Gow fit to return but faces a battle to regain his place
PLAYMAKER Alan Gow will be fit to return to the Exeter City squad for Saturday's encounter with Bristol Rovers, according to manager Paul Tisdale.
The Scot, who had made an excellent start to the season with a flurry of goals and assists, has missed the Grecians' last three games with a thigh strain.
Tisdale revealed the former Plymouth Argyle man was close to selection for last weekend's trip to Southend, having trained for a couple of days last week.
But when it came to the crunch the manager decided he did not want to risk bringing Gow back into the team before he was totally ready.
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Tisdale said: "Alan declared himself fit last week, but I decided it was just too quick. For me the risk (of Gow breaking down again) was too high. I didn't want to risk putting him out of action for longer.
"Thigh strains are notoriously delicate injuries and the rule of thumb is that when you are ready to play again, give it another week."
The news for fellow midfielder Liam Sercombe is not so encouraging.
The City youth academy product will be out of action for up to three weeks due to a bruised ankle which caused him to be substituted in the 1-1 draw against York City.
Other than that Tisdale is hopeful of going into the first Westcountry derby of the season with a fully fit squad – Guillem Bauza has returned to training after a groin problem.
And that leaves the boss with some difficult decisions to make, particularly in the case of who plays in the hole behind frontline striker Jamie Cureton.
Gow, Jimmy Keohane and John O'Flynn have all featured in forward roles in recent games, with Keohane getting the nod at Roots Hall on Saturday.
Tisdale said: "If the team's in a good flow you want to try and keep it functioning in the same way. There's a balance between getting your best players on the pitch and working out what team will suit the game.
"Jimmy has put himself into the selection process by playing so well. The back four and midfield pick themselves, which is not a bad thing, so I have to decide on the strikers which is a good problem to have.
"Jimmy has stepped forward since we had injuries. A month ago he was a fringe player but now he has shown himself capable of playing.
"Since the start of the season Jordan Moore-Taylor and Jimmy have stepped forward and proved themselves good enough, so that's two extra players we have got without having to make signings."
As for Rovers, Tisdale says he is surprised to see Mark McGhee's side struggling.
"I'm aware they haven't had the best of starts but they are a good team and a good club," Tisdale said.
"To a degree form doesn't matter. There will be changes to teams as the season goes on, teams will improve and I expect Rovers to be one of those."
Possible Exeter City line-up: Krysiak, Amankwaah, Coles, Baldwin, Woodman, Oakley, Bennett, Doherty, Davies, Gow, Cureton. Injured/suspended: Sercombe (ankle)