By hook or by crook, City managed to secure the three points against predicted whipping boys Macclesfield on the opening day, but Matt Taylor was candid in his assessment that performances will need to improve substantially if City are to justify the predictions of another promotion tilt. With a number of new faces it will take time to gel as Taylor looks for his best available XI, but received wisdom would suggest few if any changes to be made to the starting line-up at Stevenage on Saturday – with Taylor perhaps looking to Tuesday night’s EFL Cup match against Coventry as an opportunity to experiment.
Stevenage, under the guidance of club legend Dino Maamria, nearly slipped in under the radar to the playoffs, finishing level on points and one place below City in the final reckoning following five wins and a draw (against City) in their final six matches. The fixture computer handed Boro a tough start with a trip to moneybags newcomers Salford City and the accompanying circus, and with it a 2-0 defeat. Stevenage are a difficult side to predict with pundits variously having them knocking on the door of promotion and relegation, but one key area they know they need to focus on is up front, where much will rely on last season’s top scorer Kurtis Guthrie. New signings with pedigree include Paul Taylor and Tom Soares.
City took four points from this fixture last season – the aforementioned draw at Broadhall Way (aka the Lamex Stadium) on Easter Monday was 1-1, Guthrie and Bowman on target. City took the spoils 1-0 back in October, Dean Moxey’s goal enough to separate the sides with Luther Wildin sent off late on for the visitors. City have the edge in league head to heads with eight wins to Stevenage’s five, but Pools players might look to put their X on the coupon for this one as nine have finished level. Details of those games can be found at https://www.grecians.co.uk/wordpress/?sp_calendar=stevenage-head-to-head-with-exeter-city
The match officials for this game are:-
Referee: Antony Coggins
Assistant Referees: George Byrne and Oliver Jackson
Fourth Official: Stephen Brown
Coggins last match refereeing Exeter was the Stevenage game last October In all he’s refereed four Exeter games in the last few seasons. Details can be found at https://www.grecians.co.uk/wordpress/?s=coggins