Chris Wilder admitted Oxford United have put themselves under added pressure against Torquay United today after stumbling in midweek.
The U’s were looking to exploit back-to-back home games this week, but a 3-2 defeat to Dagenham & Redbridge on Tuesday saw them drop to 18th in npower League Two.
Not for the first time in recent weeks United will be forced to try and start an unbeaten run from scratch when Torquay visit this afternoon.
Wilder scrapped a day off for the players on Thursday in response to the performance against the Daggers, and the U’s boss knows they can ill-afford a similar display.
He said: “We’ve put ourselves on the back foot and we need another result.
“We’ve shown we can go and get one, like we did at Wycombe after we had lost at Rochdale.
“The players recognise it wasn’t good enough, they’re not thinking all is right.
“I’m not here to be Mr Popular, I’m here to try and do what we think is the right thing.”
Changes are expected, with Johnny Mullins in line to replace Michael Raynes at centre half.
Jake Forster-Caskey, another unused substitute on Tuesday, may also come into the reckoning.
The one major doubt is Alfie Potter, who has been out since Monday with a minor hamstring complaint.
The winger’s pace and invention was sorely missed against Dagenham, but Wilder is reluctant to gamble on the fitness of a key player.
He said: “We’ll leave it as late as possible to decide on Alfie.
“It would be easy for me to say ‘let’s play him’ and if it was a massive game at the end of the season we might take a risk, but with 30 games to go there’s still a lot to play for.”
Torquay arrive a point outside the play-off places, but their confidence has been shaken by a dreadful week.
The Gulls were dumped out of the FA Cup at home by non-league Harrogate Town last Saturday and they followed it up with another 1-0 defeat at rock bottom Barnet in midweek.
Top-scorer Rene Howe is suspended, while manager Martin Ling is also likely to be without first-choice goalkeeper Michael Poke (groin).
Martin Rice will deputise, in his first start for more than a year.
Oxford Utd: from Clarke, Whing, Mullins, Wright, Capaldi, Chapman, Cox, Leven, Rigg, Craddock, Constable, Pittman, Heslop, Forster-Caskey, Raynes, O’Brien, Davis, Marsh, Brown.
Torquay Utd: from Rice, Oastler, Saah, Downes, Nicholson, Mansell, Lathrope, Easton, Craig, Bodin, Jarvis, Leadbitter, Cruise, Halpin, Stevens, Yeoman, Thompson, Poke.