Michael Appleton prepares for Saturday
New faces Marvin Johnson and Charlie Raglan both go straight into the squad as United welcome Rochdale on Saturday in Sky Bet League 1.
The two deadline day signings give United boss Michael Appleton plenty to think about having also seen several outstanding performances as players pressed for a league start in the 4-2 win over Exeter in the Checkatrade Trophy on Tuesday. It is the flexibility to change both personnel and shape that Michael believes will pay off for his side.
“Marvin will certainly help with that, Ryan Ledson as well” he told Yellow Player HD. “We have options in terms of changing our shape and that allows us to free up a few other people in the squad.
“The lads who came in the other night are all pushing and that is what you need if you’re going to be successful; a squad that are willing to push each other. They did that in abundance against Exeter and I’m sure there will be one or two players from that game hoping to be involved on Saturday, whether that’s as a starter or off the bench.”
The arrival of Johnson from Motherwell is a reward for patience for Michael and his recruitment team:
“He’s a player, the same as Kane Hemmings, that we probably had on the radar 18 months ago, when we were also looking at the likes of Chey Dunkley” he said. “Sometimes it doesn’t happen overnight, you don’t get your player in for a few weeks or even for longer so you have to be patient and make sure you are always looking at their progression. If you can then get them a year or so later then so be it.”
With competition fierce for places there is further good news with Joe Skarz hoping to be available after a thigh muscle tightened up at Sheffield last Saturday.
“When it comes to muscle injuries a lot is down to the player” Michael said. “If he’s not getting pain and is at full power then that’s down to him so ultimately it will be down to Joe whether he feels he is ready to play or not. But we don’t need to rush anything because Josh Ruffels has come in and done a great job. Massive credit to him as well because he learns quickly and listens and then puts things into practise.”
See the full interview plus Chey Dunkley in the Preview Show in Yellow Player HD
Saturday is Retro Day so grab your favourite Oxford shirt and come along to get behind the new faces. Call 01865 337533 or visit www.oufctickets.co.uk to book your place.