Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale believes his players are "just short" of where he expects them to be for the campaign, but says the Grecians are well-placed to kick on in the second half of the season.
The Grecians welcome Rotherham United to St James' Park tomorrow prior to a two-week break before their next npower League Two fixture at Rochdale on December 8. And once tomorrow's game is out of the way, the City boss will take stock of whatever situation Exeter find themselves in ahead of a challenging December.
Tisdale does not publicly reveal the targets he sets his players, but when asked if they had achieved those he set in July, he said: "We are just off it. There is no point aiming for average figures and mediocre targets, so you may as well aim for something that is worth achieving.
"We are doing our very best to be successful this year. I am very happy with where we are, I think it's a very good position for the second half of the season and I'd forever rather be just short of our targets when our targets are very high ones. I think that's where we probably are at the moment."
The Rochdale game marks the first of seven games in a month for Exeter, who also face Devon rivals Plymouth Argyle and Torquay United during that spell. The upcoming break, which comes because City were knocked out of the FA Cup in the first round and have a free weekend, allows the squad the opportunity to overcome any knocks and niggles they have been carrying.
"If we can get through Saturday with some kind of result, then I will be very happy. It will be nice to have some sort of break," Tisdale added.
"It will be exactly halfway through our season and by that I mean our training season, July 1 through to the end of April. It is five months into a ten-month cycle, so it offers a very good opportunity to rest and regroup.
"We will have a tough festive period with lots of games and two derby games, so I see no harm in it. There is plenty of energy in all of those games in December, so we need everyone fully fit."
One player that has been allowed to leave St James' Park is young striker Tom Nichols, who has joined Blue Square South side Bath City on a month-long loan spell.
Tisdale said: "It's a practical, good, convenient and competitive loan for Tom. He is on the fringe and I think he is at the point now where his expectations are to play in our team, which is quite right and he is good enough to be in or around the team.
"But he is in that awkward position where if he isn't in the team, he may be losing his sharpness and it takes it out of you when you are on the bench, you travel and you don't come on – I have been there myself.
"Bath City have enquired after Tom Nichols for six months. I think it is a good opportunity for him to go and play some football and he will be hoping an opportunity doesn't spring up while he is away, but I think he should go and play half a dozen games and see where it takes him.
"Jamie Reid has done his stint out on loan [at Dorchester] and I would like to give him his chance at some point, maybe. But Tom is not being pushed out, it will just help him stay on top of his game."