Oxford United's late shift makes Duberry wary

Michael Duberry is raring to go after returning to fitness

Michael Duberry is raring to go after returning to fitness

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

MICHAEL Duberry admits there could be added pressure on Oxford United tonight as they kick-off at Northampton Town after the majority of their play-off rivals have finished their Good Friday fixtures.

United’s trip to Sixfields is one of two games in npower League Two not to be played in the afternoon.

If results go against them in the 3pm clashes, the U’s could find their position in the play-offs weakened by the time they start against the Cobblers.

Duberry does not believe it will be a big distraction to the side, but acknowledged the results elsewhere could make a difference.

He said: “You always want the points in the bag, if you play at 3pm and win you can sit there happy.

“There could be added pressure knowing teams above and below you have won, so then you know you need to win.

“At the end of the season you always want the points on the board because sometimes there’s more pressure when you have to win – that’s what some people can’t deal with and why teams at the bottom crumble.

“When you play with freedom people can play better.

“We’ll see, I don’t think it’ll affect us that much.”

The 36-year-old is due to return at centre half after missing three games with a minor groin injury.

His inclusion adds to a stronger squad than U’s boss Chris Wilder had to select from ahead of last Saturday’s 2-1 home defeat to Morecambe.

Striker Jon-Paul Pittman is expected to be in the squad for only the second time since January after recovering from a hamstring injury.

A sore hamstring kept Oli Johnson out last weekend and the winger is 50/50 for tonight, so may be rested to ensure he can play against Torquay United at the Kassam Stadium on Monday.

Duberry is delighted to be back in the reckoning and is eyeing maximum points over Easter to retain United’s position in the play-offs.

“I’m fit and raring to go,” he said.

“It’s never good to miss any games and I was frustrated, but it was needed.

“There’s six points to be had in quick succession so it’s going to be important for everyone – we all want two wins.

“We’ve got to make sure we’re the ones pulling away from the teams below us and closing on the ones above us, that’s what it’s all about.”

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