Updated: Mar 6
With the season opener against Salford looming in September, much was said about the up-and-coming youth talent within the squad and how, for many of them, this unusual season would present them with a golden opportunity to break into the first team.
And so it has proven. Academy graduates have been the backbone of Matt Taylor's side this season, with a number of youngsters cementing their place in a City side that, with less than half of the season left to play, find themselves in the race for automatic promotion.
As we pass the midway point of the league season, we take a look at how a number of 'Our Own' have fared:
Though not his breakthrough season, Archie is having arguably his best year as a Grecian due to the faith Matt Taylor has shown in him.
The only member of the squad to have started every single league game so far this season, the Bridgwater-born midfielder's consistent performances in the centre of the park have made him an indispensable member of the team; captaining the side on several occasions, scoring a career-best tally of three goals, and making his 100th City appearance against Forest Green Rovers in December.
Much had been said about Matt Jay's ability prior to this season, but most of the City faithful had only really seen glimpses of what the longest-serving academy graduate at the club could really do.
That has all changed this season as MJ, who made his 100th appearance in red and white against Tranmere in December, has made a starting XI place his own and the much-loved forward is arguably one of the first names on the teamsheet every week.
Much like Collins, Jay is having a career-best season, scoring 13 goals in all competitions and providing five assists; earning him a new contract last month. At the time of writing, only two players have been directly involved in more League Two goals than MJ's 16.
A key member of the City side who were cruelly denied a place in the Leasing.com Trophy final last season, Joel Randall had spent the early part of last season on loan at Weston-super-Mare and Weymouth. Few doubted that this would end up being his breakthrough season, but not many would have expected Randall to become an integral part of City's fluid front line quite so quickly.
Contributing an incredible eight goals and four assists in all competitions, including a match-winning brace against League One Gillingham in the FA Cup 2nd Round, Randall quickly established himself as City's biggest goal threat, leading to heavy speculation linking him with a move away from SJP in January.
Having just returned from his recent injury setback, Joel will be hoping to reach double figures as City push for promotion from League Two.
Having had a second loan spell at Tiverton Town cut short last season by the pandemic, and with the experienced Jake Caprice arriving in the summer, few would have imagined the impact Josh Key would have this season.
However, a combination of injuries to Caprice and strong, energetic performances have cemented Key's place in the team. Making 29 appearances in all competitions and scoring two match winning headers against Forest Green Rovers and Mansfield Town, Key's form this season earned him a new contract in January 2020.
With the emergence of Joel Randall on the left wing, the summer arrival of highly-rated Lewis Page at left back, combined with having just recovered from a long-term injury, you could be forgiven for thinking Sparkes may have found game time difficult to come by this season.
But much like Josh Key, Sparkes has benefitted from his versatility, jumping in following injuries to Page to become City's first choice left back/wing back. Much like his fellow academy graduates, the Exmouth-born winger is having a career-best season: making 31 appearances in all competitions and assisting three goals.