"We're not going there looking for just a point" says United Head Coach
Oxford United Head Coach Michael Appleton faces two of his former clubs in quick succession with the U’s heading for Portsmouth on Saturday before taking on Blackburn in the FA Cup the following weekend. The U’s’ boss had spells in charge at both clubs, and goes back to Fratton Park this Saturday looking for his side to bounce back to winning ways.
“It will be a massive crowd and there’s no doubt we have the belief and we are going there looking to win the game” he said. “We’re not going there for a point. We are looking to put them under as much pressure as we can, and the only way to quieten the crowd is to start the game properly and make sure we are in it after 20 minutes.”
Over 2,000 Oxford fans will be part of the travelling Yellow Army and Michael knows that the Pompey fans are just as passionate about their club:
“The fans were brilliant with me down there, and I couldn’t have asked for any more” he said.” There were a lot of things that went on behind the scenes there that I wasn’t too happy about, but never the fans. I have a lot of good memories even through some difficult times there. I’m looking forward to going back. It’s always a great atmosphere and the place will be rocking. I think a lot of people will have their eye on the game and hopefully we can produce the goods.”
United look to bounce back after a rare home defeat at the hands of Bristol Rovers last time out.
“We’ve watched the game again and there were a lot of frustrating things, but ironically it was the most complete performance of the three last week and I think the stats back that up; the amount of possession, shots and opportunities” Michael reflected. “To come away with a point would have been frustrating but to lose the game was even more so. But we’ve reflected on it, watched it back, and after a couple of training sessions we’ve moved on.”
United will be without Ryan Taylor with a groin problem and could also be without James Roberts (illness) and Danny Rose through injury.
“James Roberts went home ill from training today” Michael said. “Danny Rose has a cut on his ankle after the development game and won’t be able to train for a couple of days, so he may not be available. These things are sent to test you, and from that point of view it has been a bit of a testing week, but we’ll be OK.”
There is also a major doubt over striker Chris Maguire whose loan ended after the weekend. Michael is still relatively optimistic that Maguire may be seen in a United shirt again, perhaps even this weekend…
“It may be too quick for Saturday” he admitted. “He’s talking to Rotherham about his deal, which runs until the end of the season. Whether that is resolved in time is very doubtful, but I think he is more than keen, given the opportunity and provided all the bits and pieces can be sorted out, to stay for another few months.”
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