Early team news ahead of the weekend
Oxford United head for Stevenage on Saturday with Head Coach Michael Appleton waiting on the fitness of skipper Jake Wright. The centre-back was forced off during last weekend’s game against Barnet with a back problem and is receiving intensive physio treatment to get him back as quickly as possible.
“He’s struggling for Saturday a little bit” Michael told Yellow Player HD. “He had a bad back spasm and because he has had trouble with that in the past we are mindful of it and we are going to have to make sure we look after him.”
With Ryan Taylor missing the Barnet match because of a groin problem, Appleton also lost winger Jordan Graham this week when the Wolves winger was recalled by his parent club.
“It’s a big blow, no doubt about it” Michael admitted. “He has plenty of talent and is going to have a fantastic future. We were hoping that his near future would have been with us for the next couple of months or so, but Wolves are his club and it’s their prerogative to take him back. He will be a miss for us but it’s up to one of the other players in the group to fill the gap and take their opportunity.”
Alex MacDonald, Callum O’Dowda, Danny Rose and Kemar Roofe can all operate in the wide roles but Appleton knows that Teddy Sheringham’s Stevenage side will be tough opposition on Saturday.
“I think Stevenage have been unfortunate in a couple of games, but they have also dug deep in a couple of matches I’ve seen where they’ve not played well but made sure they got something from it” he said. “They are a different animal this year, not as direct, although they have our friend Armand up front for them, and they have two very experienced players in the middle of the park so we know they will be a good test for us. One we’re looking forward to.”
See the full interview plus the thoughts of Alex MacDonald in Yellow Player HD where this week’s Preview Show looks forward to this evening’s Community Trust Gala Dinner.