|Image source: Oxford Mail
United will be looking to build on last weekend’s point and take their first three points of the season this Saturday, when they play host to early season table-toppers, Oxford United – Writes Ryan Middleton.
It’s always difficult to judge any side in the first few matches of the season, but Oxford have already raised some eyebrows in League One this campaign.
In their first two league matches, they were 2-0 winners at Oldham Athletic on the opening day, and had a comfortable 3-0 home win over Portsmouth at the Kassam Stadium last weekend; who are notably well backed for back-to-back promotions.
Speaking of pre-season promotion odds, Oxford were pretty high up there themselves, and it hasn’t taken long to see why.
Even at this very early stage in the season, their qualities all over the park are there for all to see, and they are yet to concede a single league goal.
Despite the positives, it hasn’t all gone swimmingly for the U’s. Sandwiched between their two impressive league victories, they made a shock first round Carabao Cup exit at the hands of League Two outfit Cheltenham Town.
They were defeated 4-3 after extra time in that solo loss, not that the extra time seemed to bother them in the following game.
As everyone knows, the league is the much more vital, and Oxford are still yet to lose in that.
Nobody really knows which way the season will turn just yet, but hopefully it’s upwards rather than downwards for ourselves.
I think it’s important that we win before we lose in this situation. Draws are good results when mixed in with plenty of wins, especially when your aspirations are promotion.
I don’t proclaim to be an expert, but I believe the first two teams that we’ve played in the league this season – Wimbledon and Rochdale – will be somewhere around mid table come the end of the it, so they should hopefully be seen as good points rather than points dropped.
I fully expect Oxford to pose the toughest challenge of the season so far.
On the player side of things, injured Luke Williams and Lewis Butroid will continue to miss out, whilst Graham Alexander confirmed on Thursday that Jordan Clarke would not be fit, nor would Kyle Wootton, who picked up a minor injury this week.
Aside from everything else, it was great to see Graham Alexander revert back to the 4-4-2 formation which worked a treat through the majority of the previous campaign.
Since half time in the Notts County clash, we’ve looked like a completely different side, and much more threatening going forward.
I am hopeful that if we play 4-4-2 this weekend and really put Oxford under some pressure going forward, we can steal the points, especially with it been at Glanford Park.
Ryan’s Score-line Prediction: Iron 2-1 U’s.
Ryan’s anticipated line up:
Oxford’s men to watch:
Gino Van Kessel and Wes Thomas.