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Oxford United (A) preview

11 October 2019

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Rovers travel to take on Oxford United at the Kassam Stadium in Sky Bet League One this weekend.

Darren Moore’s side are unbeaten on the road so far this season, and find themselves just three points off the play-off places.

Oxford are one place above Rovers in the table with goal difference separating the two sides, they have secured 10 of their 16 points on home soil this season.

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 more than 75 years.

The Kassam is notable for having three stands with one of the sides behind the goal boasting a car park and retail park instead.

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.

After a slow start to last season, United almost mounted a late push for the play-offs after a strong end to the campaign, before going on to finish in 12th place.

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 86 games whilst in charge of the U’s, winning 32 games, drawing 25 and losing 29, giving him a win percentage of 37.2 per cent.

 

Who’s the ref?

Seb Stockbridge will be the man in charge when Rovers travel to the Kassam Stadium this weekend, and you can find out more about him here.

 

Ones to watch

Simon Eastwood

The 30-year-old shot stopper returned for his second spell at the Kassam Stadium in the summer of 2016 after initially leaving for Halifax five years earlier. He spent just one season with the non-league outfit before signing for Michael Appleton’s Portsmouth. He followed Appleton to Blackburn Rovers before re-joining Oxford. Eastwood won a number of awards in his first season back at the club, and has impressed ever since – signing a new three-year contract with the club in May 2018.

Cameron Brannagan

The 23-year-old joined Oxford on a permanent deal from Premier League side Liverpool in January 2018. He made three appearances for the reds after coming through the youth system on Merseyside, and also represented England up to U20s level. He helped Fleetwood Town to the Sky Bet League One play-offs prior while on loan at Highbury, before making his move to the U’s.

Matty Taylor

Taylor began his career with Oxford back in 2007 before moving to Forest Green Rovers with game time hard to come by. He spent three seasons with Rovers before a move to Bristol Rovers saw him make a name for himself with his goal-scoring exploits. His average of a goal every other game helped the GAS to back-to-back promotions from the National League to Sky Bet League One. He joined rivals Bristol City in January 2017 for a fee of around £300k, and went on to score on his full debut for the club. He re-joined Oxford on a season-long loan deal in the summer, and already has four goals to his name in all competitions.

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