City’s tricky looking start to the league season continues with a trip to a side for whom the title “underachiever” has been rightly bestowed in recent seasons. Matt Taylor made it perfectly clear after the Port Vale defeat that he is looking for sharp improvement in key areas, although despite the anticipated Ollie Watkins income there doesn’t appear to be money in the coffers to strengthen during the window. Taylor may look to tweak things with the likes of Nicky Law and Randell Williams pushing to start, while summer signing Jake Caprice would have hoped to get some time in during the week but for the cancellation of the Bristol Rovers friendly.
Given their spending since returning to the league, Mansfield have been installed amongst the promotion favourites pretty much every season and, despite a final placing just clear of the relegation dogfight last season, it’s the same again this year. Manager Graham Coughlan, poached from Bristol Rovers last campaign, has as usual been given a pretty hefty war chest. Amongst the signings include Marek Stech from Luton, George Maris from Cambridge and, of interest to City supporters, Jamie Reid from Torquay. The former City striker will hope to put one over on his former employers, although he has yet to feature in the league. Form has been mixed so far – two draws in the league and heavy defeats in both cups.
The sides only met once last season, way back in August at the Park, with City winning 1-0 thanks to a sharp strike from Ryan Bowman, before Ryan Sweeney saw red late on. That win extended City’s league head to head lead with 25 wins to Mansfield’s 22, 18 matches finishing level.
The match officials for the game will be:-
Referee: Christopher Pollard
Assistant Referees: Richard Wigglesworth and Oliver Bickle
Fourth Official : Steven Rushton
This is Pallard’s second season as an EFL referee, and his first time refereeing Exeter City.