Oxford United enter the knockout stages of the leasing.com Trophy when they head for Exeter City on Wednesday evening (7pm)
It’s a chance for United to keep their amazing form going as they continue to compete in the Trophy, Carabao Cup, FA Cup and league 1.
“It’s a competitive game which we want to win and also we don’t want our unbeaten run to end” coach Derek Fazackerley told iFollow today. “It’s fantastic to be involved in so many competitions and we want to keep that going. It goes without saying that the league is the most important thing for us but these cup runs are great. It brings in extra income, it gives players games, and we will go to Exeter looking to progress and get through.”
“It starts getting serious now and it’s a competition that has been kind to us with two trips to Wembley and from a broader point of view it gives us an opportunity to give players a chance who haven’t had as much football as they would have liked.
“Plus you have chances for one or two of the younger players like Nico Jones and Fabio Lopes. They have had minutes in this competition so we have had chance to see them in senior football and performing at a slightly higher level than they are used to.”
A fine centre-half himself, ‘Faz’ made over 600 starts for Blackburn in that role and is carefully monitoring the progress of 17-year-old Jones, who skippered the U’s at Crawley in their last game in this competition.
“I was 19 when I made my debut so Nico is two years younger and been handed the captain’s armband which I think tells you a lot about what people think of him within the building and his potential leadership qualities. It will also be a chance for Jack Stevens to show us what he can do- he did well at Crawley and he will get another chance.”