Paul Tisdale faces challenge of keeping his squad happy
When a team is playing well, everything can seem relatively easy for a manager. But that is not always the case, as Exeter City boss Paul Tisdale is finding.
The Grecians entertain York City today looking to extend a four-match winning run which has propelled them into second place in npower League Two. The team are playing well and scoring plenty of goals, but the challenge facing Tisdale – albeit a welcome one – is keeping every member of his squad happy and motivated.
"When things are going well, you don't just concentrate on the 11 players that got a result for you," Tisdale said ahead of today's encounter. "You have to keep everyone in the mix and motivated and feeling they have a purpose to their training because in the space of a minute in training, your plans can go out the window.
"We have worked particularly hard with John O'Flynn on picking his game up after a drop in his performance levels through injury last year and he has shown the benefits of that.
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"We could easily have concentrated on just Alan [Gow] and Jamie [Cureton], but we have worked with John and he has responded to that and worked particularly hard. You could see the rewards of that last week, he was one of our best players at Oxford."
Indeed, O'Flynn, who netted the crucial fourth in the 4-2 win, has been in fine form for the Grecians, His goal last week was his third of the campaign and with injury doubts over Gow, Cureton and Guillem Bauza today, the Irishman is likely to play a key role for City once again.
Gow missed last week's win at Oxford, while Cureton picked up a hamstring injury during the course of the game. Bauza went down with injury in training yesterday and with Wycombe Wanderers arriving at the Park on Tuesday, Tisdale knows he has to be considered in his team selection.
"I think it will be a case of waiting until Saturday morning," Tisdale said. "With so many games coming up, I have to be careful I don't put any player out for a period of time, so we have to be careful with Guillem and Jamie.
"Two years ago, Jamie had a couple of similar injuries, which forced him to miss a few games, but he is a very fit chap for someone of his age. He has to be sensible and so do I.
"We have plenty of good players and Jamie will do well to play every game. We have to be careful with him."
"Careful" is very much the watch word at Exeter right now. Careful in team selection and careful too in managing the expectation after such a fine start to the campaign.
"It's good pressure. It is early days, we are second in the table, but it's still early days," Tisdale said. "We are only 11 points from the bottom of the league as well, it's that early in the season still that the distance between top and bottom is still small.
"I haven't heard any player getting carried away or overplaying our start to the season and quite rightly so. It's very early days and there are over 40 games still to go, but while the team are scoring goals and getting results, I can be happy."
Exeter City (from): Krysiak, Evans; Tully, Woodman, Bennett, Baldwin, Coles, Sercombe, Oakley, Gow, Davies, Cureton, Doherty, Amankwaah, Frear, O'Flynn, Bauza, Keohane, Chamberlain, Moore-Taylor, Cane, Micklewright, Roper, Wannell.
Doubtful: Gow, Cureton, Bauza.
Unavailable: Nichols (on loan to Hereford), Reid, Gosling (on loan to Dorchester), Dawson (on loan to Havant & Waterlooville), Knowles (on loan to Barnstaple).