By Laurie Cleevely
Date: Saturday, November 29, 2014
Competition: Sky Bet League Two
Venue: Whaddon Road
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New manager Paul Buckle will be without midfielder Asa Hall for his first game as manager of Cheltenham Town as he continues to be treated for a calf injury. Captain Matt Taylor is nearing full fitness and could be in contention for a return this weekend. Young trio Adam Powell, Harry Williams and Bobbie Dale are all back from respective loan deals, and will also be available for selection. Striker John Marquis has also returned to parent club Millwall following the expiry of the 22-year-old’s loan. John made nine starts for the Robins, with an additional six substitute appearances, scoring 2 goals.
Oxford United manager Michael Appleton will have Thursday’s loan signing Wes Burns available, following his move from Bristol City. The U’s have also signed striker John Campbell from Jarrow Roofing on a deal until the end of the season. Winger Junior Brown will be unavailable following a loan move to Mansfield Town, while young defender Freddie Grant has linked up with Farnborough on a youth loan. Striker Will Hoskins has been out injured after tearing a tendon in his groin only two games into his Oxford career, he is therefore unlikely to play any part in Oxford’s visit to Whaddon Road this weekend.
Buckle: Very pleased with what I’ve seen.
Paul Buckle has spoken to the press about what he’s been doing with the team since his arrival and his impressions of the squad so far. “Wednesday was a hectic day, but I feel now we’ve got full value and have had a full session both on how we want to attack and how we want to defend. It’s sort of been fast-tracked a little bit today (Thursday), but I’ve been very, very pleased with what I’ve seen, the players have given me everything, they’ve listened and taken on board what we’ve put into them.
“It’s been simple messages, its stuff I’ve done before with teams, and I hope to see that starting Saturday. It is early days, and we’ve got a lot to work on, but I’m very pleased with what I’ve seen.”
‘’I really think this lot believe and they’re a good bunch. I know it’s only my first day, but they do seem a really, really good bunch and they’re together. I love the feeling around the club, we had some supporters turned up this morning to watch the training, which has been nice, and there’s a really great feel. The staff have been excellent, a really good start to my tenure.”
When asked about having to ‘drag’ Matt Taylor away from training Thursday, Buckle said “It’s a good sign, that’s what I want in the end, I think that’s a sign of a really good place, when you go in and the players are still out there, that’s what I’m trying to encourage here. But, not with Matty today because he’s been out for a while and we may need him on Saturday! He’s a top class professional and he’s a skipper so you need him back but it’s a case of looking at him and being careful because the squad is quite small and we need to stick together until, maybe, we can get some help in, in January’’
The new Cheltenham boss also talked about the decisions he’s going to have to make ahead of the visit of Oxford. “The boys have given everything, they’ll all want to start, and they’ll all feel they’ve got a chance of starting. I’ve got to be a bit careful because I’m going to look at some of the selection that’s gone before and make my mind up. It’s not ideal, of course, but it is what it is, I’ve got a day or two training and I’ll pick the team.”
Talking about the visit of Oxford United, Buckle said: “They’ll think they’ve got a great chance and it’s a great chance for them to kick-start their season and we must stamp that out, that’s one message that we’ve put into the players. We don’t want to be a push-over, home or away, a soft touch, we want to make it tough for teams to come to Whaddon Road and hopefully that starts Saturday.”
Match officials: Cheltenham Town vs Oxford United
Referee – Pat Miller
Assistant – Robert Massey-Ellis
Assistant – Christopher Wade
Fourth Official – Paul Hobday
2014-15 Current League Two Positions
Cheltenham Town 18th (22 points)
Oxford United 19th (20 points)
Sky Bet League Two Table
Form: Oxford United’s Last Three Competitive Results
Sky Bet League 2 – Oxford United 0-0 AFC Wimbledon 22.11.14 (D)
Sky Bet League 2 – York City 0-1 Oxford United 15.11.14 (W)
The F.A. Cup – Grimsby Town 1-3 Oxford United 8.11.14 (W)
Sky Bet League 2 – Oxford United 1-2 Wycombe Wanderers 1.11.14 (L)
Oxford United currently sit one place and two points below the Robins the Sky Bet League Two table. United have struggled to hit off this season, with some inconsistent form, 5 victories, 5 draws and 8 losses sees them sit 19th. However, manager Michael Appleton will be hoping Thursday’s signing Wes Burns can have a big impact at the club, following the Wales U21’s move from League One outfit, Bristol City. Oxford have already visited Whaddon Road this season, of course, in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy. The Robins turned the U’s over, with the game finishing 2-0 in favour of the hosts. John Marquis and Koby Arthur were on target for Cheltenham.
Head to Head (all competitions)
Cheltenham wins 6, draws 8, Oxford wins 7
Previous Meetings at Cheltenham
Tuesday 2nd September 2014 (JPT)
Cheltenham Town 2-0 Oxford United (Marquis 45’, Arthur 78’)
Saturday 14th September 2013 (League Two)
Cheltenham Town 2-2 Oxford United (Harrison 9’, Gornell 51’) (Kitson 34’, Mullins 57’)
Tuesday 9th October 2012 (JPT)
Cheltenham 2-4 Oxford United (Duffy 31’, Lowe 45’) (Craddock 35’, Worley 67’, Constable 71’, Leven 81’)
Tuesday 18th September 2012 (League Two)
Cheltenham 2-1 Oxford United (Carter 29’, Harrad 60’) (Leven 80’)
Saturday 24th March 2012 (League Two)
Cheltenham Town 0-0 Oxford United
Sky Bet League Two fixtures this weekend:
Friday 28th November
Accrington v Exeter 7pm
Saturday 29th November (All 3pm KO)
AFC Wimbledon v Dag & Red
Carlisle Untied v Newport County
Cheltenham Town v Oxford United
Hartlepool United v Wycombe Wanderers
Luton Town v Mansfield Town
Plymouth Argyle v York City
Shrewsbury Town v Burton Albion
Southend United v Northampton Town
Stevenage v Morecambe
Tranmere Rovers v Portsmouth
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Full match commentary
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