An unwelcome distraction or a welcome opportunity to build momentum and potentially earn a few quid? With City purring in the league following a second successive 3-0 victory, it’s Johnstones Paint Trophy first round time, and the visit of the side City put to the sword 2-1 the other week, Aldershot. Paul Tisdale may decide to make a few changes in order to keep some of his veterans fresh for the visit to Oxford on Saturday, although how many changes he makes could be allied a) to whether he wants to keep a winning side together, and b) the rules of the competition – these, however, are vague in that the Football League’s website doesn’t carry any mention of the squad strength rules introduced in recent seasons to combat teams effectively fielding their youth / reserve sides. The gist is the majority of the matchday squad must have been in the matchday squad for the previous league fixture.
Since falling to their first home defeat to City since the club was formed out of the ashes of the old Aldershot in 1992, the Shots have lost both of their subsequent matches – a 1-0 home reverse to Cheltenham following a brief suspension of the match due to the adverse conditions that forced the abandonment of the match at Wycombe, and a 4-1 hammering at Fleetwood. They will therefore be looking to get their season back up and running, so may well be at near full strength. Their goal against City came from one-time City target Craig Reid, while Michael Rankine proved a handful up front with his aerial presence and his ability to fall over on demand, so he will need to be watched.
City’s record in this competition is reasonable, with three “so near yet so far” appearances in the Area Final culminating in aggregate defeats to Port Vale (1993), Bristol City (2000) and Brentford (2011). Last season saw City despatch that mob down the A38 on penalties before losing to eventual finalists Swindon.
Don’t forget the Old Grandstand is closed, as will be the jungle path up to the Big Bank from Wells Street. Under 18s get in to the Big Bank for free! http://www.exetercityfc.co.uk/news/article/kids-on-bank-for-free-on-tuesday-331468.aspx
Ref: BRENDAN MALONE
Assts: Kevin Johnson and Adam Hopkins
Fourth Official: Richard Hulme
The ref has sent a player off in each of his last 2 games! Last seen at the Park in our 2-1 defeat to Brentford in a League 1 game last season.