Chris Wilder has urged Oxford United to finish pre-season off in the right way when Coventry City visit the Kassam Stadium today (3pm).
The meeting with the League One side will be the final outing for the senior players before the League Two season begins in a week’s time.
New signing Johnny Mull-ins will make the first appearance of his second spell, while David Hunt is in line for a home debut after recovering from a knee problem.
United’s pre-season mom-entum was knocked when a youthful line-up was thumped 5-1 at Oxford City in midweek.
Wilder will name a much stronger side today, and is looking for a repeat of the performance which earned them a 1-1 draw with Birmingham City a week ago.
The U’s boss said: “Yet again it’ll be a good test, they’ve had some good results in pre-season.
“We’ve got to make sure that we finish it off and keep the standards pretty high.
“There were a lot of good things that happened because it was a competitive game.”
Wilder admits his mind is nearly made up for the starting line-up at Portsmouth next weekend.
United’s manager is happy with the condition the squad is in, but it is the progress of two young players which has been particularly pleasing.
“We’ve got to fine tune a couple of bits and pieces, but I think we’d be lying to say it’s all up for grabs,” he said.
“Some players really come out of the traps and I’ve been really impressed with young Callum O’Dowda.
“He’s been excellent and Matty Bevans did well last week.
“They’re plus points from the younger boys and obviously Deane (Smalley) has scored a few goals.
“A lot of work has gone into it and they’re all knocking on the door, I don’t look at anyone and think they are way behind.”
Coventry’s summer has been dominated by off-pitch issues which will see them using Northampton Town’s Sixfields for home fixtures this season.
It is unclear what sort of side they will bring to the Kassam Stadium, with Steven Pressley taking a team to play Mansfield Town last night.
Oxford Utd: from Clarke, Hunt, Mullins, Wright, Newey, Potter, Whing, Rose, Rigg, Smalley, Kitson, Crocombe, Bevans, Raynes, Lee, Lynn, Davies, Hall, Meades, Ruffels, O’Dowda, Constable, Marsh.
Meanwhile, Oxford United will wear their new away kit for the first time today.
The strip, which consists of a purple shirt with a white stripe, white shorts and socks, is launched this morning ahead of the friendly with Coventry City.
It includes the logo of new sponsors Isinglass Consulting. The Witney-based firm won a prize draw in May to have their name on the away shirt for this campaign.