There may be no fans but Saturday’s home game against Swindon Town will definitely have that derby intensity that you always expect from this fixture.
“The players know what it means” Karl Robinson told iFollow today. “The question of motivation doesn’t need answering because the answer is obvious- for our league campaign as well as this one game. Every match means the same three points available but there are certain times when you have to play more for other people than yourselves, drop your own ego and know that this is about people who support the football club.
“The sadness is that Swindon will probably be allowed fans in their stadium when we play there so our fans are missing out, but it is what it is. You’d love to ‘feel’ the derby but we’re not going to get that opportunity which is sad.
“But it is a big game, we know that. I’ve already met a few fans around town in the last few weeks, even when we weren’t winning games, who didn’t want to talk about those games, just wanted to talk about the Swindon one coming up. It’s important that we understand and embrace that.
“People don’t realise that I have been at Oxford v Swindon games before. I was a YTS there- it didn’t end well at all. I remember being 16, coming down from Liverpool and not fully understanding the rivalry. I walked down the back of the stand and remember the police standing on the cricket club side and all these thousands of people in yellow and blue. I’d been at Everton/Liverpool games but what I saw as a kid that day made me fully understand what the game means to the supporters.
“But on the football side of things Richie Wellens has done a good job there; they won promotion and are a good team who play some lovely football. It’s time for us to build on the win over MK the other night although Rob Atkinson and Anthony Forde are doubtful after that game. So we are a bit light on numbers but we just get on with it. It’s a derby so roll your sleeves up and give it everything you’ve got for the fans.”
The full version of this interview is in iFollow right now. Don’t miss Saturday’s big match. You can stream it for just £10. All you have to do is CLICK HERE