9:00am Saturday 4th January 2014
By David Pritchard
Oxford United’s squad will use this weekend to recharge their batteries after suffering a second postponement in four days.
The U’s were due to be in FA Cup third round action at Charlton Athletic this afternoon, but The Valley failed a pitch inspection yesterday morning.
It was a blow to both players and supporters, with 1,400 away tickets sold.
The news came hot on the heels of the New Year’s Day fixture at Newport County also being called off due to a waterlogged pitch.
The cup tie has been rescheduled for next Wednesday, though Charlton say it is unlikely to go ahead due to the poor weather and condition of the playing surface.
“We’re going to place a dome over the pitch for a week to dry it out,” said deputy head groundsman Nathan Chapman.
United delayed their training yesterday to wait for news from south London, so put on a tougher session than originally planned.
Assistant manager Mickey Lewis admitted it was frustrating, but felt a mini-winter break would do the players good after a packed run of games last month.
“The lads are chomping at the bit to play, so it is a bit disappointing in that way, but obviously we will use that time to rest,” he said.
“Perhaps sometimes a little weekend off for the players is not a bad thing.
“You always try and draw some positives from it, so they will get a rest. We trained hard on Friday because we knew the game was off, so they had a really good session. ”
One upside of the postponement is Chris Wilder’s side will be in the line-up for the fourth round.
They, along with Charlton, will be ball 16 when the draw is made at 2pm on Sunday, see oxfordmail.co.uk/sport for details.
Meanwhile, Staprix NV, owned by Belgian businessman Roland Duchatelet, yesterday completed the takeover of Charlton.
Oxford United’s visit to Newport County, postponed on Wednesday, has been rearranged for Tuesday, February 18.
The FA Youth Cup fourth-round tie between Oxford United and Cardiff City will be held at the Kassam Stadium on Tuesday, January 21.
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