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  • "We should be looking forward to Rochdale and games against the other contenders. We have more than our fair share of ‘big game’ players with play-off and Wembley experience. They will relish these challenges and should put in good performances.
    My only worry at present is having to live with a make-do back four. Hunt is a good defender but you really need two specialists in the centre controlling the line. Cracks have appeared in recent games. One of Newport’s goals was a clear positional error, we were fortunate that an unmarked Clucas missed an open goal in the six yard box for Mansfield early on and a bad decision from Hunt with a header let in Wimbledon for their goal. I really hope that Raynes is fit for tomorrow. Whoever sits in for Newey will be tested and run at too.
    Then again, I’m just nervous like the rest of us. Truth is, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see us win tomorrow. If we do, I believe it will be a defining moment and set us up for a top 3 finish.
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Oxford United caretaker searching for order among chaos of 'mad' league

Mickey Lewis is hoping Oxford United can inflict damage on a promotion rival by winning at Rochdale tomorrow

Mickey Lewis is hoping Oxford United can inflict damage on a promotion rival by winning at Rochdale tomorrow

First published in Headlines Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Sports Reporter covering Oxford United. Follow us on twitter: @oxfordmailoufc. Call me on 01865 425458

IF ANY gamblers didn’t have the message before, Tuesday night should have done the trick – avoid Sky Bet League Two at all costs.

An unpredictable competition grows more chaotic by the day and was brought into even sharper contrast in midweek.

Mickey Lewis watched relegation-threatened Torquay United earn a 1-1 draw against promotion hopefuls Burton Albion.

At the final whistle, the Oxford United caretaker manager raced back to his car to hear the other results.

When they were read out on the radio, he was not surprised by the erratic scorelines.

Aside from Chesterfield 4-1 demolition of Cheltenham Town, the next five highest-ranked teams in action all dropped points.

“To be honest, I haven’t know a season like it,” Lewis said.

“It’s been a mad league this year really with the way everyone is taking results off each other.

“There are normally a couple of teams running away with it, like Gillingham did last year.

“This year no-one is, you couldn’t have predicted Fleetwood losing 4-0 at home (to Plymouth).

“Southend are a really good side, but haven’t won in about seven games. Chesterfield had a great result on Tuesday, but lost at Wycombe last weekend.

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“Every point is precious.”

There are still two months of the season remaining, but the promotion landscape appears to shift almost by the minute.

The U’s, like all those in the leading pack know an automatic promotion place is up for grabs to whoever can string a handful of good results together.

If any victory between now and May will feel significant, then beating a promotion rival in the process will be massive.

United have ample opportunity to do just that, as they face every other side in the top eight.

The series of duels begins tomorrow with the visit to Rochdale, who leap-frogged them into the top three with victory over Exeter City last weekend.

Lewis, who fumed over a costly late goal which saw United pegged back to draw 1-1 at Morecambe, called for an upbeat mood from the moment the players turned up for training on Monday morning.

The squad answered his call and the caretaker boss is raring to get stuck into what will almost certainly be a decisive sequence of games.

He said: “No-one is nervous about it, everyone has been really upbeat this week and looking forward to the challenge.

“It’s in our own hands. What’s a tough game with the way the league is?

“Northampton, Wycombe, Bury all won in the week, so going anywhere is a hard game.

“You may as well play the top teams, because at least if you win they’re not getting the points. They’re really significant games.”

Lewis also pointed out the situation was no different for the opposition.

He said: “They will be in the same position as us.

“I never quite understood it when people talked about an old fashioned six-pointer, but it is like that.”

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