Head Coach looks ahead to the third round of the FA Cup
Oxford United welcome Swansea City in the FA Cup on Sunday and Head Coach Michael Appleton and his squad headed for Bisham Abbey this morning to put the final touches to their preparations. A sell-out 12,000 crowd will be there to see the U’s take on the Premier League Swans, and this week has seen huge media interest in the club from the newspapers and TV channels.
“I think that shows we’re heading in the right direction” Michael told Yellow Player HD. “The magic of the FA Cup always helps. The first and third rounds always get that. In the first there is the chance of a non-league club becoming giant killers and in this round you get the Premier League clubs coming in and another chance of an upset. So the media attention is no surprise at all. I like being a bit more behind the scenes, personally, but I certainly don’t mind the message getting out there that there is a lot of good work going on here by the players and by everyone at the football club. Why not let people know about it?”
United headed for the National Sports Centre, just outside Marlow, today with a full squad in training and a buzz around Bisham as they went through their paces
“The pitches are heavy at the training ground and we want to stay off the stadium pitch so it is pristine for Sunday” Michael said. “We always get a warm welcome at Bisham and we came here quite a bit last season. We know the facilities are great and a change of scenery is always good.”
Swansea, with Alan Curtis in charge, will be a major test for United on Sunday and Michael knows that to have any chance of getting through to Monday’s draw his side will have to be at their very best.
“We just have to make sure we try and play to our potential. If we don’t do that then the reality is we won’t have any chance at all. That’s a fact. But if we play at our best and Swansea are slightly off theirs then they might have a game on their hands. But Swansea are a top Premier League side and have been for a number of years now so it is going to be very difficult for us.”
United have the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy area final first leg at Millwall on Thursday and then a big Sky League 2 game at home to Bristol Rovers next weekend, and Michael will try and balance his selections to win all three matches.
“Everyone will want to play on Sunday, I’m sure, but those choices are part and parcel of being a manager. We have three big games this week- two cup games and then an important league match next Sunday, so everyone will play a part. At this time of the season games come thick and fast.
“The players have been quite good at switching from one competition to the next. The players are switched on and understand the difference. A cup tie is about being positive and I am sure we will do that on Sunday.”
See the full interview plus an exclusive video with Liam Sercombe in Yellow Player HD right now.