Oxford United head coach Karl Robinson has said U’s training is full of competitiveness ahead of his side’s home match against Gillingham this weekend.
After last Saturday’s 1-0 defeat away to Cheltenham Town, Robinson suggested that the players who performed best in training this week would play against Gillingham this weekend.
It sounds as if the players have responded.
“The competitiveness has been incredible,” Robinson said via the Oxford Mail.
“It gives (the players) confidence and a bit of fear.
“It’s every man for himself and that’s the mentality that you want.”
The U’s currently sit 15th in the league, but are only two points outside of the play-off positions in what is a condensed looking League One table at this stage.
Robinson says he wants a driven group who can achieve things at Oxford.
“You want a driven group of people who want to achieve something together, but equally compete against each other,” he said.
“That’s the beauty of it as a manager when you’ve been somewhere a long time.
“All the players know what’s expected here, we never move the goalposts.”
On top of the competitiveness, there was more good news for The U’s this week as Robinson welcomed back several players to training.
Elliot Moore (back) and Sam Winnall (hip) both returned to action, as did Cameron Brannagan after a ‘non-footballing injury’ which caused him to miss last Saturday’s defeat.
Meanwhile, Marcus McGuane (thigh) has also returned, but Robinson doesn’t expect him to feature for another couple of weeks.
“Hopefully the first time we see Marcus will be in the Papa John’s in a few weeks’ time, but having him back on the training ground is really exciting for all of us.”
With the above players returning, only Jamie Hanson remains sidelined as he recovers from a dislocated shoulder suffered in pre-season.
After the defeat to Cheltenham Town, Karl Robinson made it clear that places were up for grabs for those that performed best in training, and it sounds as though the Oxford United players have responded well.
Despite sitting 15th in the table, it’s very early in the season, and things could look very different for the U’s in terms of their league standing very quickly.
With player’s returning from injury and a competitive spirit in the camp, Karl Robinson will be hoping his Oxford side can kick on and achieve something great together this season.