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Oxford United (A) match preview

26 April 2019

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Rovers head off on their final away trip of the season when they travel to face Oxford United on Saturday in Sky Bet League One.

Rovers will be looking to get back to winning ways following two defeats over the Easter weekend, with Tuesday night seeing them go down to a 2-1 defeat at home to Accrington Stanley.

Oxford on the other hand have won three out of their last four, including two over the weekend, with their latest win coming away at Shrewsbury Town, coming from behind to win 3-2 at New Meadow thanks to a Gavin Whyte hat-trick.

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 home dug-out when the two sides meet on Saturday. He has been in charge at the Kassam Stadium since March 2018, signing a two-and-a-half-year contract with Oxford.

Robinson has overseen 67 games whilst in charge of the U’s, winning 25 games, drawing 18 and losing 24, giving him a win percentage of 37.3 per cent.

Ones to watch

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.

Gavin Whyte

The Northern Ireland international was the U’s hat-trick here on Easter Monday, sealing his treble 12 minutes from time as they picked up three points away at Shrewsbury Town. Whyte joined Oxford at the start of this season following his departure from Crusaders in his home country, bringing an end to a nine-year association with the Hatchetmen. With Crusaders, he would win three NIFL Premiership titles, including one last year where he scored 23 goals in 20 games, winning the Ulster Footballer of the Year and the Northern Ireland Football Writers’ Player of the Year. He scored on his first start of the season for the U’s, the second goal in their 2-0 win over Coventry City in the Carabao Cup. Whyte has played four times for his country, scoring once in a 3-0 friendly win over Israel at Windsor Park.

Samir Carruthers

The former Republic of Ireland youth international is on a season-long loan from Sheffield United. Carruthers began his career with Arsenal and then Aston Villa, making his first-team debut for Villa in a 1-1 draw away at Liverpool in April 2012. He would go out on loan to Milton Keynes the following year, a move that would be made a permanent one in 2014, and he then went on to achieve promotion to the Championship at Stadium:MK in 2015. Carruthers then joined Sheffield United in January 2017, with the Blades going on to win promotion from League One as champions later on that year. He joined his former Milton Keynes boss Karl Robinson at the Kassam Stadium this season, though injury has seen him miss out a large chunk of this season.

Who’s the ref?

Charles Breakspear will be the man in the middle when the two sides meet on Saturday, and you can read more about him here.

Last time out

There was late drama at the Keepmoat Stadium when the two sides met back in December. Ben Whiteman’s penalty saw Rovers go ahead after 20 minutes, before Gavin Whyte equalised after the break. Alfie May thought he’d won it with a goal right on 90 minutes, before Josh Ruffels slotted home deep into added time to snatch a point for the U’s.

Rovers last win at Oxford came back in August 1963, with a 1-0 win at the Manor Ground in Division Four.

Tickets for Rovers’ final home game of the regular Sky Bet League One season against Coventry City on Saturday May 4 are still available via the Club Doncaster Box Office.

Buy yours now by either visiting in-store at the Keepmoat Stadium, by calling on 01302 762576, or online at tickets.clubdoncaster.co.uk and be a part of the final push for the play-offs!


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