This Saturday sees the biggest sporting event Devon has to offer as Plymouth Argyle host Exeter in what is likely to be a fierce affair at Home Park. Neither side have managed a win this season as Exeter drew with Portsmouth whilst Argyle went down to Cambridge on the opening day.
There may be matches with a bigger reputation than the Devon Expressway Derby, but at either end of the A38 this is the marquee fixture of each season, the one they look for first each year. The Grecians came out victorious in both meetings last season, although it was the Pilgrims that finished higher in the table.
Exeter’s troubles got so bad recently manager Paul Tisdale had to register himself as a player, but their plucky young side still managed to take a point from Portsmouth last week. With the sickness bug that had plagued his squad seemingly gone Tisdale should have more players at his disposal this week. The local lads who have made the step up to the first team, such as last week’s goal scorer Tom Nichols, will be chomping at the bit to get going in this one. For them, it will be more than just a game, the local pride of the Exeter boys will be on the line.
Argyle’s new recruits may not be familiar with the rivalry, but the build-up in the area will have definitely made sure they know what is at stake. The Green, White and Black ‘Wall of Colour’ that will be covering Home Park on Saturday when the players come out will give the players some idea of the atmosphere that is going to follow – with the season so fresh the emotions will be running high.
John Sheridan’s men will have taken great heart from their strong showing against League 1 Leyton Orient in the cup on Tuesday as they took the O’s to penalties after a thrilling 3-3 draw. He will be hoping the emotional and physical hardship of such a night has not affected his squad too greatly with only four days to recover. A full strength Argyle squad should be at the gaffer’s disposal for this one.
Exeter’s financial struggles through the off-season – where they needed a PFA loan to make ends meet – have finally been seen off and with their transfer embargo lifted two new signings will be in their ranks. Cristian Ribeiro who was previously at Scunthorpe is soon to be added to the squad and Graham Cummins who has recently left Preston joined yesterday and will be eligible for this one.
With both sides determined to get their first win of the season and eager to get one over their local rivals this one has the potential to be an enthralling encounter. When the two teams walk out onto the pitch on Saturday it will be the 99th time the Green and Red will have done battle, and there have been some memorable games within those 99 for sure. Here we go through some of the best matches since the turn of the Century…