The Opposition View: Oxford United

Last updated : 26 February 2015 By Jim Bonner

What is your general assessment of Oxford's season so far?

Pretty disappointing in all honesty. Far too many mistakes being made by players and decent performances have been few and far between. When you club captain is making mistakes and coming out to talk about it and say it's not good enough then you know you're in for a hard season.

Best performance of the season for me was Northampton away, although that might have been down to the fun we had at Chris Wilder's expense. It's just a shame for us he's on a pretty good run with them at the minute!

Michael Appleton divided opinion during his time at Portsmouth. What do U's fans think of him?

Opinion seems pretty divided again, although it's definitely not too good right now. Some people gave him a bit of credit at first as we were keeping the ball a lot more than the opposition and it was thought that we were just unlucky and it would 'click' sooner rather than later.

As the season has gone on though, it still hasn't happened and a fair number of fans are moaning that he is sticking to his guns a bit and bemoaning that we should 'lump it up the pitch' and 'it's no good passing it about at the back when you're in League 2'.

Jamie Ashdown is a popular figure with the Pompey fans. How has he performed for Oxford?

He hasn't! Not featured yet so can't really comment. It's been a few weeks since he signed and it was mainly to challenge Ryan Clarke and allow Max Crocombe to go out on loan (at Nuneaton) so I'm not sure he was bought with the intention of being number one. If he does get called upon, I'm sure his experience will stand him in good stead.

Who are the key men in your team?

Danny Hylton is our top scorer so he is obviously an important player. If you give away a penalty, he will score it, no question. (Watch that one come back to haunt me!) Ryan Clarke is still a good keeper and pulls off some good saves for us.

Callum O'Dowda has just signed a new deal and he is a very tricky winger on his day. He's still quite young though so we shouldn't place too much pressure on him too soon. If he's on form though, he could cause any team problems. I really think we look a better side with Andy Whing in the team. It's not too pretty but he gets stuck in and breaks up the oppositions play a lot. He tends to divide opinion somewhat, though.

What are the biggest weaknesses in this Oxford team that Pompey could exploit on Saturday?

We rely on youth a lot which can cost us at times. We also have a fair few loanees and some of them have only been here a couple of weeks and have openly admitted they are still trying to gel with their new team mates. If that is still an issue come Saturday, it could cause us problems. Alongside that, if some of our players end up making silly mistakes again, we will get punished, again.

Pompey are now the form team in League Two, so are you expecting much from your trip to Fratton Park?

I wouldn't say I'm expecting much, our season has been way too inconsistent for that. I'd take a point away from home though (playing it safe!) with around about 1000 away fans making the trip.

Predict the outcome of the game.

I'll go 2-2. We can score if our attacking players are on their game, and Alex Macdonald looked sharp last week so we're hoping that carries over. That said, you can always rely on Oxford to concede!