Oxford United skipper Jake Wright looks forward to Gary Waddock's first game in charge at Southend United
New Head Coach Gary Waddock takes charge of the U’s for the first time tonight as they travel to Southend United in Sky Bet League 2.
He takes over a side buoyed by a win over Hartlepool and a team determined to push on from a good starting position. Captain Jake Wright believes that Waddock’s arrival will give the side a little extra impetus at a vital stage of the season
“That win makes it a bit easier because he doesn’t have to come in and build everyone’s confidence up” said the United skipper. “We are all buzzing after Friday and a few results went our way on Saturday as well. The win should have come against Cheltenham really but in the end it came on Friday; we kept a clean sheet and now we go again. If Hartlepool had beaten us they’d have been four points behind us and really in the mix but it is difficult for them now because I would think they have to win seven of the last nine to get in there. There’s a six point gap to Southend and we have to try to keep that gap or make it even wider tonight.”
Jake believes that the whole squad will be keen to prove to the new boss what they can do
“It’s a level playing field for us all. He watched the game on Friday and knows a few of the players so we just go from there. We know we just have to keep working hard. He has taken on a really good team in a really strong position, with really good staff around him. We are all really looking forward to working with him.”
The win over Hartlepool saw two of United’s rising young stars impressing again with Sam Long and Matt Bevans helping the U’s to another clean sheet, while David Hunt’s versatility was once again on show with an assured performance at left back.
“Hunty is a really talented footballer” Jake told us . “Technically he is really good, left foot or right and is one of those players who can play anywhere and will do well and play for the team. Bevs has come in six or seven times this year and looked solid again and Sam came in and did great. Not just those two but all of the Development boys have been brilliant this year and when they have had a chance they have proved that they can play at this level. “
As the season bubbles up to thrilling finish Jake still has the same level-headed approach to the games ahead:
“I think the first thing to do is cement the play-off place. If we keep winning games and can get to three or four games left and we are definitely in the play-offs then maybe we can have a look up and see if we can get in the top three. But at the moment it is just about focussing on every game as it comes along and getting as many points as we can”