9:30am Saturday 12th April 2014
By David Pritchard
Josh Ruffels says Oxford United need to deliver as they face a massive test at Plymouth Argyle this afternoon.
The game at Home Park is a meeting of the two sides immediately below the play-off places in Sky Bet League Two.
The stakes are high, with the winners in with a chance of finishing the day in the top seven, while the losers would have to bridge a gap with just four more games remaining.
With just one win in ten games, United head into the game bottom of the form table.
It has been a testing time for everyone connected to the club, and Ruffels thinks this could be an occasion where the players need to inspire the fans, rather than the other way around.
“Maybe they are waiting for us to deliver, we need to and Plymouth is our time to prove that and show what we can do,” he said.
“It’s definitely still alive and it’s so tight that you can’t rule anyone out.
“Because we’ve been up there so long and now we are out of the play-offs everyone is going to be slightly disappointed, but with five games to go it’s still all to play for.”
Ruffels is in line for a seventh successive start and while the young midfielder has not sensed tension in the camp, the U’s know how crucial the clash in Devon could prove.
He said: “I think it’s huge.
“The run we’ve been on has been very disappointing, we take it game-by-game and I think Saturday is right up there with the biggest games.
“We need to get back on track to get back into the play-offs.
“We have put slight pressure on ourselves, but I think we have enough quality in the dressing room to bounce back really quickly.”
When Plymouth won 3-2 at the Kassam Stadium on Boxing Day, the result helped put some daylight between themselves and the scrap at the bottom.
But a strong run in recent weeks has catapulted them up the table.
Pilgrims boss John Sheridan, a former Republic of Ireland teammate of U’s head coach Gary Waddock, is urging his side to finish the job.
He said: “Someone is going to get in there and we have got to believe we can be that side.
“We know we have probably got to win four out of the five, if not win three and draw one.”
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