Paul Tisdale: It’s all to play for in Exeter-Carlisle tie
Exeter boss Paul Tisdale insists neither his side nor Carlisle hold the advantage going into Thursday night’s second leg of their Sky Bet League Two play-off semi-final.
The Grecians let slip a two-goal lead as Sunday’s see-saw first leg at Brunton Park ended 3-3, but Tisdale played down the notion his side had lost their momentum before making the long trip back to St James Park.
“I was asked if it was a good score,” Tisdale told the club’s official website. “No score is a good score until the second leg has been completed and you’ve won.
“It’s half-time, that’s all it is. There’s no good score. It will come down to our players doing their best on the night. It will be great. We’ve got to look forward to it.”
Tisdale, the second-longest serving Football League manager after Arsene Wenger and in his 10th season in charge at Exeter, urged his players to put the first leg behind them.
“What’s gone is gone and we’re level on score,” added the former Southampton midfielder, who steered Exeter to back-to-back promotions into League One in 2009.
“So we shouldn’t really be too disappointed or too worried about it. We’ve got a great opportunity so let’s go and do it.
“We did so much right (on Sunday) and they’re a very good team. They’ve got real strength and real sense of identity with their attacking play and you have to respect them for that.
“So two good teams trying to beat each other, it’s got to be enjoyed, surely.”
Tisdale has just one injury concern ahead of the match, with full-back Craig Woodman picking up a knock in the first leg, and will need assessing in the lead-up to the match.
While Exeter were relegated to League Two under Tisdale in 2012, Carlisle slipped into the bottom tier two years later and boss Keith Curle was handed the task of getting them back up.
Curle, in his third season in charge, was indebted to substitute Shaun Miller on Sunday after the striker stepped off the bench to fire a 73rd-minute equaliser.
“It’s definitely one of the most important goals I’ve ever scored,” Miller told the Cumbrians’ official website.
“With the scale of the game and getting us back into it, and everything like that, it was a massive goal and it’s way up there for me.”
Carlisle beat Exeter 3-2 at home in the league in November and secured their play-off place with victory at St James Park by the same scoreline on the final day of the regular season.
“Another 3-2 would do on Thursday, but I’m not sure how many hearts could take that!” the former Crewe and Sheffield United forward added.
“There is a similar sort of level to the game as it was last time we went down there. We had to win – we’re obviously level now so it’s the same again.
“We know we can win there, and we’ll do whatever it takes to get it.”
Jabo Ibehre is expected to feature – albeit off the bench – after returning to training, although Curle will delay the final decision while Jason Kennedy (groin) is the only other concern.