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No alarm for Oxford United boss on the home front
9:20am Friday 4th October 2013 in Sport
CHRIS Wilder has been at Oxford United for long enough to know that even after the best start to a Football League season for a decade, it does not mean everyone is satisfied.
Last weekend after watching his side win 3-1 at Hartlepool United, making it 13 points from a possible 15 on the road, the U’s manager described their away form as “exceptional”.
Not even the harshest critic would quibble with that description.
But at the Kassam Stadium, it has been a different story, with the 2-1 victory against Bury in August their only triumph in front of the home fans.
With only three games played since, it is dangerous to read too much into the form, but after winning fewer games at home than they did away last season, the Kassam faithful can be forgiven for looking at those who travel with envy.
Wilder acknowledges the importance of performing where the majority of the fanbase can be a part of it. But apart from the lack of games played, he points to two factors – opposition and the table.
“We have played some decent sides at home. Rochdale are up there, Chesterfield are top, we’ve played Wycombe in a local derby and Bury, who I still expect to go well this season,” he said.
“Of course you want to win in front of your home fans.
“We have had tight games where we could and possibly should have got a little bit more out of them, but the biggest stat is we’re sat second with 18 points from nine games.
“In the grand scheme of things of course you’d want to win at home and win away.
“Or you’d like to win at home and draw away, but at the moment it just seems to be we’re winning away.
“We would like to change because we feel we’ve not really hit our stride at home.”
Tomorrow’s opponents offer a cautionary tale on how quickly good form can turn.
Like the U’s they won their opening three games, but have picked up two points from six games since.
Wilder said: “In this league there is a really fine line between losing and drawing, or drawing and winning.
“I think they might feel they could have quite easily got another six to eight points, which would put them right in the top section.
“They haven’t been getting smashed every week and we expect another tough game.”
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