Exeter City defender Pat Baldwin hopes history will repeat itself when the Grecians make the short trip down the A38 for Saturday’s Devon derby clash with Plymouth Argyle.
Last season, the Grecians made the journey as underdogs, but a fine 2-1 win helped them in their quest to avoid relegation from League Two, whilst putting a huge dent in the promotion hopes of John Sheridan’s Pilgrims.
Argyle, who have had a radical overhaul of the playing side this summer, will again start as favourites, but Baldwin hopes Exeter can play their football and repeat the success.
“We are looking forward to it,” Baldwin said. “It is going to be a fantastic atmosphere and we will look to go there and play it like we did last year by playing football, show confidence in ourselves and each other, show our abilities and go and play.
“It’s an old cliché, but it’s just another game. Of course it means a lot to everyone and we know that, but we are going down there to win the game just like any other.”
Baldwin has started both of City’s matches so far this season despite suffering the full effects of a nasty bug that has decimated the Grecians’ camp.
No fewer than six players have been laid low, with Baldwin losing a stone in weight as he battles the virus.
“It’s absolutely hit a few of us for six. There seems to be a few things flying about and I seem to have picked them all up to be honest,” he said.
“I really struggled massively through Saturday and I felt really rough. I don’t know how I got through the game to be honest and it has taken a long time to get over.
“It’s been there since we came back from Brazil, I’m not sure if there was an issue with the air con or what, but it’s just one of those unfortunate things we have picked up and you have to grind on through it.
“It’s been tough because we haven’t been able to train properly, but we did a lot of good work done in Brazil and did a lot of training. Everyone may think it was a lot of fun – and it was fun – but we got through a lot of work as well in terms of formation.”
It seems to have had little effect on the vice captain’s performances – Baldwin has been superb as one of City’s three centre-halves this season in a system he knows well.
“I grew up playing it to be honest,” he said. “When I was a schoolboy at Chelsea that is all that we played, so I am very comfortable playing it and confident playing it.
“I am relatively pleased with how I’m playing, but I would have been happier if we had got a result against Bournemouth.
“It was disappointing that we lost, but again, I thought we showed some good things in the game, we created one or two chances and I think we were worth a goal.
“I think we’ve shown good determination which is a good sign for the future. We are still working on that formation and the signs are looking good.”