Exeter City vs Leyton Orient: Match preview as Grecians look to go seven unbeaten
Paul Tisdale says he will be leaving it late to assess whether any injured Exeter City players will be fit to play against Leyton Orient on Monday.
The Grecians go into the game on the back of a six-match unbeaten run at the end of 2016, which actually started with a 1-0 win over the East London side.
On Saturday, they beat Newport County 4-1 despite missing Lee Holmes and Craig Woodman among other players.
Holmes is not expected to be fit to play in the game, but Woodman, who was suffering with a fatigue injury to his groin, may return to fitness.
There are also fresh injury doubts over Jamaican attacker Joel Grant, who limped off during the win in South Wales shortly after playing a key part in the Grecians’ third goal, as he brought down Lloyd James’ pass before playing in Connor Riley-Lowe.
Speaking after Saturday’s win, Tisdale said he would be keeping track of players’ fitness at training on Sunday to see who is likely to feature in the contest.
“We’ll see,” Tisdale said when asked if any players would return to fitness for the game. “Sunday’s a normal day at work and I don’t know about injuries until they report to me – it’s a nice thought to have.
“The wheels are turning and we’ll keep our momentum.”
Tisdale also said he would be telling his players that they cannot rest on their laurels after their big win over Graham Westley’s side and instead must immediately switch focus to Monday’s game.
Ollie Watkins netted his first ever senior hat-trick in Saturday’s win, but Tisdale said the 21-year-old cannot get too carried away with the feat due to the fact City have a game so quickly afterwards.
“It’s his first hat-trick and it’s not surprised me, as he’s scored goals and he’s in good form,” the City boss said. “He played a very simple game – he was set up by others but he took his goals extremely well.
“He’s a good player for us and I’ve said to him that he should enjoy it but we’ve got another game in two days’ time, so make sure he shouldn’t get carried away with himself.”
The Grecians last played Orient in November, securing a 1-0 win thanks to a first-half goal from Watkins.
Yet they will find the East London side a very different prospect to the one they faced a little under six weeks ago.
Their victory over Orient prompted the dismissal of Italian manager Alberto Cavasin, who was replaced by long-serving coach Andy Edwards.
Edwards’ appointment has heralded a minor upturn in form and they have lost just one of their last four matches, drawing 1-1 with Cambridge United on Saturday.
Despite this, though, Edwards says his side cannot get carried away and insisted they are still in a relegation battle.
“It is small steps all the time and I don’t think we can get carried away and I don’t think the supporters can either,” he said.
“We are still in a relegation fight and I stand by that, so we have to be realistic and we’ll set small targets.”