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Exeter boss Paul Tisdale says Rhys Evans has to earn retention

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: October 05, 2012

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Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale praised the performance of goalkeeper Rhys Evans in his debut for the Grecians this week – but stopped short of promising the 30-year-old an extended run in his side.

After the talented but inconsistent Artur Krysiak was demoted to the substitutes' bench for Tuesday's npower League Two trip to Barnet, Evans played his part in a 2-1 win for the men from St James' Park.

It was the summer signing's first competitive first-team game for Exeter, and it was also the former Swindon Town player's first match in the Football League since he left Southend United at the end of the 2010-11 campaign.

A knee injury delayed his return to the professional game, and he came to Exeter after a spell with non-League outfit Staines Town last term. His first chance to repay Tisdale for bringing him to City came at Underhill.

"Rhys had a solid game," the Grecians' boss said, reflecting on the win over Barnet. "It was always going to be a difficult start for him. He has not had much football over the last 18 months, and he has worked hard on his training and his fitness and his agility.

"He had his chance on Tuesday, and I'm sure he's going to gain confidence from that game. He has played 300 League games, and that's no fluke. I'm sure he will get back into the groove very quickly."

Fourth-placed Exeter entertain second-placed Port Vale at St James' Park tomorrow, and Tisdale was not prepared to divulge who was going to play in goal against the Valiants.

"I'll look at Saturday, make that decision, and work from there," the Exeter manager stated. "I'm not going to look too far ahead. I'm not going to give Rhys games just to get him fit. He's going to have to earn his place and keep it."

Attacker Alan Gow (knee injury) and midfielder Liam Sercombe (ankle) were not part of City's squad at Barnet, but they may be involved against Micky Adams' Vale side. "I think we're edging back to full fitness, after a sticky month," Tisdale said.

"Alan Gow should be in contention for Saturday. Liam Sercombe may just be fit for Saturday, and the players who were patched up and performed on Tuesday have come through that game without making anything worse."

The only definite absentee this weekend is Scot Bennett, who was carried off during last Saturday's 2-1 home defeat to Bristol Rovers.

The holding midfielder's leg injury should not be a long-term problem for him or City, though. "The scans have proved to be positive. He hasn't gained a serious injury, but he does have bad bruising," the Exeter boss revealed.

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