Michael Appleton gets ready for the EFL Cup at Birmingham
Oxford United head for Birmingham City on Tuesday night looking to continue their giant-killing reputation in the League Cup. It may be the EFL Cup now but United won the same competition in 1986 and have claimed many notable scalps from higher divisions over the years, including a memorable night at Brentford last season.
“I think over the last couple of seasons we have done reasonably well against sides from higher divisions” Michael Appleton told Yellow Player HD earlier. “The reason we have done that is because we have gone into those matches with a bit of belief and making sure we look to work harder than the opposition, because if we don’t then we are not giving ourselves an opportunity, right from the start.
“No doubt the league is the priority but the cup games were very good for us last year, from a confidence point of view and also for momentum and belief in the whole football club. I thought the cup runs last year certainly put the football club back on the map again.”
With defender Christian Ribeiro out for 6-8 weeks with a fractured ankle and Chey Dunkley struggling with a hamstring problem the U’s are hoping that summer signing Aaron Martin recovers from a badly blistered foot in time for Tuesday night’s game against one of his former clubs.
“We’re hoping that Aaron’s blister has 24 hours to heal up a bit and we are hopeful he will be available for tomorrow” Michael confirmed. “That takes a little bit of the strain off us, although there’s then a risk that it might flair up a little bit going into Sunday’s game at Bristol Rovers.
“We don’t know the full extent of Chey’s injury and won’t for maybe 24 hours until it settles down so we just have to look at things every 24 hours at the moment. Obviously we have players who are prepared to fill in but we don’t want to do that for a two or three week period because we’ll end up getting punished.”
After a 1-1 draw against Chesterfield Michael must decide whether to make changes to the starting eleven for Tuesday’s cup game.
“We have to get the balance right” he said. “I want to get a little bit of rhythm into the side, and I thought that was very good on Saturday. If we can continue to do that for four or five games then it’s up to those on the fringes to keep pushing those in the team to keep putting performances in.”
See the whole interview plus an exclusive video with Liam Sercombe in Yellow Player HD right now.