Michael gets set for SundayOxford United go into Sunday’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Final as the underdogs when they taken on Barnsley at Wembley. The U’s are a division lower than their opponents and Head Coach Michael Appleton knows precisely the sixe of the task facing his in-form United players.
“It’s going to be a tough game” he told Yellow Player HD today.” They were on a great run even before they got to the final. I think once they got that run where they lost eight out of nine league games out of the way then the form they have been on has been fantastic. They will be desperate to get in the play-offs after this game but they will also be favourites for the final as a League One side flying high.
“They are a good footballing side so I think it will be a good game for the neutral. I think it will be a game where it might be a little bit of chess at the start, figuring each other out, but if it’s close in the latter stages I think you will see a ding-dong game of football with both sides counter attacking each other.”
United will wait as long as possible before naming the side with defender Johnny Mullins and Joe Skarz both picking up knocks in Monday’s draw at Cambridge.
“They are a little bit sore but feel comfortable enough to train on Friday” Michael said. “That will be a big day. We will have a real indication of where we are with injuries by end of play tomorrow going into Saturday morning, and then I will have to sit down with two or three players and give them some not so great news…”
Everyone naturally wants to play at Wembley, but Michael is clear that his team selection will be done purely on merit.
“I’ll approach it as I would for any game” he said. “I’d like to think I am very transparent and very honest when I make decisions, and I make them for all the right reasons. I will do exactly the same this weekend. Yes, it is going to have more effect because of the occasion but as a Manager I have a duty to make the right calls. Sometimes you have to make tough decisions but that’s what we’re in it for. I don’t mind making those decisions because I know I am making them for all the right reasons.
“There is no sentiment whatsoever. Whether it is age, experience or youth, it will be the team I think can go and beat Barnsley on the day.
“It’s going to be great. We are going to be backed more fans than any Oxford side before and it is an occasion to cherish and one to remember.”
See the full interview plus videos with Jake Wright, Benji Buchel and Kemar Roofe all in Yellow Player HD now
The players will be setting off for their Wembley training camp at 9.45am on Friday. Why not come along and wave them off from the Kassam Stadium?