Oxford United need to show the spirit of the Valley when they welcome Bristol Rovers on Saturday.
That’s the view of caretaker boss Derek Fazackerley who saw his team win 3-2 at Charlton last week in the most dramatic fashion.
“We definitely want the same hunger, desire and application that we took away from the Valley” he told iFollow today. “If we can do that it gives us a far better chance of achieving a result, and we want to get a home result so we can build momentum between now and the end of the season. A win in football puts a smile on everybody’s face and maybe makes people concentrate and work on things that little bit harder with a focus that hopefully gets you a result.”
United won at the Valley despite Wes Thomas feeling his hamstring tighten during the warm up and his replacement Jon Obika then having to go off after half an hour, but there are plenty of attacking options for Fazackerley to consider:
“Jon probably won’t be ready for the weekend but will be back in training next week, but Wes has been training again since yesterday and will train on Thursday and Friday so we are hopeful he will be OK. Agon Mehmeti has trained all week and should be available again and we have Gino as well so we are not bereft of strikers but obviously the more we have fit the better it is for us.”
Those injuries last week meant that youngster Malachi Napa led the line for much of the game and the United boss admits that Napa’s energy gives him plenty to think about ahead of Saturday
“Malachi is a great lad who comes in with a smile every day and just seeing him lifts people’s mood because he plays with a really good spirit” Faz said. “He had a spell away at Hampton and Richmond which helped his development, absolutely no doubt about that; it prepared him more for senior football and he has taken his opportunity with both hands, which gives me a selection headache in particular.”
With a large crowd expected and a fantastic atmosphere United look to do the double over the Gas after a 1-0 win in Bristol earlier in the season.
“We have mirrored each other over the last few years” Faz said. “It will be a different sort of game to the one at Charlton. They tend to be more direct and it will be physically testing but these are the sort of tests you have to come through and it’s one we will be more than ready for.”
See the full interview, including more on Malachi plus Faz’s views on his defensive options all in iFollow where we also have exclusive interviews with Malachi Napa and fit-again Joe Rothwell.
Get behind Faz and the team on Saturday. It’s a huge game for the U’s and will be a fantastic occasion so book your place now by visiting oufctickets.co.uk or by calling 01865 337533