EXETER CITY: HARROGATE TOWN GAME POSTPONED AS MATT TAYLOR ADMITS 'WORRY' OVER PROMOTION PUSH
Exeter City’s Sky Bet League Two away fixture against Harrogate Town on Saturday has been postponed due to a frozen pitch at the EnviroVent Stadium.
This is the Grecians fourth consecutive league fixture to be postponed away from St James Park, following games against Stevenage, Newport and Barrow being called off.
City manager Matt Taylor spoke to the media yesterday ahead of this weekend’s game about the extremely busy schedule his team will be facing.
“We’ve got so many times in the near future where we’re playing three times a week and the squads going to be absolutely pushed to the limit and we’ve seen this week how easy it is to pick up injuries,” said Taylor.
This comes after City captain Jake Taylor picked up a hamstring injury during the 1-1 draw with Bolton Wanderers on Tuesday night, following in the footsteps of Pierce Sweeney who also spent time on the side-lines.
The Welshman now joins Randell Williams on the treatment table after he suffered a stress fracture during the Christmas period and is expected to miss a significant number of games.
“He’s walking with a crutch at the moment and it’s going to be a number of weeks before he can get back to training and then we’ll have to build him back up again,” said Taylor.
The last time City actually played 90 minutes away from home was the 5th December, 2020 clash against Cheltenham Town, over a month ago.
City sit on 20 games played, the joint-lowest of fixtures completed in the league, and after this weekend’s games, assuming most go ahead, Taylor’s team will have three games in hand over fellow promotion rivals, such as Salford, Crawley and Cambridge.
While multiple games being called off means injured players won’t miss as many games as initially expected, another week has gone by where the squad have been preparing for a game that is now not going ahead.
Pre-empting that the match may be postponed, Taylor admitted there was a possibility of trying to play the game the following week but with so many moving variables it would be a challenge.
“We might well suggest Tuesday night to get it out of the way but it has got to fit with the opposition,” said Taylor.
Understandably, as his team face more games being called off, Taylor is concerned as to what it will mean for the sides who have plenty of games in hand come the end of the season.
“My worry will be if there’s more and more games called off due to Covid, all of a sudden, some teams are lesser positioned of the back of that and if there’s a circuit breaker we have to go into the last week of the season, even if it’s been extended, on the same amount of games.
“I’m not sure that will be possible but that’s what the target has got to be,” said Taylor.
Inevitably, with the weather most likely not improving and COVID outbreaks still occurring, this won’t be the last time League Two fixtures are called off and for the sake of player welfare which surely the EFL will take action and extend the season.