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  • "we have a habit of doing things the hard way and playing poorly against teams that we are expected to beat. fans calling for wilders head must have extremely short memories as he has achieved the only success the club has had in recent years and will do so again given time. going to be hard against southend on sat but we are capable if we raise our game, but need to keep a close eye on neil harris as he has always had a good goals record."
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Oxford United boss Wilder calls out for a hero

JP Pittman is in contention to face Southend

JP Pittman is in contention to face Southend

First published in Premier League

Chris Wilder is looking for a hero on Saturday to keep Oxford United’s promotion hopes alive with a win against Southend United.

A run of five games without a victory has seen the U’s drop out of the play-off places in npower League Two, meaning they are no longer in control of their own fate with just two games of the season remaining.

Back-to-back wins are needed to stand a realistic chance of making up the two-point gap to Crewe Alexandra in seventh, starting with the final home game of the season this weekend, followed by a trip to Port Vale.

Wilder feels there has been little wrong with recent performances, but with an entire season on the line, admitted it may need something special from an individual to beat high-flying Southend.

He said: “It’s the 45th game and we’ve still got a chance of promotion. It’s not the way we would’ve liked, because I truly believe we should have been settled in the play-offs.

“But it’s not (the case) and we have to take that on the chin and affect the next two games.

“I’m desperate for us to finish on a high at home. Hopefully we’ll have a big crowd and the players can put in a performance, maybe somebody will come out of the pack and be a hero.”

Jon-Paul Pittman and Damian Batt will both be available for selection after missing the 1-1 draw at Plymouth with minor injuries.

James Constable remains a doubt after picking up a thigh problem at Home Park, but it is not believed to be as serious as first feared and the top scorer could be available this weekend.

With United having to rely on a favour from elsewhere to reach the play-offs, Wilder knows even some of the club’s own supporters think it is a long shot, but the United boss is fired up to prove the doubters wrong.

He said: “Other people may have written us off, a certain few of our own supporters might do the same and think that’s us done and dusted.

“Out of a little bit of adversity you have to show your true colours and your true character.

“We’re all together and whether people have their views about where we’re going to end up, we have to do it for ourselves and ram certain comments down people’s throats.

“We can only do that by showing the same commitment.”

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