DES Buckingham has hinted that he’ll make changes to his starting XI after Oxford United’s thrashing at the hands of Bolton Wanderers.

Against the Trotters, United’s head coach named an unchanged line-up for the third game running.

The only switch to the squad from the defeat at Portsmouth and victory at home to Cheltenham Town saw Sam Long replace Jay Matete on the bench.

READ ALSO: Cameron Brannagan reflects on ‘embarrassing’ U’s display at Bolton

With most of the U’s squad available following injuries, and therefore a higher number of players to pick from, Buckingham looks set to make some changes for the trip to Port Vale this afternoon.

He said: “It gives us the ability to pretty much do what we want this weekend. We’ve got the ability to field almost two different XIs, which is a great problem we have.

“It’s not so much about that, but recognising what’s worked well for the XI that has taken to the field, and working out if we feel we can get an advantage by playing someone else because of the work they’ve been doing, or they may offer something slightly different to what’s been on the field.

“The players that haven’t been in the squad, I couldn’t have asked for anymore from them.

“It’s picking the right time now for them to step in, and I’m sure we may see some of that over the next couple of games.”

Oxford Mail:

Buckingham is though going to remove the emotion from his team selection, following the loss against Bolton.

He said: “You have to look at it across not just one game in isolation. It’s looking at it across a set of games over a four or five-game period.

“Players’ performances and what they’ve contributed, and what they haven’t, and making sure those that have been waiting patiently, and we have a lot of those whether it be on the bench or not in the squad, have been working extremely hard.

“At some point they need rewarding, but it’s about making sure we pick the right time for that to happen as well.”

Buckingham added: “You want to reward performance firstly, and then you have to make sure you pick the right team for what you think going into the next game.

“Even if you had the ability to play the same XI, it doesn’t mean it’s the right decision to make.

“Just because it worked last time, it doesn’t guarantee it’s going to work well again. Saturday will be a very different test to what Tuesday night was, and we know that for many different reasons.

“We will pick what we feel are the right players for the game, in light of the performance, but making sure we look at what we think we need to get the result.”