Plymouth Argyle and Exeter City Face Each Other in Devon Derby

Devon Derby

Up and down the English Football League, there are a number of ferocious derbies born out of geography. One of the most seismic League encounters is down south and sees Plymouth Argyle and Exeter City go toe-to-toe. The pair have both been jumping and up down the divisions recently and so this isn’t a guaranteed clash every season. Who will come out on top in the Devon derby?

The Devon Derby Is Finally Upon Us

A Devon Derby Worth Watching According to the Form Charts 

You have to look back to October 2019 to find the last meeting between Plymouth Argyle and Exeter City. This took place at St James’ Park and is one that Argyle fans won’t be reminiscing about any time soon.

A brace from Plymouth-born Nicky Law was at the heart of a 4-0 thrashing and Steven Schumacher spoke about righting those wrongs. This will be my first [Devon derby] as a manager, I experienced it once before as a number two, that wasn’t a good experience so we’ll obviously want to try and get a better one on Monday night.”

It is night and day when you look at that result and most of those garnered by Schumacher’s men so far this season. The last Argyle loss in all competitions came at The Valley as a dismal defensive display allowed Charlton Athletic to romp towards three points.

Having beaten big hitters such as Ipswich Town, MK Dons and Sheffield Wednesday, they continued such dominance with a win against Shrewsbury Town last weekend. It wasn’t the best of performances but being able to grind out the victory is a sign of a good team.

Exeter City are performing well going into this Devon derby. They currently sit tenth having just got promoted to the third tier after finishing as runners-up to Forest Green Rovers. Talking of Forest Green and back at the end of September, a Jevani Brown hat-trick inspired City to a 4-0 win at the New Lawn. More recently, they conceded four to both Charlton and Oxford United before beating Fleetwood Town and drawing with Derby County at Pride Park.

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Who Can Make the Difference at the Theatre of Greens? 

Niall Ennis and Morgan Whittaker were the pair on target against Shrewsbury, the former once again coming off of the bench and making a difference. The former Wolves man has regularly been a threat late on in games, to the point he has earned starts either alongside Scotsman Ryan Hardie or even ahead of him. He will be vying for a place in the lineup for this intense Devon derby.

Another recent goal threat has been Finn Azaz. The Aston Villa loanee came flying out of the blocks and has since rediscovered that form in front of goal. Despite the prowess of Hardie, him and former Birmingham City man Sam Cosgrove are only on five whilst a trio lead the way with six. Azaz is one of them, including a brace against MK Dons, whilst the other two are Ennis and Whittaker.

One man who could have a huge impact on this game for the Grecians won’t even be on the pitch. There is a new figure gracing the technical area following Matt Taylor’s jump-up to Rotherham United of the Championship. Schumacher highlighted this: “Matt has done a great job getting them to where he has got them too and then Gary Caldwell comes in and now takes over and that’s going to be another challenge for us. He’s only had one game in charge so we’ll have to figure out how they’re going to play.”

As previously mentioned, former Scotland international, Celtic and Wigan Athletic stalwart Caldwell is now at the helm. His first foray into management was with the Latics and he has since gone on to spend time with Chesterfield and Partick Thistle, his latest job ending in 2019. This break, along with the short spell in management, means that he could be somewhat of a surprise package in this Devon derby.

“It’s a local derby and we need to make sure we’re up for it” were the words of Schumacher ahead of this high-profile clash in front of the Sky Sports cameras. The Argyle boss will be hoping to get a treat and in the process, condemn their Devon rivals to a Halloween trick.