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Match Previews

Preview: Oxford United

1 January 2022

Match Previews

Preview: Oxford United

1 January 2022

The New Year begins with a short but tricky visit to Oxford United's Kassam Stadium on Saturday (kick-off: 3pm).

It's less than 50 miles to the U's home on the outskirts of world famous Oxford for what is sure to be a huge examination away from home.

Oxford are in a fine run of form and desperate to improve on their play-off semi-final finish last season.

A COVID-19 outbreak has meant preparations for the match have been more difficult than usual, but with boss Michael Duff back from his period of isolation, he'll guide his team into battle with a good number of travelling supporters making the journey along the A40 in full support.

If you are making the trip check out Oxford's covid protocols and advice before making the journey.

Team news

After just 11 players were available for the postponed game against MK Dons in midweek, a small number of players have been able to return to the squad in preparation for Saturday's game.

Will Boyle has been back in training so could be part of the squad, although the defender hasn't played since mid-October.

Defender Charlie Raglan (pictured) is set to be fit to play against his former club after shaking off a niggle from the Boxing Day defeat to Plymouth Argyle.

Media talk

Michael Duff admits he takes his side to take on an Oxford outift in a good run of form, but will take the confidence of having beaten them earlier in the season into the game:

"They've got in the play-offs the last two years and in the calendar year I think they've got the most points in the league," he said in his pre-match press conference.

"They've hit a rich vein of form so in terms of where we're going it's probably as tough as it gets. They've lost one in 11 or 12, the players know their jobs, they play really good football, they have defined way of playing.

"We managed to beat them at home, so it shows that we can beat them. That was a different stage of the season."

Watch the full press conference with Duff discussing his team and the game exclusively on iFollow.


Having had Boxing Day off due to COVID-19 issues with the Portsmouth squad, Saturday's opposition returned to action on Wednesday evening with a comfortable 3-0 home win over AFC Wimbledon.

Oxford sit 5th in the division and in the same play-off spaces they managed to secure at the end of last season when they were knocked out at the semi-final stage by eventual promotion winners Blackpool.

Their form since October has been excellent. In all competitions they've lost just twice, at home to Wigan Athletic and away to Bristol Rovers in the FA Cup, in 14 games.

It's little surprise then that they are up and pushing for promotion again with a strong squad who know the level well.

At the back experienced shot-stopper Simon Eastwood is supported by a back-line that features Blackpool loanee Jordan Thorniley and former Birmingham City man Steve Seddon, with a midfield set-up too that boasts quality in Cameron Brannagan, Mark Sykes and Australia international Ryan Williams.

Their forward line features former Robins trialist Matty Taylor, with Gavin Whyte, who is on loan from Cardiff City, also one to look out for. Sam Winnall brings experience at the top of the pitch if required too, while one time Wales cap Billy Bodin could feature.

The manager: Karl Robinson

With over a decade of Football League management experience, Oxford is Karl Robinson's third club as a manager having previously taken charge at MK Dons and Charlton Athletic.

As a player he played non-league football in North Wales and in the north west, but it's as a coach and manager that he's really made his name in the game, work in the academy at Liverpool and Blackburn Rovers too.

His number two is Craig Short the former Derby County, Everton and Blackburn Rovers defender.


Supporters can purchase tickets on the day at Oxford. Please be aware that it's cash sales only.

Ticket prices are as follows:

Adult £24
Senior (65+) £17
18-21 £16
Under 18 £14
Under 13 £10
Under 7 £6

Fans who have bought in advance through Cheltenham but not collected will be able to do so from the North Stand ticket office on the day at Oxford.

The Travel Club coach leaves for the game at midday from the Jonny-Rocks Stadium.

If travelling by car to the game park in the west car park which is closest to the cinema and bowling complex.

There is a visitors guide available to access for travelling fans online.


Social media: For match updates and team news follow @CTFCofficial on Twitter. Score updates will be available on the club's Facebook page and Instagram account.

Radio: Listen to full match commentary on iFollow with an audio match pass for £2.50.

Website: Post-match read the match report on the website and see reaction from inside the camp too.

Highlights: Watch a recap of the game on iFollow and on YouTube.

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