9:30am Saturday 15th February 2014
By Mark Edwards
Mickey Lewis is hoping for a perfect birthday present today – three points from his Oxford United side.
The U’s caretaker manager oversees his fifth game in temporary charge at home to Mansfield this afternoon, looking to extend his unbeaten start.
But while three of his previous four games have ended in draws, Lewis, who turns 49 today, is under no illusions as to how vital wins are if United are to stay in the Sky Bet League Two automatic promotion places.
The U’s are on a seven-game undefeated run and are still to lose away from home in the league all season.
But while such statistics make pleasant reading, Lewis knows that it will be victories that will ultimately decide United’s fate.
“We go all out to win every game and that will not change at all,” he said.
“If you don’t win, you make sure you get a draw, but there’s no thought process of ‘it’s an unbeaten run, so we must not lose’ going on here.
“Sometimes away from home you start a bit more conservatively, but while we try to be nice and solid at home, we are definitely going to attack and go for the win.”
If United see off Mansfield today, they would have taken nine points from Lewis’s first five games in charge.
With chairman Ian Lenagan continuing to search for a permanent manager, that sort of return would do Lewis’s chances of getting the job no harm at all.
But it is not something the caretaker boss is even contemplating.
“It really is a matter of taking it one game at a time,” he said.
“Nobody can think about what might happen in a week, two weeks or three weeks’ time, you have to concentrate on every match and look to win each one.
“I have had plenty of conversations with the chairman, but nothing regarding the future, just what’s happening at the moment.
“He’s been very supportive, but I will just carry on and prepare for the next match.
“And hopefully that can be a win over Mansfield.”
Oxford United are keeping their fingers crossed that today’s Sky Bet League Two game against Mansfield Town survives the wet weather.
A pitch inspection is to take place at 9.30am today.
A club statement yesterday said: “Although the pitch at the Kassam Stadium was playable on Friday afternoon it has been raining for much of the day and is forecast to rain this evening and tonight.
“With this is mind the club has asked match referee Fred Graham to look at the pitch first thing in the morning for a pitch inspection.”
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