What a difference a week makes – prior to the Swindon match City sat outside the playoff places, now after three wins and two more clean sheets, Matt Taylor’s side find themselves in a position where another win on Tuesday night would see City move into the automatic promotion places. Taylor may make a few changes to rest tired legs, although he will remain reluctant to touch the back three of Diabate, Stubbs and Sweeney, who are looking impenetrable at the moment. Elsewhere Harry Kite was given a surprise start at Bradford as Taylor wanted extra bite in midfield, only to limp off in the early stages, so skipper Matt Jay is likely to come back in, while Sam Nombe may get a start despite Kieran Phillips scoring his first City goal on Saturday.
Harrogate have continued to defy any odds to struggle, but will need to put together a run of wins if they are to make any impression on the promotion picture – they had an opportunity to do so on Saturday but let slip a 3-1 lead at Rochdale to draw 3-3. Jack Diamond was on the scoresheet at Spotland to continue his recent good form, with goals split amongst a number of players – nobody has yet hit double figures in the league but Diamond, Armstrong, Muldoon and Pattison all have at least eight. Lewis Page is expected to feature on his return to the club he played for last season, but Rory McArdle hasn’t featured since he was subbed off against Mansfield at the start of the month.
Harrogate have so far had the upper hand in this fixture with a win and two draws in matches between the sides. The reverse fixture in August finished 1-1 – Muldoon scored from the spot after Harry Kite picked up a second yellow in committing the offence, but Josh Key restored parity for the ten men in the second half. The 2-1 Harrogate win in this fixture last season was a shock – City had just beaten Tranmere 5-0 (having also beaten Colchester 6-1 a couple of games previously) while Harrogate were in dreadful form, but Kiernan and Muldoon’s goals either side of an equaliser from Jake Taylor saw the North Yorkshire side take the points.
The match officials for this match will be:-
Referee: Brett Huxtable
Assistant Referees: Adam Ricketts and Robert Dabbs
Fourth Official : Justin Amey
Brett Huxtable has taken charge of 16 Exeter games, details of those matches can be found at https://www.grecians.co.uk/wordpress/?s=huxtable