Oxford United need to build on a promising performance at Wycombe last Saturday, but get next week’s Carabao Cup tie against Manchester City out of their minds and concentrate solely on beating Walsall this weekend. That’s the plan for Ricky Holmes as the U’s prepare to welcome the Saddlers to Grenoble Road this weekend.
“I think we did everything that was asked of us at Wycombe” Holmes told iFollow today. “It was a battle, as we knew it would be but we stood up to that and outfought them at times. It was really enjoyable to play in and the chances came to me and Gav and I’d back us usually to put those away but they were half chances really. Wycombe put their bodies on the line and blocked everything but on another day we win that game
“We were poor against Coventry but at Wyvcombe we played like we did against Sunderland; whole-hearted. That’s what we have to do every time. We can’t go into games just trusting our ability because we are second bottom and the table doesn’t lie. We haven’t been good enough but I feel we have the ability to get out of that. I have been in teams at the bottom before and thought ‘ we are in trouble here’ but that’s not how it is here. We have the confidence and the ability to get higher in the table. Training has gone up a notch, and we are working for each other.
“Walsall will come and fight for everything. They are one of the best teams in the league at the moment. Fair play to them they have put a great run together so we have to be on top of our game. It should suit us because they usually play good football and it will be open and hopefully we can exploit any spaces they leave so it should be a good watch."
Exploiting space may also be the game plan when the U's take on Manchester City next week....
“Maybe, but if the spaces are there we may not have the ball! But we can’t look ahead at that. If I see anyone cheating on Saturday because their mind is on Tuesday then I will have a word and I know the Gaffer and staff won’t have it. But we aren’t a team like that at all. That is a game we can enjoy but first and foremost its the league.
"We’re not mid table so we could just coast. We have to give it everything, and if that means you can’t play on Tuesday then so be it- it’s just another game, and we have one on Saturday where three points is really important to us.”