City plotting revenge as Blackpool head to Devon for FA Cup clash
Exeter City take a break from League Two action today when they make their entrance in the FA Cup this season, hoping to knock out Blackpool – who beat them in the 2017 League Two play-off final.
A 2-1 defeat for the Grecians that day meant it was the Tangerines rather than the Grecians who won promotion at Wembley in a bitter taste of defeat that was repeated a year later when the Grecians lost again, this time to Coventry City.
Since their promotion, Blackpool have fared well in the third tier and are currently ninth, just three points shy of the play-off zone, so if City – struggling for goals and form right now – are to get revenge this weekend, it will take quite an effort.
“It’s been tough with a couple of results that we have had as we had been on a brilliant run,” said City’s ninegoal top scorer Jayden Stockley.
“There’s no need to panic. It’s just about getting back to the things that we do best and hopefully go on another run.
“We have spoken about it and in a few of the away games, things could have swung our way and we have been unlucky and unfortunate with that, so maybe it is a good distraction to have the FA Cup this weekend and test ourselves against a higher league team.
“We played Bristol Rovers in pre-season and it is always nice to test yourself against a team that’s in a higher division and try and impress.”
The Grecians beat Bristol Rovers 4-0 in that game Stockley refers to – but Blackpool in the FA Cup will be a far greater proposition.
For Stockley, though, play- ing in the FA Cup brings about a freshness and a change from the daily routine of bread and butter League Two football.
“Playing at home is always a nice feeling. I am glad I don’t have to do that [Blackpool] trip, we have had a few long trips recently, so I am glad that we are playing back at home,” he said. “Hopefully we can get back to winning ways because we were on a really good run before the Forest Green game and it would be nice to get a good win at home.”
The winners from the clash will pocket £36,000 in prize money and a place in the second-round draw, which would leave them one step short of a potentially lucrative third-round clash against a Premier League side.
Last season, 25-year-old Stockley scored five goals as City reached the third round [at which stage they lost at home to West Bromwich Albion] with wins over Heybridge Swifts and Forest Green Rovers, but, as he remembers so well, it should have been more.
“I should have scored six if it wasn’t for that sitter against West Brom, when I missed from a yard,” he said with a smile. “Last year was the best run I have ever had in it [the FA Cup] and the first time I’ve really played in it.
“It’s a nice chance to get some goals in it as I did last year against some teams, but it just has a different feel about it.
“You dream of going far in the FA Cup and for a club like us, it is about getting that big draw, but we have a tough game against Blackpool coming up first and it will take a really good performance to beat them.
“Blackpool are doing really well in League One this year and they are a good team.
“It’s up to us to pay our respect and then start on the front foot and hopefully get a good result.”
City striker Jordan Stockley is in a goalscoring mood ahead of the Grecians’ FA Cup first-round home game against Blackpool this afternoon