Oxford United head for Ibrox on Sunday for their first pre-season game of 2019, backed by over 1,000 travelling fans eager to see their team take on Glasgow Rangers
“The first game of pre-season is at Ibrox and the first game of the season is at the Stadium of Light, Sunderland so it will replicate that for us and we know that both of those grounds can become cauldrons” Karl Robinson told us.
“It was an opportunity we jumped at because of the history at Rangers and the fact that so many great moments have happened at that ground. I actually had a coffee with Alex Rae the other day and we were speaking about the mottos and the history of Rangers and their fans: it’s a way of life for them and they can’t live without football.
“I was very lucky growing up to go to Anfield many many times and it’s the same thing of an old stadium that the fans would never want to leave. Nowadays you go to some fantastic stadia with architecture and modern designs but there is a magic about playing at places like this.
“We can’t wait to play there but I also want our players to look around and see that this type of thing becomes the norm if we are in the Championship. It’s all about where you want to perform. Some of the players we have here do have the potential to play in the Championship and Premier League but it will be a tremendous test for us.
“ Rangers are a week ahead of us in terms of training and I know they played Mansfield in Portugal last weekend so they are probably a game or two ahead of us as well. They are four or five days away from playing in Europe so it’s going to be difficult for us but it’s a challenge we are looking forward to.
“No disrespect to anybody or any of the games we have played abroad over the years, but this game is one where you know you are truly back and the season is nearly here. We have five games next week, a whole spectrum of matches after two fantastic weeks of training. The players have worked so hard and will be physically ready and now you want to see how they function on the pitch. That’s why this game is such a good one to have.”