OXFORD United may be bottom of the form table, but Hartlepool United manager Colin Cooper admits he would love to trade places.
The teams meet at the Kassam Stadium tonight, with the home side seven points and four places better off.
Hartlepool are one of several teams outside of the top seven who could still get into the play-offs with a strong finish.
The U’s are struggling for confidence, but Cooper would still much rather have the points on the board.
He said: “They play nice football and will be frustrated they aren’t in a stronger position – but I would love to be in their position, defending the play-offs instead of chasing them.
“Bridging that gap is about doing our job and if we don’t then we’re obviously a bit short.’’ The U’s won the reverse fixture in the north east 3-1 last September.
Pools’ home form has picked up, but their results on the road are a problem, as shown by recent defeats at Northampton and Wycombe.
Top of Cooper’s priorities this evening will be on keeping it tight at the back.
He said: “If we keep them to nil then we come home with something, but I’m pretty certain we can come back with one or two-nil.
“If they come out and blow us away we have nowhere to go. If we come out and take what they throw at us then and counter, there’s every chance of giving them a good game.”