Alan Gow looking to play a major part from the start as Exeter City welcome Torquay United to the Park
Alan Gow feels that Exeter City are reaping the rewards for their hard work on the training ground and, tonight, the Grecians will look to extend their good recent run in front of a worldwide audience against Torquay United.
The Grecians welcome the Gulls to St James' Park for this evening's npower League Two encounter just 13 days after the two sides fought out a 1-1 draw at Plainmoor.
Gow changed the course of that game after coming on as a half-time substitute and netted Exeter's equaliser seven minutes from time. Tonight, he will be looking to star from the start and help City grab three points to further enhance their promotion push.
"It should be a good game. We haven't played at home now for a few weeks because of the weather, so I'm looking forward to it," he said.
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"We've put a lot of hard work in on the training ground. At the start of the season, we lost a lot of goals, especially from set-pieces, and we weren't good enough as a team defensively. But the manager and the coaches have worked a lot on shape and the way we should play.
"Perhaps it's not always pleasing on the eye, in the games that we have won, but we've ended up digging in and we've got the results, which is all that matters at the end of the day. You don't always remember how well you played when you win."
Exeter, who remain fourth in the table after many of the weekend results went in their favour, are unbeaten in five matches, and a three-match winning run was halted by Torquay in that Devon derby almost two weeks ago.
Gow – along with Matt Oakley and Jimmy Keohane – was a surprise name among the substitutes that night, with manager Paul Tisdale's game-plan to bring his key men on to the field in the second half, with the Plainmoor pitch not conducive to the kind of football he likes his team to play.
The gamble almost paid off, although City's cause was not helped by losing John O'Flynn after six minutes, which saw an earlier than expected call for Keohane. Gow was introduced at half-time and was the most effective player on the pitch in the second half.
"The manager changed the team about a bit, some of the boys were a bit tired because it had been a hard two weeks with a lot of midweek games, and it kind of worked out well with the state of their pitch and then bringing the three of us on," Gow said.
"It was supposed to be at half-time, but it never quite worked out that way because Flynny got an injury, but once I came on at half-time I thought we were the better side.
"Generally, we have had the same players playing regularly and the same team, but there may be a few changes and obviously Jamie [Cureton] will come back in and rightly so as his goals record speaks for itself.
"It's a massive game for us because all the teams around us are really close on points. I think we are in fourth now on goal difference, so we need to win the game and then hopefully the other results will go for us as well. But, then, if we look after ourselves, we don't really have to worry about other results."
With both Torquay and Exeter having games postponed last week, tonight's meeting means it is back-to-back contests for Devon's top two sides. However, Gow feels very little can be read into that Plainmoor draw 13 days ago.
"I've had 12 clubs, so there have been a few times where I have played a team and then played them again straight away," he joked. "It doesn't change much that we played them so recently, maybe if it was a different scoreline where they beat us or we beat them, then it would have been different.
"But it was an even game, they were on top maybe in the first half, but we were the better side in the second half. I'm sure they will come here and look at our home record and think they have a chance, but we won our last home game here, so we are confident enough.
"We have had a good rest after a tough run of games, but hopefully we can get three points."
Tonight's clash will be watched across the globe, with Sky screening the game live from 7.30pm on Sky Sports One. For Gow, who has been linked with a move to Gillingham by the channel's website, it is the chance for he and his team-mates to show what they can do.
"It's great for a lot of the young boys that the game is live because they have a lot to prove and want to move on to a higher level at some point in their career, so it will be good for them to show what they can do to the rest of the world on TV," he said.
"It's also good because my friends and family don't have to spend £300-£400 coming to see me play! They can get it for free on Sky, so they'll be happy about that!"
Torquay have returned a number of unsold tickets to the Grecians, but are keen to inform supporters that they can now pay at the turnstiles in St James' Road.
Admission for Exeter supporters is also pay on the gate.