Marcus Braddock looks ahead to the weekends game at Oxford
Please don't wake me up I seem to be dreaming, my favourite team is exciting to watch, we're in the top four and still we're signing promising new talent! This weekends game at Oxford will be our toughest test yet as they are just below us in the league and have also been spared the exertions of midweek cup football. Oxford know that a win this weekend will see them sail above us on goal difference. We know that even if we lose this one, we should still be in the top seven as there are only three teams below us that could overtake us this weekend. Who knew it would get this confusing four games in?
Oxfords form so far has been pretty good, their first game of the season was away at Oldham and the U's won 2-0 with goals from Wes Thomas and Josh Ruffels. A 4-3 home defeat in the EFL Cup came next with Cheltenham, a bit of a heartbreaker this one, Oxford were 3-1 up at half time with debut goals from Jon Obika and Xemi Fernandez and third before half time for Marvin Johnson. Their first home league game of the season was against newcomers Portsmouth who they beat 3-0 with goals from Wes Thomas, Josh Ruffels and Gino Van Kessel who is on loan from Slavia Prague. Oxfords most recent game was last weeks 1-0 away defeat at the hands of Scunthorpe.
Josep Clotet Ruiz, Or Pep Clotet as he's more commonly known is a manager with plenty of experience having coached in Spain, Sweden, Norway and England. His English experience started when Brian Laudrupp joined Swansea and appointed Clotet as a consultant. Clotet stayed with the South Wales club when Garry Monk took over and was promoted to assistant manager. When Monk moved on to Leeds, Clotet followed as assistant and when Monk left his post, Pep wasn't far behind. Clotet was appointed as manager for Oxford in the closed season and has so far won twice, lost once and drawn once.
Wes Thomas and Josh Ruffles are top scorers with two goals each, which they scored, in the same games as each other. Oxford born midfielder Ruffles started his career with Coventry as a trainee but he only made a handful of appearances for the Sky Blues before moving to his hometown club in 2013. Since then he's made well over 100 appearances with five goals scored including two this season. Wes Thomas is well known to regular lower league supporters and according to Wikipedia he's been signed 18 times since 2005 although that includes loan moves to the clubs he later signed for. In his early career he played “non” league football for the likes of Thurrock and Waltham Forest. His most successful period came at Cheltenham where he scored 18 goals in 41 league games. He's spent time with Portsmouth, Bournemouth, Birmingham and Rotherham to name four of his clubs and has been with Oxford since 2016.
Oldham 0-2 Oxford 5thAugust
Oxford 3-0 Portsmouth 12thAugust
Nicholas Kinseley from Essex.
Games this season: 1. Yellow Cards: 3. Red cards: 0.
Games last season: 31. Yellow cards: 113. Red cards: 6.
Assistants: Michael Webb and Matt Eva
Fourth Official: Christopher Husband
Oxford-Ivo Pekalski and Charlie Raglan on the long-term injured list.
Town: New signings Omar Beckles and Ben Godfrey are both available.
We seem to do well every time I predict a 2-2 draw so that's what I'm going to do this week too. I think that Oxford could provide us with stern opposition, they've signed some rather decent looking players this time around and are going pretty well. Maybe the best time to play them is right now when the new manager is still finding his feet and the team are still a little unfamiliar to each other. The most encouraging result from a Shrewsbury point of view is the home defeat to Cheltenham. They surrendered a two-goal lead against a club in a lower division who have only won once this season. So even if we go a goal down, we know we can come back and we know that Oxford has conceded late on.
Oxford United 2-2 Shrewsbury Town