Sunday best for the U's this weekend
Oxford United and Bristol Rovers renew their rivalry on Sunday in a new division. The two clubs both earned promotion from League 2 last season with honours even in the two league meetings. A Kemar Roofe cracker won it for the U’s at the Memorial Stadium and Head Coach Michael Appleton told Yellow Player HD
“It was funny last year because Bristol Rovers did ever so well and had a lot of momentum from going up the season before. They probably had the better of the game at their place and it’s quite an intimidating ground, where they get right behind their players. To come away with a victory and a clean sheet was great but Rovers probably felt a bit hard done by.
“But then when they came to our place we felt we dominated for 85 minutes and got mugged and lost the game 2-1! So even-stevens and I’m sure it will be a tough game again.
"I’m sure Rovers will do well again this year and good luck to them, but we also feel we are moving in the right direction. We need to make sure we compete as much as they do and if we can do that then I believe we have the talent to hurt them.”
United made progress in the EFL Cup on Tuesday, beating Championship side Birmingham in the last minute of a hard-fought 120 minutes. Were there a few tired legs after that encounter?
“There were a few” Michael said “but when you win you don’t feel the pain as much as when you lose. I fully expect the lads that were available on Tuesday to be ready for Sunday. A lot of the players ran themselves into the ground and were tired but it is our job to make sure they recover properly and are all fit and ready come Saturday.”
Chey Dunkley misses out but Aaron Martin enjoyed an excellent debut and the defence is likely to be unchanged come Sunday.
“We’re reasonably positive on Chey” Michael told Yellow Player. “You see him walking about the place and he’s much better than he was a couple of days ago, so fingers crossed it’s not as bad as first feared. But Aaron came in and he and Curtis Nelson did great, especially after half time.
“Aaron missed a bit of training last week but I thought he got better as the game went on. Wes Thomas should be fine as well. It was just a tight groin. He’s such an explosive player that it’s a big part of his game. We were aware of it before the game but I just felt that against his old side you never know what he might do. But we got him off as soon as he started feeling it and he should be fine. Luckily in that department we have one or two options at the minute.”
See the full interview plus Alex MacDonald having a chat in the Preview Show, all in Yellow Player HD right now