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Coach urges Oxford United to make amends
TONIGHT’S Johnstone’s Paint Trophy tie cannot come quickly enough for Oxford United as they seek to make amends for defeat on Saturday, according to first-team coach Andy Melville.
The U’s host Portsmouth in a second-round clash, three days after losing 2-0 to Southend United at the Kassam Stadium.
Players and coaching staff alike admitted after the game they had fallen short. Melville called for more from the players and admitted a first midweek game in two months is just what is needed.
He said: “It’s good that we haven’t got a free week, it’s one we can put things right.
“Looking at the game on Saturday, players need to take a bit more responsibility and be a bit braver on the ball.
“We need those strong characters to get on the ball and be good players, because we see it through the week.”
He added: “Things go against you and you’ve got to react.
“Players have got to affect and organise each other a bit more.
“They’re organised and get all the information that they want.
“We go through the opposition in fine detail and things we need to do with and without the ball.
“Sometimes it’s over to them.” United, who are still without Andy Whing through suspension, were tight-lipped on their selection plans for the game, with a variety of options open to manager Chris Wilder.
It is an opportunity to have a look at several members of the development squad, with midfielder Josh Ruffels in line to make a first start for the club.
Right back Matt Bevans could make his debut, while teenage wingers Callum O’Dowda and Ryan Williams are set to feature.
Portsmouth are expected to make changes, with ex-United striker Tom Craddock poised to start as he looks for a first goal of the season.
David Connolly (calf) and Simon Ferry (hamstring) are both doubts.
It is a re-match of the opening day of the season, when United memorably romped to a 4-1 victory, which Melville believes will be discussed in both camps during the build-up.
He said: “I think it might get mentioned in their changing room. We were clinical on the day and very professional.
“They obviously have a point to prove against us.”
Oxford Utd: from Clarke, Bevans, Raynes, Mullins, Newey, Williams, Davies, Ruffels, O’Dowda, Marsh, Smalley, Constable, Kitson, Shama, Potter, Rigg, Rose, Hunt, Lynn, Lee, Crocombe.
Portsmouth: from Carson, Devera, Bradley, N’Gala, Butler, Wallace, Racon, Mahon, Holmes, Marquis, Craddock, Harris, East, Connolly, Agyemang, Barcham, Smith, Padovani, Painter, Ertl, Cooper.
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