exeter's performance
The frustration etched on the face of manager Paul Tisdale after Exeter City's last home game told its own story. Once again, the Grecians had under-performed in front of the home faithful and gifted their opponents an all to easy victory.
Tisdale admitted that in the 2-0 defeat to Port Vale, his players were "just short" of what was required on the day, but the loss was the Grecians' second in a week after a poor Bristol Rovers side had triumphed in Devon seven days earlier.
It was also the fifth time the home supporters had seen their team lose in league and cup competitions this season, including the Johnstone's Paint Trophy clash with Aldershot, which the Grecians lost on penalties after a goalless draw. It wasn't the straw that broke the camels back, but Tisdale was keen to nip an ever-increasing problem firmly in the bud.
The City chief said he was going to take a closer look at things and true to his word, he has. Today, the Grecians have the chance to put the things they have been working on into practice as Chesterfield arrive looking to add to Exeter's home woes.
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"I have learnt objectively having seen half a dozen games what I think are trends – good and bad – that I needed to look at closely," Tisdale said. "There are things we need to continue, because they are working, and things we need to improve and alter.
"I am not going to go into detail on that, but that is the point of the review of our season so far. I have watched every game and individual performances have been monitored closely and I have given it until this point in the season. Now, I am sure I know what we need to work on.
"There are elements to our attacking play and our defending play that need to be improved or adjusted and the players are in no doubt as to what that is because I have told them.
"They have been spelt out to them and now it is a job of whether we can coach and direct them and they can respond to that and put it into a performance on the pitch.
"It is one thing having an idea and working it out and having an opinion and actually making it better in the next few games.
"I am pretty sure I know what I would like us to do. The test will be whether we can do it."
Tisdale hinted at one or two changes to a starting XI which has predominantly been a constant – barring injuries – this season.
His back four of Kevin Amankwaah, Danny Coles, Pat Baldwin and Craig Woodman has largely been unchanged ever since the opening game of the season. But with Steve Tully having performed so well – and out of position – of late, he could be in line for a start at right-back with Liam Sercombe ready to resume the right side of midfield role Tully has occupied in his absence.
Whatever the problems are though, Tisdale said he will find the solutions from within his squad. "I can't bring anyone in, so I am not wasting my time cooking up wish lists for this that and the other," he said. "Let's wait until the turn of the year, but I am still very committed to the players we have."
When asked if he was ready to make changes to the starting XI, Tisdale said: "That comes into it. How we play, the way we play and how we think doesn't change in one or two positions.
"The personnel have a big affect on the performance and I will consider that right across the pitch and once I have had that thought, it will be a case of: Can the way I instruct the team to play have an affect on the performance?
"If not, then it is back to the drawing board and we come up with something different.
"You will have to wait and see what you see, but they are the aspects we have been looking at closely."
Today's team sheet will certainly make for interesting reading.
Exeter City (from): Krysiak, Evans; Tully, Woodman, Bennett, Baldwin, Coles, Sercombe, Oakley, Gow, Davies, Cureton, Doherty, Amankwaah, Frear, O'Flynn, Nichols, Bauza, Keohane, Chamberlain, Moore-Taylor, Cane, Micklewright, Roper, Wannell.
Unavailable: Reid, Gosling (on loan to Dorchester), Dawson (on loan to Havant & Waterlooville), Knowles (on loan to Barnstaple).