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Oxford United (H) match preview

21 December 2018

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Rovers are in home action once again when they host Oxford United in Sky Bet League One on Saturday.

Rovers will be looking for yet another win at home when they host the U’s, having seen off local rivals Scunthorpe United 3-0 last weekend.

The U’s on the other hand are also unbeaten in December so far, with their third win of four this month coming on Tuesday night, also with a 3-0 victory, over Tottenham Hotspur U21 in the Checkatrade Trophy.

Brief history of Oxford United.

Oxford were formed in 1893 as Headington United, with the U’s coming towards the end of their 125th year anniversary in 2018.

They play at the 12,500-capacity Kassam Stadium, which has been their home since 2001 following their move from their previous home, the Manor Ground, which they had played at for over 75 years.

The Kassam Stadium is notable for having three stands, with one of the sides behind the goal not being built on, with a car park and retail park instead on show.

2018/19 is the U’s third consecutive season in League One, following their automatic promotion from League Two in 2016. They finished second in the fourth tier, also reaching the final of the Football League Trophy that same year, doing so again the year after, though they missed out to Barnsley and Coventry City in successive years.

Who’s the gaffer?

Karl Robinson will be the man occupying the visiting dug-out when the two sides meet on Saturday. He has been in charge at the Kassam Stadium since March this year, signing a two-and-a-half-year contract with Oxford.

Robinson has overseen 42 games whilst in charge of the U’s, winning 16 games, drawing 10 and losing 16, giving him a win percentage of 38.1 per cent.

Ones to watch

James Henry

The U’s winger is a man in form having scored in four of his last three League One games. Henry has previous for promotion from this level, having been an instrumental figure in now-Premier League side Wolverhampton Wanderers’ title-winning exploits back in 2014. Prior to his time at Molineux, Henry also featured for hometown side Reading, going on to join Millwall permanently in 2010 and making over 120 appearances at The Den. He joined the U’s from Wolves on a permanent deal in the summer of 2017 and finished last season as their top scorer with 10 league goals.

Curtis Nelson

The former England youth international returned to the side in mid-April this year after a lengthy spell out through injury. Nelson has an England under-18 cap to his name after featuring for the Young Lions back in 2011 whilst with former club Plymouth Argyle. He spent eight years in total with the Pilgrims, being named in the PFA League Two Team of the Year in his final season in Devon, before a move to the Kassam Stadium in 2016. He helped lead the U’s to the EFL Trophy final during the 2016/17 season, and despite his injury set back which saw him miss a large chunk of the last campaign, he has slotted back into the U’s defence with ease upon his return.

Jamie Mackie

A man with Premier League experience, the striker has also represented the senior Scottish side nine times and scoring twice. Mackie began his career with Wimbledon before moving to Exeter City in 2005, spending three years with the Grecians, helping them to win the Conference Premier play-off final in his final season before a move to Devon rivals Plymouth Argyle in 2008. Mackie is probably best known for his time with Queens Park Rangers, spending six seasons at Loftus Road, helping them to promotion to the Premier League in his first season, capping a remarkable rise from non-league to the top flight for the Scottish international. More recently, Mackie has played for Nottingham Forest and Reading, before his move to the Kassam Stadium ahead of the current season, scoring his first U’s goal in a 2-0 victory over his former club Plymouth back in October.

Who’s the ref?

Alan Young will be the man in the middle when the two sides meet at the Keepmoat Stadium on Saturday. He has taken charge of 20 games across league and cup competitions so far this season, showing 82 yellow cards, whilst brandishing three red cards.

He is yet to take charge of a game involving Rovers, though he has already been in the middle for a U’s game this year, with their 2-1 defeat at home to Walsall being overseen by Young.

He will be joined by assistant referees Wayne Grunnill and Paul Lister, with Matthew Jones being named as the fourth official.

Last time out

Rovers and the U’s met in April this year towards the end of the 2017/18 season, with the U’s sealing survival after a 1-0 at the Keepmoat Stadium thanks to James Henry’s 63rd-minute goal the difference.

Rovers last win at home over the U’s came all the way back in September 2003 with both sides in Division 3, with Tim Ryan and Paul Green scoring either side of the break to seal three points, with Rovers going on to win the league later on that season.

Tickets for Saturday’s Sky Bet League One home clash with Oxford United are still available via the Club Doncaster Box Office, purchase yours now by visiting in-store at the Keepmoat Stadium, by calling on 01302 762576, or online at tickets.clubdoncaster.co.uk.


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