Portsmouth v Oxford: The Opposition View

Karl Robinson said going into the season he thought it was a hard start for Oxford.

Thursday, 16th August 2018, 4:33 pm
Updated Thursday, 16th August 2018, 4:40 pm

There was an opening-day 4-0 loss at Barnsley, who were very good and are clearly going to be up there at the end of the season.

Oxford also have a really, really terrible record against Fleetwood '“  one draw and they've lost the other eight games!

It doesn't get any easier this weekend, but the manager knows it's a new team bedding in.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

It's not hugely surprising they haven't got a point so far, but the display at Barnsley was poor.

Getting anything there would've been a bonus, but they didn't expect to get thrashed like they did, though they were better against Fleetwood.

Tuesday against Coventry in the Carabao Cup was better, though, and they will be hoping to take that into this weekend.

In terms of signings there's been double figures in and out with the manager coming into the club in March. So his brief has been to have a clear out and get his own players in.

I think they will be fine this season, but it will take them a little time to get up and running.

In the first game, they lost Samir Carruthers after 20 minutes and Simon Eastwood to a gory finger injury in the warm-up last weekend.

Robinson was saying some of the players were feeling sick at the sight of the injury in the changing room afterwards.

Ricky Holmes is a doubt for Saturday, but worked with Robinson at Charlton and he was after him all summer.

He was the livewire last weekend and I wouldn't be surprised if Robinson tried to use him, even if he was 60 or 70 per cent fit because of the impact he could have.

Jamie Hanson has also come in and is set to make his debut. He will add some presence which has certainly been missing so far.

They need someone who's disciplined and keeps things ticking over.

The staff obviously think quite a lot of Hanson, because they invested a lot in him on deadline day and chased him for a while.

The priority for Oxford this season is to get themselves backs to where they at the end of Michael Appleton's reign '“ when they finished eighth in a season where they will get stronger as they go on.