U's boss looks for Trophy Progress
Oxford United head for Kenilworth Road on Wednesday night to take on Luton Town, with a Wembley final the prize for the winners. The two sides meet in the Checkatrade Trophy semi-final hoping to get through to play Coventry City in the showcase final, with United fresh from an excellent 4-0 win at Chesterfield on Saturday.
“It was a good performance and result but the reality is it’s just another three points” Head Coach Michael Appleton told Yellow Player HD. “To pick up two clean sheets in two games is excellent and I suppose using a few players who haven’t been playing for a while adds that little bit of motivation going into the next month or so. We have players who have been very patient and are going to be very important to us because we are going to pick up injuries and there will be the odd suspension now and again. The important thing is to have players ready to come in and play.”
United are forced into changes with Toni Martinez and Conor McAleny ineligible and Rob Hall a major doubt through injury:
“He is still sore but we’re hoping it’s just tightness rather than a pull” Michael said. “He is very doubtful for Wednesday but we are hoping it’s just tightness and he will be OK for Saturday but we won’t be taking any chances with him.”
Top scorer Kane Hemmings stands by for a recall, with Michael saying that he was particularly unfortunate not to play a part in Saturday’s game:
“Under different circumstances he would have come on but I talked to him and apologized and said that I just couldn’t afford to take a risk. He has been very good for us, has got his quota of goals, and is going to be important to us between now and the end of the season, not just on Wednesday night.”
Kenilworth Road is a tough place for any team to go, as Michael knows very well:
“It’s a very hard place to go. We found that over the last two seasons. We lost there pretty comfortably in my first season and could have quite easily lost there again last year but pulled it back right at the death to get a point.
“It has been a difficult place for me – I got sent off there once playing for Preston as well! So we will be up against it a little bit and they are doing really well at the moment and will have the crowd behind them.
"But they will come up against a decent side, and a motivated side, one that is desperate to get back to Wembley themselves. We’d like to win this competition instead of finishing second.”
See the full interview plus a chat with Josh Ruffels in Yellow Player HD now.
Fans are reminded that the game is ALL TICKET with none available on the night. Call 01865 337533 or visit www.oufctickets.co.uk to get behind the U's. Tickets are available until midday on Wednesday and there will be a collection point at the away turnstiles at Kenilworth Road. Spaces are still available on the London Road Club Coaches- departing from the stadium at 5pm- call 01865 337533 to book