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Oxford United boss salutes his fringe trio
CHRIS Wilder praised the impact made by the players promoted into a reshuffled Oxford Uni-ted side in Tuesday’s 1-0 win at Gillingham.
There were four changes in the XI from the team which could not break down York City in a goalless home draw on Saturday.
That included the squad’s top two scorers, Tom Craddock and James Constable, who dropped to the bench.
Deane Smalley, Simon Heslop and Tony Capaldi have not been regular starters in recent games, but were given a chance at Priestfield.
And they rose to the challenge in an excellent team performance which got the better of the npower League Two leaders.
Wilder was pleased to see the trio take their opportunity, and called for more from those on the fringes of the side.
The United manager said: “Players like Heslop, Capaldi and Smalley have come in and played a part. “I’ve got to be critical, I don’t think we’ve had enough of that when players have come into the team.
“That’s what we needed and it’s what decent clubs do – Gillingham have a strong squad and when players are asked to play, they make a difference. “Possibly we haven’t done that well enough on a regular basis.”
United also tweaked their formation on Tuesday night, using Alfie Potter just behind Smalley up front.
The system has been used at times this season and worked well at Priestfield, with Potter grabbing the only goal of the game six minutes from time.
Wilder felt changes were needed to freshen up the team and hinted it was a move which could be repeated in the final 12 games of the season.
He added: “We had a chat on Monday and we have to do better. “I wasn’t happy with the performance on Saturday, so we had to shake it up and I will do that between now and the end of the season.”
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