9:30am Saturday 14th December 2013
By David Pritchard
CHRIS Wilder is hoping the return of several senior players will allow league leaders Oxford United to be more positive when Dagenham & Redbridge visit this afternoon.
Skipper Jake Wright, Sean Rigg and Michael Raynes are all expected to be named in the squad after injury, while Asa Hall is available after being ineligible for the FA Cup games at Gateshead and Wrexham.
Both those away victories were pulled off in the face of huge selection problems, which saw United tailor their tactics accordingly.
But with players returning, Wilder is keen to see his side emulate the second-half display from their last Sky Bet League Two game a fortnight ago, when fellow title hopefuls Fleetwood were pinned back in a 1-1 draw.
The United boss said: “It boosts us back up towards where we want to be.
“You want to be looking round and have options coming off the bench.
“It’s not only about playing nice football, it’s about using what you have got to try and win games.
“We have had to formulate strategies over the last two or three games to try and get through them.
“We are organised, have a lot of desire and defensively we are pretty tight.
“We would like to do a bit more going forward, which we did at Fleetwood.
“Hopefully we can get back to how we played there with the ball, but I can’t really knock the players.
“They have been outstanding.”
The stronger line-up will be most clearly shown in the back four, where United have not been able to field two specialist centre backs since the Fleetwood game.
Tom Newey and David Hunt have done well after being drafted in from full back, but both should be in their preferred roles against the Daggers.
Dagenham & Redbridge are without suspended centre back Scott Doe, while Billy Bingham is ruled out with a knee injury.
Their hopes of repeating the away win at the Kassam Stadium last season may rest on former Arsenal trainee Rhys Murphy, who is the division’s leading scorer with ten goals.
Oxford Utd: from Clarke, Hunt, Mullins, Wright, Newey, Williams, Hall, Rose, Ruffels, Kitson, Constable, Smalley, Marsh, Rigg, O’Dowda, Davies, Bevans, Long, Crocombe.
Dagenham: from Lewington, Hoyte, Wilkinson, Saah, Ilesanmi, Elito, Ogogo, Howell, Obafemi, Murphy, Hines, Scott, Saunders, Edgar, Dickson, Seabright, Connors, D’Ath.
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