Exeter City do not realise how good they are, says defender Pierce Sweeney

Exeter defender Pierce Sweeney says the squad do not realise how good they are.

The Grecians are top of League One after six games and could open up a three-point gap on Saturday, should results go their way.

Sweeney, 28, says City's humble squad have been impressive so far.

"I think humility stands us in good stead as we probably don't realise how good we can be and how good we are, and that's probably a good thing sometimes," he told BBC Sport.

The Irishman is Exeter's longest-serving player, having made 328 appearances and scored 21 goals since joining from Reading in the summer of 2016.

He is a veteran of three League Two play-off final defeats and helped Exeter win promotion to League One in 2022, after they finished second in the fourth tier.

Sweeney says when he first joined the club he would never have imagined they could be in the league position they currently are in - the highest in their history.

"From where we were to now I don't think as a player you ever see that," he added.

"Maybe the people above me could see the potential of that, but since the manager's come in I can definitely see that.

"From the players we lost to the players we've brought in, to the way we play football now, is definitely a step up.

"It's definitely the best way to play football, the best way to improve and the best way to win games of football - and we're definitely showing that."

A veteran of three Exeter City managers, Sweeney says current boss Gary Caldwell is getting the best out of him.

Sweeney has been ever-present this season and scored the winning penalty as the Grecians beat Stevenage in the second round of the Carabao Cup, to earn a home tie with Premier League side Luton Town.

"I need someone who doesn't let me get comfortable, if I have a good game he wants me to have a better game the next time," Sweeney says of Caldwell, who took over last October after Matt Taylor left for Rotherham United.

"Whereas previously - if I'm playing most weeks and I'm playing well I just get left to it, with this new manager he tries to keep me on my toes, which I really like.

"No matter how old you are, I'm 29 next week, I'm still improving, I'm still coming into training expecting something to go against me or trying to challenge me.

"I still have an awful lot of improvement to do and I think the manger knows that."