Exeter desperate to get back on track against the Stags

Mansfield Town's Manager Steve Evans with Exeter's Manager Paul Tisdale - Pic Chris Holloway
Mansfield Town's Manager Steve Evans with Exeter's Manager Paul Tisdale - Pic Chris Holloway

Manager Paul Tisdale says it is a case of what happens next for Exeter City as they attempt to get back on track following two defeats in a row at the One Call Stadium on Saturday.

The Grecians make the trip to Mansfield Town this weekend looking to bounce back following losses to Luton Town and Port Vale last week.

Tisdale is anticipating a difficult game and has warned his side that they need to earn anything that comes their way.

He said: “We expect a very difficult game at Mansfield. We obviously need to get our form back on track after last week, so we’re all very determined for a result.

“You can’t have it all your own way and we’ll be doing our very best to get a result at Mansfield, there’s no doubt about it, but I’m sure Mansfield are particularly motivated also.

“So we’ve got to earn it and we’ve got a long season ahead of us, so it’s all about what happens next in the next 30 games.

“I think we’re all pretty focussed on what we have to do but you just can’t predict too many things in football, you’ve got to go out in each game and earn the victory, or the draw, that’s what we have to do on Saturday.”

Tisdale and Stags boss Evans have faced each other a number of times over the years and, whilst Tisdale feels the Scot’s sides have always had similar characteristics running through them, he says that, with both sides having had comings and goings over the summer, they cannot look back on previous results against the Stags too much.

He said: “You begin to see personality traits in a team that’s probably more from the manager in charge. Steve Evans always creates a very competitive team and will always push his players to the maximum and I see no reason why this week will be any different.

“Of course we need to reflect on previous encounters with Mansfield, or the other teams he’s managed, but this Saturday it will be two different teams, albeit there will be similarities, this is a new game, a new start, two new 11s and it’s a blank canvas, really.

“We are, as always, respectful of the opposition but cannot let that affect our own game – we have to focus on what we do and do it well.”

Last weekend City were boosted by the somewhat unexpected return of captain Jordan Moore-Taylor after the defender suffered a leg injury against Coventry City last month and Tisdale says that, whilst Moore-Taylor came back early, he came through the game unscathed.

“Jordan got through the game,” he said. “He came back and played probably two weeks earlier than we were expecting.

“Of course we always push our players to be fit sooner rather than later and it’s a credit to him to have the gumption to push himself and also credit to Ade Saunderson, our physio, for doing everything possible to get him back on the pitch.

“Jordan came through it and it was quite a big ask as he hadn’t trained for four weeks – I think he trained lightly on Thursday and Friday but that still doesn’t really prepare you, but I thought he was excellent considering.

“We needed him back, we had injuries to Craig Woodman, Jordan Tillson and Luke Croll, and it was a very important game for Jordan to step back into, so well done him.”

The Grecians were without Woodman and Lee Holmes for the Port Vale defeat but Tisdale is hopeful they will be back in contention for the trip to Field Mill.

He said: “I’m hoping they’ll both be in contention for Saturday – they’re not long-term injuries. They were both particularly fatigued in their muscles which was just an accumulation of matches, really.

“Last weekend was just a game too many for them and they missed the game but I’m hoping that, with seven days between games, they’ll be in contention for Mansfield.”

One player City will be without is Tillson, who broke his foot in last week’s defeat to Luton, but still stayed on the pitch for the final 40 minutes of the encounter without so much as going down injured.

Tisdale said he anticipates the tough-tackling midfielder will be out for around four to six weeks and paid tribute to his determined nature of playing through the pain barrier.

He said: “It will be a four to six week recovery until he can play, at least with a clean break it’s uncomplicated so we know it’s just a matter of allowing the bone to fix back together again, then a sufficient time for it to harden.

“Jordan will, as always, give himself the best chance to be back as soon as possible but we’re going to miss him, he’s been one of our most productive players this season and he certainly brings a physicality and athleticism to our team, so he’ll be missed over the next month.”

Tisdale added: “He’s quiet and he’s polite and he’s a very respectable young man but when it comes to playing football he’s very tough and determined.

“I think it says everything that it was a very important game for us against Luton, he obviously had the challenge that created the break in his metatarsal but he played on for the next 40 minutes.

“On the bench, we didn’t even know he was injured as he didn’t show it and he didn’t go down. It wasn’t until after the game that his foot was very sore, so he went for an X-ray and there was a clean break.

“It just shows that being proper and polite doesn’t make you soft – it’s the case with Jordan, he’s a very proper young man but he’s very, very tough and determined.

“He’ll be missed for the next month.”