Grecians’ fans everywhere will be hoping that their team will make a better showing than they managed in the 2018/19 season. But all the signs are there that the new cohort of players will be on hand to strengthen the squad and offer manager Matt Taylor plenty of options when it comes to selection.
This influx of new blood is also going to be vital if the team are to reverse the downward trajectory that saw them finish ninth in League Two in May compared with fourth a year earlier.
So who are the key players who have been signed up before the transfer window closes, and how are they going to contribute to success, not to mention helping online football betting fans to enjoy a good payday or two?
A strong midfield is at the heart of any successful team so Exeter are lucky to have secured the services of Noah Smerdon. Although only 18, Smerdon comes with a good pedigree, having started his career with West Bromwich Albion before moving on to Gloucester City. He’s also had trials for Watford and Forest Green Rovers before moving to St James Park. The fee that was payable to the Baggies for the transfer was raised by Exeter’s 1931 fund which is supported by around 60 die-hard fans who each contribute £19 a month. The fact that Smerdon has also captained the England Schools Under 18s in the past suggests he might also have real leadership potential in the very near future.
Moving to the team on a season-long loan from Bristol City, Cundy is poised to become a pivotal player in defence, and maybe even more. As he announced on the team’s website following the move, “Ido my basics, defend it, head it and kick it. When the time is right, I like to play out a bit and hopefully I can do that here.” The 22 year old started his career at Oxford United but following a move to Gloucester initially and then Bath City before advancing to Bristol, he’s now firmly established himself in the South West.
If Exeter are going to prevail next season then having an effective striker up front is going to be essential. So the arrival of Nicky Ajose could well be just what’s needed. Last season the 27 year old who hails from Bury both helped Charlton Athletic on their way to promotion and saw Mansfield Town into the League Two playoffs. He’s already announced that he’s hungry to get into the goal scoring habit and sees the season’s opener against Macclesfield Town on August 3rdas the ideal opportunity to start. Reports from pre-season training suggests that he has all the pace, stamina and ability to come good on his intentions
When he arrived at St James Park in June he brought with him a huge amount of experience for a 29 year old including stints in Europe playing for clubs in Spain, Belgium and Italy. He has also played for a couple of clubs north of the border at Inverness and Motherwell. Before his most recent move he was playing for Yeovil Town prior to their relegation. A powerful and very effective striker, there’s an extra significance for him as he joins the club. Exeter were the very first opponents he played against on his debut for Oxford United where he started his professional career.
Following the departure of the first choice keeper Christy Pym for Peterborough United, there was an urgent vacancy for the position – and one which Jonny Maxted has filled admirably. Maxted turned out 26 times for Accrington Stanley last year helping them to finish in a respectable mid table position in their first season in League One. His failure to agree terms has led to his move to Exeter. The fact that he was also always deputy to Connor Ripley in the Lancashire side’s set-up was also instrumental in him moving to this new, more central role.
So it all adds up to a very optimistic outlook for Exeter City over the mong season ahead with new players, a fresh impetus and real desire to succeed.