Expect Exeter excellence

Exeter City look well equipped to start this season strongly.

They have been somewhat underestimated due to the dearth of star signings – apart from perhaps Nicky Ajose – whereas the likes of Bradford, Northampton and even rivals Argyle have made several big statements in the transfer window.

However, the advantage Exeter have over many of their competitors – especially at this early stage – is that they have stability, a manager in Matt Taylor who fans are right-behind and an established, reliable template on which to build.

In the final game of pre-season, a 2-1 win at Torquay, the Grecians were not quite at their best in the first half, but then improved in the second half in terms of dictating play and getting the likes of Randell Williams, Ryan Bowman and Nicky Ajose more involved.

That happened without Taylor making any changes in terms of personnel, or his 4-2-2-2 system, which would indicate that the players know the strategy off by heart and that puts them in a great position.

They have a centre-back in Tom Parkes who takes no nonsense in his own box and can pose a threat in that of the opposition.

He’s had more chances at previous clubs Bristol Rovers and Carlisle than his goal record might suggest and, after bagging at Plainmoor last week, could get among the goals this season as Taylor looks for his team to be strong from set pieces.


Problems at Macclesfield

These are hard times at Macclesfield Town.

The club has had difficulty paying wages full on time and there are huge question marks over Amar Alkadhi’s regime as director.

Six players filed a winding-up petition against the club earlier in the summer and it was adjourned until 14th August, meaning the Silkmen will play their first two league matches with these issues unresolved.

The problems have, very sadly, affected the mental wellbeing of certain players and that is hardly conducive to creating a positive, united environment for the curtain-raiser.

To confuse matters, the club have been able to sanction deals for nine new players – seemingly before they have addressed existing financial matters, which makes absolutely no sense.

Sol Campbell worked wonders to keep the Cheshire club in the EFL last season, but there is only so long for which a manager can influence a club’s fortunes if the correct decisions are not being made at boardroom level.

The disarray at Macclesfield means there is value to be found on Exeter not just winning this match but winning it comfortably.

Tip: Exeter to win -2 handicap


Read Gabriel’s Championship Opening Day preview.

Odds are correct at the time of posting

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