Tuesday 17 October 2017

Play off contenders meet

Its sixth versus fifth at the Kassam Stadium tonight as Oxford United play Charlton. In the old days, it used to be said in football that it was a good idea to get your retaliation in first. It's also a good idea to get your excuses in first if you are a manager as an insurance policy. Supremo Karl Robinson has done that by talking up Oxford: Oxford are dark horses

Charlton fans may see again striker Jonathan Chiedozie Obika who was signed from relegated rivals Swindow. Jon Obika had two spells on loan at Charlton from Spurs: 2013 appearances 10 goals 3; in between 2014 at Brighton appearances 5 goals 0; 2014 appearances 12 goals 0. However, he did not feature in the Oxford line up in their 1-0 victory at Bristol Rovers on Saturday, so I assume he is injured. The winning goal was scored in the 82nd minute by substitute Alex Mowatt who is on loan from Barnsley.

In 2016/17 the equivalent match ended 1-1. It could do again. At home, Oxford have won three, drawn two and lost one.

Louis Mendez has tweeted that Charlton have not lost an away game to Oxford United since 1987 and have never lost at the Kassam Stadium. I can remember playing them at what had been the Headington United ground with its Mecanno stands. Some of them are now at Leamington.

Four Four Two forecast a 5th place finish for the Bulls, but the loss of manager Michael Appleton to the No.2 role at Leicester City led fan Tony Fallows to think that mid-table was more likely.

New supremo Pep Clotet is a Catalan, so his mind may be elsewhere. He earned his UEFA Pro licence by the age of 26. He managed the B teams of Espanol and Malaga, either side of spells in Scandinavia, before spending the best part of four years as the faithful assistant to Gary Monk at Swansea and Leeds. He is known for his tactical prowess and attention to detail.

Charles Breakspear from Surrey will be the man in the middle, let's hope Josh Magennis doesn't have to use his boxing skills again. Why are so many referees bald?

Odds: Oxford 8/5, Draw 12/5, Charlton 13/8.

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