Raynes: I was not ready for Oxford United return + Video

Michael Raynes has a careful eye on George Donnelly in his first match back after injury

Michael Raynes has a careful eye on George Donnelly in his first match back after injury

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

MICHAEL Raynes admitted he was not ready for the pace of a first-team return as Oxford United’s defence was taken apart by Rochdale.

The centre back had missed the previous six games with a hip injury, but made himself available to start at Spotland.

He went on to endure a difficult afternoon and was culpable with a missed clearance which allowed Scott Hogan to complete his hat-trick and wrap up a 3-0 victory.

United’s defence, which also saw Jake Wright return from injury, looked uncharacteristically shaky, and Raynes acknowledged the performance had fallen well short.

“I hold my hands up and say I felt a million miles off, I think it was a little bit too soon for me,” he said.

“It’s been tough. I’ve had two training days and it’s so hard to get back into the groove straight away.

“The performance wasn’t good enough, we have standards and we’ve slipped from them.

“Physically I’m fine, it’s just the pace of the game where I didn’t feel right.

“That’s no excuse, at this level you should be ready all the time and it wasn’t good enough.”

The centre back had his work cut out all afternoon trying to contain Hogan and he was booked inside the opening ten minutes for bringing the striker down.

The game had been relatively even before Dale’s No 11 poached the opening goal just before the break and from then on the home side did not look back.

Raynes rated Hogan as one of the best players he had come up against.

While there was a suspicion of offside over the opener, the 26-year-old was well aware that United played a role in the other two goals.

He said: “We weren’t comfortable, but they didn’t cause too many openings (in the first half).

“But they got the goal just before half-time which punctured us.”

And on Rochdale’s hat-trick hero, Raynes added: “Everything seemed to fall for him and he’s a very good player.

“You can’t give people like that chances.”

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