Mickey Lewis writes his first matchday notes for over a decade
Welcome to today’s game and to our visitors from AFC Wimbledon. The game at their place back in October was a close match. Although we came out on top that day we expect another tough game this afternoon.
It has been over ten years since I last wrote any notes for the Oxford United programme. I am always very proud to be part of the club and I want to start this page by saying thank you to Chris Wilder for everything he did here. We have talked many times about how close the dressing room is but that also applies to the management team here. Chris will remain a friend, I am sure, and I hope he enjoys life just up the A43 at Northampton.
He has left us in a very strong position and our job now is to carry that on, but the one phrase that Chris always said was ‘one game at a time’. Football changes so quickly and the best policy is just to focus on the next game that you are going to play.
The last week has been one of change but the players have done brilliantly to pick up a win and a draw. Last Saturday against Torquay there were so many rumours around the ground that it would have been easy to get distracted. It says a lot about the professionalism of this group of players that they came through with an important three points.
Deane Smalley took his goal well and then when we needed a bit of bravery at the end Jake did exceptionally well to head the ball clear from under the bar. It cost him in terms of a cut knee but it was part of a tremendous team effort.
Jake will miss out today and for the next month or so but he travelled down to Exeter with us on Tuesday to be part of what I thought was a decent point away from home. The pitch looked fine from the stands but was extremely heavy under foot and I thought both teams did well to play some nice football in those conditions.
Ryan Clarke made a great double save right at the end to keep the clean sheet intact and it is good to see him commit his future to the club with a new three-year deal. Ryan has been outstanding for the last few
seasons and I am sure you will give him a very warm welcome this afternoon.
Finally, a thank you to the players, the staff and the fans for the kind messages of support you have given me and Andy Melville this week. We will look to repay some of that kindness with a win this afternoon.