Oxford United will be looking to make a winning start to their 2021/22 league campaign, when they take on Cambridge United at the Abbey Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The U’s missed out on promotion into the Championship last season, as they were beaten by Blackpool in their play-off semi-final on aggregate.
Oxford take on a Cambridge side that will head into this one with confidence, after winning promotion from League Two last term, whilst under the management of Mark Bonner.
Karl Robinson’s side will have the backing of a sold-out away end on Saturday, with the Kassam Stadium faithful expectant of three points in their opening day fixture.
The Oxford United boss has been active during the summer transfer window, as he looks to strengthen his squad ahead of their push for promotion this term.
We take a look at the predicted Oxford United starting XI for their opening day clash against Cambridge United at Abbey Stadium.
Jack Stevens started between the posts for Oxford in a recent pre-season friendly, and that’s expected to remain the case for their season opener against Cambridge.
Elliott Moore was a regular for the U’s last season, and is likely to be a starter for this one, where he could potentially be partnered by summer signing Jordan Thorniley, who arrived on loan from Blackpool.
Steve Seddon has impressed during pre-season, with the left-back signing permanently from Birmingham City, and he’s already got himself on the scoresheet in a recent defeat to Bristol Rovers.
Anthony Forde was trusted at right-back in that clash with Bristol Rovers, and is likely to keep his place in the starting XI for the game against Cambridge United.
Cameron Brannagan was another regular in the starting XI last season for Oxford, and he’ll fancy his chances of retaining his place in the side for this one.
Can you remember the score from Oxford's last 15 opening day fixtures?
James Henry made 43 appearances last season for Oxford, and chipped in with seven goals and nine assists for Karl Robinson’s side, and is likely to be trusted to provide the creative spark for the U’s here, although he’ll be pushed hard for his starting spot by Marcus McGuane.
Gavin Whyte arrived at the Kassam Stadium from Cardiff City on loan in the summer transfer window, and he’ll be pushing for a start out wide for Oxford at the Abbey Stadium.
Mark Sykes is next up, with the midfielder being a regular in the Oxford team last season, as they reached the play-off semi-finals. Competition for places in midfield with the U’s is fierce this term, and Sykes will know that he’ll have to be at his best to retain his place in the team.
Karl Robinson has some strong options available to him in attack, but it seems likely that Sam Winnall will partner Matty Taylor up-front for the U’s.
Taylor netted 19 goals in 51 appearances for the League One side last term, and will be hoping he can hit the ground running this season.
He’ll be pushed for his starting spot though, with West Ham United youngster Nathan Holland arriving on loan with Oxford over the summer.