Next Up: Wycombe Wanderers vs Exeter City

City supporters heading to Buckinghamshire for the first match of the season will be forgiven for not recognising most of the faces taking the field as, in contrast with most seasons where City have been a bastion of continuity, the summer has seen a major overhaul of the squad. Gone are the likes of Blackman, Key, Sparkes, Caprice, Collins, McDonald, Grounds and Brown as well as the loanees, while in have come a number of new players across all positions. Pre-season was mixed, although an encouraging display against a Coventry side that was within an inch of promotion to the Premier League last season will have raised the somewhat pessimistic hopes of the supporters concerned with the number of departures during the close season. Gary Caldwell is unlikely to include all his new signings from the start, especially as he made a number of midfield signings – although with Harry Kite battling injury he may need to include Carroll, Cole and Trevitt, while Dion Rankine, Zak Jules, Vincent Harper and Jack Aitchison will be pressing for a starting berth. Someone else hoping to feature albeit probably from the bench is Kyle Taylor, who was just finding form before picking up his injury 18 months ago. Taylor came off the bench against Coventry and started the midweek win at Exmouth albeit was withdrawn early.

Given the changes to added time this season, had Gareth Ainsworth still been in charge at Wycombe there may have been a rush after the final whistle to catch last orders. Ainsworth’s departure to QPR has opened the door to club legend Matt Bloomfield, and this season is being seen as something of a transition as Bloomfield seeks to impose his own stamp on the team. While his status at the club may buy him more time than others, a poor run to finish last season will ensure he is in the spotlight, having won just four games out of 15 since taking over. Unlike City it hasn’t been quite the same madhouse in terms of transfers for the Chairboys, with the loan signing of Kian Breckin from Manchester City being one that has impressed the pundits, while Luke Leahy is another player rated very highly at this level. One player as always hoping to feature will be David Wheeler, a player remembered fondly for his exploits at City.

This fixture last season was one of Bloomfield’s first in charge and ended 1-1 – Chem Campbell gave the Chairboys an early lead which was cancelled out by McDonald in the second half. The reverse back in August saw City emerge victorious 3-1. Leading 2-0 at half time through Kite and Collins, City were pegged back early in the second half through a screamer from Wheeler before Dieng sealed the points. Wycombe have a slight league head to head lead with seven wins to City’s six, seven matches finishing level.

The match officials for this game will be:-

Referee: Charles Breakspear
Assistant Referees: Dean Treleaven and Stuart Butler
Fourth Official : Stephen Brown

Charles Breakspear is a regular referee for Exeter games, three times last season he took charge: Port Vale home, Plymouth Argyle Away and Peterborough away in April.

Pre-match interview with Jack Aithison

Pre-match interview with Gary Caldwell

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