Tisdale wants purposeful start to end poor Exeter City record at home
EXETER City are set for an energetic and fast start against Southend United on Saturday if their manager Paul Tisdale gets his wish.
The results at St James's Park have been a problem for the Grecians in recent months, with them picking up just one win from nine games on their own turf.
However, they came close to ending that trend against Barnet on December 29 as a high-tempo first half saw them race into a 2-0 half-time lead.
And it is that first-half performance Tisdale is asking his players to repeat over the 90 minutes when they face Paul Sturrock's side this weekend.
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"In terms of the home form, I have been reasonably pleased with the last two games," said Tisdale.
"Obviously form is different to results and we have not achieved the results.
"But the start against Oxford United and the start against Barnet probably show we are turning the corner because we have not started well in games this season, I don't believe, since the Crystal Palace game in the Capital One Cup.
"That is what I have asked for from the players against Southend – to start with some real purpose.
"Watching back through the Barnet game on DVD, we were very efficient and we were unlucky to be only 2-0 up at half-time. I believe we are on the right track."
Tisdale only has two players unavailable for Saturday's match, with Liam Sercombe out with a broken ankle and Jamie Cureton serving the second match of his three-game suspension.
Tommy Doherty played 45 minutes in the win against York City and is fit to take a place in the starting line-up again.
Added to that, Guillem Bauza came through a reserve team fixture unscathed on Tuesday and could also feature in the squad.
As a result, City will approach the game with lots of confidence, especially having racked up back-to-back away victories in the league.
Tisdale believes that if his side can sort out their home form, it bodes well for the coming months.
"We haven't won in the last five home games, but sometimes these things crop up in sport and you can spend too long worrying about it," he said. "We will attack Saturday and sooner or later we are going to change it, I'm sure of that.
"If we can maintain the away form and at least get into a balance with our home results then we are going to be in a very good position.
"We are going into the new year in a strong position in the league and any kind of improvement in the second half of the season is going to give us a good opportunity to compete for promotion.
"That is the aim and we are certainly focussed on it. We haven't got too much to meddle with. I'm quite optimistic."
Southend will pose a severe test to City's form since the turn of the year, though.
The Shrimpers go into the match having suffered back-to-back league defeats at home to Gillingham and away at Burton Albion.
However, before that they had gone 14 games without loss – a run which impressed Tisdale.
"They have had a couple of back-to-back defeats, but you look at the last six to eight weeks they have probably been the form side in the league," said Tisdale.
"They sort of got themselves going around October time and found their form a bit. I'm not looking at their last two league games and taking anything for granted whatsoever, they will be probably be the best side we have played at the Park since Port Vale."
Predicted City line-up: Krysiak, Tully, Woodman, Bennett, Baldwin, Coles, Doherty, Oakley, Keohane, Gow, O'Flynn