All eyes will be on the Exeter City team-sheet at Morecambe today to see whether Matt Grimes will be involved, after such a promising debut against AFC Wimbledon last weekend.
The Exeter-born 18-year-old was outstanding at the heart of the Grecians’ midfield alongside Matt Oakley, whose return from injury was equally as pleasing to see for City supporters.
Oakley will almost certainly keep his place in the side today, with his experience and know-how so pivotal to the Grecians, but the dilemma for manager Paul Tisdale is whether to again play Grimes or not.
With Liam Sercombe, who would have started in Lancashire today, almost certain to miss the game, there is a place there that needs to be filled and it seems the City chief has two options.
Does he keep Grimes in the team, such was the promise, maturity and assurance he displayed against the Dons, or does he go safety-first and bring Scot Bennett back into the team after his injury, or even Tommy Doherty?
Bennett, a defender-cum-midfielder, is a more defensive player, but his strengths are that he breaks up the play well and is a serious threat from set-plays.
Every manager has a “go to” player in his squad and Bennett seems to fit that role for Tisdale. If a job needs doing, then, more often than not, Bennett tends to be the man asked to do it.
Doherty is a combination of both Bennett and Grimes in many ways and one thing that will stick in Tisdale’s mind is the impact the Bristolian made when City won 3-0 at the Globe Arena last season.
Grimes, a natural midfielder, is a more interesting option. He showed last Saturday how comfortable he is in possession and displayed some sparking passing and link-up play. Whether Tisdale trusts him to show the discipline you would get from Doherty or Bennett away from home at this stage of his career remains to be seen, but there is only one way to find out.
Often last year, Tisdale would refrain from playing a youngster in a game as the defensive aspects of their play were not quite up to scratch.
If he does opt for Grimes today, though, that is where Oakley will again come into his own, as he did against the Dons, by guiding the prodigious talent through the full 90 minutes.
Either way, it is a win-win situation for the Exeter boss, who must be absolutely thrilled with Grimes’ development.
I doubt anyone expected him to be in genuine competition for a first-team place so soon, but such is his rapid rise that he is demanding consideration off the back of his displays in training and in pre-season, as well as on his full debut.