In a game neither side can afford to lose, The Grecians will be aiming to revive their flagging promotion hopes and leap back into the play-off places should they defeat Scunthorpe United and other results go their way. By contrast, should results go their way and The Iron pull off a victory then they can go level on points with 22nd placed Colchester United in their fight to preserve their Football League status.
Saturday's game in Devon will be overseen by Surrey based official Craig Hicks who is in his fifth season as a league official having started in the 2017-18 season.
Exeter City are likely to hand a debut to striker Offrande Zanzala who joined the club in midweek from Barrow. The 25-year-old Congolese striker had been rumoured to have been a transfer target for Grecians boss Matt Taylor in the summer and joins Exeter having scored five goals in 27 appearances on the west coast this season.
If Scunthorpe are to pull off a surprise result to aid their battle against relegation then they will have to do it without striker Jake Scrimshaw who was recalled from his loan period at Glanford Park by parent club Bournemouth this week. The 21-year-old returned to Dorset after scoring four goals from his 19 appearances for the North Lincolnshire club. Scrimshaw wasn't the only departure from Scunthorpe this week as fellow loanee and goalkeeper Tom Billson also returned to his parent club. Billson, also 21, was recalled by Coventry City having made just one appearance for The Iron in a spell that was hampered by a knee injury.
Exeter: Dawson (GK), Kite, Diabate, Grounds, Key, Brown, Collins, Dieng, Caprice, Jay, Amond.
Scunthorpe: Watson, Green, Davis, Taft, O'Malley, Rowe, Hippolyte, Gallimore, Pugh, Hackney, Bunn.
Ones to watch
10 goals from 23 appearances have earned Exeter's captain Matt Jay many plaudits this season with two of his goals coming in the 4-0 away win over Scunthorpe earlier in the 2021-22 season.
In a season that has seen Scunthorpe underperform, midfielder Myles Hippolyte has led the way for Keith Hill's side with four goals and two assists including a strike against fellow League Two strugglers Oldham Athletic on Boxing Day.
Excusing a Covid enforced break between December 11 and New Year's Day, you have to go back as far as November 20 to find Exeter's last victory. Since the win over Carlisle, The Grecians have lost all but one of their subsequent league and cup outings with the only point gained from a goalless draw with fellow promotion hopefuls Forest Green Rovers on January 4. Matt Taylor's side come into the clash with Scunthorpe off the back of a 3-2 home reverse at the hands of Portsmouth in the Papa John's Trophy.
Despite going unbeaten through the month of December, Scunthorpe have managed just three points from their last six matches although they were able to claim a priceless win over relegation rivals Oldham in late December. The Iron go into their trip to Devon still searching for their first win of 2022 following defeats to Carlisle United (0-1 on January 1st) and Tranmere Rovers (0-4 last weekend).
The historical form guide suggests that Exeter hold the advantage over Scunthorpe having won five of the last six meetings between the two sides. The Iron's last victory over this weekend's hosts came when they prevailed 3-1 at Glanford Park in October 2019.
Saturday's game is the second meeting between the two sides during the 2021-22 campaign. Two goals in five minutes from Matt Jay in addition to strikes from Josh Key and Timothee Dieng were enough to inflict the damage on Scunthorpe and saw Exeter leave North Lincolnshire with the points following a crushing 4-0 win.
What the managers have said
Taking into account Exeter's poor recent form, Grecians boss Matt Taylor is choosing to focus on results rather than performances as his side try and give their promotion hopes a boost. Speaking to Devon Live's Daniel Clark, Taylor said after the Papa John's Trophy defeat to Portsmouth:
”We can take the plaudits for looking like a good team but we want to win games of football and that headline has been written too many times in terms of a good performance but nothing to show for it.”
After last week's 4-0 reverse at the hands of Tranmere, Iron manager Keith Hill took time to reflect on some of the factors that might have contributed to the comprehensive defeat. Talking to the club's iFollow channel, Hill said:
”It’s been a reflective, hard working week and we've had to revisit as a group the fundamentals of the way we want to play.
”December was really encouraging, we were unbeaten and we were playing with a real identity and clarity to the way we work out of possession. Unfortunately the performance against Tranmere didn't reflect these principles and that's why we were heavily beaten.”
Where to watch the match
Unfortunately, as the game kicks off at 15:00 GMT on Saturday there is no television coverage in the UK. However, if you can't make the clash at St. James Park then iFollow subscribers are able to listen to audio commentary. Fans should check their respective club website for availability.
Supporters looking to watch the game outside of the UK & Ireland can pay for a live stream via iFollow on either club website.