Wilder wants Oxford United to keep hammer down at home

Witney Gazette: Dave Kitson lets fly in an entertaining spell against the Daggers Dave Kitson lets fly in an entertaining spell against the Daggers

CHRIS Wilder is keen to see Oxford United replicate their recent home form ahead of two games at the Kassam Stadium in four days.

Concerns over indifferent results and performances on their own turf have faded in recent weeks.

A return of seven points from their last three games has helped narrow the gap to United’s spectacular away form.

But it is the performances which have been most striking.

Last month they won 3-0 against Morecambe, with all the goals coming in the opening 31 minutes.

And in the last home game, a 2-1 win over Dagenham & Redbridge, the U’s played some thrilling attacking football.

With Plymouth Argyle visiting on Boxing Day, followed by Scunthorpe United on Sunday, Wilder wants more of the same.

“I thought the football we played that day against Dagenham for half an hour was absolutely top drawer,”the United boss said.

“I look at players’ mindsets and all I can say is that was a really good performance.

“They never looked to me at any stage that they were suffering from a lack of confidence at home.

“It’s just an outstanding away record that we’ve got and we know we’re going to be severely tested on that in the new year.

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“But we’ve talked all along about being consistent at home. In the last three games we’ve won two and drawn one.

“We have put ourselves in a position to win all three with good, positive, front-foot performances and that’s what we’ll need, especially over this period.”

United’s squad will have the luxury of spending Christmas Day at home, but Wilder does not need to remind the players on the dangers of over-indulging.

He said: “They are senior players and haven’t let me down once this season in terms of their attitude.

“I trust my players to do the right things and I’m sure we’ll get a really high-tempo performance.”

United’s squad will be unchanged from Saturday’s goalless draw at York, although Wilder could opt to freshen up the side by bringing in Deane Smalley or Sean Rigg.

Plymouth, who go into the game on the back of a 2-1 home win over Bury, will be forced into one change, with full back Durell Berry suspended.

Jamie Reckord is likely to come into the XI, while skipper Conor Hourihane is available after serving a ban and is expected to replace Luke Young.

Manager John Sheridan is also looking to sign an attacker before the game, but faces a race against time to bring in the unnamed free agent.

Oxford Utd: from Clarke, Hunt, Mullins, Wright, Newey, Williams, Hall, Rose, Rigg, Kitson, Constable, Smalley, Marsh, Ruffels, Davies, Raynes, Long, Crocombe.

Plymouth: from McCormick, Blanchard, Trotman, Nelson, Reckord, Gurrieri, Blizzard, Hourihane, Alessandra, Reid, Lavery, Cole, Blackman, Branston, Wotton, Boco, Young, Bencherif, Obadeyi.

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