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Michael Appleton's Notes for the Chesterfield Programme

6 August 2016

The Head Coach talks about a special occasion as Oxford take on Chesterfield

A special buzz around the place

Good afternoon everyone and thank you for coming along on the opening day of a brand new season. 

There is always a special buzz around the place on a day like today and I’m sure that our visitors from Chesterfield will be just as desperate as us to start off with a win. It should make for a very entertaining game.

I firmly believe that we are in a good place going into the season. As with any promoted side you want to keep the momentum from last season going and I think we have added depth to what was already a very strong squad. Obviously some of the more familiar faces from last year have moved on and we wish them well for the future, but at the same time we have recruited a great mix of experience and youth.

Clearly that means that I am going to have some difficult choices to make in terms of the starting XI this afternoon. Every single player wants to walk out of the tunnel and hear the welcome you will no doubt give your team, but I can only pick 11 of them and I will select the team I think is best equipped to win today’s game. I can assure you that every single player in the squad will be involved at some stage over the coming weeks and months and will play a massive part if we are to achieve our dreams of a second successive promotion.

There has been a phenomenal amount of work this summer from everybody at the club. It is a new era and we will play at a level that the club hasn’t appeared at for 15 years or so. That has meant new challenges and plenty of hard work from everyone - look at the excellent pitch that Paul Currier the groundsman has prepared, the new kit, the new shop or even the new programme. Fans always concentrate on the players and team, but this is a place where the whole club sticks together, supports each other, and is now geared to real success.

A lot of that comes from Darryl the Chairman, who sets a fantastic example to us all. He has just been part of a cycle ride from the site of the Battle of the Somme to raise money for Combat Stress and we are very proud to welcome Cpl Paul Ingham, who rode the whole journey, to present today’s matchball.

I am sure he will do so in front of another big crowd. Whether it is in pre-season in Spain or here at Grenoble Road, you always come along in huge numbers and give such a massive boost to the players. It was a crucial part of last season and I am sure will be just as vital between now and May. 

I promise you that every single player will give it everything they have each time they represent your club in the next 46 games or so. In return all we ask is that you encourage, stick with us when times get tough, and help us make the 2016/17 season another memorable one for all involved.

Michael


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