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'If It's Football, It's Vital'

Oxford United vs. Crewe Alexandra

Kassam Stadium

19/03/2011

15:00

Previewing Oxford

After two successive home wins it's back on the road to try and end the run of seven straight away defeats.

The Alex haven't picked up a single point on their travels since the mightily impressive performance at Shrewsbury Town in early January, where we took all three points in a win that should have been more than the 1-0.

Tomorrow it's down the M6 to Oxford where it's not just a matter of putting to bed a horrible run of away defeats, a win is also vital to keep the play-off hunt well and truly alive.

After re-entering the Football League following promotion last season, The U's have had quite a similar season to ourselves. They looked like being left behind in mid-table until run of three defeats in 15 games over January and February lifted them to the dizzy heights of 8th.

Things have tailed off in the last month or so with just the solitary win at Port Vale in their last five games. In those five games they've also lost to Hereford, Lincoln, Stockport and Stevenage.

Last time out between ourselves and Oxford was a pretty feisty encounter. A bad tempered affair was not helped when a Shaun Miller goal was given only to be chalked off after mass protests from Oxford players and officials. Oxford were eventually reduced to 10 men in the final minutes of the game whilst Oxford manager Chris Wilder accused the Alex players of constantly diving.

Vital Quotes:

Lee Bell:

'Oxford have a nice big pitch which might suit us.

'We'll need to work hard and pick up away points if we are going to do anything.

'While Southend was a 'must-win game', I think Oxford is a 'must-not-lose' game. We definitely need to take something from it.'

Chris Wilder:

"We`re battling it out with teams like Crewe. On one hand I`m disappointed we`re not higher up in the league but on the other we`re in there with teams like Crewe and above Northampton and Bradford.

"It`s important that first and foremost we put right what we did on Tuesday. We all know we`re loads better than what we produced on Tuesday and we have to get back to that.'

Oxford United Team News:

Oxford have completed the loan signing of Doncaster's Ryan Burge in time for the game and the midfielder could go straight into the side.

Manager Wilder could still make one or two changes despite no fresh injury worries.

Possible team: Clarke, Wright, Purkiss, Worley, Kinniburgh, McLaren, Hackney, Clist, MacLean, Craddock, Midson.

Player to watch: Harry Worley

We all know about Harry Worley following his season long loan spell here last season. If Donaldson is on his game, it could be fun...

Crewe Alexandra Team News:

There is concern around the fitness of Ashley Westwood. He was substituted for the superb Danny Shelley at half time in the 1-0 win over Southend on Tuesday night with a calf injury he picked up last weekend.

If he doesn't prove himself fit in time then it's likely Dario could go with the side that started that second half on Tuesday.

Likely team: Taylor, Ada, Artell, Dugdale, Blanchett, Shelley (or Westy), Murphy, Bell, Moore, Donaldson, Miller

Player to watch: Danny Shelley

After his storming second half performance against Southend, can Shelley prove - if he starts - he has what it takes to force his way into Dario's first 11 on a more regular basis?

Match Facts & Stats

This will be our first trip to the three-sided Kassam Stadium, built in 2001.

It'll be our first trip to Oxford since October 1999, where it was a 1-1 draw with Colin Little scoring a very late equaliser.

But we've never won on Oxford's own patch.

In total we've played each other 14 times. Oxford have the edge with 5 wins to our 4. There have been 4 draws.

Ref Watch:

Referee: C Boyeson Assistants: A Crysell and D K Rock Fourth Official: G S Stretton

Match Prediction:

Oxford 2-3 Crewe

Next Fixtures:

Accy Stan on Tuesday night at Gresty Road.




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The Journalist

Writer: Dink Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Friday March 18 2011

Time: 10:55AM

 

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