Can Paul Tisdale's side improve on last season's 10th place finish?
Our next preview takes us to St James' Park, where we take a closer look at Exeter City. To find out when we'll be playing the Devon side, visit the official website on June 19th.
The club has been a member of the Football League from 1920 to 2003. Following five season in the Blue Square Premier, Exeter won promotion to League 2 in 2008, through the play-offs. The Grecians defeated Devon rivals Torquay United in the semi finals. After a 2-1 defeat at St James’ Park, Exeter thrashed the Gulls 4-1 at Plainmoor to reach Wembley. At the national stadium, Rob Edwards scored the only goal of the game against Cambridge United to seal Exeter’s return to the Football League. The Grecians continued that success the following season by sealing a second successive promotion. The Devon club finished runners up to Brentford and earning a place in League 1. The club’s stay in that division didn’t last long though and Exeter were relegated in the 2011/12 season.
A former England youth international, Paul Tisdale spent his playing days at Southampton, Northampton Town and Bristol City. He originally finished his playing days with Yeovil Town in 2000 and took his first steps into management with Team Bath. Spending five years at the University side, his success in earning four promotions prompted Exeter to give him the manager’s job, where the 40 year-old has been since 2006.
In between the sticks for Exeter in 2013/14 will be Polish goalkeeper, Artur Krysiak. The 23 year-old had loan spells at York City, Swansea City and Burton Albion, after beginning his career with Birmingham City. Joined Exeter in 2010. In defence will be former Blues man Pat Baldwin. Baldwin spent time on loan at Roots Hall in 2010 and signed on a permanent deal in 2012. Steve Tully is in his second spell with the Grecians, after returning in 2007 and has made over 200 appearances for the club. Club captain Danny Coles will also be an option for Tisdale. In midfield, Scot Bennett, who scored in both games against Blues last season, will want to continue where he left off after playing 46 games for Exeter last season. Liam Sercombe, like Bennett, is another to have come through the youth ranks at Exeter and will play a key role for his side in 2013/14. Other choices for Tisdale will be Tommy Doherty and former Nottingham Forest winger, Arron Davies. Up front, John O’Flynn will have to step up to the plate with Jamie Cureton looking set to leave the club.
The experienced Alan Gow will want to create and score the goals if Exeter are to mount a challenge in 2013/14. The former Rangers, Norwich City, Plymouth Argyle and Notts County forward scored three times last season and will be hoping to improve on that tally this time around. The Scot as also played in India with East Bengal prior to joining Exeter.
Exeter began the season well, until a poor October saw the club lose four of their six League 2 fixtures, putting a dent in their promotion ambitions. Eventually, Paul Tisdale’s side finished three points ahead of Blues, and ultimately missed out on a possible play-off spot. Highlights of their 2012/13 include beating promoted clubs, Gillingham, Port Vale, and the double over play-off winners, Bradford City.
Paul Tisdale may be forced to lose his out of contract top scorer in Jamie Cureton. The former Reading player scored 21 times for Tisdale’s side last season and has been linked with divisional rivals, Cheltenham Town. Tisdale has made changes at St James’ Park by releasing Guillem Bauza, Rhys Evans, Elliott Frear and Mark Molesley. Don’t expect too many incomings at the club with Tisdale believing there would only be room for possibly one addition to his squad.
BLUES vs. EXETER CITY:
Home: Blues 2-1 Exeter
Late goals by Barry Corr and Freddy Eastwood gave Blues the points in September. Exeter took a 1-0 lead through Scot Bennett before Corr and Eastwood’s goals in the 78th and 88th minutes respectively.
Blues: Bentley, Clohessy, Cresswell, Prosser, Barker, Timlin, Martin (Leonard, 58), Hurst, Spicer (Corr, 72), Assombalonga, Benyon (Eastwood, 57)
Unused: Smith, Straker, Woodyard, Njie
Away: Exeter City 3-0 Blues
John O’Flynn’s double and another goal against Blues by Scot Bennett gave the Grecians a comfortable 3-0 win at St James’ Park.
Blues: Smith, Clohessy, Cresswell, Phillips, Barker, Timlin, Hurst, Laird (Martin, 29), Woodyard (Benyon, 68), Corr (Harris, 89), Tomlin
Unused: Bentley, Straker, Prosser, Leonard
Exeter City are 5/1 to win promotion this coming season.