• Mon. May 27th, 2024

Oxford United boss Karl Robinson rues injuries after slow start

Byoxfordnewspaper

Oct 7, 2022

KARL Robinson has rued injuries which have prevented both Oxford United and Wycombe Wanderers from hitting top form this season.

Both sides have enjoyed success in recent years, taking part in four play-off campaigns between them over the last three seasons.

Gareth Ainsworth led Wycombe to Sky Bet Championship in 2020, as his side beat United in the play-off final at Wembley.

The U’s reached the top six again in the 2020/21 season, before a defeat to Blackpool in the semi-finals.

The club finished eighth in League One, in the 2021/22 campaign.

Following relegation from the Championship in 2021, Wycombe finished sixth in the third tier last season, losing 2-0 to Sunderland in the final.

Injuries have hampered both the U’s and the Chairboys this season though as they sit 18th and 19th respectively, in the third tier.

Robinson said: “The fact we’ve been competing at the top end of the table for the last three years has added a bit of spice to it.

“This season, we’ve both started particularly poorly so we know the importance and relevance of the game, we’re not hiding away from that.

“But equally, there’s that little bit of a cup tie atmosphere.

“The injuries that Wycombe have had, have been just as bad as ours.

“If you don’t play your best players, you make it incredibly difficult to win games of football, and they’re not too different to ourselves.”

READ MORE: Karl Robinson blasts side for ‘disrespecting’ Papa John’s Trophy tie

Lewis Bate became the latest player to join the treatment room for United, after he hobbled off when he took a knock on the foot following a tackle in the Papa John’s Trophy defeat to Chelsea Under-21s in midweek.

Robinson provided an update on the Leeds United loanee, plus the fitness of long-term absentees Josh Murphy and Sam Baldock.

He said: “Lewis’ X-ray is okay but we sent him for a scan because there’s still tremendous discomfort in that foot area.”

Murphy trained fully yesterday, while Baldock had been on the training pitch, Robinson said.

Both players will be monitored with decisions made in the next 48 hours as to whether they could face Wycombe.

United played a 4-2-3-1 in the draw at Charlton Athletic on Saturday, something Robinson was pleased about now other players are returning to the squad.

He said: “We’ve had to change shape because of injuries but now we’re getting our players back fit, we’re going back to the shape that we recruited for.

“Most of our players feel very comfortable in our rotations and there’s one or two tweaks along the way for every single game, whether it’s a deeper striker or a higher midfield player.”