Preview: Exeter City vs Salford City

City slumped to a third straight defeat on Tuesday to leave their promotion hopes hanging by a thread ahead of a match against a side that will be making its first ever visit. The injury to Joel Randall saw a return to the wing-back formation that has been less than successful in recent times, although Matt Taylor will consider his side to be unfortunate not to get something out of a match they largely dominated. Taylor does still have enough options at his disposal to play the 4-4-2, but the return from injury of the likes of Randell Williams can’t come too soon, while Nicky Ajose must surely be in a position to train again after the improvement in the weather recently.

A week after winning the delayed 19/20 EFL Trophy, a draw with struggling Colchester and defeat at top of the table Cheltenham were enough for Salford to ditch Richie Wellens after just a few months in the job – a decision that attracted ridicule after it emerged that Gary Neville was instrumental in this dismissal having been very vocal in the past about clubs being too quick to sack their managers. Gary Bowyer, who led Blackpool to promotion from this division in 2017, has become the third manager at Salford this season. Veteran Ian Henderson has been the main goal threat this season with 12 in all competitions, while former Man United striker James Wilson has eight.

Saturday marks Salford’s first ever visit to the home of Football, their visit last season having fallen victim to the Covid shutdown. The reverse fixture was the first league match of the season and a thrilling match finished 2-2. Henderson gave the hosts the early lead but City came back through Jay and Randall, only for Ashley Hunter to score the equaliser in the second half. That draw extended City’s unbeaten record in this fixture to two matches after Ryan Bowman’s winner in this fixture last season.

The match officials for this game will be:-

Referee: Antony Coggins
Assistant Referees: Michael Begley and Dean Treleaven
Fourth Official : Adrian Quelch

Antony Coggins has taken charge of five Exeter games

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