Oxford United focused for FA Cup replay, says Rose

9:30am Thursday 5th December 2013

By David Pritchard

THE ongoing uncertainty over Chris Wilder’s future will not distract Oxford United’s players from their task at Gateshead tonight, according to Danny Rose.

Portsmouth interviewed the U’s boss on Tuesday as a candidate to fill their vacant manager’s position at Fratton Park.

The speculation has overshadowed the build-up to the rearranged FA Cup first- round tie on Tyneside.

With Pompey hoping to make their appointment next Monday, Wilder is expected to take charge of the United side as normal.

Rose stressed the players’ attention this week had been on the game itself and dismissed suggestions they had been disrupted.

“I don’t think it will harm our chances,” he said.

“We are such a tight-knit group that if the gaffer is here to lead us out, then I don’t see that being much of a distraction.

“As a group we just want to get through to the next round.”

He added: “I think all the players have experienced it before when there has been speculation about the manager.

“We trained on Tuesday and all the focus was on the game, that’s all it will be.”

Michael Raynes agreed it was a scenario most players had gone through in the past.

He said: “It’s football, and if you’re doing well, people are going to want you.

“We’re doing really well at the minute, so it’s no wonder that the gaffer’s name is being touted about.

“It’s nothing to do with us really, we just have to play and hopefully things will work themselves out.”

No-one from the coaching staff was available for pre-match interviews yesterday, but Wilder met up with the squad when they held a training session at Sheffield United on the way up to the north-east.

The players have been kept up to date with events as they have unfolded this week, but Rose thought they were no better informed than supporters.

He said: “I’d say we know as much as anyone else does.

“I think the gaffer had an interview on Tuesday and nothing has been fed back to us.

“I’m sure as soon as the fans know, we will know.”

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