United manager Steven Pressley spoke to us about the weekend visit of table-toppers Exeter City at his weekly pre-match press conference.
“Exeter have had an amazing start,” he said. “They play with a 3-5-2 system and they’re very aggressive in their football. Three of their first six games have been clean sheets and that tells us that they’re strong defensively.
“They’re a good side who have invested well and they also have a mix of good young players from their own academy, which is an aspect I like. Obviously they’ll come here brimming with confidence, but we should also be confident, because we’ve played really well of late.
“We won a difficult game last weekend we’re back in front of our own supporters and we’re really excited by it. We’ve trained amazingly well this week, and that’s with the players having had a couple of days off to recharge their batteries.”
“Having watched them I’ve seen that they’re a little bit more direct than we are and they get the ball in to the big striker [Ryan Bowman] quickly because they like to play from him. They’re very good at that but, and as I’ve said before, we’re also a good team, and let’s not forget that.”
“They’re a club that’s got a lot of stability about them and they’ve been a team that’s been progressing year on year,” he added. “They haven’t made drastic changes in the summer, but they took Parkes from us and he’s a player I have a great admiration for.
“He’s currently not in their starting eleven and that shows you the depth of their squad. Their manager has done a terrific job there and they’re a side where I can see why they’re sitting where they are.
“As I’ve said with every game, especially here at Brunton Park, I think it’s really important we impose our way on them. We spoke to the group the other day about the fact that we’re starting games really well, but we’ve then had a ten-minute period within those games where all of the hard work has been taken apart.
“When you have a period like that, where you’re not doing so well, that’s the period we need to improve on and we need to be able to see them through better than we have been. We need to make sure we don’t give up goals when things aren’t going our way, and that was the really pleasing aspect from last weekend.”
The visit of the Grecians will see academy boss Eric Kinder welcome his former-boss Matt Taylor having spent last season as his assistant at St James’s Park.
“I’ve already spoken to Eric about a number of things,” the manager confirmed. “He’s been very helpful, as you would expect.
“They have some good players, and the likes of Nicky Law will look to cause problems every time they play. He’s a danger and he’s a bit like a Frank Lampard type player where he arrives in the box and scores important goals.
“He has a real knack of doing that and he’s a very influential player for them. He’s certainly somebody we have to be aware of.
“I’ve seen so many good things from my team this year and that’s why I have no concerns about whether we’re facing a team at the top of the table or at the bottom. On our day we can compete with any side and going up against the form team in the division will be a good marker for us. It’ll give us a clear indication of where we are.”
“We already know where we feel we can influence the game and we’ve trained exceptionally well this week,” he continued. “I think this group of players are giving everything, and I think if our supporters can get truly behind them then I think we can create something, it’s just going to take a lot of hard work.
“Injury wise it’s just the ones we know about. We still don’t have a timeframe on Kelvin, and Byron [Webster] didn’t train on Tuesday, but that was more a precautionary thing. He was a little bit tight in his back area and his high hamstring, but I’m sure he’ll be fine.
“Stefan Scougall will miss out, he was diagnosed with a grade two tear in his hamstring. That can be anything from five to six weeks, but I’m confident he’ll be back sooner than that because he’s quite robust when it comes to injuries. His history will tell you that he’s a quick healer.
“We’ll miss his influence in the 10 position because he’s been very effective there. Mo [Sagaf] is a consideration because of that. He got his 90 minutes on Monday, even though he wasn’t quite at the level performance wise that we wanted to see.
“It’ll take time for him to get fully up to speed, but he’s getting there and we’ve already seen flashes that tell us he’s a good player with good potential.”
And speaking more about the support the team has had over the last few weeks, he said: “It’d be massive for us to get a good crowd here.
“We have a responsibility to keep enticing our supporters back here and I think our last performance here against Salford was a terrific game of football. We played some amazing attacking stuff and that’s the type of thing which will encourage our fans to come back.”
Click HERE to watch an interview with Steven Pressley on iFollow United now.
Click HERE to see a clip from this interview on our YouTube channel. Follow the same link for more FREE content right from the heart of the club.