Gow feels ready to return for Grecians
Exeter City striker Alan Gow is confident he will be fit to start Saturday's FA Cup tie at Bury – and said the players owe the coaching staff a performance at Gigg Lane.
The talismanic Scotsman has been in and out of the reckoning in recent weeks after picking up an injury in the 2-1 home defeat to Bristol Rovers on September 29, but, when he has played, he has shown just what the Grecians have been missing.
He came on as a substitute at Northampton Town and was the catalyst for a vastly improved City showing, even though they crashed to a 3-0 defeat. It was a similar story last Saturday, when the Grecians lost by the same scoreline at Cheltenham Town, but played well with the hugely gifted 30-year-old on the field of play.
Now, Gow believes the injury that has disrupted his season so far is behind him and he is fit enough to start games, beginning with Saturday's first-round Cup trip to Gigg Lane.
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"I'm glad to be back playing," Gow said. "It has been an annoying time because I have had a bad injury after being kicked against Bristol Rovers. It kept swelling up, but I have rested it in the last few weeks and haven't done much training, but my fitness is up again now. Hopefully, I will be able to start at the weekend.
"I tried to come back the other week and I got a kick on it straight away, which is why it swelled up. I just rested totally until it went down. I haven't done much training in the last four or five weeks, but I worked hard last week and I feel a lot sharper. Obviously, it is down to the manager [Paul Tisdale], but I'm sure I'm ready to start games now."
Incredibly, Saturday's FA Cup clash is the third time in five years that the two sides have been paired with each other in the competition. Exeter have lost on their last two visits to Bury – 1-0 in a second-round encounter in December 2007 and 2-0 at the first-round stage two years ago – and they will be looking for their first win in six; a run that has seen them accumulate only one League Two point.
"We have the game in the Cup, so hopefully I will start that one," Gow said. "It's a big game for Exeter because a club like Exeter needs the revenue, so it is a big game for the club and a big game for the boys in the changing room because we need to prove to the management we are good enough.
"We proved it at the start of the season, but the recent form has not been good enough. We need to get back to winning ways on Saturday.
"The pressure is on the team now because it is not down to the management and the coaches. The players aren't performing, we are not defending as a team, and we need to sort it out."
The presence of Gow in the starting XI would be a huge fillip for everyone at City. He was such an influential player at the beginning of the campaign and was a large reason why Exeter made such a good start, and their slide down the table has coincided with his absence from the team.
"I started the season well, but I will come back and play well again," he said. "But there is no point in playing if I'm not right because, if I got a bang on it again, then I may be out for a while.
"Luckily enough, the manager has given me time to rest it, he has been careful with me, and I'll get back to full fitness without any problems occurring again.
"I always believe I will make an impact whether I come on as a sub or if I start. I'm just happy to get on the pitch, but the result on Saturday wasn't very good. We created a lot of chances and hopefully on another day, we will take them and we will win games like the one at Cheltenham."
Gow has only had one taste of FA Cup football before, but it was an experience he remembers well. It came during his time at Notts County when the Magpies drew with Manchester City in the third round at Meadow Lane before losing to Roberto Mancini's side 5-0 in the replay at Etihad Stadium.
"That was a good time, I really enjoyed it," he said. "I'm looking forward to this tie, it's going to be a tough game for us, but I'm sure we won't be scared of them [Bury].
"It would be nice to have a run. They will probably be favourites, but we are a good side and we need to show that."
Exeter winger Elliott Frear has joined Salisbury City on loan for a month, and could feature for the Wiltshire side in tonight's Blue Square Bet South home game against Hayes and Yeading United.
Another City youngster, striker Jamie Reid, has had his loan spell at Dorchester Town extended by three days to allow him to feature in their televised FA Cup encounter with Plymouth Argyle on Sunday.