FORMER Wycombe Wanderers player Craig Woodman will be returning to his old club on New Year's Day when the Grecians visit Adams Park, and Paul Tisdale admits he is pleased with how the defender and the rest of the squad have improved over the past 10 games.
Woodman joined Wycombe in the summer of 2007 and spent three years there before moving on to Brentford and then City last summer.
At Wycombe, Woodman helped the Chairboys to promotion in 2008/09 – a season in which he played in every league game and picked up the club's supporters' player of the year and players' player of the year awards.
It was those kind of performances Tisdale was expecting from Woodman when he signed him on a free transfer in the summer. And having started nine out of the last 10 matches – missing the other through suspension – Tisdale says the club are starting to see the best of their left-back.
"He was unsettled at the start, he hadn't played a lot of constant football over the course of last year," said Tisdale.
"It takes every player time to settle into a new environment and new coaching and a new team.
"Then you have to move house and your family have to move house and you have to deal with all the stress that you can get from that period of time.
"It takes everybody time to settle into a new working environment whether it is football or anything else. He is a good example of that. He is a very good player, a very reliable player.
"He understands his job and I think we have pushed him and I think he has responded. I think you can see over the last 10 games he has picked his performance up from the first 10 games.
"So the curve is in the right direction and he's been a very reliable performer over the last couple of months."
Tisdale added that Woodman is not alone in having this trend in the City squad.
With a number of new faces coming in during the summer, it took some players time to find their feet.
However, having worked on getting the players to understand each other's game better, Tisdale is confident of having a better second half to the term.
"That is what I'm working towards," said Tisdale. "It makes sense that you have an improvement when the same players work together and improve their game and improve the relationships on the pitch and iron out cracks and frailties in the team.
"If you work on those things then by definition you'll make fewer mistakes.
"That's what happens generally. You can't guarantee it but we are certainly working towards it and we hope that will be the case again this year."