Manager Karl Robinson is hoping that his injury problems ease a little as his Oxford United side welcome Gillingham to Grenoble Road on Saturday.
Earlier in the week we featured a picture of Karl’s ‘availability board’ in his office at the training ground, and with new injuries to Tony McMahon and Luke Garbutt to add to Gavin Whyte and youngster Aaron Heap being away on international duty it made for a training session slightly light on bodies on Monday…
“We put that image out more as a joke than anything else” Karl said “but it was a situation that was almost comical anyway! There may be one, possibly two that come through from that but it all depends on what happens in training over the next couple of days.
“It has been a difficult time but lots of clubs go through this: I’ve had it before, I remember one similar spell at Charlton in particular but we could put our finger on what was happening then. Sometimes you have to look at your coaching and training to see if you are doing something that is contributing to the injuries but that’s not what has been happening here; these are contact injuries. We even got one last night with Viktor Milton doing his ACL in the Youth Cup game, which is such bad luck for him.
“But when you have these injuries and when your back is against the wall you have to fight, and that is what the players will do against Gillingham. We will look to make strong decisions against a side who we know can play two systems, and who we know have dangerous forwards.
“But we feel we can score goals at the moment. We had scored three goals in each of the last three games before Forest Green last Saturday and we did have the opportunities to score in that game as well. But those are things we have worked on this week and the most important thing is that the fans get behind the players again.
“The support has been superb ever since I came in to the building and I am almost embarrassed to admit that I didn’t know how good the fans were before I came here. But they show their support on a consistent basis, week in and week out, up and down the country and they understand that they have just as big a part to play as us in driving this club towards future success. We play for the fans and do our best for them and I am sure they will stand up and be our 12th Man at the weekend.”
It is Military Day on Saturday where United will be joined by all of the Armed Forces, something Karl is more than pleased to support:
“We go to bed and when we wake up somewhere in the world our armed forces will have protected us in different ways. That really puts things into perspective. I am very patriotic and proud to stand there side by side with the serving personnel on Saturday. That is always a privilege; their job is to save lives, ours is just to win football games, so they are greater men and women than we are. So we will show them the total respect that they deserve on Saturday.”
See the full interview plus a Preview Show that features Sam Smith in iFollow right now.
Get behind the U’s on Saturday. Tickets are available from oufctickets.co.uk and by calling 01865 337533.