Baldwin calls on fans to roar Exeter City to promotion
PAT Baldwin has urged Exeter City fans to make as much noise as they can at home to Accrington Stanley on Friday night and get behind the team in their quest for promotion from League Two.
City have 10 wins on the road this campaign, but their promotion bid is being destabilised by a run of just one win from eight games at the Park.
Manager Paul Tisdale said the nervousness of the home crowd is starting to affect the players, and while central defender Baldwin says the home fans have been given good reason to moan in recent weeks, he has urged them to be patient.
"It shouldn't affect the players, but at the end of the day we are only human beings, so sometimes it might," said Baldwin.
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"So we need the fans to stay with us, stay patient and support us.
"Look at the word and the definition and support us, because it is huge and massive when we get the crowd behind us at home.
"On the odd occasions when we have done that and we have done well at home and got the result is has been fantastic, but we need that throughout the 90 minutes from now until the end of the season at every home game for us to stand a chance of getting promoted.
"Our home form has been really disappointing this year and you hear a lot of moans and groans from the terraces, which the fans have quite rightly been able to do because we haven't been good enough.
"But if they could stay with us and be patient, we are trying our hardest to change the home form around.
"Where we are in the league is a great position and if we can add to that with some more performances and more points at home then you never know where we could end up.
"They can certainly be the 12th man. It is a big cliché that you hear all the time in football, but it does help. It helps massively. There is no greater noise than when the whole crowd gets behind us at St James's."
Baldwin's own form in a City shirt has improved since the turn of the year. Along with goalkeeper Artur Krysiak and the rest of the defence, the former Southend player has helped the Grecians keep four clean sheets in the last seven games.
They have only conceded one goal from open play in 2013 – in contrast to the first half of the campaign, when the defence was criticised in certain games for not defending set pieces well enough.
However, Baldwin says a familiarity between the back four and goalkeeper has helped the recent good run.
"It is down to a lot of hard work on the training pitch and lot of consistency, playing with the same players pretty much week in, week out," he said.
"That helps usually, but the most important thing is we have improved defensively as a whole team.
"It is not just us helping out at the back, it is everybody. I think as a team defensively we are improving all the time.
"It is really pleasing (the recent good defensive record) but, like Tis said on Saturday after the away record we broke, it is not going to mean anything if we don't get anything out of the season. The ultimate goal is to get promotion and that is what we are striving for."
Baldwin added that the players were all looking forward to Friday night's game.
The match has been moved from a 3pm kick-off on Saturday as the club experiment to see what affect a Friday night game will have on the attendance and atmosphere.
They are hoping it will attract some extra fans into the ground who are not able to watch games on Saturdays due to work commitments or playing football themselves.
"We are looking forward to it," said Baldwin. "Night games are always good, the atmosphere is slightly different from on a Saturday.
"Hopefully we get some extra fans in and they will create some extra noise and we will get three points."