'Exeter City players must focus on their own game,' says Paul Tisdale
MANAGER Paul Tisdale says it is important his players concentrate on their own game on Saturday as they bid to end the year on a high at St James's Park.
There has been a lot of talk leading up the match about Edgar Davids lining-up for Barnet. The former Ajax, Juventus and Barcelona player signed for the Bees in early October, as joint-head coach, seven days after Exeter City had beaten the London club 2-1 at Underhill thanks to a double strike from Jamie Cureton.
The signing saw an upturn in the Bees' form. Having not won a game all season, they thrashed Northampton 4-0 in Davids' first game for the club. They have since picked up enough points to haul themselves out of the relegation zone ahead of their Boxing Day clash at Gillingham.
It means Saturday's match at home to Barnet is a different fixture to the one City faced a week before Davids' arrival, but Tisdale admitted that it is not unusual for League Two.
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"You will find that at lower league level, teams do change," said Tisdale. "I think our team will be unusual in our league in that the format and the personnel won't change a lot during the course of the year.
"A lot of clubs (in League Two) have a lot of loan players, short-term contracts and a lot of players on the move.
"You find you play a team in the first half of the year and then you play them in the second half of the year and four or five players have changed. That maybe is the case with Barnet, but to all intense and purposes our focus for home games is about what we need to do in order to improve our results at home.
"We always prepare with a focus on the opposition, but the main relevance for us is how we approach the game and what we do to get results.
"We are just going to concentrate on our own game, that is where the crucial focus has to be."
Tisdale can call on Matt Oakley for Saturday's game following his successful recovery from an injury picked up in the 1-1 draw with Plymouth Argyle.
Arron Davies could also start, but Tommy Doherty is still a doubt with a hamstring strain.
The Bees go into the match on reasonable form.
They recently hauled themselves out of the relegation places thanks to a 3-2 win at home to Burton Albion, but they don't travel well. Before Boxing Day they had won just one game on the road and had scored a total of five goals – the worst record in the Football League.
However, Tisdale is wary of the threat they pose.
"We should be well prepared and have enough information about Barnet to make sure we play well," said Tisdale. "If we play well, I would like to think we won't be tripped up by anybody. That said, it is a close league and any team can beat anybody and we have to be careful of that.
"I think we approach any game the same. Whether we are playing Gillingham at home or Barnet at home, we give every team the utmost respect."
Predicted City line-up: Krysiak, Tully, Woodman, Baldwin, Coles, Bennett, Sercombe, Oakley, Gow, O'Flynn, Cureton