The manager's notes from tonight's matchday magazine
After a really good first game at the Valley we welcome Chris Powell and his Charlton side to the Kassam Stadium tonight. I was pleased with the way we played a week ago and a tad disappointed not to get over the finishing line but looking back at the game Charlton deserved their equaliser in what was a very tight game on an extremely difficult playing surface.
It was a quiet and slightly disappointed dressing room afterwards but they shouldn’t have been because I thought the players did the club proud. Those of you who were there will have seen two teams having a real go at it and trying to play football the right way despite the conditions. Sometimes you ride your luck and get the result but on the night a finish of real quality made it 2-2 and so we go again.
A lot of things will need to go right if we are to get through to play Huddersfield on Saturday. Charlton had the momentum at the end of the first 90 minutes and will want to finish the job tonight so we know we need to be at the top of our game. Having said that, both sides have had a good look at each other so it should be a good game for the fans to enjoy.
Oxford fans certainly enjoyed themselves at Wycombe on Saturday against a Wycombe side who made it very difficult for us after going down to ten men. They dug in and tried to frustrate us while hoping to get something from a set piece or a mistake. It was important that we kept our discipline and stayed patient. We changed the shape to use the full width of the pitch and in the end got our reward when Nicky Wroe scored a great goal.
Sadly Nicky is unavailable tonight but both Scott Davies and Josh Ruffels played in the first game and I thought were excellent. As I write this we are waiting on a scan on Dave Kitson’s ankle which swelled up before the Wycombe match, so he is a doubt, but whoever plays will wear the yellow shirt with pride and do all they can to get us through to face Huddersfield on Saturday. I still find it hard to remember that this is only the third round as we seem to have been in the FA Cup for months already. With all the postponements, replays and extra time played it was probably no surprise that this tie went to a replay after all. Charlton remain favourites but we have a fighter’s chance and will give it our all. This competition is so unpredictable so why shouldn’t we be getting the headlines for a giant killing in tomorrow’s papers?
A word of thanks for the support you gave us at the weekend. I laughed when I saw them advertising the game as ‘let’s quieten the noisy neighbours’ because you were sure to respond to that. You gave us brilliant support and I am sure will do so again as we look to make it another memorable night of cup football.
Finally, good luck to Chrissy Allen and his under-18s tomorrow night against Cardiff City. I know how much they were looking forward to a game here at the Kassam Stadium but it would be great if one or two of you could get down to Didcot tomorrow to give them your support.