• Nathan Smith


Matt Taylor is looking for Exeter City to get back to winning ways, as they host relegation battling Stevenage at St James Park this weekend.

Exeter have struggled for wins as of late, as it is now four games without a win for the Grecians, but Matt Taylor says the drop of form is one of the things that you always have to deal with in a season.

“That’s always going to happen in a season, players are going to have ups and downs, and certainly some of our younger personnel.”

The Grecians are also nursing some injuries at the moment, with Randell Williams and Jake Taylor currently out, Exeter fans won’t be too happy to hear that Joel Randall is facing some time on the side-lines, after picking up a hamstring injury in the 0-0 draw with Harrogate.

“On the back of Randell’s (Williams) stress fracture and Jake Taylor’s hamstring, Joel Randall picked up a hamstring injury Tuesday night. That’s three big players unavailable for us.”

Goals have been City’s problem as of late, which is a weird thing to say considering they are on of the top scoring teams in the entire EFL, but Taylor isn’t worried that the goals will continue to dry up, while praising his sides defensive display.

“I’m not too worried about this team creating chances and taking chances. On the positive side, a clean sheet which is something we’ve not had enough this season.”

Alongside the aforementioned injuries, City find themselves without two of their key attacking players, which means the manager may to have to rethink certain elements to their attacking game.

“We are looking for other ways to hurt the opposition, if you take away some of your attacking attributes and attacking threats you’ve had previously in the season, you’ve got to figure out a way to hurt the opposition in different ways and that might be different personnel, a change in shape but we’ve got to be aggressive.”

Stevenage currently sit just outside the relegation zone, but they find themselves four games unbeaten in the league, with two big wins over Cambridge and Scunthorpe included.

Put that alongside some strong January business, and Taylor believes that this team will be a different test compared to the side they were headed to face in December, before the game was postponed due to Stevenage having a COVID-19 outbreak within the club.

“The team would have changed from when we were due to play them a month ago, they’ve signed four or five already this window, recruited really well. Some experienced players at this level, and I think it’s shown in their recent results, had a good FA Cup run and started picking up points in the league.”

On the COVID-19 front, Exeter have had no new positive tests after their last two mass tests.

This game marks the second of 16 games the Grecians will play in eight weeks, and Matt Taylor is counting on his whole squad to come in and make the difference when needed.

“Players have got to be ready, got to be training well, and they have to take that opportunity when it comes. We are looking for some sort of rhythm in the next few weeks, when’s there is so many games, they’ll be less time on the training pitch and more game time and everyone’s going to get their opportunity.”

Exeter announced the signing of centre back Sam Stubbs from Fleetwood on Thursday, but Exeter are on the hunt for more new additions but will have to make use of the loan market due to their current financial situation.

“We’ve put a couple of offers in for the clubs, loan offers. Unless players go out for fees, our hands are tied in terms of paying significant fees. We are still hopeful, and we are still pushing towards these positions we are trying to fill, and it is not just the centre forward position. We are looking for good players to bring in, easier said than done but it’s what we are working to.”

While Stevenage are coming into this game in good form, this is a big opportunity for Exeter City to get back to winning ways at St James Park.