Oxford United look to make home advantage count when they welcome Charlton Athletic to the Kassam Stadium on Saturday.
Wins at Derby and Barnsley have seen United among the early pacesetters in League 1 and Boss Liam Manning is asking the fans to get behind his team with a bumper Bank Holiday crowd on their side:
“This time we have home advantage” he told iFollow today. “I thought the game at home to Carlisle we were understandably a bit edgy for 25 minutes but after the last three games we hope the fans come along in numbers, make plenty of noise and if we can make this place a really difficult one for teams to come and play then that will be a big thing for us this season”
New signing Greg Leigh is likely to be available and competes with Player of the Season Ciaron Brown for the left-back position:
“It’s important we have depth and competition in all positions” Liam said. “We now have two high-level players battling it out for that position. It’s about everyone turning up and training to their maximum every day and then that competition can only make players raise their game”.
And that squad depth will be tested for the first time with Jordan Thorniley out with an ankle injury and winger Marcus Browne now facing a spell on the sidelines after picking up a hamstring injury in the win at Barnsley
“Jordan is progressing really well and is probably ahead of where we thought he would be” Liam told us. “We hope he will be back out on the grass over the next few days.
“With Marcus it’s a hamstring injury and not great news at all. You never like to put a timescale on that sort of injury but it will be a few weeks. It’s such a shame because he worked extremely hard in the off season to get into great shape and has come back and been excellent. I think his contribution in games has progressively got better in the few games we have had so far and you saw with the penalty on Saturday at Barnsley that he brings a real physicality and directness.
“We are gutted for him but what it does is highlight what we’ve said, that we need the whole squad this season and we need everyone to be available and ready when a door opens up and offers them an opportunity.
“It will be a tough game on Saturday. Charlton are a big club with a big history. They also had a busy summer and turned a lot of players around but they carry so many threats. We don’t look into their results so far too much, it’s more about what threats they carry and how we deal with them. But the more important thing is us and the progress we have made. There are still things we can improve on and we go into the weekend looking to keep progressing as well as picking up another three points.”
See the full interview plus chats with James Beadle and new signing Greg Leigh, all in iFollow right now.