Tuesday night sees City return to action with what must go down as one of the most pointless dead rubber fixtures in the calendar. On the plus side, Tuesday night could provide an opportunity to give match practice to some of Gary Caldwell’s returnees such as Ilmari Niskanen and Dion Rankine, while the freedom of any consequences from the result could result in an entertaining fixture between two sides experiencing slumps in form. The City board was moved to issue a statement recognising the injury situation and backing Gary Caldwell following the 3-0 humiliation at Fleetwood just over a week ago, but Caldwell will be under no illusions that a failure to turn around City’s form once the injury situation is relieved could lead to him being the first City manager to be issued with a P45 since Neil McNab in 2003.
Swindon, under the management of Michael Flynn, go into Tuesday’s match also already out of the newly renamed Bristol Street Motors Trophy having suffered a “losing draw” to Arsenal and a 5-0 thrashing by Reading, and they have also been in terrible form of late – their only win since the start of October being a 2-0 win over Flynn’s former club, Newport. Also like City Swindon can “concentrate on the league” after Tuesday’s fixture – their FA Cup first round tie was the standout of the round, having gone 7-0 down at home to National League side Aldershot before rallying with four late goals. Flynn’s side did arrest the slide somewhat with a 1-1 draw at Harrogate on Saturday. It is likely that Flynn will name an experimental side having played on Saturday, with Lewis Ward likely to feature against his former club.
Given the regional split in this competition over the years it’s unsurprising to find that City and Swindon have met a number of times – the last of which produced a 7-goal thriller in October 2020 at the County Ground with City winning 4-3. Kite and a Seymour penalty gave City an early 2-0 lead before the game really came to life in the last half hour. Smith reduced the arrears before Atangana and Hartridge made it 4-1 – Smith with a second and Palmer late on made it a nervy finish.
The match officials for this game will be:-
Referee: Ollie Yates
Assistant Referees: Samuel Fudge and Ryan Saward
Fourth Official : Daniel Flynn
The last time Ollie Yates refereed Exeter was October last season when City lost 2-0 away at Portsmouth.