SKIPPER Jake Wright has urged Oxford United’s players to ‘man up’ and block out any negativity at the Kassam Stadium tomorrow, writes MARK EDWARDS.

A dire home run, which has seen the U’s win just once in their last nine matches, has understandably seen some home supporters vent their frustrations as United continue to struggle to pull away from the wrong end of the Sky Bet League Two table.

Wright knows that the only people that can change that situation are the players, and he believes they have the mental strength to come through another sticky period.

“Different seasons have seen different reasons why our home form hasn’t been great,” Wright said.

“The first few years I was here we maybe found it difficult to break teams down because they came here and parked the bus.

“Of late, the pitch hasn’t helped, but I think the big thing is that we just haven’t started games well enough at home.

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“When you don’t do that, there is a lot of tension about and if you go behind the crowd get unhappy which I totally understand.

“We know the situation and we have got to deal with it. If we start well, the crowd will be behind us and we can kick on.

“You have to block out negativity and yes, of course if people are on your back it doesn’t help, but I am a fan and if my side wasn’t doing well, I would be moaning too.

“But you have got to deal with these things. You basically need to man up, get on with it and show what you can do.”

Defensively, United have been largely solid this season, with four clean sheets in five games before the recent 2-0 defeats at home to Hartlepool and away to Shrewsbury.

“It’s a massive game and as much as I don’t like using clichés, we have eight cup finals,” he said.

“We have got to get as many points as we can as quickly as we can because we don’t want to be going into the last two or three games of the season in need of results.

“I think we have kept 11 clean sheets this season which is not bad, but we know it could be better.

“I don’t want to set targets of how many more we want, but clearly if can do that, it will mean we are picking up points.”