DES Buckingham says his Oxford United side is an ‘a very different space’ to the one which lost at Cheltenham Town in his first game in charge more than three months ago.

Buckingham was appointed U’s head coach on November 16, with his first match coming at Whaddon Road nine days later.

Both teams ended the game with 10 men, as the struggling Robins claimed a 2-0 win which saw United drop out of the top two automatic promotion places.

Rob Street gave the home side the lead with a fine strike, but he was then shown a straight red card for an elbow on Stephan Negru in stoppage time at the end of the first 45 minutes.

Ruben Rodrigues made sure both sides played the final 22 minutes with 10 men when he picked up a second yellow card, before Will Goodwin gave the hosts a two-goal buffer when he scrambled the ball in from close range.

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The sides meet this weekend in the reverse fixture, and reflecting on the previous game, Buckingham said: “I arrived and that first week was pretty whirlwind, and was very much looked after by the staff leading into that game.

“It didn’t go our way that week, and we’re in a very different space now. We’ve had a lot of change, in terms of staffing, a change in players, an injury crisis which we’re coming off the back end of, our training ground flood, and a lot going on.

“It’s been a very busy three-and-a-half months, but as is always the case here, we’ve adapted and found different ways to continue working the way we want.

“We want to finish the season as strongly as we can, and we’ve got a wonderful opportunity to do that, starting Saturday.”

Oxford Mail:

The Robins extended their winless streak to four matches following a 3-1 defeat at home to a resurgent Charlton Athletic in midweek.

Darrell Clarke’s side are 21st in Sky Bet League One, four points shy of safety, and Buckingham is wary the Robins are scrapping to preserve their third tier status.

He said: “They’re a team fighting to stay in this league, and a team that will come to the Kassam with everything they possibly can, to put in a performance and take away as many points as they can.

“That’s something we need to match. We can’t go out and assume we’ll play the nice football we did at Portsmouth, and expect it to be a similar type of game, because it won’t.

“It’s a very different challenge, and one we need to adapt to, whilst not coming away from our principles, as to what we did on Saturday.”