Paul Tisdale keen to keep Exeter City squad intact
By Western Morning News | Tuesday, May 01, 2012, 08:00
Paul Tisdale insists he will not punish his relegated players by instigating a clear-out at Exeter City – and hopes that many of his under-achievers will remain at the club next season.
Paul Tisdale. Picture by Steve Bond/Pinnacle
The Grecians were relegated to npower League Two last Saturday following a 4-1 defeat at Carlisle United but, despite a disappointing season for the Devon side, Tisdale is keen to keep as many of the squad as possible to mount a promotion push next term.
That may not be possible, with the City boss having his budget cut for next term, while one or two of Exeter's better performing – and out of contract – players are likely to find employment elsewhere.
"I am not going to punish the players for being relegated," Tisdale said. "We would all like to have done better, but I am not going to get rid of them all because I feel cross with them.
"I have to be realistic. A lot of those players that we have got will move on because, in the eyes of other clubs, it would be a good move for them. But, the ones that remain, I will have to look closely at and see how they do next year.
"I will not punish them by getting rid of them all or carting them away. If they feel that they have not quite achieved enough this year, then they had better pull their socks up, knuckle down and help us as best they can. If there is any of that intent in them, then I will use it."
Tisdale has already begun the rebuilding process for next year and the cycle of building a new team by signing up six of the club's current Under-18 side who are playing in the Football Youth Alliance League Cup final at St James' Park tonight (7pm).
He has also brought Alan Gow to the club, and the Scotsman hinted he is poised to commit to the Grecians after being offered terms last week, while Scot Bennett is another to have agreed fresh terms.
"The process has already started over the last month or so," Tisdale said.
"I have not wanted to go that way and concede defeat, but in the last month, when it looked like it would go that way and it might happen, I had to look to the next [challenge] and move on, and I am very excited about building a new team.
"That is what I like to do – in the same way as six years ago, when I started with a stripped-down body of a squad. We built something over the next 18 months to two years to get us to a level of playing some good football, and I want to do that again."
One player who will be at Exeter next season and is likely to be a key figure is midfielder Liam Sercombe, whose campaign has been blighted by injuries.
However, the 22-year-old has finished the campaign strongly by scoring five times in Exeter's last four matches, and Tisdale believes those injuries have hindered his progress.
"I think Liam's year has summed up our season," Tisdale said. "I suspect that if things had gone differently and he had not picked up that injury against MK Dons, then I don't think he would still be with us, I think he would have been sold.
"I think he was on the horizon for a lot of clubs at a higher level, and he would have gone in January time had he not been injured. He is a vital player for us, he has real talent and tenaciousness, and he has suddenly looked like the player we know he is this last month or so.
"We have been without that all year, really, and he is one of our key players and it is an other example of how our season has gone to plan. The way Liam is playing at the moment, he looks like he could score 15 to 20 goals in League One if he has an injury-free run in the team."