Oxford midfielder Ruffels says U's owe fans a good performance

9:30am Saturday 26th April 2014

By David Pritchard

Josh Ruffels thinks Oxford United owe their supporters a performance as Accrington Stanley visit the Kassam Stadium this afternoon.

The clash is the final home game of the regular season, and the U’s must win to stand any chance of keeping their faint hopes alive of finishing in the top seven in Sky Bet League Two.

It was a defeat at home to York City, their eighth loss at the Kassam this season, on Good Friday which saw the play-off pendulum swing away from Gary Waddock’s men.

While the odds are firmly stacked against them, Ruffels sees a need to repay the fans with a positive display.

“I think we do, definitely,” he said.

“Our home form hasn’t been that good this season and if we can get a big win it would be great for the fans.

“You want to finish on a good note for the summer and not leave any regrets. Hopefully we can do the business for the last two games.”

As well as winning, the U’s need a favour to take the fight into the final round of games next weekend.

If York City fail to beat visitors Newport County, or Southend United lose at Fleetwood Town, United would still be in the race – providing they can beat Stanley.

While many will head to the Kassam today thinking the prospect of reaching the play-offs is far-fetched, Ruffels insists the squad remain upbeat.

He said: “Anything can happen, they are all tough games.

“Accrington will be a good team, so we just have to stay positive.

“Mathematically there’s still a chance, so we’ve got to believe.”

Waddock revealed little about his team news in the build-up, but Deane Smalley trained on Thursday following a calf injury and could return to the squad.

Accrington’s main injury doubt is on-loan midfielder Lee Molyneux (hamstring), while target man Kayode Odejayi could start.

Oxford Utd: from Clarke, Hunt, Raynes, Wright, Newey, Wroe, Ruffels, Potter, Kitson, O’Dowda, Connolly, Constable, Smalley, Rigg, Williams, Davies, Rose, Long, Bevans, Crocombe.

Accrington Stanley: from Bettinelli, Buxton, Winnard, Aldred, Liddle, Hatfield, Joyce, Murphy, Mingoia, Naismith, Odejayi, Gray, Hunt, Atkinson, Windass, McCartan, Webber, Bowerman, Wilson, Molyneux.

l Oxford United’s supporters’ player of the season, who will receive the Andrew Knapton Trophy, players’ player and young player of 2013-14 will be announced before kick-off.

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