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Paul Tisdale welcomes opportunity for hard graft on training field

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 05, 2013

By Stuart James

Paul Tisdale

Paul Tisdale

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Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale has welcomed the opportunity to put in some hard graft on the training ground in an attempt to arrest the Grecians' poor run of form.

After a draw and five straight defeats, Exeter picked up two League Two points last week with a draw at Wycombe followed by another against Bury at St James' Park.

But, by the time they take to the field at Accrington Stanley in their next League Two encounter, it will be eight games and nearly two months since the Grecians had that winning feeling by smashing Scunthorpe United 4-0 at Glanford Park. It has been even longer since home fans saw a victory, with the 3-1 win against Plymouth Argyle on October 5 their last success in Devon.

"I had a chat with the players after the Bury game and we have a weekend without a game, so the players will have the weekend off," Tisdale said. "But I have told them that between now and the Accrington game, personally, I need the time with them to get some things back into our game which are lacking at the moment.

"I need some training-ground time. I believe the weather forecast is dry and I say that because it does have an impact on the way we train because, if it rains, we don't get to train. But it is going to be dry, so I know I can do some coaching work.

"I know that we have some work to do, so it is going to be some proper work for the players and I am not saying it will be anything different physically, but I think we need some work.

"We are exactly half way through the year – December 1 is exactly the half-way point, we are five months in and have five months to go – but we need to do some work and that is what we'll be doing over the next two weeks."

It will be interesting to see what sort of team Tisdale chooses for the game at Accrington as he has hinted several times that he is not entirely happy with things right now.

Defensively, Exeter have conceded some very soft goals and Pat Baldwin was taken out of the side for the game at Wycombe and was again benched for the match with Bury. But fellow central defender Danny Coles has been in poor form recently, leading to loud cheers when he was substituted against the Shakers after an indifferent performance.

The City skipper made his feelings on the ironic cheers known on his Twitter page on Saturday evening by writing: "Well done to the supporters that cheered on the substitution today, loudest I have heard you all season, if only you cheered the boys that much" followed by "And to chant what you did to the manager, embarrassing."

Whether Coles was right or wrong to voice his opinion – the second tweet was referring to the fans chanting "You don't know what you're doing" when Tisdale took off David Wheeler – is open to debate. But there is more than an element of truth in his postings.

Coles will be frustrated more than most at both Exeter's recent slump and his own performance against Bury. But there are problems in attack as well.

Exeter have only really looked better in the last two games when Sam Parkin has come on, but Tisdale suggested Tom Nichols, who came off the bench to net the equaliser on Saturday, could be about to get his chance from the start.

"Tom Nichols is getting better and better," Tisdale said. "Two months ago, I wouldn't have believed he could look as effective as he is at the moment, but it just shows you that the progression of a youngster is like a roller-coaster.

"Tom is coming good again, he is not a teenager any more, but he is still developing and he is looking a better player and I am delighted he got his goal. It was just frustrating for him and everyone else that his header at the end missed the target because it was a good chance, but he is coming to the party, he looks a first-team player and long may that continue."

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