Those seven straight victories have faded into memory now, and the recent poor form, culminating in a soporific 2-0 home reverse to struggling Accrington on Saturday, has seen City clinging on to the playoff places only by dint of others in the mix also failing to record victories. Paul Tisdale rung the changes on Saturday in a bid to freshen up the side, but it may well be that those rested will return to the starting XI for the visit of Cheltenham on Tuesday. Tisdale is also sweating on the return to fitness of Christy Pym, whose troublesome groin has led to missing the last three matches which have seen six goals shipped.
Having returned to the Football League at the first attempt sweeping all before them in the National League, it’s fair to say Cheltenham have found the jump back up a struggle, and the Robins find themselves in 20th place, albeit seven points ahead of the basket case that is Leyton Orient and the relegation zone. A run of three straight wins saw Gary Johnson’s side pull away from the bottom, but a draw and a defeat at leaders Doncaster at the weekend have ensured Cheltenham are still looking over their shoulder. Johnson was busy in the transfer window, bringing in five and shipping out three, but it is 14 goal top scorer Billy Waters who is likely to pose the biggest threat alongside the experienced Danny Wright.
Cheltenham were once City’s ultimate bogey side, having won each of the first nine encounters between the clubs. However, City have since bounced back, drawing the 10th fixture then winning the last three. The reverse fixture, a couple of weeks before Christmas in monsoon conditions saw City come away with a 3-1 win, all the goals coming in the second half. Lee Holmes’ delightful goal was cancelled out by Waters before David Wheeler’s late brace secured the points. Cheltenham’s last visit to the Park, on Boxing Day 2014, saw City finally beat the Robins 1-0 thanks to a second half Tom Nichols strike.
Referee: Brett Huxtable
Assistant Referees: Robert Dabbs and Mark Pottage
Fourth Official Kevin Morris
He’s taken charge of two Exeter games this season, plus a pre-season friendly. He’s quite often on duty at St James Park as the fourth official. Details of the games he’s refereed can be found at http://www.grecians.co.uk/wordpress/?s=huxtable
The last time the two teams met at St James Park, was on Boxing Day 2014, Exeter were the 1-0 victors and details of that game can be found at http://www.grecians.co.uk/wordpress/?sp_event=4155