Oxford United will have to find the motivation from within when they travel to Fratton Park to take on Portsmouth on Tuesday.
That’s the message from boss Karl Robinson as his side look to build on a win at Wigan on Saturday.
"It’s a difficult place to go but I can’t think of many better places to go and play your football” he told iFollow today. “We will make some changes going into the game after Wigan. There are a few players who are tired, some I have to change some I don’t. But the players not in the squad on Saturday took it really well and trained well today to try and fight for their place in the team. Training was very sharp today and there was a real urgency from the players.
”We go there in a reasonable place: four wins from the last eight games, three from our last six league matches. But we know one defeat can set us back to where we were before the win on Saturday. This was always going to be a hard year and we would have to fight for everything. I thought my players fought a little bit harder on Saturday.
“Last time we went to Fratton Park was for the play-off game last season, our first experience of football in Lockdown. Are we getting used to it? No and I don’t want to either. Oxford and Portsmouth have passionate fanbases and it’s a pointless game without those fans there to see it. It’s a tribal thing; anger, desire, every emotion you can go through. Desmond Morris, an Oxford Director, had it right in ‘The Soccer Tribe’; you can’t have the game without the fans. I know I wouldn’t want to do my job if this was how it is all the time. I love football but I love the people and the passion. Right now we don’t have that component.
“We understand that and we understand our position. We have Jamie Hanson back in the squad after injury. Jamie has been so unlucky. There are some aspects he knows he has to take responsibility for himself but seeing him and Cameron Brannagan training this week has been good. But we still have Cameron and Sam Winnall missing, two very good players in this league.
“But we have to find a rhythm without them for now. Fratton Park is going to be one of the hardest away games of the season but we go there in a good place. Nights like this at Fratton Park are brilliant. The noise and the support. It’s one on the calendar you look forward to but on Tuesday night it won’t be the same, although our hunger to win the game has to be the same.”
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