• Tue. May 21st, 2024

Oxford United’s Ciaron Brown on Northern Ireland and MK Dons League One game

Byoxfordnewspaper

Sep 16, 2022

CIARON Brown hopes to have an extra spring in his step when he joins up with Northern Ireland next week.

The Oxford United defender has been named in Ian Baraclough’s 24-man squad for the Nations League games against Kosovo and Greece on September 24 and 27 respectively.

But before Brown can think about his international commitments, there is the small matter of tomorrow’s clash with MK Dons at the Kassam Stadium.

READ MORE: Oxford United home game postponed

The Sky Bet League One match has taken on added importance due to the postponement of next Saturday’s game against Fleetwood Town, due to call-ups.

And Brown is desperate to head into the international break on a high.

“It’s probably the worst feeling to go into the internationals with a loss, because you sit there for two weeks thinking ‘if only’,” the 24-year-old said.

“We’ll be pushing for a win and a good performance going into the international break and then kicking on from there when we come back.

“It’s been a bit of an on-off season so far, some results haven’t gone our way and some performances haven’t been to the level we know they can be.

“As a team, we know we’re going to kick on and be at the levels we know we can be. Hopefully it starts on Saturday.”

Brown is a well-established member of the Northern Ireland set-up, winning 12 caps since making his debut in September 2019.

The former Cardiff City player was born in Hillingdon but is eligible to represent the country through his mum.

He said: “Growing up, I felt like my mum’s side was a lot more passionate about their country and my dad just wanted me to play football, so he was happy either way.

“I felt more of a connection to Northern Ireland and going over there it felt like it meant more.

“It was a good choice, because I enjoy it and I love international breaks.”

Brown has started United’s last four League One matches, but missed the Papa John’s Trophy win over Leyton Orient on August 30 as his partner was due to give birth.

READ MORE: Oxford United youngsters receive international call-ups

Their daughter did not arrive until the following Monday, though, so the defender played against Burton Albion on September 3 with that in the back of his mind.

He said: “The gaffer gave me two days off thinking she was going to come during that two-day spell, but she didn’t.

“We were thinking ‘is she going to come on the Saturday at 3pm?’.

“She held off again and was born on September 5.

“It’s plain sailing at the minute, but I know the sleepless nights are going to kick in.”

Brown was one of United’s most consistent performers while on loan from Cardiff City at the end of last season and he has continued that form in the early weeks of the new campaign.

Head coach Karl Robinson said: “He’s a seven out of 10 in everything he does.

“He’s just had a baby, so we’re so happy for him and his partner.

“His family life is settled and he’s settling into life in Oxfordshire. That’s important for us.

“He’s a tremendous young man and someone we’re very thankful to have.”