Tips on how to come out on top in the derby, from Oxford United players who have done it.

It’s bigger than you think

Ryan Ledson: “When I first joined I didn’t know about the derby.

“I quickly realised what it meant to everyone and still to this day I don’t like Swindon.

“Jack Payne’s a friend of mine but he plays for them now so while I want him to do well I don’t want them to win.

“I was gutted they went down, because I wanted them to finish 20th so we could play them again the next season.”

Joe Skarz: “When I joined I didn’t think there was a rival club, but when we got promoted from League Two that was the game we were looking forward to the most.”

Watch your mouth

Andy Whing: “In 2012, Chris Wilder had put things on our pegs, a few quotes from what Paolo Di Canio had said.

“We didn’t need any extra motivation, but they were just reminders.

'The biggest game': Six ex-Oxford United players on their derby experiences

“You do your talking after the game, otherwise you can look a bit silly.”

Witney Gazette:

  • Paolo Di Canio on the touchline after his side lost to ten men

Chey Dunkley: “Michael Appleton knew how to take the pressure away from the players.

“The tension was building and he had the nous to not say too much.”

Get the preparation right

James Constable: “In 2011, set pieces had been a big part of our build-up to the game.

“The first goal from the corner couldn’t have gone any better, it was a great ball by Peter Leven and I got on the end of it.

“It never worked that well in training, but on the day it came off.”

Witney Gazette:

  • Steve Basham watches as the ball loops into the net in 2002

Steve Basham: “In 2002, the way we played we knew we were probably going to get some joy with set pieces – and the goal came from a long throw.”

Don’t fall for it

Constable: “I’ve spoken to a few of their players since and they said a big part of their build-up was to try to disrupt us and get players sent off.

“I went in the changing room and I was in there for what felt like 15 minutes punching chairs.

Also read: Oxford United's local core are embracing the derby record

“You just think ‘if that record goes because of me...’ There was so much going through my head.”

Witney Gazette:

  • James Constable sees red in 2012

Ledson: “In the first minute I broke my nose, being too eager.

“It wouldn’t stop bleeding and the gaffer asked if I had to come off, but there was no way that was happening.

“I just got Procs (physio Andrew Proctor) to bang some things up my nose so I could get back on.”

Wins can have lasting consequences

Skarz: “I think in the time I was there those games brought the club together.

“In 2015 they had a really good side, but we out-footballed them.

“We already knew we had a good team, but that night it helped us believe we could get promoted.”

Witney Gazette:

  • Oxford United's players celebrate Kemar Roofe's first goal in 2015