Head Coach looks ahead as high flying U's take on Argyle
Oxford United head for Plymouth Argyle in League 2’s game of the day this Saturday.
Only goal difference divides the second and third placed teams in the division and the U’s’ Head Coach Michael Appleton told Yellow Player HD earlier today that he expects the toughest test of the season at Home Park.
“I think so far” he said. ”This was always going to be a tough game. It was very close at our place earlier in the season, although I thought we played very well that night and were deserved winners, but Plymouth have had a fantastic season. If anything it is a little bit tougher for us on Saturday because they have had a little bit of a wobble, which every team is going to have.
“I’m sure people looked at us after back to back defeats and wondered if we were going to have a dodgy patch now, but we have responded really well to that. Plymouth will be looking to respond well on Saturday too”
“It’s not one game that decides what happens for the rest of the season though. I genuinely thought we would be going into this game three points behind, but with the opportunity to go above them on goal difference if we won. Seeing their result on Tuesday was a bonus, but we just had to make sure we took care of our own result that night.”
Having overtaken Plymouth on Tuesday night the U’s are looking for a fourth straight win, and a seventh successive away victory. However, the always pragmatic Appleton refuses to get too far ahead.
“We have spoken about the wins and the points that we need” he said. “We know our targets and that won’t change; we back ourselves to reach those targets. There are still 36 points to play for and there are certainly teams in this league capable of winning at least ten out of twelve games. Let’s hope that we are one of those clubs.”
Skipper Jake Wright is fully fit and returns to the squad while midfielder John Lundstram is expected to train tomorrow and could come into contention. With Ryan Taylor getting ever closer to full fitness the U’s may soon have a full squad to choose from as they enter the crucial part of the season.
“We’re not far off that” Michael said. “I would rather have those headaches in terms of selection than the other week when we only had 13 players available!”
One man missing will be winger Zeli Ismail whose loan from Wolves ended on Tuesday night.
“Zeli was looking for game time and we couldn’t guarantee that” Michael said. “He has been a little unfortunate because our wide players have been playing very well. He did great and we have a very strong relationship with Wolves so the situation might change before the 24th when the window closes, but as it stands he has gone back to Wolves.”
See the full interview as well as the thoughts of Johnny Mullins and a full Preview Show in Yellow Player HD.