Southend are the visitors this week as the mighty yellows look to build on last weekend's 3-1 win over Hartlepool and give the home fans something to cheer about. With United currently second in the table you'd think Oxford fans would be feeling good at the moment, but supporters haven't seen Oxford win at home since the visit of Bury back in August, with two draws and a defeat in subsequent matches at the Kassam. No wonder then that some fans are feeling a little unloved at the moment, but this weekend's match offers an opportunity to put that right.
That's not the only sequence of results we'd like to see overturned this weekend. Our recent form against Southend is miserable, with just one win in our last ten encounters. The last time the Shrimpers visited the Kassam was to knock us out of the JPT back in January, following that up the following month with a 1-0 win at Roots Hall.
That said, the Southend which comes to town this weekend is quite a different beast to the one which has caused us so much pain in the last few years. Paul Sturrock is out and new boss Phil Brown has not enjoyed the easiest of starts to his tenure in Essex. After winning the first three games of the season, Southend have since failed to register a single victory and haven't scored more than once in a game since the middle of August.
As a result, they took the rather drastic step of naming six first-team players in a development squad match against Colchester during the week in an attempt to get them back into a winning frame of mind ahead of their trip to the Kassam. Only time will tell whether the resulting 5-1 victory will have given them a much-needed confidence boost or will have tired them out ahead of the weekend.
|Picture by Jon Whiles Photography|
Chris Wilder has some interesting selection choices to make this weekend. For example, does he keep faith with the side which responded so strongly last weekend? If so, that will mean no place in the side for the returning Dave Kitson after he served his one-match ban last week. And what about James Constable, who is returning to full fitness after chipping a bone in his foot? Could Alfie Potter, who has been one of our most important players so far this season, be the one to miss out for either of the returning strikers? Certainly it would seem harsh on Ryan Williams to be dropped after impressing on the right wing last weekend and scoring his first senior goal. One thing we can say with certainty is that fit-again Max Crocombe will return to the bench this weekend, after Shwan Jalal was recalled by Bournemouth during the week.
From the Vaults
Oxford United v Southend United, 24th August 1996
The season was young when Southend came to the Manor for our first home league game of the season. We had returned to the second tier after two seasons away and began with a trip to QPR, freshly relegated from the Premier League. Southend had been mainstays at this level since their promotion in 1991, but their star was falling and they arrived at Oxford with a season of struggle ahead of them...
You can find this and many other old OUFC matches in our VIDEO VAULT!
Also This Weekend
Oxford get their first taste of WSL football this weekend. Although the new WSL2 season doesn't begin until next year, the women's development squad begin their WSL Development League season on Sunday with something of a trial by fire. They travel to Hertfordshire University to face Arsenal's development squad in the Southern Division.