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.
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