Paul Tisdale hoping injury problems ease for Exeter promotion run in
HAVING lost influential midfielders Tommy Doherty and Matt Oakley for the foreseeable future Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale says his side can't afford any more injuries as they approach the last eight games on the League Two season.
Doherty is out for about four weeks with a back injury he picked up in City's 2-0 win away at Port Vale, while Matt Oakley dislocated his shoulder in Tuesday night's 0-0 draw with Gillingham and could be out for the season. The news of the injuries could not have come at a more inconvenient time as City have already lost regular first-team midfielders Alan Gow and Liam Sercombe for the rest of the campaign.
As a result Tisdale says he will be forced to ask some players to play in unfamiliar roles for the club to get them through the promotion run in.
"We haven't got a large squad and we are now being stretched to the limit," he said. "I might have to guess a little bit with young players and fringe players who may be asked to go and do jobs that they haven't done for us yet, and that will be a challenge for them.
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"It is not ideal in a promotion push to be going into unknown situations, but I can't see us being able to bring anybody in, so we will have to see what we can do."
Mark Molesley, who signed for City as a right-sided midfield replacement for Sercombe in January, is one of the players who could be moved into a more central role. He played in that position against Gillingham on Tuesday night and Tisdale was impressed with his performance.
"He hasn't played for a couple of weeks now and he had to come off because he had cramp, but I think he did well," said the City manager.
Having lost two of his key players in the space of a week, you could forgive Tisdale for complaining about his bad luck, but he added that he is still confident they have enough quality in the squad to fill the gaps left by Doherty and Oakley.
"I think every club is going to suffer injuries and suspensions at crucial times so we won't be the only team," said Tisdale. "I think we have got enough very good players playing in the team at the moment, but the injuries have reduced the squad and we can't afford to lose any more."
In terms of squads Bradford City, who visit the Park on Saturday, will have many more options available to them. Phil Parkinson is contemplating making a number of changes to his starting 11 as they bid to deal with two tough away trips to Devon in the space of five days.
And following their impressive run to the final of the Capital One Cup this season, Tisdale is very wary of the threat the West Yorkshire side pose.
"I don't think I'll be the only person to say that they are the stand-out team of our league this year." said Tisdale. "To get to the Capital One Cup final was amazing achievement and they must be pretty tired after all those exertions.
"They are an effective team and we must be on our guard because they know what they are doing that is for sure."
Asked if he could learn anything from Bradford's wins against Aston Villa, Arsenal and Wigan in the Capital One Cup this season, Tisdale added: "You can always learn something from every game.
"But I think playing against Arsenal and playing against a League Two side is a different sport altogether. When they played against those teams, they were the underdogs. They had a very effective plan to play in the game and they probably can't take that plan into games against League Two teams, where the opposition will play a different way and the expectation will be different."