Wilder ensures perfect start for Oxford United

With just over a week into the new season, a lot has already happened in the Oxford United camp.

Chris Wilder’s men have progressed to the second round of the league cup with an impressive display against Bournemouth. They now face Leeds United at Elland Road next week, but who would have thought that this draw would not be the most impressive one.

Surprisingly, the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy first round tie proved very interesting seeing us draw a home game against that team from across the A420. So we will be facing Swindon Town this season after all and hopefully we shall see a similar outcome from last season’s encounters.

Although this is a slight distraction from the league campaign, a win will be a massive boost for the fans, not that we need it at the moment following such an impressive start to the season. The two league games so far have seen United yet to concede a goal, take maximum points, and push their way to the top of the table.

Obviously there is still a long way to go with 44 games and 132 points still to play for so it is important not to get too ahead of ourselves after a few decent performances.

Oxford fans will know all too well from previous years the importance of maintaining form for an entire season. It is nice to see United starting strong though and there have already been a couple of stand out players from the new signings.

Firstly, centre back Michael Raynes has come in with a weight of expectation to match up to the standard of Michael Duberry whilst he is sidelined after neck surgery. ‘Dubes’ may have to retire because of this injury and if he does we will have lost a superb professional, but he must of course do what is right for quality of his later life. However Raynes has proven so far to be a fine addition/possible replacement to a solid back line, along with the fully recovered Tony Capaldi.

Capaldi played one game last season (the final match) due to a lengthy injury layoff so having him fully fit is fantastic for the club as he can do a decent job at left back. This could also mean that once Liam Davis is back to full fitness he may be pushed further up to a more attacking role, which should suit him a lot more.

One more player to stand out so far is loanee Jake Forster-Caskey. He is highly rated at parent club Brighton and you can see why with the performances he has put in so far, including a stunning goal against Bristol Rovers.

With players of this calibre and several other players still to come back from injury it looks like Oxford could have good squad depth for a long season battling it out at the top for promotion, but only time will tell.

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