Derby Countdown

PAUL Wotton admits there will be an extra dimension to his tenth Devon Expressway Derby on Tuesday night, but does not feel any added pressure because of it.

A packed, passionate, partisan crowd will welcome Exeter City to Home Park, with the visitors anxious to build on a recent home win over Fleetwood to ease relegation concerns.

After two seasons fighting for Football League survival, Argyle, who drew at Accrington on Saturday after a midweek home victory over Chesterfield, are eyeing up promotion through the end-of-season play-offs.

“It’s a big game for both teams, for different reasons,” said Wottsy. “There’s a bit more on this one, than normal.

“We have got high standards and goals for this season, and we are going to need three points to go towards achieving those goals; Exeter had a fantastic result on Saturday, but they’d like a few more points than they’ve got, I’m sure.

“If we beat Exeter, that’s seven points from nine; if you do that until the end of the season, you are in the play-offs. It’s an important game.

“I don’t feel any pressure on us. The last two seasons have been...I’m going to say ‘traumatic’. I don’t think that’s too big a word – one game away from going out of the Football League and so on.

“It’s a great game to look forward to. It’s a game to go out and enjoy the atmosphere and the occasions, and just play the game we all love playing.

“It’s going to be raining; it’s going to be under lights. It will be a real good atmosphere. I think a lot of players like playing at night. There’s something special about playing under floodlights.

“I haven’t played a night derby game against Exeter for a long time, but they seem to be better occasions. I’m glad it’s a night game and even more pleased it’s at Home Park.”

Wottsy made his Devon Expressway Derby debut in a night game at Home Park, a 4-1 FA Cup second-round triumph in 1996, and has played in another six wins against the old enemy. The only time he has tasted defeat was earlier in this League 2 season, when Exeter won 3-1 at St James Park.

That loss is long forgotten by the players, if not the Green Army. Wottsy said: “You are not going to be sat in the changing-room thinking ‘Oh no – we lost 3-1 to these lot last time.’ That’s not how it works. You don’t get caught up in revenge missions, either.

“It’s a game the whole city is looking forward to – the fact that they beat us before is irrelevant.”

Argyle’s number 15 believes Argyle’s number 12 will have an important role on Tuesday.

He said: “Everyone knows, when it is double-figures here [at Home Park] and we are on top, or playing well, or score a goal, it really does become quite an intimidating place to play. It’s up to us to raise the crowd; hopefully, once we do that, they will get us through the game.

“They are a massive part and, when they are loud and altogether, it can only have a positive effect. And it does have a positive effect.”