SHEFFIELD United’s hopes that Exeter City could field a weakened team when the two sides meet at St James’ Park this weekend have been dashed.
Paul Tisdale, the Devon club’s manager, insists he will not wield the axe after being relegated from League One.
Instead Tisdale urged his players to view United’s visit as an opportunity to stake early claims for starting roles next season.
Danny Wilson’s side travel to Devon third in the table and knowing that arch-rivals Sheffield Wednesday must fail to beat Wycombe Wanderers to stand any chance of reclaiming the automatic promotion berth they surrendered last weekend.
But Tisdale warned United not to expect any favours, saying: “I’m not going to punish my players for being relegated.
“We’d all have liked to have done better but I’m not going to get rid of them all because I feel cross with them.
“If they feel they have not quite achieved enough this year then they had better pull their socks up, knuckle down and help us as best they can.
“If there is any of that intent in them then I will use it.”
Exeter, who are 23rd, held United to a 4-4 draw at Bramall Lane in October.
Tisdale’s hopes of avoiding the drop were extinguished when they suffered a heavy defeat at the hands of Carlisle last weekend.
At the opposite end of the rankings, United were overtaken by Wednesday when they shared the spoils with Stevenage having earlier seen Dave Jones’ men overcome Brentford.
“I have to admit that a lot of the players we have will move on but the ones who remain I’ll look closely at,” Tisdale added.