'You only need to look at the league table to see that we face a very good side'
No further motivation needed
Good afternoon and welcome back everyone as we take on Bradford City. You only need to look at the league table to see that we face a very good side today but their unbeaten start to the season has to end sometime, so it gives us one added incentive this afternoon.
We don’t really need any further motivation if I’m honest after last Sunday’s defeat here against AFC Wimbledon. We were all bitterly disappointed and want to make amends as quickly as possible.
Much of the focus after the game was on decisions at key moments, including their second goal. I am sure you have all seen it and will have your views on whether the challenge in the build-up was fair or not. But in reality there were other key moments that went against us and were of our own making.
For Wimbledon’s first goal their centre half heads the ball back and the centre forward forces it home from close range. In the second half we had an almost identical move but didn’t finish it off and allowed the ball to be cleared. We have said many times that games in this division are often decided by the finest of margins and in those key moments we need to be that bit stronger and more determined. I don’t agree that we were outfought; we knew the way that Wimbledon play and we were prepared to match their physical threat, but I do think we needed to be stronger, physically and mentally, all over the pitch.
We have a very honest set of players here and I didn’t feel I needed to say too much immediately after the game. They knew it wasn’t good enough and were hurt by the result. Sunday was a chance to recharge the batteries and reflect, and then from Monday onwards we have channelled all our energy into getting a positive result from today’s fixture.
Joe Skarz went off with a shoulder injury and will be struggling – I am writing these notes before we know the full extent of the injury – but Curtis Nelson has had a second full week of training and adds to our defensive options. Rob Hall and Christian Ribeiro continue to make good progress and are excellent pros in the way they approach their rehab work.
Away from the football, it is good to see the club interacting with Brookes University today and offering a new direct bus from the campus in Headington. The academic half of the city is what makes Oxford famous and anything we can do to attract more fans is very welcome. They will swell what I am sure will be another excellent crowd today. I thought you were great last weekend. It’s easier to chant and sing when your side is winning but you did a great job in encouraging us forward as we looked for a revival in the second half.
If we all stick together let’s hope that your support earns its reward today.