• Nathan Smith


Exeter City will be looking to pick up back-to-back wins for the first time this season as they welcome newly promoted Sutton United to St James Park.

Both teams arrive at the game on good form, with the hosts coming off an impressive 4-0 win at Scunthorpe and Sutton on a three-game winning streak in all competitions.

Despite having never played each other in the club’s history, the U’s success last season means Exeter City boss Matt Taylor saw a lot of their opponent’s previous campaign.

“There were a couple players on our radar at that stage, so we watched a lot of their games.

“We watched a lot of their success and where it came from and they’ve got some excellent players, and they’ve kept that core group of players that they had from last season and added some more quality on top of it as well.

“Such a strong spine to the team, a really physical team, some great legs in the team, really well organised, some fantastic structure, so full credit to what they are doing so far this season, and what they did last season.”

The Grecians under 23 side played their second Premier League Cup group stage game, in a 3-2 defeat against Wolves under 23’s on Wednesday, which saw Archie Collins play for the first time this season following an injury in pre-season.

While urging on the side of caution, Taylor is excited to have the young midfielder back in the fold.

“We know a fully fit Archie Collins is a benefit to any team, it’s been strange because the last two and a half years he’s been a mainstay of our central midfield and he never got injured and hopefully he doesn’t get injured again this season.”

“To lose him a week before the start of the season, that was a big blow at the time, because as a manager you plan what you expect to be leading into the start of the season and he was certainly part of that, so we had to patient with Archie.

“Hopefully we’ve not rushed him, we’ve given him the support he needed but to see him back out on the pitch, that’s fantastic to see.”

Another two players that could possibly make their Exeter City debuts on Saturday are Colin Daniel and Josh Coley, who are both approaching full fitness.

“He’s trained with us now for probably a week and he’s trained properly so that shows you how close he is. We’ll have a practice or in-house game next week which he’ll feature in but he’s going to be available from Monday onwards.

“We’ve been pleased with Colin, we probably got about an hour or so against Plymouth and then a couple of 90’s and he’s gotten better each time.

“Similar to Josh and Owura (Edwards), he’s another player we can use, and we fully trust where he is physically now.”

After a great win against Scunthorpe, the Grecian boss has been impressed with his sides application and hunger in training, all encouraging signs for City.

“As always in football, win, lose or draw, you’ve got to quickly put that result and performance behind you and start looking towards what’s next.

“You’ve always got to see how people react because you can become overconfident, complacent, you can take your foot off the gas, we’ve only won two games of football in the league this season so we want another win this weekend and to put ourselves in a position to win a game of football.

“The pleasing thing from my point of view was that we recovered well on Monday and then we trained really well on Tuesday.

“So that was a good marker for myself to see how hungry the group were, after they won the previous game.”

Both of Exeter’s wins this season have been convincing, but Taylor’s only concern remains getting the three points, and perhaps showing a different way of getting over the line.

“It sounds stupid but after you win a game 4-0 convincingly away from home, I would take a scruffy 1-0, it’s all about winning the game, all about getting points on the board.

“Judging by the start we’ve had, we want to be able to win ugly, because the two games we’ve won convcingly, we’ve almost been out of sight at an early stage in the game, so I would take a scrappy result this weekend as long as it meant three points and that’s when I’ll know where the team’s getting close towards what we want as we need to be able to win those close games.”

A win for Exeter would see them move into the play-off spots while Sutton could move as high as 6th if results go their way.