Team news and injury updates as the U's get ready for a bumper Boxing Day
Oxford United will be boosted by a bumper Boxing Day crowd when they face Northampton Town. The game is heading for a sell out and Head Coach Michael Appleton believes his side will reap the benefit of that huge home support.
“It gives us a massive lift and it’s a day we are all looking forward to” he told Yellow Player HD. “It’s got a bit of extra spice because of the competition we had with them last year. They won the league, we finished second and the season was great for both sides for very different reasons. We can’t wait for Boxing Day and I hope it’s a great day for all our fans.”
The players will be in on Christmas Eve but then have Christmas Day off, something Michael believes is definitely the right thing to do:
“I absolutely trust them” he said. “We did it last year as well. Over the last two or three months a few of them have had to grow up pretty quickly because I think they have realised the seriousness and professionalism that needs to be put in place day in day out. They are getting used to playing games very close together and they are getting used to someone like me who, when they maybe think they are going to get a bit of praise gives them none at all! It keeps them on their toes and if they want to be successful then they will definitely get the praise they deserve.”
Left-back Joe Skarz is rated 50/50 for Boxing Day after a back injury but there is better news on three long term injuries who could be back in training soon in the new year.
“Sam Long is getting closer and we will hopefully have him back during the January window” Michael said. “With Christian Ribeiro I think that is fifty/50 whether he is back in training during January. Having him back will give us a boost but we will keep analysing it. People maybe don’t understand the seriousness of the injury: it wasn’t just a broken ankle there was a lot of damage at the same time.
“He’ll be back soon though and Liam Sercombe is doing very well. He is an important part of the group and is maybe three or four weeks ahead of schedule, although that can change obviously so we won’t set a timescale on it.”
See the full interview, with Michael reflecting on all that has happened this year, in Yellow Player HD now