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EFL Trophy Pizza Cup Semi-final Oxford v Rovers

Boz

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The hosts are in a mid-table position in L1 before the delayed game against strugglers Wigan, though in decent form and with games in hand against most of the leading pack. From memory, our 3-0 defeat there last season was a little flattering to Oxford, though indicative of how we were a bit toothless up front. Both their scorers, Henry with 2 penalties and Brannagan remain at the club, but I'm not aware of the strength of their line-up for this competition up to now or how they'll view this game given their league position and financial situation.

It will be interesting to see how we approach this game, given there must be some financial advantage to getting to Wembley, even without fans, while the postponement of the trip to Grimsby means that there has been a chance to re-charge our batteries and I think gives Keith Hill, the option to pick a stronger side. Promotion has got to remain the priority and with that in mind, my expectation would be that none of the backbone players; Clarke, Spearing or Vaughan start, though perhaps Vaughan to be an option off the bench given the shortage of striking options. Will Nugent be fit enough to start, if only ready for the bench at the weekend? If not, does Jake Burton get a go, or do we deploy a non-striker like Lloyd or Woolery to lead the line? Suspect probably the latter. Fitness permitting, elsewhere on the park, there's no reason not to use the same players who did so well against Peterborough.
 
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The hosts are in a mid-table position in L1 before the delayed game against strugglers Wigan, though in decent form and with games in hand against most of the leading pack. From memory, our 3-0 defeat there last season was a little flattering to Oxford, though indicative of how we were a bit toothless up front. Both their scorers, Henry with 2 penalties and Brannagan remain at the club, but I'm not aware of the strength of their line-up for this competition up to now or how they'll view this game given their league position and financial situation.

It will be interesting to see how we approach this game, given there must be some financial advantage to getting to Wembley, even without fans, while the postponement of the trip to Grimsby means that there has been a chance to re-charge our batteries and I think gives Keith Hill, the option to pick a stronger side. Promotion has got to remain the priority and with that in mind, my expectation would be that none of the backbone players; Clarke, Spearing or Vaughan start, though perhaps Vaughan to be an option off the bench given the shortage of striking options. Will Nugent be fit enough to start, if only ready for the bench at the weekend? If not, does Jake Burton get a go, or do we deploy a non-striker like Lloyd or Woolery to lead the line? Suspect probably the latter. Fitness permitting, elsewhere on the park, there's no reason not to use the same players who did so well against Peterborough.
Agree, Boz. You have identified the key players, i.e. those we can't afford to lose through injury. I'd add Davies to that list. Everyone else, though useful, has a replacement. So, I'd pick the side from the rest of the squad, bringing in newbies like Crawford and Nugent, and good players who need an outing like Murphy, O'Connor, Nelson, Ridehalgh, Kirby and Morris. I think Keith will pick a very strong side, almost as strong as he would for a league game. Whether Oxford play a weakened team or those who are playing Wigan now, I think we are in with a good chance.
 

ONIGP

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NOW TV Sky Sport Day Pass purchased yesterday. It's now sat there waiting for me to activate; not done this before so hopefully no gremlins. I'm in 2 minds about the strength of team we put out. Promotion is the obvious priority but this is a semi-final with a Wembley appearance a game away and against an Oxford outfit who must be certain to play a weakened team. We do have more strength in depth in a number of positions than in recent seasons so should be able to rest some players without weakening too much. Our problem is that the players who would probably benefit from a rest form the spine of our team and to rest Clarke, Spearing and Vaughan would significantly weaken us. Impossible for KH to get this selection right .... or wrong!
 

Boz

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BBTC, I agree re that and with keepers, Joe is better at penalties than Scott should it come to that. Suspect Crawford is cup-tied though.

ONIGP, hadn't realised this wasn't on ifollow, which doesn't work for away games with me, may be worth getting a Sky pass now.
 
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The NOW TV pass has always worked OK for me in the past. Fingers crossed this time...….

I would start a similar side to the one that played Peterborough, but with the big hitters - Spearing, Vaughan, Feeney - on the bench this time. I think Clarke should perhaps be left at home, as we would not use a centre half as an impact sub and we have got decent cover in that position. From Keith's interview in the Globe this week it sounds like CBT might be coming back into the fold, and I would not be surprised if he plays a part in this game. If possible, I would start with Nugent and give him sixty minutes, but I am not sure whether his current fitness would allow that.

I am quite nervous about this game, as while it is in a (rightly) derided competition, a Wembley appearance is always a big deal and a defeat could have a negative impact on confidence.

It will be interesting to see the team selected by Oxford later today.
 

ONIGP

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BBTC, I agree re that and with keepers, Joe is better at penalties than Scott should it come to that. Suspect Crawford is cup-tied though.

ONIGP, hadn't realised this wasn't on ifollow, which doesn't work for away games with me, may be worth getting a Sky pass now.
£9.98 for a 24 hour pass. You need to create an online account with NOW TV, purchase the pass, then it is available to activate on the NOW TV app on the TV. You can purchase in advance but I think it lasts for 24 hours from being activated.
 
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Oxford have made five changes today and rested their top scorers, Taylor and Shodipo, so it will be a strong side we face on Tuesday.
 

frenchrover

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Game on Tuesday may now be in doubt as a fire in Oxfords lighting equipment has forced an evacuation of the ground at halftime in todays league match against Wigan
 

frenchrover

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1613324177802.png
 

frenchrover

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Well It looks as though the Fire Brigade have sorted things out and the second half may be back on, and hopefully Tuesday game will be unaffected.
 
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Takes me back to Rovers in the early Eighties. I think we had more than our share of floodlight failures. ☺
 

bigmart

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Currently losing 1 0 goal scored by player we previously tried sign on loan Callum Laing
 
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Oxford fielded a very strong team in the quarter final against Accrington. Today's team looks quite strong but in any case I think a defeat would dent their confidence. A win for us on Tuesday would be a great boost, but a defeat would be no catastrophe.
 

Ian

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It will be no easy game this but I hope we have moved on from the last showing. The players have been rested so no excuses.
 

Boz

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Two of their regulars this season, Long and Henry likely to be missing through injury on Tuesday, though as drwhoman highlights, a number of their key players coming off the bench to seal the win. I've also seen the highlights and all three goals could have been defended better.
 

Sparky

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As AM says a defeat won’t be a disaster, as long as we don’t get a good hiding which could impact on confidence going forward. Hopefully we don’t concede early
 
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