Tomorrow afternoon sees the Alex travel to the Kassam Stadium to face last season’s playoff finalists Oxford United with both teams having won one game and lost two so far in the league.
Last season saw Oxford start the season with just one win in the opening 7 games before a run of 2 defeats in 15 saw them move up the table from 20th to 2nd. After a shaky patch at the start of 2020, they won their final 5 games of the regular season to finish in 3rd place in the PPG table and would knock Portsmouth out of the playoffs in the semi-final stage on penalties before losing to Wycombe Wanderers in the Wembley final.
They would go out of the Carabao Cup at the quarter-final stage to winners Manchester City after knocking out Peterborough United, Millwall, West Ham United and Sunderland on the way, they finished 2nd in their EFL Trophy group (behind Portsmouth and ahead of both Norwich City’s Under-21s and Crawley Town) before going out on penalties to Exeter City in Round 2. In the FA Cup, Hayes & Yeading, Walsall and Hartlepool United were all eliminated by Oxford before Newcastle United took a replay and extra time to win in Round 4.
They have played 6 games so far this season, a couple of 2-0 defeats at Lincoln City and at home to Sunderland before winning 4-1 at Accrington Stanley last Saturday so far in the league, they beat AFC Wimbledon before losing to Watford in the EFL Cup (both games going to penalties) while they beat Chelsea’s Under-21 side in the EFL Trophy, their group also containing Walsall and Bristol Rovers.
Oxford have made 9 signings in total, 7 on permanent deals and 2 season-long loans, with defender Benjamin Watt joining from Tottenham Hotspur, midfielders Sean Clare (Hearts), Marcus McGuane (on loan from Nottingham Forest) and Liam Kelly (on loan from Feyenoord) with forwards Joel Cooper (Linfield), Matty Taylor (Bristol City), Dylan Asonganyi (MK Dons), Derick Osei (Stade Brestois) and Sam Winnall (Sheffield Wednesday) completed the signings.
11 players have left the club this summer, including 2 youngsters that have joined Woking on loan earlier today.
Alex Wins: 6
U’s Wins: 6
Biggest Alex Win: 3-1 at the Alexandra Stadium in September 2011
Biggest U’s Win: 4-2 at The Manor Ground in August 1964
Oxford United 0-1 Crewe Alexandra, 14th January 2012
Substitute Greg Pearson would score the only goal of the game in the 89th minute following a pass from Ryan Wintle.
Alex: Phillips; Davis, Artell, Dugdale, Tootle; Murphy, Lowry, Westwood, Shelley (Pearson 81); Powell; Moore
U’s: Clarke, Wright, Duberry, Batt, Whing (McLaren 62), Davis, Heslop (Tonkin 72), Leven, Potter, Pittman (Smalley 72), Constable
Played for Both:
The following players have been contracted to both teams:
Goalkeepers: Neil Cutler, Bruce Grobbelaar, Scott Shearer
Defenders: Steve Davis, Cheyenne Dunkley, Michael Raynes, Anthony Tonkin, Harry Worley
Midfielders: Junior Brown
Forwards: Steve Anthrobus, Jordan Bowery, Bernard Evans, John Grant, Dean Morgan, Billy Whitehurst
The officials for this game have been announced here with Will Finnie the referee, Ollie Williams and Kevin Morris are his assistants with Gareth Viccars the fourth official. Here is the only Crewe game that has been refereed by Finnie in the previous 5 years:
- Crewe Alexandra 4-1 Salford City (21st September 2019) – Porter, Lowery (2), Pickering
How would you describe last season for the U’s?
Last season was one of exceptional highs, which ultimately ended in huge disappointment. We played some stunning football, enjoyed successful cup runs and reached the League One play-off final, but ended up losing against Wycombe.
We have a few injury concerns. Our only left-back, Josh Ruffels, is out, as are Alex Rodriguez Gorrin (DM), John Mousinho (CB) and Jamie Hanson (CM). We also had a few players come down with illness last week, so hoping they will have got over the worst of it.
What is the position that you think needs strengthening before the transfer window shuts?
With injuries and the departure of Rob Dickie, we could do with another centre-back and also a left-back. The other position would be a left-winger. Ideally, we could sign a left-sided centre-back and an attacking left wing-back and that would cover all three positions.
What would be the team that you would pick for the game if you were in charge?
Karl Robinson made a few changes last week for the win against Accrington. Depending on fitness, it would be good to see Mark Sykes return and I would like to see more of Nottingham Forest loanee Marcus McGuane, but after last week’s performance, it would be hard to leave any of those players out.
Who is the danger man for yourselves?
We have a number in truth. Defensively, we have looked suspect this season, but in midfield, we have one of the best in the league in Cameron Brannagan, and we have someone who can provide numerous goals and assists in James Henry. Also, Matty Taylor is a significant threat upfront.
What would be a successful season for Oxford this term?
Similar to last season – a playoff finish.