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Raynes happy to keep Oxford United on top
MICHAEL Raynes wants to keep the smile on his face when Oxford United host Bristol Rovers tomorrow as the defender looks to continue his most enjoyable spell for years.
The 26-year-old is in superb form and has been influential as the U’s have gone seven hours since conceding a goal in Sky Bet League Two.
It has helped the side climb back to the top of the table, and they will be going for a fifth successive clean sheet when the Pirates visit the Kassam Stadium.
Raynes was an unused substitute in the opening weeks of the season, but grasped his chance with both hands when skipper Jake Wright got injured.
The most consistent spell of his time at United has followed and although the centre back is keen to play down the performances, he thinks the key has been an upbeat attitude.
He said: “My old man always said if you are enjoying your football you will play your best football.
“It hurt me when I wasn’t playing at the start of the year, so every game I’m playing now I see it as a bonus and I’m just going to enjoy it as much as I can.
“Results have been going quite well and the performances have been OK too, so I’ll just try to keep doing that.
“It’s been one of my most enjoyable times in the last couple of years if I’m honest.
“I don’t know what it is, I’m just trying to play with a smile on my face.
“It’s going well at the minute, but there’s going to be a point where it’s not going too well, so as long as you keep smiling that’s all that matters.”
Rovers will arrive at the opposite end of the table to their hosts following a slow start to the season.
But Raynes is well aware of the challenge they will provide after playing under Pirates boss John Ward at Stockport County.
He said: “It will be a tough game, Wardy’s an absolutely top man and he will get his side well up for it.
“They’ve not had a good run, but we need to make sure we’re on our game.
“They were one of the favourites to go up, so they will be looking to climb the table. We need to put a marker down because we want to stay as high as we can.”
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