COURAGE is the key attribute Chris Wilder is looking for from his Oxford United players tomorrow as they look to snap out of a slump in form.
The U’s head to Plymouth Argyle in search of a first win since the memorable 2-1 success at Bradford City six games ago.
Belief has slowly ebbed away from the side during the run, to the point where several players looked mentally jaded in Tuesday’s 2-1 defeat at home to Fleetwood Town.
The loss of experienced players Ryan Clarke, Michael Duberry, Peter Leven and Justin Richards to injury has not helped, but with all four ruled out United have no option but to continue with the same squad.
Wilder knows a change in form could rest on one moment of inspiration or good fortune and the United boss is urging his players to stand up and meet the challenge.
“We’re just looking for a spark,” he said.
“The boys have got to be positive, when they get out on the pitch they are told to get on the front foot and they have to show that – whether that’s taking a shot when they’re not feeling well set.
“The message will be go and be bold and brave.
“We will be with our selection and our attitude will be that we want to go and win – these players have got ability.
“It does seem a bit of déjà vu with what we had at the start of the season with senior players out.
“But the others to show that courage because it will take just one little thing to get us going, which helps with the performance, which leads to a result.
“Then you’re off and running with a third of the season to go.”
The barren run has seen United squander the momentum gained by a four-game winning streak during the festive period.
But Wilder, who has guided United through tough spells before, is confident of finding a way out of trouble.
He said: “We need to affect it now, as we did at Christmas.
“I’ve been through challenges right the way through my playing career and during my time as a manager and I’ve come out through the other side.
“I’m not expecting anything else from myself, my staff and my players.”