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EYE ON THE OPPOSITION | Oxford United (A)

10 November 2022

Club News

EYE ON THE OPPOSITION | Oxford United (A)

10 November 2022

The Vale travel down to Oxfordshire this weekend as we prepare to face Oxford United at the Kassam Stadium.

The U’s are unbeaten in their last three league games, which includes an impressive 3-1 win away to Bolton Wanderers.

They come into this game off the back of a 1-1 draw at home to Fleetwood Town, and they currently sit 17th in the table.

Meanwhile, Vale prepare for this fixture after bowing out of the Fa Cup in the first round after defeat to Exeter City at Vale Park.

However, the Valiants league form has been strong of late, only losing one of our last six matches in the division, leaving us in 10th position in the table.

Saturday’s match will be an interesting clash, so here is what you need to know about the Yellows before we lock horns with them at the weekend.

ONE TO WATCH: Sam Long

Oxford United's longest-serving player, Sam Long, will be one player to keep an eye out for on Saturday as he tries to nullify our attack from the centre of the Yellows' defence.

Long started his career in the academy at the Oxfordshire side and made his professional debut for the club at the age of 18 against Accrington Stanley in April 2013.

Over the years Long has been sent on loan twice, spending a year at Kidderminster Harriers, and another season at Hampton and Richmond Borough, with both valuable experiences in helping his development.

The Bicester-born defender worked hard to break into the Oxford side, and he finally cemented his place in the 2018/19 season and has not looked back since.

In recent years, Long has started finding the back of the net on a more regular basis from the back, with his best numbers coming in the 2020/21 campaign where he netted a total of six times from centre-back.

Vale will be keen to penetrate the U's defence on a regular basis on Saturday, but our frontline will have to be on top form if they are to get past the United defender.

THE MAN AT THE HELM: Karl Robinson

In the dugout for Oxford United is 42-year-old, Karl Robinson, who has been the boss at the U’s since 2018.

Robinson signed an initial two-and-a-half-year deal at the club when he joined four years ago, but he has since seen his contract extended due to his successes at the helm.

Born in Rainhill, Merseyside, Robinson started his career as a player at non-league level, playing for the likes Marine and Kidsgrove Athletic.

After retiring from the game in 2007, the former forward moved into coaching and helped out in the Liverpool and Blackburn Rovers' academies.

The 42-year-old got his first role as manager when he was appointed as the boss at MK Dons in May 2010, after previously spending time as the assistant manager at the club.

Robinson enjoyed plenty of success at the Dons during his six years at the club, overseeing the club's first-ever promotion to the Championship in 2015, and helping develop players such as Dele Alli.

In October 2016, Robinson left Milton Keynes, and just one month later he was appointed as manager at Charlton Athletic, where he spent two years.

In March 2018, the Addicks and the 42-year-old parted ways, and on the same day, Robinson was appointed as the new Head Coach of the Yellows.

During his tenure in Oxfordshire, The Merseyside-born coach led the club to a play-off final in the Covid-19-affected 2019/20 campaign, but they fell to defeat at the hands of Wycombe Wanderers.

Robinson has built a strong side at the U’s, and we will have to be at our best if we are to take points away from the Kassam Stadium.

STADIUM: The Kassam Stadium

One of the more interesting grounds in Sky Bet League One, the Kassam stadium is famous for only having three stands.

Opened in 2001, the stadium has been the home of the U’s since it was built, and it can hold up to 12,500 fans.

The away fans will be situated in the North Stand alongside some home supporters, and it will be the first time you Valiants have been to the ground since 2017.

HEAD-TO-HEAD LAST FIVE:

Vale wins: 2

Draws: 1

Oxford wins: 2

The two sides cannot be separated in their recent record against each other, with both sides winning two of the last five games.

Records are there to be broken, and although the Kassam Stadium is not a happy hunting ground for Vale, Darrel Clarke will be looking to change that this weekend.


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