• Nathan Smith

"IT IS A MUST WIN GAME": MATT TAYLOR ON EXETER'S SATURDAY CLASH WITH NEWPORT


After two straight stalemates, Exeter City will be looking to find their goalscoring touch as they welcome fellow play-off chasers Newport County to St James Park.


The Welsh side currently sit one place above Exeter in 7th, but only three points ahead, making Saturday’s game a must win for both sides.


This is something Exeter manager Matt Taylor is very aware of, as this season starts to wind down.


“It is a must win game, the tables obvious for everyone to see, they are three points ahead of us, the goal difference at the moment is in our favour so it’s going to be a huge three points for us to play for on Saturday.”


The Grecians have failed to score in their last two games, raising some concerns for fans, especially considering the fact that Exeter have been lethal in front of goal most of the season, having scored 65 goals.


Taylor believes it’s down to a mixture of form and playing surface but believes the first goal will help his side on Saturday.


“Partly form, rhythm in some players games, partly some of the pitches and where the space is on the football pitch, there is very little space in any games we play in at the moment.


“When there is space we still look like a good attacking unit, you go back to Cambridge, you go back to Leyton Orient.


“I’ve got to admit some players are struggling for a bit of form and a bit of confidence in the final third.


“You are always looking for solutions as a manager, the way you set your team up is one aspect but it’s almost simplified it for this weekend, we know we have to score this weekend and you only need one to change the opposition.


“It will all be about getting in front and staying in front this weekend, and hopefully extending that lead.”


In terms of injuries, it remains both Joel Randall and Sam Stubbs but Exeter will also be without winger Robbie Willmott, as he is on loan from Newport and therefore cannot be played.


Another player who won’t be playing for Exeter this weekend is Nicky Ajose, and as his contract is up in the summer, the Grecians manager has made it clear that his time at the club is over.


“Nicky is not in my thoughts in relation to the first team squad. We are still backing the likes of MJ (Matt Jay) and for Ben Seymour to come good.


“We were so close last season and for whatever reason, Nicky was neither willing or able to provide that little bit extra at the top end of the pitch and this season, we made a conscious decision to back the Academy players and keep that pathway open as best we possibly could.”


One player we may see before the end of the season is Joel Randall, with Taylor stating that this coming week will play a big part in whether the winger returns.


“There is a chance, we’ve got to see how the last few games go, we are pushing him behind the scenes and if we don’t get close in the next few games we’ll take it back in terms of that.


“He’s running, but he’s only jogging and his game is all about sprinting, so he’s got a big week this week.”


A win for Exeter will see the Grecians move into the play-off spots on goal difference, but a loss would be a huge setback in their play-off hunt.