Exeter boss Matt Taylor relishing a double and closing the gap on visiting promotion rivals Mansfield Town

Exeter City boss Matt Taylor knows their home clash with promotion rivals Mansfield Town on Saturday can have a big bearing on the fate of the two clubs.

Thursday, 28th March 2019, 4:39 pm
Updated Thursday, 28th March 2019, 4:43 pm
Matt Taylor, Manager of Exeter City (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Stags are without a win in four games and have dropped out the top three while Exeter have just won two on the bounce and sit seventh, five points behind Stags with a game in hand.

“I think we have said this before, but it will chop and change for the next eight games,” said Taylor.

“We are playing another team in and around us, they are ahead of us for a reason and we have to give them full respect because they are a seriously good team.

“They have good management staff, he has recruited really well in terms of the players that he has there, but it is a game at home and we have to look forward to our home games.

“There is no added pressure just because we are at home, it is an opportunity to go and show what a good group we have got, what good players we have against one of the best teams in the league.

“For whoever comes out on top, it won’t determine where they finish at the end of the season, but it will certainly have a bearing on it.”

Taylor is aware Mansfield have threats all over the park, especially from set plays.

“That’s part of the league,” he said. “So many goals at this level are scored from set pieces – of our last four goals, three have come from goal kicks and one from a throw in!

“So that tells you it is not always going to be pretty football that gets you success.

“We have spoken many times about doing the basics and the fundamentals of League Two football well this season and in the last few weeks, that is what I have been most pleased with.

“We know where the game is going to be won and lost this weekend, we are always searching for moments of quality, but that is built on a solid foundation.

“Set pieces have been massive for us this season. We have to be strong again and I still want us to be stronger in both penalty boxes and Mansfield will be exactly the same.

“My players know what to expect and it is about executing a plan now.”

Exeter won 1-0 at One Call Stadium so are aiming for a double on Saturday, though Stags have won on five of their last six visits to St James Park.

“I think we were the first team to beat them at their home in the first half of the season and even that day was a serious test of our resolve as we faced a barrage in the first half,” said Taylor.

“We got a bit of control second half and then they came back at us towards the end of the game.

“Every game will be different and the set of players will be different now to earlier on in the season, but it is testament to the work that they have done that they are where they are in the league.

“But like you said, it is in our hands to a certain extent in terms of the outcome of the weekend. You might play well and lose, you might not play well and win.

“It’s all about picking up the points, but a good performance gives you a better chance of winning that game.”