John Coleman is full of praise for Exeter’s long-serving boss Paul Tisdale, who has been in charge of the Grecians for 11 years.
The Reds travel to St James Park on Saturday to take on play-off chasing Exeter, who are unbeaten in eight league games at home.
“Paul is a good manager and a nice fella as well,” said Coleman. “He is also a realist and knows what is required at this level.
“It’s nice to see a club who back their manager as, when Exeter were bottom of the league in November, there might have been people calling for his head but they have stayed calm and they have reaped their rewards.
“We went through a bad run when we couldn’t buy a win before Christmas and a less empathetic chairman who hadn’t seen how we had been playing might have pulled the trigger.
“It’s a good job football isn’t governed by people who listen to forums or social media and change things for change sake.”
Exeter’s run since November has seen them lose just two of their 19 league games which has propelled them up to seventh in the table.
“As I have said all along, this league is as open as it has ever been and that’s why I am disappointed we are not further up in the table and giving ourselves a chance to challenge at the top end.
“Exeter may have a good home record but it doesn’t matter what they have done in their last seven or eight games – it’s all about Saturday.
“We are full of confidence and we will be going there to win the game. We are still scratching our heads how we didn’t get at least a draw there last season and that point would have secured us automatic promotion but there were a few games like that last season.
“It promises to be an entertaining game on Saturday as they respect the way we play and we respect the way they play so it should make for a good match.”