State of Play now the Window's Shut.


Dec 5, 2020
Milwaukee, Wisconsin (but formerly Bude, Cornwall)
With the window now shut, how do us Exewebbers feel the season will play out?

Although to some degree I have some of the same feelings as I did last year at the end of January, I still feel we are in a better place than this time last season. Last year I was really disappointed with our business (Robbie Wilmott as a last minute signing) and firmly believed that it would cost us making the playoffs which it ultimately did.
Last year once the window closed we only really had one forward in Bowman that MT had any faith in. At the time we also had two of our most potent attacking threats in Randall and Williams out injured for a significant amount of time. This and our inability to bring in some additional fire power saw us sadly fade away.

I know we probably would have all liked at least one more signing, and it is easy to be envious and possibly even feel a little flat looking at some of the business our rivals have been able to pull off today. However; I do still feel we have a much better chance of having a decent end to the season than we did last year.

MT acted quickly to bring in Zanzala and then has been extremely unlucky with him picking up an injury which meant we have now had to bring in another attacking option in Phillips to replace him while he is out injured. This probably hindered us being able to bring in any additional reinforcements and ultimately we probably had to offload a senior player on loan in order to make this happen. However; the fact that we have Nombe coming back soon, Phillips is ready to play from the onset, and reading between the lines it seems that the Zanzala injury is not season ending, we should still have a good amount of firepower heading into the run-in.

Added to the fact that we seem to be getting everyone back to full fitness (with Hartridge already back in full training) and the fact that Stubbs is now fit and paying well, as well as the emergence of Diabete the squad certainly seems stronger than it was a couple of months ago.

Although I know some will disagree, I give credit to the club for turning down bids for our players this window which at least gives MT the chance to really attack the 2nd half of the season unlike some seasons past. MJ and Key may have not been at their best in the past few weeks, but hopefully now the window has closed we will see them get back to their earlier season form which will be hugely important.

I still don't think our business has been good enough to make top 3, (hope I am wrong here) especially seeing who other clubs have been able to sign not only today but this window in general. Mansfield are absolutely going for it, as are Tranmere, Port Vale, and to be fair Swindon have pulled off some excellent loan signings as well.

Although they are still outside the playoffs I expect Bradford and Salford to still have a strong finish which means it will be a battle to make the playoffs in my opinion. If we can get and keep fit the important players in our squad I still think we have enough to push to make the playoffs, but I think there will be some tense and nervy moments along the way. I think this window has really shown what we are up against financially when these clubs are able to make the type and amount of signings they have been able to make. However; hopefully our youthful settled squad can really come together and push on, especially with the backing of the fans behind them which they will need from now till the end of the season more than ever.

It's hopefully going to be an exciting 2nd half of the season and fingers crossed MT and the boys are able to deliver!


Active member
Aug 1, 2018
Great write up. I need some of your optimism though!

Mansfield: Yes, getting good players in doesn’t always work for them but Longstaff is probably valued at more £ than our entire squad.

Swindon: Very good loans in Davinson and Cooper among others. Barry very highly rated too.

Us: Good to replace the replacement of Nombe but something nags me were punching above our weight with the overall squad quality.

Port Vale: Charsley is a good pick up. But not too worried about them compared to others. Will overtake us if they win their game in hand

Salford: Matt Smith and Bolton are good pick ups, adding to a strong squad.

I think it’s going to be a rollercoaster until the end of the season… We’re inconsistent, everyone around us is inconsistent but FGR will storm the league.


Very well known Exeweb poster
Jul 24, 2009
Mersham Kent
Well placed for the delights of the playoffs.We’re far too inconsistent for the autos unfortunately.
Should it be the playoffs , getting all that firepower to click at the right time will be the key ( excuse the pun) .


Staff member
Jul 9, 2019
Up until the injuries to Nombe and Co, we were very consistent! It came off the rails when the heartbeat of the team was ripped out.

This team has consistently turned relatively poor performances into points, when other seasons would have seen defeats.

We're a top seven team, at worst.

Avening Posse

Well-known Exeweb poster
Dec 31, 2013
Expecting FGR to walk it and Mansfield to also make the auto spots.
Think Sutton Tranmere and Northampton will hang in there but not Vale (too many Jan changes) or Swindon (rubbish at home).
We “could” sneak the auto’s but I’ve been disappointed far too many times to really believe it. I was very upbeat earlier in the season but December was like a kick in the b____ks

Moomin Grecian

Well-known Exeweb poster
Sep 24, 2006
Going into the window, I thought we only really needed someone to fill the Nombe void, so I was pleased with Zanzala…Phillips looks like a talent that we will hopefully see the best of and I am also happy with that signing.

If we’d signed another wide player I can’t help feeling it’d been a waste as it’s clear Taylor will stick with the wingback formation so I won’t lose any sleep in that regard. If we need to change shape we can still use Coley and to an extent Sparkes in the attacking wide areas.

Keeping Key and Jay has been huge and if both can play their best football between now and May we’re in a very good place. Add to that Stubbs and Diabate basically being like new and improved signings, things look good.

Keeping Nombe and Dieng fully fit will also be crucial and if we get lucky with injuries in general, we HAVE to get play offs at least. No excuses. I still feel top 3 is attainable but a mediocre February will put paid to that. Mansfield will get top 3 but I think everything else is up for grabs. Port Vale have been disrupted of late and Swindon losing a big presence like Simpson could make things harder for them, albeit Louie Barry should do well. Can’t see Bradford or Salford making the push consistently enough for me.

Overall I’d give this window 7/10 and it’s now up to Taylor and the boys to do what they’re more than capable of.


Active member
Sep 19, 2020
Think we should make more of Coley as a wideman. He's got a lot of potential but hasnt had much of a chance to show it from wide positions. With a proper striker in the middle he could be really useful.


Very well known Exeweb poster
Apr 1, 2004
The Travel Tavern
I was pleased with Sparkes when he came on. Looked genuinely threatening on the wing. If Phillips is the one to get on the end of his crosses he might warrant a start.
Maybe now the window is shut MJ can get back to his early season form too.


Well-known Exeweb poster
Aug 18, 2004
I am confident that our fully fit best team is good enough to reach the autos. Apart from Left Back
there are no positions where we need a better player and since we don't play with a left back that shouldn't matter. Our performance at FGR shows how good we can be. We just need to do it consistently.