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Match preview: Exeter City v York City
FORMER England Under-19 international George Taft wants to prove he is Championship class during his one-month loan spell with York City.
Taft, 20, has yet to make his debut for the Foxes with the likes of Wes Morgan, Zak Whitbread, Liam Moore and Ignasi Miquel all ahead of him in the pecking-order for starting places.
The towering defender has previously joined Kettering Town and Swedish side Karlstad BK to gain first-team experience, but he sees his move to Bootham Crescent as a great opportunity to prove his senior potential to Leicester chief Nigel Pearson.
On his loan switch, Taft said: “The manager at Leicester thinks I need experience.
“It’s sometimes seen as a risk putting a young centre-half in the first team, whereas forwards do tend to get a chance sometimes.
“I feel you need that experience first as a defender and this is a great club for me to get that.”
Taft scored against Poland during his one cap for the England U18 side.
He went on to represent the national team five times at U19 level and earned a call-up to the 2011 Under-20 FIFA World Cup in Colombia, along with the likes of current Three Lions full international goalkeeper Jack Butland and last season’s FA Cup winner Callum McManaman.
Having made the Foxes’ bench on a couple of occasions, Taft now feels the time is right for his own career to start progressing, saying: “I needed a loan move this year.
“I have got another season at Leicester on my contract so we will see what comes about then.
“This move came about because Steve Beaglehole, my U21s manager at Leicester, worked with Nigel Worthington for Northern Ireland and I also played against York in pre-season.
“I thought they were strong in that game, moved the ball well and had pace on the wings, which is always good.
“I liked how they tried to play football too.”
On his ambitions for the club and himself during the next four weeks, Taft added: “The aim is to help York play like they finished last season and get up the table.
“I want to come into the side, make an impact, be strong and lead a bit.”
At 6ft 4in tall and with a muscular frame, Taft also suggested that the physical challenge of lower league football held no fears for him.
“This division should be good for me in that respect,” he said.
Max bid fires Exeter
EXETER City will be hoping to maintain their status as one of only five teams currently boasting a 100 per cent home record in League Two against York City tomorrow.
The Grecians missed out on a play-off place last term having been beaten in their final three fixtures at St James Park but the Devon outfit have kicked off the current campaign with back-to-back victories in front of their own fans against Bristol Rovers (2-1) and AFC Wimbledon (2-0).
Chesterfield, Southend, Newport and Wimbledon are the four other clubs yet to drop a point on their own soil in English football’s fourth strata with Exeter currently seventh in the early standings.
Paul Tisdale’s men lost 2-0 at Morecambe, however, last weekend, prompting the former Team Bath boss to lament his team’s inability to chase games that they fall behind in.
Not since November – and a 3-2 triumph at Gillingham – have Exeter conceded the first goal in a game and gone on to take three points.
A total of 32 fixtures have passed since, leading Tisdale, currently English football’s second-longest serving manager behind Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, to say: “I think any successful team will have to be capable of pulling back a deficit.
“You can’t have your own way all of the time. Ideally we will score first tomorrow, but if we want to be successful this year we are going to have our fair share of situations where we are going to have to up our game.
“It is something I’m going to have to look at closely because you can never guarantee how a game is going to go regardless of how well you play.
“You can’t be sure of scoring the first goal and we have to be a rounded team and be able to defend a lead or recover a lead.”
Centre-back Pat Baldwin is poised to return to the hosts’ defence tomorrow, having missed the Morecambe trip due to the birth of his first child.
Scott Bennett is expected to make way, while Liam Sercombe is also set to return in midfield after recovering from a hip injury.
Long-serving Sercombe is likely to partner 36-year-old veteran Matt Oakley in the middle of the park although 18-year-old Matt Grimes, Bennett and Alan Gow are also possible contenders for central roles.
Former on-loan Minsterman Artur Kyrsiak, meanwhile, remains Exeter’s first choice between the sticks having kicked off his fourth campaign with the Devon outfit.
Exeter (probable): Krysiak, Dawson, Coles, Baldwin, Woodman, Davies, Sercombe, Oakley, Wheeler, O’Flynn, Parkin.
City have made 19 Football League trips to St James Park and last term’s 1-1 encounter was the first draw in the series. Previous to that, City had won five times with 13 defeats at this venue.
Their last League win at Exeter was in 2002/3 when Lee Cook, left, a winger on loan from Watford, was on target in a 1-0 success. The heaviest reverse was 5-0 in 1968/69.
In the Conference, City were unbeaten in four trips to Devon, winning twice and drawing twice.
The line-up last season on September 15, 2012, was: Ingham, Oyebanjo, C Smith, Carlisle, Taylor, Parslow, J Smith (Challinor), McLaughlin (Bullock), Coulson, Walker, Chambers (Blair). Michael Coulson was the marksman.
Players to represent both clubs include John Edgar, Barry Pierce, Tom Kelly, Craig Farrell and Manny Panther, with Bobby Saxton the managerial link.
It happened on August 31
1932: The first game at Bootham Crescent ended in a 2-2 draw against Stockport County watched by 8,106. The scorers were Reg Baines (penalty) and Tom Mitchell.
1946: The first game after the Second World War finished 4-4 at home to Chester with Frank Carr (2), Billy Allen and Ernie Nettleton on the scoresheet. The Third Division North game attracted a crowd of 7,016.
1953: A 5-0 home win over Hartlepools United watched by 3,645 – the smallest crowd of the season. Marksmen were Campbell Burgess (2), Les Porter, Gordon Brown and Dave Dunmore.
1970: Phil Boyer was the marksman in a 1-0 home victory against Workington in front of 5,373. City went top of the Fourth Division (League Two).
1985: The club’s first, and to date only, visit to Molineux finished in a 3-2 defeat to Wolves in the Third Division (League One). On target were John MacPhail from the penalty spot and Keith Walwyn.
1996: Neil Tolson, right, was the scorer in a 1-0 victory at Notts County in the Second Division (League One).
2004: A 1-0 home loss to Accrington Stanley in the Conference watched by 2,272. Goalkeeper Chris Porter was sent off and David Stockdale came on as a substitute.
Compiled by David Batters
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