Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting OXFORD NEWS to 80360 or email us
Oxford United going with the kids
OXFORD United have put their faith in the squad’s young players to fill gaps in the first team after the transfer deadline passed last night with no late additions.
It ensured the squad was not weakened by any of their key assets making 11th-hour exits, but equally the lack of activity meant the club did not strengthen.
The quiet end to the summer was consistent with United’s aim of using the new development squad to supplement the seniors.
Speaking before the window shut, manager Chris Wilder made it clear they would stick to the model, which meant the young talents will get opportunities.
“Of course they will – and that’s why we’re not bringing any players in,” he said.
“We talked about it at the start of the season that this is what we are going to do.
“We are going to get some decent old pros and have a decent mix of good characters, along with good young players still going forward like Alfie Potter and some really young players.
“That’s the make-up of this squad and I will work with that and try to keep getting some results like we have done so far.”
Injuries to Deane Smalley, Sean Rigg and Jon Meades meant the average age of United’s bench in the 1-1 draw with Rochdale on Saturday was less than 21.
Teenage striker Tyrone Marsh played the final 22 minutes and came closest to finding a winner late on, forcing a smart save from goalkeeper Josh Lillis.
Wilder said: “They are still young boys learning their trade.
“Tyrone had an opportunity against Rochdale, Ryan (Williams) had an opportunity last week and the others will get a chance because of the nature of the injuries we have got.”
With Rigg out injured for two months, there have been calls for Wilder to play Callum O’Dowda, the only other specialised left winger in the squad.
The United boss came close to giving the 18-year-old his home debut on Saturday, but felt it was the wrong move for the balance of the game.
He said: “It was in my head for 15 or 20 minutes to chuck Callum on.
“But I thought their right back was really adventurous and set up the goal.
“I think Callum would have caused him a problem, but I’m not so sure that going the other way it would have been a different story.
“You just have to weigh that up.”