The Opposition View: Exeter City

By Jim Bonner
Last updated : 27 January 2017

How do Exeter fans feel about their team's season since they lost to Pompey in August?

Up until two months ago, we were really struggling. Despite having a massive injury list, notably in defence, I felt we were underperforming. We were bottom of the league, without a win at home and our players were extremely low on confidence.

Since then we’ve performed brilliantly and are currently on a superb nine game unbeaten run which has lifted the spirits of all involved at the club.

Why have Exeter been so good away from home this campaign?

It’s mainly down to the way we set up and the players we have at our disposal. We tend to play a counter attacking game where we soak up the oppositions pressure before hitting them quick on the break to score.

We’ve got some fast, technically good attackers who can provide great quality when given space to operate which they get when we are able to player this system.

Portsmouth were constantly linked with a move for Reuben Reid when he was at Plymouth. How has he performed for Exeter?

I was always a big admirer of Reuben when he was at Plymouth and was very excited when he signed for us. Although he probably hasn’t got the number of goals he would have hoped for, he brings an awful lot to our side. He’s very strong, deceptively quick and a real team player.

Who has emerged as they key players in the Grecians squad this season?

The two which come to mind immediately are Ollie Watkins and David Wheeler. Watkins broke onto the scene late last season with a superb run of goals and performances. However, along with his teammates, he had taken a while to get going this season but with the recent upturn in results, Ollie has been able to focus more on his own game and looks back to his devastating best. He provides great energy and flair in an attacking midfield role he’s made his own.

Wheeler is a powerful right winger who, along with Watkins, has netted ten goals this season. He’s unrivalled with his aerial ability and is hard to stop due to his speed.

What are your team's biggest strengths and weaknesses?

As mentioned, our biggest strength is our ability on the counter-attack. When teams come onto and attack us it leaves gaps in their half and with the likes of Reid, Watkins, Wheeler and Liam McAlinden, we have the players to exploit this.

In recent weeks, whatever weaknesses we have, they haven’t been shown. We’ve won seven of the last nine matches, drawing the other two and have only conceded two goals in the process. However, I still have my doubts over our centre midfield partnership and still think we can be got at down the flanks.

How confident are you of getting a result on Saturday given Exeter's away record and their current form?

I should be confident as we’re on a fantastic run, but Portsmouth are a good side and it will be one of our toughest tests of the season so far. All good runs come to an end eventually and I have a feeling Saturday may be a step too far.

Predict the outcome of the game.

2-0 Portsmouth win.

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