9:30am Monday 24th March 2014
By David Pritchard
GARY Waddock wants his Oxford United side to play an entertaining brand of football as a new era at the club begins tonight.
The former Wycombe Wanderers boss leads the U’s for the first time away to Southend United, just over 48 hours after signing a two-and-a-quarter year contract.
It means a hectic start for the permanent successor to Chris Wilder, who only met the players before training yesterday morning.
Waddock has clear ideas about the style he wants to encourage, but will not look to make radical changes straight away.
He said: “I want the supporters to be excited. I want my team to be entertaining and play on the front foot with a good tempo.
“That’s not going to happen overnight and we will introduce that as we go along.
“Something is being done right here to be in the position they are in, so I’m not going to smash it to pieces, that would be foolish of me.
“It will be slow, but teams I’ve had in the past have been ones that have entertained.”
The appointment was made after a lengthy recruitment search by the club, which took eight weeks.
It was a far simpler process for Waddock, who joins after a spell as head of coaching at MK Dons, as United proved an attractive proposition.
He said: “I’ve been here on the opposite side when I’ve come up against Oxford in the past.
“The facilities are excellent, the noise the supporters generate is fantastic and it’s a good group of players.
“They have got this club into a position to challenge for promotion, so when you throw all that into the mix, it’s a fantastic opportunity for me.”
Scott Davies is the only player in the squad who has worked under him before and the new man made it clear everyone has to prove themselves.
He said: “The players will have to impress me.
“It’s a clean slate as such. They start again and we’ve got a very exciting period coming up in the next few weeks, so they will have to impress.”
Waddock’s immediate aim is to convert a good position into promotion out of Sky Bet League Two, as he did with Wycombe three years ago.
But there is also a focus beyond the next eight games and the former Republic of Ireland international is keen to emulate the lengthy tenure of Wilder, who was at the club for more than five years.
He said: “I want to build something here.
“I’ve had long discussions with the chairman and he wants someone to be here for a long period of time.
“It’s not a quick-fix. It’s for a period of time and that’s what I want to do.”
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