As the holidays approach, Oxford United have many positives to take away from their form in League One, now unbeaten in nine consecutive domestic encounters.
Being this high in the table is a familiar feeling for Karl Robinson and his team, who have finished in the top six in each of their previous two campaigns, missing a shot at promotion in the play-off round both times.
This season their goal will be to try and claim one of those top two positions in the standings which eluded them in 2019-20 and 2020-21, and a victory on Saturday would put them right in the thick of that race to guarantee themselves a place in the Championship next season.
Even though it has been a long time since they have lost a league game, they received a wake-up call, dropping a 3-2 decision to the Brentford B team in a friendly on Tuesday, falling behind by two goals in the opening six minutes.
One of the areas that has been a sore spot for them in this domestic campaign crept up again this week as the U’s were far too timid going in for challenges against the Bees reserve side, and they had trouble dealing with the high energy and press of the opposition.
They are at their best when their wingers can isolate full-backs in one-on-one situations and work outside of their opponents to force them on their heels, something that has been a big part of their success in League One over the past couple of months.
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You would not have known that Wigan Athletic were among the hottest teams in the league following their match on Saturday as manager Leam Richardson said that he was disappointed with their draw to Ipswich, leaving his team unbeaten now in 11 successive encounters in all competitions.
That attitude of never being fully satisfied and remaining focused on what lies ahead seems to have reverberated down from Richardson to his players, who can overtake Rotherham United for first place on Saturday with a victory.
This team have a solid group of creative athletes who find the back of the net regularly, with 11 different players scoring already this season while also conceding the second-fewest amount of goals (18), behind only the current league leaders, the Millers