Derbies & home games excite Tis
EXETER City manager Paul Tisdale admits next season's Devon derbies were the dates which caught his eye most when the npower League Two 2012/13 fixtures were released.
The Grecians boss was pleased to see his side handed a home match against Morecambe on the opening day August 18 – it will be only the second time he will have managed City at home on the first day of term.
A home game against Oxford United on Boxing Day plus the reduced number of long away trips were other reasons Tisdale was left rubbing his hands in eagerness of the campaign ahead, after the Football League fixtures were unveiled on Monday.
But there was little doubt that the City boss is most relishing the prospect of renewing rivalries with county neighbours Torquay United and Plymouth Argyle.
BRAND NEW FORD B-MAX ZETEC 1.0 ECOBOOST FOR ONLY £7685*View details
DRIVE AWAY A BRAND NEW FORD B-MAX ZETEC FOR ONLY £7685.
1.0 100PS Manual
Electric Windows & Mirrors
Quickclear Heated Windscreen
15" Alloy Wheels
Bluetooth with Ford Sync
*Drive away from only £7685 and then pay nothing for 24 months!
Contact: 01626 240583
Valid until: Sunday, June 30 2013
Tisdale said: "There's a bumper fortnight over Christmas when we play Torquay, Plymouth, Oxford and Wycombe – that two-week period looks very exciting and it's nice to have a local derby. The interest of talking about local derbies, we missed that last year.
"Every time we play (a Devon derby) it will only be for three points, but there will be more interest, the players will want to perform more, more interest from supporters, bigger crowds, more away travel, better revenue from the game and you will see week-by-week who's the best performing Devon outfit. I think the week when we play Plymouth and Torquay back-to-back will be a great week.
"The fixture list looks great. It's nice to have the first August game at home. It's great to have a Boxing Day game at home. The whole thing just looks exciting, and I would think that whether we are in League One or the Conference due to the freshness of the coming season.
"The fixtures being released suddenly makes it real again. You have had May and the beginning of June and now suddenly you have got something to plan for. It makes the whole thing come back to life."
There was an extra fillip for the Grecians last week when they were drawn to play Championship side Crystal Palace at home in the first round of the League Cup, which will be known as the Capital One Cup next season.
In an alteration to the usual Football League calendar, that tie will be played the week beginning August 13 – the week before the league campaign begins.
Tisdale is looking forward to experiencing a slight change to how the season starts, and hopes he will be able to meet up with former Grecian and current Palace player Dean Moxey when the teams collide.
Tisdale said: "We have got Crystal Palace at home in the League Cup before the league season starts and it is nice to have a Championship club at home.
"It will also be great to have Dean Moxey back, assuming he is still there and has not been sold on to a bigger club.
"It is all a nice little twist to what we would expect normally."
City will come up against some familiar faces at the start of the season, as the fixture list computer has thrown up games against the likes of Aldershot, Accrington Stanley, Burton Albion and York City as well as Morecambe and Oxford – all of which are old foes from the Grecians' Conference days.
The first derby takes place on December 15 when Plymouth Argyle visit the Park, a game which is followed up by an away trip to Torquay United on December 22.
The Grecians see out 2012 at home to Barnet on December 29 and see in the new year at Wycombe Wanderers on January 1, 2013.
The Gulls visit City on January 26 and the Grecians' final derby of the season will be at Home Park on March 30.
Looking even further ahead, Tisdale's side appear to have a tricky run-in on their hands as they are scheduled to come up against Rochdale, Dagenham & Redbridge, AFC Wimbledon, Cheltenham Town and Chesterfield in their final five matches, with the latter fixture coming at the b2net Stadium on April 27 – the final day of the season.
However three of those final five games will be at St James's Park.