Mixed emotions for Tisdale ahead of his Exeter return

It looks set to be an emotional return to Exeter City for Paul Tisdale as MK Dons head to St James Park on Saturday.

Thursday, 31st January 2019, 6:44 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 10:01 pm
Jordan Moore-Taylor and Paul Tisdale during their Exeter City days

The Dons manager spent 12 years in Devon, but departed in the summer after back-to-back play-off final defeats.

It was an emotional reunion for Tisdale when the sides met in August, with his new club taking the spoils in a 1-0 win at Stadium MK.

But heading back to St James Park for the first time, Tisdale admitted he is not sure of the reception he will receive.

"That's for them to decide," he said. "They're the supporters, they'll all have a different view. You can't please everyone, no matter how well you do. I'm sure there's an understanding that a lot of positives happened in those last 12 years.

"When the whistle blows at 3pm, it's about your team winning. We've got snow coming, new players coming, it'll be an interesting few days! It will be an interesting day."

Speaking on his emotions ahead of the game, Tisdale said: "Mixed, very mixed. I'm looking forward to seeing some of my friends, and going back having not been there since the play-off semi-final last year. Even the facilities have changed since I last went, which I'd like to think I helped contribute to. I'm really looking forward to seeing everyone.

"It will be an interesting game in itself anyway – where we both are in the league, and it's the end of the window. Having spent 12 years there, it feels a little surreal but I'm looking forward to it. I dearly want to win the game, but I'm looking forward to revisiting a place I gave my life to for 12 years."

It’s not just Tisdale making his first return - his backroom staff, defender Jordan Moore-Taylor, who looks set to miss the game through injury, midfielders Ryan Harley and striker Robbie Simpson all followed the manager to MK1 in the summer, while David Wheeler joined on loan last week from QPR, who signed him from Exeter.

There is precious little to separate the sides heading into the game - Dons’ win over Oldham on Tuesday night means they are in sixth spot, three points clear of Exeter in seventh after 29 games.

Deadline day signings Jake Hesketh and Ste Walker are both in contention to make their debuts after signing on Thursday.