Oxford United need to get back to basics as they head for Roots Hall. That’s the message from winger Ricky Holmes who believes now is the time for the team to show what they can really do after a string of poor results have left them in the relegation places.
“I give it my all whether it’s in games or in training, we all do and we all demand it of each other” he told iFollow as the U’s prepare for the trip to Roots Hall. “I think that’s the only way you can be and I said that to everyone after Tuesday’s game. I’ve come from non-league and the only way I got to be a professional was through grafting. Fans don’t come to see you floating about the pitch or getting on the ball when you feel like it; we’re not good enough to do that, clearly not at the minute because the table doesn’t lie. I don’t believe with the ability we have in the changing room that we should be where we are; we get punished for every mistake we make so let’s not take so many risks.
“I can’t say anyone is hiding or not putting the work in. I wouldn’t have that and the gaffer wouldn’t have that. We are 100% together. I said a couple of weeks ago that I have been in a relegation fight with Barnet before and sometimes it felt there was no way out, but I don’t feel that here.
“The winner on Tuesday- nobody would have set us up any differently for that free kick, but we have to go and win the header, not get outfought. The gaffer and the coaches can’t make us go and win that header or make a tackle. That is down to us as men and we have to start solving that on the pitch. It can only come from within. I can tell someone to do something, the gaffer can tell them but we can’t make them then go and do it. So it is up to everyone individually to do exactly what we are told to do, and what we are paid to do. That is our job.
"The penny has to drop, and the mistakes have got to stop. Teams don’t seem to make those mistakes against us, but is that us not putting them under enough pressure? We won’t hide; back to back wins and we are looking up. But that has to start now.”
Ricky returns to Southend on Saturday where he once sold programmes as a kid and where his heart was broken as a 16-year-old.
“Southend released me as a kid- rightly so because I probably wasn’t good enough at the time” he said. “But they are an experienced side on a good run of form and we go there knowing we need to put on a performance full of grit and determination. We need a platform to build from because at the moment we are in survival mode and have to do what we need to do to get out of it.
“But I have full belief in the Manager and the staff, we all do. I signed because of the Manager - I had other options but wanted to come here- and we are letting him down at the moment. I know the Manager always gets the flak but he is setting us up right on the pitch and it’s down to us to earn our money and start getting results now.”
See much more of this interview in iFollow where we also have the thoughts of Gavin Whyte and Karl Robinson ahead of the match.