Oxford United manager Karl Robison has delivered a potentially concerning update on the fitness of midfielder George Thorne who was taken off after just 20 minutes, as the U’s produced a maginificent performance to thrash Premier League West Ham United 4-0 at the Kassam Stadium on Wednesday night.
Robison’s side went into the game against a strong looking West Ham side, despite their manager Manuel Pellegrini making nine changes from the side that beat Manchester United 2-0 on Saturday, full of belief and confidence that they could cause an upset, and the U’s needed to show resilience in the first half to keep themselves in with a chance of a shock win.
The U’s did exactly that after managing to hold West Ham to a goalless draw at the break, Robinson’s side came out for the second period full of intent to ensure the occassion did not pass them by, and in a dominant display goals from Elliott Moore, Matty Taylor, Tariqe Fosu and Shandon Baptiste made it a resounding and famous victory at the Kassam Stadium.
However, there was one down side on an other wise perfect evening for Oxford, which was midfielder Thorne, who making his first start for the club had started the game very well protecing the back four and playing some assured passes to get his team up the pitch, going down with an injury which is suspected to be dislocated shoulder and being withdrawn after just 20 minutes.
That will be seen as a blow for Robinson’s men and the former Charlton Athletic boss will be hopeful that Thorne’s injury does not rule him out for a long period, as he looks to build on his sides recent momentum of back to back emphatic victories at Lincoln City and then against West Ham on Wednesday.
Thorne’s career has been blighted by injury set backs, and speaking to the Oxford Mail following the game Robinson expressed his concern for the midfielder, saying “That man has been through the mire for a number of years now and we’re bitterly disappointed.”
As Robinson alluded to in his post match interview, it is difficult not to feel sorry for Thorne given the injury troubles he has suffered over recent seasons going back to his spell with Derby County, but it will be concerning for the former MK Dons manager as well that he will potentially miss the midfielder’s presence in the coming weeks.
Thorne started the game displaying all of the types of qualities that make him capable of being an excellent player at League 1 level for the U’s this campaign, with his technical ability and reading of the game qualities that could only enhance what is slowly eveloving into a promising looking Oxford team this season.
Robinson will be hopeful that the midfielder is not ruled of action for too long a period of time, as he will be keen to intergrate him into the base of his midfield for what will be a challenging League 1 season, and Thorne is the type of player who could make the difference between finishing midtable and challenging for the top six.