What does the second half of the season hold for Exeter City?
Joseph Terry looks ahead to the remainder of Exeter City’s season, as they continue to impress on their return to League One.
This season marks the clubs first season back in the third tier of English Football since the 2011/12 Season. To word it simply, so far, so good. The ultimate goal would have been survival in a league that is notoriously difficult for newcomers to remain in. This goal is very likely to be achieved as City sit comfortably in 10th position in the league table, 8 points away from the playoffs and 13 points away from the relegation drop.
The second half of the season for the Grecians will be undoubtedly defined by the home Devon derby in April, hoping to emulate the 4-0 victory claimed by the Grecians in 2019. However unlikely a result against the promotion-charging Plymouth Argyle is, St James Park’s sellouts have now become expected for nearly every home game – so the atmosphere for the Devon derby should be, and will be electric.
The second half of the season will also test the success of Gary Caldwell’s first transfer window – a transfer window generally seen by fans as filling gaps within the squad whilst also keeping as many key players within the club’s control. The departure of skipper Matt Jay and Tim Dieng led to a response of signings often leaning on previous experience – and Gary Caldwell has looked to make shrewd signings. Newcastle United loanee Joe White has come into the side and provided energy needed to a squad that sometimes seem lethargic until the 75th minute, and he will be a key player for the rest of the season. New signings include highly-rated Will Aimson from Bolton and Demetri Mitchell from a spell at Hibs that led to little game time, has strengthened the defence – an area that has seen upheaval and an area of potential weakness which may lead to pressure upon both Cheick Diabate and Jake Caprice. The already threatening attacking line has been strengthened, Kevin McDonald and James Scott signed on deadline day from Hull City.
The major storyline on deadline day for the Grecians that is important to the second part of the season was retaining Jevani Brown despite rumours of a 1.5million pound bid from Portsmouth. Creator of 21 goal involvements including 12 goals this season, losing Brown would have thrown a spanner in the works to the chances of City keeping their current form. A move to Luton Town for Josh Key also never materialised – it will be intriguing to see where Josh Key will play now given additions in defence and across attacking positions given how pragmatically Key has been played positionally this season.
The aim of the 2022/23 season for the Grecians is survival in the league and that is the only objective that Caldwell needs to fulfill.
The aim of the 2022/23 season for the Grecians is survival in the league and that is the only objective that Caldwell needs to fulfill. However, many fans will be looking for a more stable lineup that will promote the best players that some fans have not been seeing. With very little to no occasions of the Brown-Stansfield-Nombe partnership starting together under Caldwell in a period of relatively little goals being scored (particularly at St James Park) – many fans will be looking to kick on and stretch their legs securing survival with attacking threat sooner rather than later.