Michael Appleton's notes from today's matchday magazineWelcome back everyone as we take on Dagenham and Redbridge. A warm welcome to Wayne Burnett and everyone associated with the Daggers and good luck for the season, today excepted.
Let me begin by saying a massive thank you to the fans for the way you have backed us in our last two games. Last Saturday against Portsmouth was great but the atmosphere and noise that you made at West Brom on Tuesday night was different class. You went there in huge numbers and I am sure there were a few people with no voices left the morning after because you sang and cheered for the whole 120 minutes and were a credit to the football club. It spurred us on and I think we can take massive positives from the night despite eventually going out of the competition.
If I’m honest we maybe gave West Brom a little bit too much respect early on. They have some excellent players and for the first 20 minutes they moved the ball around and caused us problems. It takes enormous courage to come back from a goal down at a premier League club but I thought we defended strongly, worked our socks off and eventually became the dominant side in the latter stages of the 90 minutes and certainly in the first period of extra time when we should probably have won the game.
Penalties are never an easy way to go out and the lads were bitterly disappointed but once the dust settles we can look back and be proud of that performance. Good luck to West Brom; sometimes a team that sneaks through in an early round wins the whole competition but they will look back and know we pushed them all the way on Tuesday.
I said immediately after the game that I would ten times rather win today’s match because we need to get our league season off and running. I get on well with Andy Awford the Portsmouth Manager but to hear him saying ‘We got out of jail and Oxford were the better side” so soon after I heard Jim Bentley say it at Morecambe a few days earlier was very little consolation. We are very close to getting it right here but we need to turn performances into results.
Will Hoskins will help us do that, we hope and I would like to welcome him to the club. Will adds a little experience and know-how to the forward options we have and did very well at West Brom after coming off the bench. I am sure you will give him a huge welcome today, and we are working hard to further strengthen the squad before the deadline next week. There won’t be massive changes because we are definitely on the right track. Hopefully we can show that again today and get three points on the board.