9:30am Friday 21st March 2014
By David Pritchard
MICKEY Lewis is urging Oxford United to put all the distractions to one side and focus on stopping the rot with a win tonight.
The U’s are desperate for a result against Hartlepool United after a run of six games without a win.
It has seen hopes of automatic promotion fade and put the U’s place in the Sky Bet League Two play-offs in jeopardy, while amplifying calls for the club to find a permanent manager.
United’s build-up to the game has not been helped by two suspensions and an injury to Johnny Mullins, arguably their player of the season.
But Lewis, who is getting ready for his 12th game as caretaker boss, wants the players to ignore everything in a bid to claim a much-needed victory.
He said: “It is a bad run and it’s almost a case of let’s forget what’s ahead, let’s forget who’s coming up behind us, let’s just go and win a game of football.
“It’s about going back to basics.
“Let’s not worry about looking at the table, let’s just go and win one game of football on a Friday night.”
It was business as usual at the training ground yesterday and despite plenty of speculation over whether United would make an appointment before the game, Lewis had been given no indication of a change.
He said: “Whatever happens, happens, but we’re just preparing for Hartlepool and we’ll see what happens after that.”
The two managers who have been most strongly linked with the post were both questioned on the topic yesterday.
James Beattie, in his first season in charge at Accrington Stanley, insisted no contact had been made with United.
Beattie: “I haven’t heard anything,” he told the Lancashire Telegraph.
“I think it’s credit to the boys if my name’s getting linked to jobs that are vacant.
“I haven’t heard anything personally.
“Nobody has called me or emailed me or texted me.
“I’m just concentrating on our next ten games.
“We know how important they are to the boys and the club so that’s what I’m concentrating on at the moment.”
Exeter City boss Paul Tisdale declined to get dragged into a debate, saying: “I’m not going to talk about it because it’s not fair on the club and it’s not fair on me.”
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