U's boss waits on Hall and Maguire
Oxford United come home on Saturday after four great away performances in a row. The U’s have pushed Middlesbrough all the way in the FA Cup, won at Chesterfield and Charlton and then beaten Luton Town to reach the final of the Checkatrade Trophy in a see-saw game that had even Head Coach Michael Appleton wondering which way it was going to go:
“There were a lot of emotions” he admitted in Yellow Player HD today. “Going two nil up and looking fairly comfortable against a home side that was trying to throw everything at us at a difficult place to go and play, then seeing them get it back to 2-2 in the manner they did was disappointing but the players dealt with it quickly and scored a tremendous goal to get through.
“Now recovery is the biggest issue, as it will be quite a lot between now and the end of the season. We have games just two or three days apart and it will mean a lot of love and care to the players and wrapping them in cotton wool when we need to.”
That includes Rob Hall who hopes to be in contention after injury, with the U’s also waiting on the fitness of Chris Maguire.
“Rob certainly has a chance” Michael said “it’s just a choice of whether we risk him because we do have so many games and you don’t want to rush him and see him miss five or six matches in a two or three week period. We will just try and manage that as best we can. Chris is a little bit sore but we won’t know until tomorrow really.”
The U’s welcome Toni Martinez, Conor McAleny and Charlie Raglan back into the squad:
“That was the biggest things about the cup runs we have been on” Michael told us. “We have had to change the team a few times but when we do I’m not fazed by it because I still expect us to win because I know I am bringing good players into the team.”
Rovers, who beat United 2-1 earlier in the season are a big test for United, who also face leaders Sheffield United at home on Tuesday night.
“Rovers will have seen us work hard on Tuesday and we know we haven’t been great in terms of results against them; they have become a bit of a bogey team for us. The one message we keep getting back about them is that they are full of energy so we are going to have to be aware of that and try and match that energy as much as we possibly can. That’s going to be difficult after a taxing cup tie but we have done really well all season at switching between competitions and it’s a game we are really looking forward to.”
Do yourself a favour: Yellow Player HD has the full version of this interview – has Michael banned the Wembley word?- and also boasts great interviews with John Lundstram, Marvin Johnson, Joe Rothwell and Simon Eastwood, as well as extended highlights of the win at Luton AND the whole game live as we take on Bristol Rovers.
Get behind the U’s this Saturday: click through to www.oufctickets.co.uk or call 01865 337533 to welcome the Wembley finalists home.