Tough start a good test for U's

Saturday 22nd June 2013 15:33

Oxford United: Should be pushing for promotion

Oxford United: Should be pushing for promotion

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Oxford United FanZoner Adam Bond believes anything less than a top-six finish would represent a failure for the U's in League Two this season.

As Oxford United look set to begin the campaign with a relatively young team it looks like they are set for a tough first five games of the season: Portsmouth away, Bury home, Torquay away, Wycombe home and Rochdale home.

Looking at the fixtures, manager Chris Wilder couldn't think of a tougher start, but having these teams to play first will let him know who in the young squad will cope.

With the fixture of Charlton away in the Capital One Cup after the Portsmouth opener it would seem Oxford will have a lot to do not to fall behind early on in the season.

However, the young players to have come through the ranks and the new signings providing good experience for the youngsters could make Oxford a team to look out for this season.

The mixture of young and experienced players is something which most teams use to great effect; the young players had a fantastic run in the youth team and scored plenty of goals. This will certainly be tested in the first five games and this is only good for them.

The 4-3-3 system which Wilder likes to use in the first hour of the game has to change as playing 4-4-2 works really well for Oxford whereas the 4-3-3 allows teams to attack.

When Oxford go to 4-4-2 they are slick, exciting, motivated and precise, yet when they play 4-3-3 it looks makeshift and complicated for the players. Why waste the first hour playing the formation when Oxford could kill games off before then?

The fans will not put up with mediocre games this season as so many times at the Kassam Stadium the away team has looked a much more comfortable side than the home team; the fans let the players know if they are not playing well enough and this will hopefully be less of the norm this season.

Oxford's great pitch was wasted last season with the team using the long ball from the back into channels approach; the London Welsh rugby team were also using the pitch for the first time last season and the pitch at times looked worse for wear over the Christmas period.

That said, it is still better than some of the teams in League Two and Oxford should be using it more to play teams off the park which is how they managed to gain promotion from the Conference. Even though it's League Two, the same tactics can apply.

Oxford have the team and facilities to push for promotion this season - finishing just outside the play-offs was about expected last term, but this time it would be a huge disappointment.

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