PAUL Tisdale says he is happy with the competition for places he has got in the centre of midfield ahead of this weekend's match with York City at St James's Park.
Tommy Doherty and Matt Oakley both performed well in that role during the first half against Morecambe on Saturday, but Tisdale has plenty of options available to him should his wish to shake up things up.
Liam Sercombe is expected to return from injury and has been one of the stand-out players for City in the middle of the park this season, while Scot Bennett will also be freed up from his defensive role that he occupied against Morecambe to challenge for a place.
Added to that young Matt Grimes – who shone on his debut against AFC Wimbledon – and Alan Gow, albeit in a more attacking role, will also be pushing hard for a starting spot.
"Tommy Doherty had a good game on Saturday and we've got four or five players who are all capable of playing in that position," said Tisdale, who has yet to decide on who will get the nod.
"It seems like a strong area for us at the moment, but I think we are going to need strength in depth to our play.
"I don't think we will be relying on just a few players, especially in that midfield area.
"Last season that was our weakness. We picked up a lot of injuries in certain positions and we are going to need a good depth to our squad if we are going to be progressive this season."
Tisdale has no fresh injury concerns from the Morecambe match, which Exeter City lost thanks to two second-half goals from Kevin Ellison.
Pat Baldwin should return to the centre of defence having missed the trip to Lancashire because of the birth of his first child.
Tisdale said there were lots of positives City could take from the first-half performance against Morecambe, but he was concerned about how his team struggled to recover after going a goal behind.
City have started their previous home games against Bristol Rovers and AFC Wimbledon well, managing to score the first goal and going on to collect three points.
However, Tisdale added that no matter how well they start against York they can't guarantee to score the first goal and, as a result, they simply must improve their ability to chase games.
"I think any successful team will have to be capable of pulling back a deficit," he said. "You can't have your own way all of the time.
"Ideally we will score first on Saturday, but if we want to be successful this year we going to have our fair share of situations where we are going to have to up our game.
"It is something I'm going to have to look at closely because you can never guarantee how a game is going to go regardless of how well you play.
"You can't be sure of scoring the first goal and we have to be a rounded team and be able to defend a lead or recover a lead."
York City have only scored the first goal once this season and that saw them claim three points against Northampton on the opening day.
Other than that it has been an indifferent start from the Minstermen, with four points picked up from a possible 12 in the league.
However, Tisdale added that it is too early in the season to start trying to gage how strong a team is from their results.
"We still don't know who is going to be the main force in the league and teams haven't necessarily been tested or settled down yet," he said.
"It is all inconclusive at the moment and I don't think we should read too much into the results so far.
"What we can do is look at their strengths and their weaknesses and work on our game."
Predicted line-up: Krysiak, Dawson, Coles, Baldwin, Woodman, Davies, Sercombe, Oakley, Wheeler, O'Flynn, Parkin