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Match Previews

PREVIEW | Oxford United vs Rovers

16 March 2021

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Rovers will be looking to complete a league double over Oxford United when they travel to the Kassam Stadium in Sky Bet League One on Tuesday night.

Andy Butler’s side were held to a goalless draw by Northampton Town in their last outing. 

Oxford’s recent form 

Oxford have won one of their past six league games stretching back to a 1-0 home defeat against Portsmouth on February 23. They then took a point on the road at MK Dons, before back-to-back goalless draws against Peterborough United and Charlton Athletic respectively. 

They got back to winning ways with a 2-1 victory against local rivals Swindon Town, before being beaten 2-0 at Hull City in their last outing. 

The man in charge 

Former MK Dons and Charlton Athletic manager Karl Robinson was appointed as Oxford boss in March 2018, replacing Pep Clotet in the role. He helped guide the team to the Sky Bet League One play-off final last season, where they were beaten by Wycombe Wanderers. Since his appointment, Robinson has been in charge of 164 Oxford managers, winning 67, drawing 47 and losing 50, giving him an overall win percentage of 40.9%.  

Ones to watch 

Josh Ruffels  

After coming through the ranks at Coventry City, Ruffels joined Oxford on a free transer in the summer of 2013. Since then, the left-back has gone on to make more 250 appearances for the club, including help the team establish themselves at Sky Bet League One level after promotion in the 2015/16 campaign.  

The 27-year-old has a good eye for goal, having scored five times so far this season. 

  

Cameron Brannagan  

A product of the Liverpool academy, Brannagan made three first-team appearances for the Premier League champions before joining Oxford on a permanent deal in January 2018. Prior to that move, he had already gained some EFL experience after spending six months on loan at Fleetwood.   

Since his arrival at the Kassam Stadium, the 24-year-old has established himself as one of the best midfielders in the division, with Oxford working hard to retain his services in recent transfer windows.  

  

Matty Taylor  

The Oxford-born striker began his career with his hometown club before signing for Forest Green Rovers in 2011. After three years at The New Lawn, Taylor signed for Bristol Rovers when they were playing in the National League. He scored 20 goals in his first season with the GAS, before bagging 28 the season after, which helped them to back-to-back promotions into Sky Bet League One.  

19 goals in the first-half of the campaign saw him coveted by plenty of clubs in higher divisions, but it was rivals Bristol City who secured his services in January 2017. His time on the red side of the City struggled to get off the ground though, and he returned to Oxford, initially on loan, in the summer of 2019. The 30-year-old found the back of the net 17 times in his first season back at the Kassam Stadium, before penning a permanent deal in the summer, and has already scored 11 times so far this season.  

 

Last time out 

Rovers ran out 3-2 winners in an entertaining contest between the two sides at the Keepmoat Stadium back in February. Jon Taylor had given Rovers the lead before Sam Long drew the U’s level before the break. Two quick goals from Fejiri Okenabirhie and Taylor Richards all but sealed the victory, with Olamide Shodipo pulling a goal back to set up a tense finale. 

watch the highlights

 

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