• Kieran Horn


Exeter City will be looking to get back to winning ways on Saturday against an in-form Tranmere Rovers, while also welcoming fans back for a League Two fixture for the first time in nine months.

On Tuesday night, the Grecians Papa John’s trophy defeat to Northampton Town was watched by 800 fans, but it looks as though that number could increase on Saturday and Exeter City manager Matt Taylor is expecting a different type of atmosphere against Tranmere.

“It’ll be totally different on Saturday, a league game where we’re hopefully going to get close to the 2,000 mark,” said Taylor.

After going unbeaten for 13 games in all competitions, City have lost three of their last six games, which included a 5-3 defeat last Saturday to fellow promotion hopefuls Cheltenham Town.

While their opponents at the weekend Tranmere, had only lost one game since the end of October, before losing at home to Walsall in their previous League Two outing.

Rovers were unfortunate to be relegated via PPG from League One last season, and initially didn’t have the best start to the season, leading to manager Mike Jackson being sacked.

Despite the problems they were able to keep hold of some of their best players and maintain a strong squad despite moving down a division.

“We assessed the squad this morning and they’ve got strength in depth in all departments and they’ve got players who played at the top level for long periods, the likes of (Peter) Clarke at the back, the goalkeeper (Joe Murphy) and Jay Spearing in midfield.”

Taylor added: “A disjointed start to the season but since the new manager came in their form has been outstanding.”

Unfortunately for Taylor he may be without one of his more experienced players, but the positives certainly outweigh the negatives with certain members of the squad earning crucial match minutes in the week.

“We have slight question marks over Nicky Law, he jarred his knee on Tuesday evening quite early on and carried on, but Nigel Atangana got through the minutes absolutely fine and so did Jake Caprice so we are improving,” said Taylor.

This season in particular Exeter have been guilty of giving out soft goals and the defence will most-likely remember their last encounter with Tranmere’s dangerous striker James Vaughan.

“I remember at Bradford last season in a game which we were dominating he scored two goals out of nothing. He’s a real physical presence at the top of the pitch and Tranmere play to his strengths as well,” said Taylor.

The clash on Saturday will undoubtedly be a test for both teams and it will be a great opportunity for the Grecians to put the un-inspiring defeat to Cheltenham in their rear-view mirror.