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Pre Exeter | Matt Taylor

27 November 2023


Pre Exeter | Matt Taylor

27 November 2023

Boss Matt Taylor chatted to the media ahead of our League One clash at Exeter.

Town travel to St James Park tomorrow on the back of securing victory against Port Vale on Saturday.

Matt's side head to Devon, though, light on numbers following the news Tom Flanagan looks to have sustained a serious knee injury.

Jason Sraha is also unavailable for tomorrow's game as Town's injury list gets ever longer.

Speaking to the assembled media, Matt - who celebrates his 43rd birthday today - looked back at the Port Vale game and previewed tomorrow's match against the Grecians.

The boss also gave an update on Flanagan and discussed the demands of playing two away games in four days - with Town also in action on Friday when they face Notts County in the FA Cup.

On his birthday and getting three points against Port Vale: 

“I’d like some more points on the board tomorrow board. 

“Ironically with the schedule the way it’s been – I didn’t realise it was my birthday until about three or four days ago. 

“It was a good day Saturday in terms of the points. It was imperative we continued what has been good home form up to this point. 

“The challenge – and I spoke about this after the game – will always be we have to go and perform away from home. 

“That’s the aim moving into what will be a very difficult game at Exeter.” 

On Tom Flanagan coming off against Port Vale with a serious-looking knee injury: 

“Tom had a scan at 1pm today. We won’t know the outcome and result of that scan until later on this afternoon or this evening. 

“I think we are fearing the worst and if that is the case that means Tom’s season is over which is going to be really disappointing for us because he has played really well and been really consistent since he got back into the team. 

“He started the season well. He got taken out of the team. And he then fought his way back into the starting XI and performed really well. 

“It’s a real blow for us. It seems every injury at the moment is one where we are losing players for a considerable amount of time. 

“It’s really difficult and also we don’t - imminently – have players coming out of the treatment room. 

“That puts a strain on the squad, of course it does. It lessens the number of players that are available to be selected. 

“But in saying that, what it can do and what I hope it will do is bring the group closer together. 

“Even though players are injured, we are still one football club, we are still one family. Everyone is in it together. 

“And it’s important now that those players who are available go and perform.” 

On any other injuries: 

“We’re not sure about Taylor (Perry) yet. He didn’t train today.  

“He has got an issue and where we are now, numbers are low. 

“But what it does do is give an opportunity to some of the younger players out of the youth team. 

“I went to watch the under-18s game on Saturday morning before our game – they won 6-0 against Bolton. They were brilliant, they were excellent. 

“It will give us an opportunity to select some of the younger members of the under-18s. It gives them a chance to be involved with the first-team squad.” 

On Jason Sraha and Elliot Thorpe’s progress: 

“It’s not as quick as I would like being truthful with you. 

“Neither of them will be available tomorrow which is obviously a real blow for us. 

“We haven’t seen anywhere near enough of Elliot. The fans, if you asked them what type of player he is, they probably wouldn’t know. 

“That has been really difficult for Elliot to deal with. 

“Jason has got into the team and he has been nothing short of exceptional. His performances were continuing to grow week-on-week. 

“But he picked up an injury against Blackpool and he’s not going to be available tomorrow. 

“But we are hopeful we might have numbers back in the group for the game on Friday.” 

On playing two away games in four days: 

“It’s very difficult. But Exeter have had a difficult game and a difficult result against Bolton on Saturday. 

“But we know that can happen. Bolton are one of the form teams in the league. 

“They are at home. They will of course want to make sure they put in a positive performance and a positive result. 

“We have to be considerate of the opposition. But at the same time, I want us to concentrate on our group of players. 

“That is what we have done on the training pitch. 

“We travel tomorrow. We will make sure the preparation is correct.  

“Forget about Friday at the moment, the most important thing is we put a performance together on Tuesday night away at Exeter.” 

On the importance of starting games well:

"Even in the game at Blackpool we started really well.

"It has pleased me considerably that we've started games well and earlier in the season we were on top in games and weren't scoring. We've turned a corner with that.

"We have to be ready to fight, to harry, to battle, to do all the things that give you the opportunity to play.

"It's going to be no different on Tuesday. They've come off a bad result for them but it doesn't all of a sudden make them bad footballers. We will fully respect that.

"I would argue we've got areas of our game that we're getting better at and one of those is putting the ball in the back of the net at home - we need to be better at putting the ball in the net away from home.

On Dan Udoh and Max Mata kicking on following their goals against Port Vale:

"Subconsciously Max will feel a huge weight has been lifted off his shoulders because he hadn't scored until that point.

"He'd had opportunities and I hope that'll give him more confidence.

"Dan, his goal was excellent. The way he picked up the ball, the way he manipulated the ball, and his finish was pretty much what we see on a daily basis at the training ground.

"We hope those players scoring will give them good confidence.

"You look at Ryan Bowman scoring a few days ago in the cup, we've got three strikers who are scoring and that's really positive.

"I'm over the moon - really happy that Max has scored. Max has been working so hard.

"You have to remember Max is in a different period. He came from the League of Ireland who are further along in their season than we are here.

"So the challenge will be can they go a replicate that?

"We will create chances tomorrow night, we know that, but what we have to do is take them and be ruthless away from home because that performance that we all want and we're all striving for is there."

On Max going away on international duty recently:

"I spoke to him the day he got back and we spoke about the chances that he had and he went into a huge amount of detail about how he felt he could've gone about it and where he could've approached it differently.

"At this level of football, it was always going to take time for him to bed in. Now he's at a stage where he's not going to be concerned about scoring the first goal and we're extremely happy for him.

"I think when you play instinctively you always play at your best, or at least I did.

"When you overthink things it can cause an issue, but I think our players are confident with the way they're looking to move forwards and I'm really pleased with the result on Saturday.

"I'm going to keep going on about it; the challenge now is can they go and do that again against what is a really good Exeter City team away from home on a Tuesday night."

On Exeter's recent run of form:

"We're not focussing on the opposition. We'll give them the respect they deserve but it's about us going and performing at the levels we know we can do.

"If we do that we know we've got a good chance."

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