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Club News

Michael Appleton in Tranmere Programme

6 December 2014

The head coach writes...

Welcome back everyone as we turn our attention to the FA Cup. It’s only a few weeks since we played Tranmere here in the league so I’m sure that both sides will have a healthy respect for each other. Micky Adams was in the stand for that first game before officially taking over as Tranmere manager and I am sure he will have his team well motivated to try and get their name in the hat for the next round.

I think everyone who has played in the FA Cup has a story to tell and there is definitely still a magic surrounding the competition. I have seen a lot of people talking about ‘getting through to face one of the big boys’ and it’s right to have those dreams and ambitions. Those dreams can come back to bite you though if you fail to focus on the main part of the job; putting every last ounce of energy into winning the game in this round.

We will come into it in good spirits after a couple of draws and two decent performances. I believe we have been very unlucky not to get six points from those games. Against Wimbledon in our last home game we looked very solid at the back and created the better opportunities but the final ball just eluded people or a defender got a block at a vital moment.

At Cheltenham last Saturday it was a slightly different story because I thought we did everything right but came up against a goalkeeper who had one of those games where everything went his way. We had fantastic support at Whaddon Road and like all of you I was holding my head in my hands when he made one or two of those saves. Credit to him for his performance but it was frustrating to go away from home, have most of the game, and only get a draw.

You take the positives from every match and that is four unbeaten now, and only one goal against in the last three games. We have looked nice and solid, we have worked hard all over the park and we have played some really bright football, so we are definitely on the right track coming into December, always a vital month of the season.

We have strengthened the squad over the last couple of weeks with Patrick Hoban, Chey Dunkley, John Campbell and Wes Burns all joining us. All four of them have one thing in common, a hunger to do well for Oxford United. Patrick and Wes are just having to be a bit patient but will get their chance, while John and Chey have made that step up from non-league and are desperate to show what they can do at this level. We are starting to get competition for every place and that building will continue to happen over the coming months.

First of all we have today’s game to look forward to. We worked extremely hard to get through a difficult tie up at Grimsby in the last round so let’s not let that hard work go to waste. Get behind us, cheer the team on, and let’s give it everything we have to get another win today.

Michael Appleton

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