With City slumping to defeat at then-bottom Macclesfield on Tuesday night, Matt Taylor knows the next two home fixtures are likely to be make or break in the playoff race. Taylor will be delighted to welcome Christy Pym back to the starting line up, especially after his understudy, James Hamon, put in a nervy display on Tuesday. Otherwise the personnel will likely depend on the formation, although Nicky Law will almost certainly be back in the starting XI. One huge bonus from an otherwise miserable night came in the form of Ryan Bowman’s first goals for the club, and City will be hoping the floodgates are now open.
Port Vale’s season looks like drifting towards a nondescript conclusion on the pitch, the Valiants having pulled away from relegation danger thanks to a decent run of form in recent weeks. Having dispensed with the services of Neil Aspin, Vale turned to John Askey, the mastermind of Macclesfield’s promotion last season before trying and failing at Shrewsbury. Askey didn’t exactly get off to a good start with four successive defeats (and one goal), but since then they have lost just once in seven matches, a tight defence being key as they’ve kept clean sheets in four of those seven matches. The evergreen Tom Pope has returned from injury to score twice in two sub appearances, and Askey may now be in a position to give the prolific striker a start. Pope, despite missing several weeks, is clearly the club’s top scorer with 13 in all competitions. One player hoping to feature will be Manny Oyeleke, the former City midfielder has established himself as a regular in the Vale line-up since signing from Aldershot in the summer.
One disappointing feature of City’s season has been the number of times points have been dropped in the dying stages, and so it was at Vale Park back in September – City led through Law, but Kanu equalised in about the 153rd minute. Last season’s match at the Park saw Port Vale win 1-0 through Pope. That win extended Vale’s league head to head lead over City with 20 wins to City’s 16, 11 matches finishing level. More head to head details at http://www.grecians.co.uk/wordpress/?p=9096
The match officials for this game are:-
Referee: Tom Nield
Assistants Referees: Justin Amey and Christopher Wade
Fourth Official: James Durkin
Just the one Exeter game for Tom Nield, the Good Friday game away to Lincoln City http://www.grecians.co.uk/wordpress/?sp_event=lincoln-city-vs-exeter-city-6