City will be glad to be back on home turf after an away defeat at Northampton, but will be facing a side that has undergone an upturn in fortunes under a familiar face. A rare week off from first team action (save for several fringe players’ involvement at Doncaster in the U23 Cup on Monday) will hopefully ensure Matt Taylor’s side goes into Saturday’s fixture fresh and firing after a tepid display at Northampton. Taylor is unlikely to tinker too much with his side although with Crewe visiting on Tuesday night he may look to that fixture as one where he may be closer to full strength. Nicky Law is one prime candidate to return from the bench alongside Jake Taylor, although this may be harsh on the likes of Matt Jay and Archie Collins, the most likely to step aside.
Back in December after Crawley exited the FA Cup, the Red Devils decided a change of manager was needed and returned to someone who managed them briefly some years ago before enjoying a successful spell as Paul Tisdale’s assistant at City. John Yems left City in the summer of 2009 with City promoted to League One before spending most of the time since on the staff at Bournemouth. His arrival steadied the ship and he has presided over just three defeats in 16 matches so far, and had he turned some of Crawley’s eight draws into wins they could have been an outside tip to make a late playoff run. Crawley have a trio of attackers that City must watch out for – Ollie Palmer is top scorer with 14 (although he missed the last match), aided by Beryly Lubala (12) and Ashley Nadesan. Lewis “Brother of Ashley” Young has been out since late December.
The reverse fixture turned out to be Gabriele Cioffi’s last league match in charge at Crawley, as a late Dean Moxey strike sealed the points for City. The corresponding match last season turned out to be a very bad Good Friday as City were trounced 3-1 in arguably their worst home performance of the season – Morais and Grego-Cox had the visitors 2-0 up at the break, Bowman temporarily reduced the arrears before Grego-Cox sealed a shock away win for a side that was in freefall. City do, however, have an excellent league record against Crawley with nine wins to Crawley’s three, five matches finishing level. Details of all the encounter between the two sides can be found at https://www.grecians.co.uk/wordpress/?p=9487
The match officials for this game will be:-
Referee Ben Toner
Assistant Referees: Dean Treleaven and Christopher Wade
Fourth Official : Steven Plane
Ben Toner has refereed 10 Exeter games, the most recent being the away game at Crewe in October. Details at https://www.grecians.co.uk/wordpress/?s=ben+toner