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Crunch time for Grecians

By Exeter Express and Echo  |  Posted: February 21, 2013

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JOHN O'Flynn says the next 31 days will be vital in Exeter City's promotion bid as they seek an immediate return to League One.

And the striker is looking forward to getting out and playing again at Burton Albion on Saturday after been sidelined with a hamstring injury.

The Grecians play eight games in the next month – seven of them against teams currently in the top eight in League Two.

The only game they play against a side not in the top half is away to Bristol Rovers, who are enjoying a mini-revival under new boss John Ward.

Therefore, O'Flynn's return to fitness could not have been better timed as City look to take points off teams in and around them in the promotion battle.

"That is what promotion comes down to," said O'Flynn. "It comes down to how well you do against the teams in and amongst you and this will be the test for us in March.

"The way the season has gone, we have had some decent performances and have a good record against the teams in and around us – the so-called better teams – and long may that continue."

O'Flynn was arguably City's best player before a hamstring strain against Torquay United on January 15 put him out for four matches.

However, having scored 12 goals already this season, he says he will be fit and ready to go if manager Paul Tisdale needs him on Saturday.

"I trained last week on Tuesday and Thursday, but it was just a bit too soon for me to play in the Friday-night game (against Accrington Stanley), but I warmed up with the lads," he said.

"After my time out, I just have to concentrate on getting match sharp and being ready for the game on Saturday.

"Obviously I have missed four games and four weeks, but I probably won't feel too bad coming back.

"I feel good and the lads have done great. They got a good win on Friday night so I do not think that Tis (Tisdale) is going to change the team around too much, but hopefully I'll be involved and I can come on at some stage and make an impact."

O'Flynn, who has been with Exeter City since July 2010, is expecting a tough game from Burton Albion this Saturday.

The Brewers have won their last six league games at home. However, O'Flynn says the Grecians' own away form means they will go into the match with a lot of confidence and it should be a good game for fans to watch.

"It is going to be a tough game," he said. "Burton have snuck up on people and they are right in there.

"Six wins on the trot (at home) is good form and I was watching some of the highlights of their last game and, attacking wise, they seemed very capable.

"Our away form has been good this season though. It has been a record for the club, so we are hoping to better that in the away games we have got coming up and we will be looking to put decent performances in them to get good results.

"They (Burton) are a good footballing team, like us, so hopefully it is going to be a good spectacle for the fans that will travel as well."

City are also expected to welcome midfielder Matt Oakley back into the side for Saturday's game.

The former Derby County midfielder, who joined Exeter from Leicester City in September 2011, has missed the last three games through injury.

"Matty (Oakley) trained on Monday and it is great to have him back," said O'Flynn. "With him and me coming back, you know it is going to be a big boost for the team.

"We'll need every player in the squad for this month coming, because it is going to be big.

"I think it is near enough two games a week and we want to be picking up points. Hopefully we can start it with a good away performance against Burton on Saturday."

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