We look ahead to tomorrow's FA Cup Third Round tie at home to Sheffield United (3pm).
Oxford United will have two enforced changes following the FA’s rejection of United’s appeal against the sending off of James Constable at AFC Wimbledon last Saturday and the return of Lee Cox to Swindon following the expiration of his loan spell.
Constable’s suspension could lead to Sean Rigg partnering Tom Craddock up front, or it might give Josh Parker an opportunity to make his first start. Liam Davis has recovered from his hamstring injury and comes into contention for a place in the squad, while Simon Heslop could come in for the departed Cox.
Michael Raynes has recovered from the virus that saw him miss the win over Cheltenham on Wednesday and will vie with Michael Duberry to partner Jake Wright in central defence.
United reached the third round thanks to a 2-0 win at Barnet and a 2-0 home win over Accrington Stanley in a replay, following a 3-3 draw at the Crown Ground.
Sheffield United are riding high in second place in League 1 but will also want to progress in the FA Cup. They have two new signings already since the transfer window opened, with experienced defender Danny Higginbotham, signed from Stoke City on Wednesday, joined by Motherwell striker Jamie Murphy yesterday.
The Blades will be without striker Shaun Miller, who will miss the remainder of the season following an injury against Scunthorpe on Boxing Day, and defender Neill Collins who was injured in the same game. Loanee John Cofie has returned to Manchester United. However, they welcome back defender Harry Maguire, who missed the 2-2 draw with Doncaster Rovers due to suspension.
In the previous two rounds the Blades came from a goal down in each match against Bristol Rovers and Port Vale to win 2-1 both times.
Sheffield United boss Danny Wilson told the Sheffield Star: “This is the stage when people start to get really interested in the tournament. There will be shocks and there will be upsets.
“Some big teams are going to end up with egg on their faces and we must do everything to ensure we are not one of those.
“For us, it’s a winnable match. We view every game in the same way. But we are going to have to go down there with a very positive attitude because there are so many variables which make this a very, very tough draw.”
Speaking about last season’s first round cup tie, in which the Blades beat United 3-0, Wilson said “There have been lots of personnel changes down there, just as there has been with us. The one thing that won’t change down at Oxford though is Chris’s commitment.
“In fact, I’m absolutely convinced he’ll be even more determined to get one over on us than ever because of what happened before.”
And talking about United’s position in League 2, Wilson commented “Chris [Wilder] will get them into the top six or seven this season. I’ve got no doubts about that whatsoever.”
Tickets are available at advance prices today via the phones or via www.oufctickets.co.uk where you can pick your exact seat and see the approximate view from that spot.
The phone lines are open on 01865 337533 or call in person at the Ticket Office.
Book your seat and come and cheer the boys on.
Although the Kidlington and Carterton buses will NOT be running for this game (they only run for league matches) there are buses from the city centre to the ground. Thames Travel's 106C service runs from St Aldates and the Oxford Bus Company Number 5 stops at knight's Road, a short walk to the ground.
Be Well Read...
Tomorrow's 84-page matchday magazine is another top edition, featuring the usual wide range of articles, interviews, news and stats that you've come to expect.
We have crammed in even more interviews than usual: Josh Parker, Michael Duberry, and Peter Leven are joined by legends Alan Hodgkinson and Colin Clarke while you can win the latest album by Willy Mason.
Ian Lenagan, Chris Wilder and Jake Wright have their say, guest columnists add their views to the mix and of course there is the usual comprehensive range of news from all areas of the club.
Plus buy a programme and get the Oxford Mail as well, all for just £3, all around the ground
Shouting the odds
There’s another way to support The U's thanks to our Official Betting Provider, Bet Butler.
The betting concierge service has pledged to boost club coffers with every bet fans place at BetButler.co.uk, whether they win or lose! They have made the generous offer thanks to their unique business model, which brings you the best odds from more than 100 bookmakers via one simple account.
Sign-up now at BetButler.co.uk and get:
- The chance to support your club as every bet benefits Oxford United
- The best odds from 60+ bookmakers using one account
- A betting provider that genuinely wants you to win
Take a Look HERE
www.oufc.co.uk is the perfect place to follow all the action. The official website will have:
- Full team news
- Read a full match report the very second the final whistle blows
- See a full gallery of all the key moments
- See the manager and key players give their reactions in Yellow Player
- SMS subscribers get all the action straight to their mobiles
- Or follow @OUFClive on Twitter for all the action wherever you are
Make sure you buy a Fifty-50 lottery ticket to be in with a chance of winning over £1,000.
Tickets are on sale all around the ground including from the concourse programme sellers, with the draw being made at half-time.
The result will appear right here as soon as it is made.