Exeter City manager Matt Taylor has suggested he will make changes to his team for Saturday’s FA Cup first round clash against National North side AFC Fylde.
The Grecians are in the midst of a congested fixture schedule which has seen them play two games a week for the past few weeks and the City chief is keen to ensure he does not burden his players with too much match action.
However, he insists that, despite making changes, he and the club are taking this season’s competition seriously and they will be going all out to secure their place in the hat for Monday’s second round draw.
“People like Jake Caprice and Nicky Law haven’t had enough game time this season, Ben Seymour as well, so a lot of these players will be playing,” Taylor said. “It is an opportunity for them to impress, but also an opportunity for our club and our team to progress into the next round.
“Most of them have had experience of league football this season, so I am not expecting – or want – a disjointed performance. I want a really positive display on Saturday.”
As well as goalkeepers Jonny Maxted and Lewis Ward who remain on the injured list, Taylor said that both Nigel Atangana and Lewis Page are a few weeks away from returning to fitness, and that Alex Fisher will also miss Saturday’s clash with a hamstring injury, and that City have a few players that are playing with a few issues.
He added: “Tom Parkes started the season with a knee issue. That has started to raise its head a little bit, so it is more than likely we will have to look after him this weekend and there are a few players that are like that.
“But the competition is still as important as ever to anyone involved in professional football. It’s the best Cup competition in our country and one that we have not underachieved in, but we have wanted to go further than we have in recent seasons. Then you only have to look at the history of the club to see how important it is in terms of those big fixtures that have helped the club financially across the years.”
Saturday’s clash is the first time City have ever played Fylde, although many members of their squad – as well as their manager – will be well known to the club. They are managed by Jim Bentley, who captained Morecambe to their play-off final win over the Grecians and who spent eight years as manager of the Shrimps before unexpectedly leaving to take over at Fylde.
That was just over a year ago and things have not gone to plan as he could not prevent them from being relegated from the National League. Now, though, they are looking to bounce straight back and are top of the National North table after five league games.
“We had it last season with Salford and it is strange because you get familiar with clubs and opposition,” Taylor said. “We have never played them before, but there are a lot of familiar faces and when you see their team, you recognise a lot of those names.
“For whatever reason, they are playing at a level lower than where they should be but they have a fantastic manager. A manager that has to have an operation this week and won’t be at the game, and we wish him all the best with that.
“He is someone that this club and myself admire greatly in terms of what Jim Bentley has done, certainly in his time at Morecambe, and it seems he’s been backed for what he’s needed for the level they are at, at the moment.
“I expect them to get promoted this season and then challenge for promotion in the National League next season, but it is always interesting. It is great that we have been able to watch them – they have certainly impressed us and they are unbeaten this season – so they are in form and have nothing to lose when they come to our place. We will only enjoy it if we win.”