DES Buckingham says he will not shy away from making half-time changes this season at Oxford United.

In his first two games as head coach, the former Mumbai City boss has made tweaks to his team at the interval.

With the U’s trailing Cheltenham Town 1-0 in his first match on Saturday, Buckingham took off Stan Mills and introduced Josh Murphy from the bench.

That substitution also saw a switch in formation as United moved from a 4-2-3-1 to a 3-4-2-1.

Ciaron Brown dropped from left back into a three-man central defence, with Murphy and Fin Stevens operating at wing back.

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Meanwhile, in the goalless draw with Bolton Wanderers, Buckingham brought on Tyler Goodrham for Kyle Edwards at half-time.

That change was less tactical though, and more one of managing Edwards, who has only recently returned from a two-month injury layoff.

Buckingham said: “When you look at the fixture schedule we have, we have to make sure we put the best team on the pitch, that we feel will get the result, whether that’s at the start or at half-time.

“We’ll make those changes, I’m not afraid to do that. During the game, it’s about trying to manage the game as well as possible.

“We made the changes we did in the second half, to make sure defensively we stayed solid and get fresh legs, but also when we win the ball, make sure we have a fresh outlet to be able to get in behind them.

“It’s about making sure we utilise the squad we have.”

Oxford Mail:

Reflecting further on the draw with the Trotters, Buckingham was pleased to see United put in an improved performance following the disappointment of the 2-0 loss against Cheltenham in his first game in charge.

He said: “We spoke after Saturday about making sure we got a response, and I think when you play a team that scored seven goals at the weekend, and are obviously flying at the moment in terms of momentum, it was a good test for us.

“It was about making sure we responded. It’s not about taking a step back, it’s about taking a step forward.

“You want to at home, challenge these teams because we’re going to have to all season.”

U’s skipper Elliott Moore returned to the starting line-up against Bolton, having missed the Cheltenham match due to serving a one-game suspension, and partnered Jordan Thorniley at the heart of the United defence.

Buckingham was delighted to have his captain back, saying: “Elliott is a very good leader for this group off the field, but you see the difference when he’s on it.

“He’s a calming presence and one that gives us different ways of playing out from the back.”