John Coleman says Exeter won’t surprise him this time as the Stanley boss looks to avenge a 3-2 defeat to the Grecians in late November.

The Reds manager admitted the energy of Paul Tisdale’s side stunned him and his team as the two faced each other at the Store First Stadium during an Exeter run which has lifted them out of the relegation battle and up to ninth place in League Two.

“It was a game we could have won but their work rate and work ethic surprised me and I will not be surprised again,” said Coleman.

“It will be a smashing game against Exeter as we are both sides who want to play football.”

Coleman knows his 13th placed side need to put a run together if they are to challenge for the promotion spots and they need to put their defeat to York behind them, in their last league encounter, with Burton postponed.

“After the York game, I was speaking to their manager Russ Wilcox and we were saying how, on any given day, anyone can beat anyone in this league.

“What we are striving for is that consistency. We have to believe we can win.

“Since I was last a manager in League Two, I believe the league has concertinaed. There are no great teams but no really poor teams and the gap between top and bottom is getting smaller and smaller.

“I think it showed last season as the team who won the league did not get two points a game.

“The two teams at the bottom this season will be unfortunate, the three who go up will be fortunate and the four who get into the play-offs will be four of about 12 teams.

“We believe we are good enough to compete with any team and we have shown this by going away and getting results at the best.

“We have no fear and we are confident.”

Coleman says there have been a few illnesses in the squad which he hopes will have cleared up by tomorrow.