DANNY Rose says Oxford United’s midfielders have to take up the goalscoring slack while the club continue to look to strengthen up front.
Carlton Morris agreed a loan move from Norwich City on Monday, joining fellow summer signing Danny Hylton.
The teenager is highly rated but unproven and if he plays in the League Two opener against Burton Albion on Saturday it will be his senior competitive debut.
With Tyrone Marsh departing on loan yesterday, it leaves youth team graduate James Roberts as United’s only other specialist striking option.
Michael Appleton is continuing his search to bolster the attacking department, but the head coach has made it clear the priority is on signing the right player, rather than rushing through a deal before the campaign starts.
Rose has spent most of pre-season playing in behind a lone striker in a 4-2-3-1 formation and scored a terrific goal in Saturday’s 4-1 friendly defeat to Bournemouth.
The 26-year-old knows the burden needs to be spread across the side, particularly with those playing high up the pitch.
He said: “The gaffer wants that person playing in and around the No 9 and their obligation is to play between the lines as well as stretch play and chip in with goals when they can.
“I would say we probably didn’t score as many goals as we needed to last season.
“I think with that formation it’s definitely more onus on the three, because you can’t rely on the sole striker to score all your goals all season.”
He added: “It’s down to us players who have been playing, it’s our responsibility to win the games. We all have the same aim and will be looking to get off to a great start.”
Saturday’s effort ended a drought in front of goal for Rose, who was a regular scorer early on last season.
The strike was his first since November and although it counted for nothing, he was delighted to break his duck.
*A HAT-TRICK in four second-half minutes by James Roberts helped United’s Development team to a 4-2 win at Banbury United in last night’s friendly.
Do you want alerts delivered straight to your phone via our WhatsApp service? Text NEWS or SPORT or NEWS AND SPORT, depending on which services you want, and your full name to 07767 417704. Save our number into your phone’s contacts as Oxford Mail WhatsApp and ensure you have WhatsApp installed.
Latest United news:
5:34pm Saturday 28th February 2015
4:53pm Saturday 28th February 2015
OXFORD United ground out a valuable point as they held in-form Portsmouth to a goalless draw at Fratton Park.
9:30am Saturday 28th February 2015
JOHNNY Mullins says memories of last season’s terrific win at Portsmouth will be in his mind as Oxford United attempt to pull off a repeat this afternoon.
6:40am Saturday 28th February 2015
MICHAEL Appleton is confident Oxford United’s younger players will be able to handle the atmosphere at a packed Fratton Park today.
2:00pm Friday 27th February 2015
While Gary Waddock’s time in charge at Oxford United was brief, it produced one clear benefit which has helped the side this season.