Report this comment
  • "I meant to say the 666 betting advert"
  • This field is mandatory
  • This field is mandatory
  • Please note we will not accept reports with HTML tags or URLs in them.


  • Enter the above word in the box below

Oxford United must play with no fear, says new boss

Oxford United must play with no fear, says new boss

Michael Appleton

Michael Appleton

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

MICHAEL Appleton used his first meeting with Oxford United’s players to call for them to stick to their strengths and play without fear.

The new head coach is well aware time is of the essence after starting work on Monday, just over a month before the start of the Sky Bet League Two season.

He is keen to bring in new players quickly, but also wants to get to know those already at the club.

Appleton spoke briefly to the squad to lay out his plans, and the former Portsmouth and Blackburn boss intends to lead by example.

He said: “I told them there’s going to be no Robert de Niro speeches. You’ll know what my qualities are and you’ll see what I’m about over the next days, weeks and months with the professionalism I bring to the party.

“I expect them over a period of time to come and introduce themselves to me and tell me about themselves.

“That’s how I work. I always have an open door and I’m quite an easy guy to get on with as long as you do your job properly.

“I just want the players to express themselves.

“Whatever qualities they bring to the team – do it without fear.

“Whether you’re someone who defends well, a good passer or like to attack people, stick to your strengths and relax.”

Dave Kitson is the only U’s player who has worked with Appleton before, when the pair were at Fratton Park during the 2011-12 season.

The rest will have to learn how the new boss wants to play, their first outing coming with the start of the pre-season games at Farnborough this Saturday.

Appleton believes his sides have a track record of attractive football but also acknowledged there was a need to be pragmatic.

He said: “Most people are going to say ‘I want an open brand of football’.

“They use all the right words and to be fair, with 90 per cent of them, that is what they want.

“With my background I think the majority of sides I’ve been with have always played good football.

“But on the other hand, you have to find a way to win.

“There will be occasions between November and January where the weather isn’t fantastic and there will be situations where we need to find a way to win when we’ll have our backs to the wall.

“Hopefully we have enough personalities and strength of character to do that.”

Latest Sport news

Oxford United fans' discussion

Oxford Mail:

11:59am Monday 22nd September 2014

Have your say on the main talking points at Oxford United in our 60-minute interactive discussion.

WATCH: Highlights and reaction from Oxford United's draw with Stevenage

Oxford Mail:

10:49am Monday 22nd September 2014

OXFORD United extended their unbeaten run to five games with a goalless draw at home to Stevenage.

Appleton praises dominant Oxford United but rues missed opportunity

Oxford Mail:

9:30am Monday 22nd September 2014

MICHAEL Appleton rued some over-elaborate finishing, but was heartened by Oxford United’s commanding display against Stevenage.

FOOTBALL: Coyle at double as Kidlington move up the table

Oxford Mail:

7:20am Monday 22nd September 2014

Kidlington moved up to fourth in the Uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division with a 2-1 away to Bracknell Town, thanks to a double from Lewis Coyle.

RUGBY UNION: Welsh well-beaten again as Arscott has last laugh

Oxford Mail:

7:00am Monday 22nd September 2014

Tom Arscott inflicted London Welsh’s third straight heavy defeat with a hat-trick of tries for Sale Sharks in Saturday’s clash.

FOOTBALL: Merritt says City must learn from rout

Oxford Mail: Justin Merritt

7:00am Monday 22nd September 2014

Oxford City boss Justin Merritt was determined to focus on the positives despite seeing his side beaten 4-0 at Guiseley on Saturday.

FOOTBALL: Sorry City put to sword by goal-hungry Guiseley

Oxford Mail:

7:00am Monday 22nd September 2014

Oxford City paid the price for a slow start as they crashed to a 4-0 defeat at Guiseley in Vanarama Conference North on Saturday.

FOOTBALL: McNish is out of luck

Oxford Mail: Oxford City midfielder Callum McNish can put himself in the frame for Saturday’s Blue Square Bet North trip to Histon with a good display at home to Bletchingdon in tonight’s Oxfordshire Senior Cup tie

7:00am Monday 22nd September 2014

North Leigh midfielder Callum McNish was denied a late winner by the width of a post in a four-goal thriller at Evesham United.

FOOTBALL: Wantage in late agony

Oxford Mail: football generic

7:00am Monday 22nd September 2014

Wantage Town were denied a welcome victory as Fleet Town fought back for a 2-2 draw in Southern League Division 1 South & West.

FOOTBALL: Shama earns Banbury draw

Oxford Mail:

7:00am Monday 22nd September 2014

Josh Shama scored a second-half equaliser as Banbury United grabbed a deserved point in a 1-1 draw at the Spencer Stadium against the fourth-placed side in the Southern League Premier Division on Saturday.

Local Businesses

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree