Mansfield Town head to League Two leaders Exeter City on Saturday with Stags boss John Dempster a big Grecians admirer, saying there were many parallels between the two clubs’ philosophies.
Stags are trying to build a self-sustaining football club, based on a successful youth production line, and Dempster said Exeter are showing everyone how to do it well.
“Exeter are a club I have a lot of respect for. There are similarities to our football club,” he said.
“They have a young manager, who is an ex-player. They are very well supported at home – they get behind their team. They are a passionate group of supporters.
“They are also family-orientated as well, having picked up some award similar to ourselves.
“We have got a football club to be proud of, certainly when you look at some of the off-the-field developments in the last couple of years.”
He continued: “Where Exeter’s structure and philosophy is really impressive is that, although they will have a competitive budget, a lot of it is from academy success.
“They have sold players on, they have academy graduates in the squad and in the team. It makes it a sustainable football club and they are always up there challenging.
“They have got stability as well. They had a manager for a number of years and they replaced him with someone they trust and that knows the club inside out.
“So, with the way that club is run, you can’t help but respect them.
“A lot of clubs could learn from Exeter – looking at the recent demise of Bury and other clubs local to ourselves.
“If you have a strategy and a vision that everybody shares it can make the club more sustainable and successful.
“The club is supporter-owned and they are all singing off the same hymn sheet.”
Dempster is not surprised to see the Grecians once again up there unbeaten.
“They have got good players and a young manager (Matt Taylor) who’s had the experience from last season, which will be massive for him,” he said.
“Exeter have good attacking players and have been playing a number of different formations, so they do have good flexibility.
“They are dangerous. We won’t be up against a team worrying about Mansfield Town coming to town and thinking about sitting back and shutting up shop.
“That won’t be the case. They will attack us and think we can win the game. But we will go there in confident mood and hope to go there and spoil their good form.”
Dempster said he’d been encouraged by the number of opportunities his side are carving out each game.
“We have created chances in abundance over the last two games – and that’s important,” he said.
“I have played in sides when you don’t create a lot of chances or don’t feel like you’ve got a goal in you and that can be really frustrating.
“We just need to go that one step further and get the ball in the back of the net.
“I think it’s also important we emphasise we expect goals from different parts of the pitch.
“Danny Rose and Nicky Maynard have started really well with their goalscoring.
“But I expect to see goals from the likes of the centre backs, who can be a real force from set plays, and also, when you look back on history, it’s important you’ve got midfielders chipping in with goals as well.”