THERE will be no shortage of big games over the next eight weeks, but there is particular reason for Oxford United to get a result tomorrow.
They will be hoping to complete a league double when Burton Albion visit, after goals from Alfie Potter and Danny Rose claimed a 2-0 win at the Pirelli Stadium in September.
In the six months since then, United have not beaten a side who begin this weekend in Sky Bet League Two’s top eight.
The nature of league competitions means to be the best, you do not necessarily have to beat the best.
But United could badly do with an upturn in form against their promotion rivals.
A 3-0 defeat at Rochdale last weekend means they have picked up just five points from eight games.
By contrast Burton, who have not fared as well against sides in the bottom half, have collected 14 points from their nine clashes so far.
Mickey Lewis insists he is not ovely concerned, but it is a statistic the United caretaker manager admits needs attention – if only because half their remaining games come against the top sides.
“We need to improve it because obviously we still have to play teams in the top eight,” he said.
“A lot depends during the season on when you play teams and the form they are in.
“You can face them when they’re on a roll, or when they’re not doing so well.
“Sometimes they can have people missing through injury or suspension, other times they can have full availability.
“We need to do better against the top teams because if you get the win you also stop them getting the points.
“At this stage with plenty of teams still to play, I wouldn’t read too much into that.”
Results over the last week have seen the top three open a gap for the first time.
As the two sides immediately below the automatic promotion places, United and Burton represent the best of the rest.
And Lewis admitted the sides are in the same boat ahead of their meeting, with a draw of limited use.
He said: “Burton will be thinking the same, both teams need to try and win the game.
“To get in that top three we need to go and win our home games especially, along with a couple of victories away.
“We won’t be sitting back, that’s for sure.”
- Danny Rose celebrates wrapping up the 2-0 victory at Burton in September
Whatever happens tomorrow more twists and turns are guaranteed, but United are not aiming for a specific total.
“Sometimes you set targets and then people worry about them too much,” Lewis said.
“It can change every weekend whether other teams drop points or gain them.
“You do just concentrate on winning the next game and see where that takes you.”
UNITED'S GAMES AGAINST THE TOP EIGHT
Rochdale (h) DREW 1-1
Burton (a) WON 2-0
Chesterfield (h) LOST 1-0
Southend (h) LOST 2-0
Fleetwood (a) DREW 1-1
Plymouth (h) LOST 3-2
Scunthorpe (h) LOST 2-0
Rochdale (a) LOST 3-0