City’s woeful away form continued at high-flying Blackpool last week with a 2-0 defeat, but it’ll be home form in particular that defines whether City continue to play in the third tier next season, and a recent improvement at the Park gives hope in that area – to that end Gary Caldwell’s side will be looking to gain swift revenge almost exactly a month after suffering defeat on the road against Cambridge. Caldwell will have been boosted on different fronts this week – firstly the news that Caleb Watts, Shaun McDonald and Yanic Wildschut have extended their deals to the end of the season, plus that he now has almost a clean slate on the injury front with Harper, Aimson, Fitzwater, Kite and Watts all coming through the midweek friendly win over Southampton U21s unscathed. This Saturday’s selection will therefore mean choices have to be made rather than picking everyone with a pulse and hoping for the best.

Cambridge, under the guidance of Neil Harris following the departure of Mark Bonner, seemed to have had a honeymoon period before a run of three defeats in the Christmas period (one of which in the FA Cup), but a 2-1 win over relegation-threatened Fleetwood last week will have given renewed optimism ahead of the long trip to Devon. Harris was able to pick up Lyle Taylor after his short spell at Wycombe ended, and Taylor did on debut what he failed to do during his time at Adams Park, scoring one and assisting the other against Wycombe. That was off the bench, so Taylor will be hoping that will have earned him a start. Elsewhere Gassan Ahadme is the main goal threat having scored nine in all competitions.

The Friday night before Christmas saw City go down 2-0 at Cambridge – a very soft penalty apparently for handball saw Ahadme net from the spot, before a late clincher on the counter from Kachunga as City dominated the second half clinched the points. The corresponding fixture last season also finished 2-0 to the hosts, Collins and McDonald on the scoresheet in each half. Cambridge’s recent record at the Park is poor, with no wins since 2016. However, that win at the Abbey Stadium in December extended Cambridge’s slender lead in league head to heads to 26-24, 11 matches finishing level.

The match officials for this game will be as follows:-

Referee: Scott Simpson
Assistant Referees: Marvyn Amphlett and Andy Bennett
Fourth Official : Adam Ricketts

Scott Simpson has not taken charge of an Exeter City game, previously.

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Pre-match interview with Gary Caldwell

By Jason H

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