Goalkeeper Long in pole position for Oxford United

George Long

George Long

First published in Sport Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Sports Reporter covering Oxford United. Follow us on twitter: @oxfordmailoufc. Call me on 01865 425458

GEORGE Long will start the season as Michael Appleton’s first-choice goalkeeper, but the Oxford United head coach says Max Crocombe is firmly in his plans.

The Sky Bet League Two campaign kicks off this weekend, with Burton Albion visiting the Kassam Stadium.

United are without long-standing No 1 Ryan Clarke, who will miss the opening weeks as he recovers from a foot operation.

His absence prompted Appleton to bring in Long on loan last month as cover to compete for the jersey with Crocombe.

Although the Sheffield United player is three months younger, he has 80 senior games under his belt, compared to Crocombe’s four first-team appearances.

It was the key factor for the U’s boss, who has been impressed with the Yorkshireman in pre-season.

He said: “I think the thing with George is he’s got bags of experience over the last two years playing at a higher level.

“I felt he’s acquitted himself really well.”

Long played every minute of United’s two main pre-season games against Wolves and Bournemouth.

In the 4-1 defeat to the Cherries, the 20-year-old had a couple of nervous moments coming out of his area to deal with through balls.

But Appleton was keen to encourage the tactic, which will come in useful against some opponents this season.

He said: “George got caught a couple of times doing the right thing by playing really high.

“We’re going to come up against sides where they hit us on the counterattack and he’ll need to be off his line quicker.

“I’d rather see someone being positive and making a mistake than have a negative attitude and want to sit on the line and have it cost us.”

It is unfortunate for Crocombe, who has been United’s back-up goalkeeper for the last two seasons.

Appleton made it clear the New Zealand U20 international remains a valued member of the squad and urged him to maintain high standards.

He said: “Max has got to go and compete with George and make life difficult for him.

“At the end of the day if George doesn’t perform and Max is still at it, then he will get his chance.”

Do you want alerts delivered straight to your phone via our WhatsApp service? Text NEWS or SPORT or NEWS AND SPORT, depending on which services you want, and your full name to 07767 417704. Save our number into your phone’s contacts as Oxford Mail WhatsApp and ensure you have WhatsApp installed.

Latest United news:

Chey Dunkley completes move to Oxford United

Oxford Mail:

12:30pm Thursday 20th November 2014

OXFORD United have completed the signing of Chey Dunkley from Kidderminster Harriers.

Oxford United joy at derby victory over Swindon Town

Oxford Mail:

9:30am Wednesday 19th November 2014

OXFORD United set up a glamour trip to Manchester City in the FA Youth Cup as they saw off rivals Swindon Town 3-2 at the Kassam Stadium.

England C duty holds up Oxford United's signing of Dunkley

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Wednesday 19th November 2014

CHEY Dunkley is expected to complete his move to Oxford United today after international duty delayed the transfer from Kidderminster Harriers.

Oxford Utd 3, Swindon Tn 2

Oxford Mail: oxford united logo 1200pix

9:25pm Tuesday 18th November 2014

JORDAN Graham scored twice but Oxford United had to survive a late scare on the way to knocking rivals Swindon Town out of the FA Youth Cup at the Kassam Stadium.

Ashby and O'Dowda score in Oxford United defeat

Oxford Mail: oxford united logo 1200pix

2:43pm Tuesday 18th November 2014

JOSH Ashby and Callum O'Dowda were on target as Oxford United went down 3-2 to Bournemouth in a development game at Roman Way.

Comments

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree