Colin Calderwood has called for his side to produce a more effective performance with the ball for tonight’s Emirates FA Cup First Round replay against Exeter City (K.O 7:45pm).
The U’s travel to Devon this evening to settle the opening round cup tie and decide which side will be welcoming Hartlepool United in a home clash in the Second Round later this month.
United’s Head Coach is expecting an even tougher challenge on away soil against the Grecians, and whilst he is wanting an immediate improvement from Saturday’s performance against Walsall out of possession, he signals the work with the ball as the key area of tonight’s meeting.
“It will all be about what you do with the ball. When Exeter were good with the ball they dominated us in periods of both matches, and when we were good with the ball certainly in the first League game, we had a much better period.
“So we want an improvement in what we can do whilst in possession. After the weekend too, we actually must see an improvement in what we do out of possession too because we were chased and affected by whatever Walsall did at both ends of the pitch, too often. It took us far too long to have any effect of our own with the ball in the final third, so that’s what will the important factor.”
He continued: “I think Exeter will be favoured in the replay by playing at home, with the advantages that brings especially with their home record being good. To beat Plymouth in a local derby as they did (4-0) reflects well on them as a Club, and as everyone is you can also see them being buoyed by the want to get into the next round.
“It will be more difficult (than the previous meetings) because we won’t have our home support there, but somehow we weren’t able to get the job done in the home cup tie. So we’ll have to be obviously better from the weekend, which was a disappointment.”
The U’s boss confirmed that United’s injury list had been extended going into the clash at St James Park, although the return of Kyle Knoyle would be a welcome boost as well as progress being made with Luke Hannant and Samir Carruthers.
“We took a few knocks at the weekend, with Paul Lewis, Leon Davies and George Taft all sustaining knocks. Going forward Leon will definitely miss out and Paul Lewis is probably likely to be very doubtful as well.
“That takes a small number away from us, so what we’ll do is take a few of the youth team boys to supplement the squad and will be on the bench. Kyle Knoyle has been out training, so he’ll be back in and with Leon missing out Kyle becomes the obvious replacement there so to some extent we’re fine.
“We have to let Marc Richards knee settle down a bit, and give it some time to have a better idea of where we stand on that. As it says on the board (in the office), to be confirmed!
“At the moment we also have Luke Hannant and Samir Carruthers training outside. We hope to have Luke ready for Carlisle this weekend and Samir is being pencilled in with all things being well for the Plymouth game next month.”
Tickets for the evening’s fixture will be available from St James Park for travelling U;s fans who did not purchase in advance.