• Nathan Smith

"WE HAVE TO WIN AND TO HOPE": EXETER CITY BOSS ON CRUCIAL BARROW GAME


Exeter City know they must win to try and secure a play-off place as they welcome Barrow to St James Park on a tense last day affair.


Results must go the Grecians way if they are to secure a place, but that will only come into play if the Grecians secure all three points on Saturday.


Exeter fans will be looking out for the scores of Newport County, Tranmere Rovers and Forest Green Rovers as those are the teams that Exeter could replace come the end of the season.


Manager Matt Taylor understands the importance of this weekend’s game, and a win against Barrow is the only thing on his mind.


“I think this weekend is a different spectacle, a different game, a different circumstance, we know exactly what we need to do, there’s no tomorrow in relation to this game.


“We have to win and we have to hope results go our way elsewhere, so it kind of simplifies it.”


Exeter are coming off the back of a huge win against promotion chasing Bolton Wanderers, a game that required a lot of energy given the importance for both sides.


Taylor acknowledged that there have been some injury worries, but believes that a strong end to the week in training will quash those fears.


“Jake Taylor and Archie Collins didn’t train until today (Thursday) with hamstring issues, and that’s been a real worry, Alex Fisher picked up a knock in the short period he was on the pitch.


“We’ve been a little bit mindful in terms of the ones that played the most minutes on Saturday, so we tapered them back at the start of the week.


“Luckily, Jake and Archie have successfully got through today and we’ll assess them again tomorrow because they’ve put so much in not just last weekend but this season, so it will naturally take its toll.


“They are two important players for us and will affect how we set up the team, so hopefully they’ll be fully fit.”


It was not that long ago when Exeter last played Barrow, having succumbed to a midweek 2-1 defeat at Holker Street on the 13th of April.


The performance was a frustrating one for the Grecians and Taylor believes lessons have been learned from that night.


“We didn’t perform particularly well, gave them a real in, into the game in terms of conceding that first goal just before half time and gave them something to hold on to and believe in.


“We couldn’t break them down in the second half for as much as we had the possession of the ball, we created very little.


“We learnt a lot from that night, a difficult surface, hopefully the pitch will be in a better condition this weekend, we hope our players are in a better position physically because that was on the back of the Cambridge fixture.”


However, circumstances have changed since then, with Barrow now safe in League Two, and while Taylor knows it won’t be easy, the game will be a completely different occasion to the previous.


“The game will also have a different feel, at that point Barrow were fighting for their lives, and full credit to them, they are safe with games to spare while we’ve got everything to play for.


“It’s by no means a dead rubber, they will still have pride as professional footballers but not as much to hold onto if we get on top, so I’m expecting a different game and a different feel this weekend.”


Exeter know that results must go their way to take a play-off place, however that is only plausible if they win on Saturday, while Barrow can finish the season in 19th with a win at St James Park.