Gaffer gets set to face the Stags
Oxford United return to Sky Bet League 2 action on Tuesday night as they welcome Mansfield Town to the Kassam Stadium (7.45pm)
The U's were left frustrated by a waterlogged pitch at Exeter on Saturday but boss Michael Appleton is looking forward to seeing his team get back to the serious business of league football against Adam Murray's Stags.
"We are going into a busy period now" he told Yellow Player HD. "We have 12 or 13 games before we get a chance to showcase ourselves at Wembley so the single most important thing is being able to switch on and off quickly between games. If we get the win then don’t get too high, if we don’t get the result we want then don’t get too low. Get your jobs done, focus on each game then move on to the next one."
While United were left without a game Mansfield were picking up three points and edging closer to the top three at the weekend. However, Michael sees a competitive top half of the table as a positive for the U's:
"I think that’s definitely a good thing. Before the last couple of games there were nine or ten teams who thought they could finish in the top seven. Now I’d say it’s 14 who think that. And that’s a good thing because everyone is going to be competitive and looking to beat each other. You only have to look at Mansfield game: there were two penalties in that so it could have been a different story.
"So we are aware of the teams around us, and we never go into any game just thinking we have a God given right to just turn up. If we have that attitude on Tuesday we will get turned over by Mansfield, it’s as simple as that."
The U's may be playing Saturday/Tuesday for the next few weeks, but Michael is hoping that his side hit a rhythm and gather momentum during this busy period, starting on Tuesday:
"It depends" he said. "If you are playing well and you are picking up results then you want games coming thick and fast. If it’s not quite happening for you then you’re thinking “just give us a week!” But I like to think we have a group that is more than capable of coping with the games being close together. We were a little bit frustrated not to play on Saturday but we will be more than ready come Tuesday night”
See the full interview, a Preview Show, and the thoughts of Danny Hylton, in Yellow Player HD right now.