New Oxford United boss calls on squad to shape up

Gary Waddock issues instructions at Southend

Gary Waddock issues instructions at Southend

First published in Sport Banbury Cake: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Sports Reporter covering Oxford United. Follow us on twitter: @oxfordmailoufc. Call me on 01865 425458

GARY Waddock urged Oxford United’s players to judge themselves after admitting he had concerns over both ends of the pitch following Monday’s defeat at Southend United.

A third successive 3-0 away reverse, all against promotion rivals, increased the pressure on United’s place in the Sky Bet League Two play-offs.

Waddock had only taken one training session before the game at Roots Hall after being named as head coach on Saturday.

And with a trip to Dagenham & Redbridge this weekend, opportunities to begin implementing his ideas are limited.

Waddock asked for opinions in the changing room at Southend and the new man believes it has to start with an honest assessment from the players.

He said: “It’s been a quick turnaround from Friday to Monday, with my appointment as well.

“We’ll have little time from now until Saturday, so the players have to dust themselves down, have a look in the mirror and see if they did enough for the club.”

He added: “I will pick the bones out of the DVD, then sit down with the players, address it and pick a team for the weekend.”

The main problem is knowing where to start. United have scored just six goals in eight games, while conceding 16.

When asked which department needed more attention, Waddock was clear.

He said: “Both, because if you can’t keep clean sheets and defend properly and you can’t then go and score in the final third, you don’t expect to win football matches. “We will need to improve drastically in those areas.

“It’s how you react and we will be reacting in a positive manner on the training ground.”

The former Wycombe Wanderers boss felt he had learned a lot more about his players at Southend than from Friday’s 1-0 win over Hartlepool United.

His task was not helped by having to make three enforced changes.

Andy Whing, who cramped up late on in his first game for four months, and match-winner David Connolly both impressed.

But like Ryan Williams (calf), they were unable to start two games in four days as Waddock had one eye on the upcoming schedule.

He added: “A few of the lads had bumps and bruises and a few little niggles. “We have a heavy programme coming up in terms of games, so I didn’t want to take any chances with those players.”

Comments (10)

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1:12pm Wed 26 Mar 14

Doctor69 says...

GW has a massive job on his hands here. With the exception of Clarke, Mullins, Whing, I would seriously consider the future of the remaining senior first team squad. I really don't think the vast majority are up to it. The defence are all over the place, the midfield are lightweight, not quick enough, and create little, and up front we just lack any kind of spark or real ability to score bar the on loan David Connelly. I know Beano is 100% up for it, but that's not enough.
GW has a massive job on his hands here. With the exception of Clarke, Mullins, Whing, I would seriously consider the future of the remaining senior first team squad. I really don't think the vast majority are up to it. The defence are all over the place, the midfield are lightweight, not quick enough, and create little, and up front we just lack any kind of spark or real ability to score bar the on loan David Connelly. I know Beano is 100% up for it, but that's not enough. Doctor69
  • Score: 9

2:29pm Wed 26 Mar 14

Yellow Snowball says...

It's odd because until mid-Feb, OUFC had the only unbeaten away record in all four divisions and the best League 2 defence in terms of goals conceded. I've not been able to attend any matches this season, so given what's happened in the last six or so weeks, am I to assume that we'd been given an entirely false impression of the team's defensive ability? Or were these impressive stats all down to that much-criticised Mr Wilder!?
It's odd because until mid-Feb, OUFC had the only unbeaten away record in all four divisions and the best League 2 defence in terms of goals conceded. I've not been able to attend any matches this season, so given what's happened in the last six or so weeks, am I to assume that we'd been given an entirely false impression of the team's defensive ability? Or were these impressive stats all down to that much-criticised Mr Wilder!? Yellow Snowball
  • Score: 13

4:50pm Wed 26 Mar 14

Taff Ewe says...

I agree to an extent with Doctor69. Though I would add Potter to the ones to stay, even though he had an absolute shocker the other night. His form of the last few seasons will surely return.

I saw something in Smalley the other night. 2nd half he was picking the ball up deep and looked sprightly and confident going forward. He is good in the air, comfortable on the ball and has a bit of pace. I have a feeling that there is a very good player in there somewhere.

Where to play him? Maybe behind the main striker with a licence to roam (just as Rooney does).
I agree to an extent with Doctor69. Though I would add Potter to the ones to stay, even though he had an absolute shocker the other night. His form of the last few seasons will surely return. I saw something in Smalley the other night. 2nd half he was picking the ball up deep and looked sprightly and confident going forward. He is good in the air, comfortable on the ball and has a bit of pace. I have a feeling that there is a very good player in there somewhere. Where to play him? Maybe behind the main striker with a licence to roam (just as Rooney does). Taff Ewe
  • Score: 0

5:43pm Wed 26 Mar 14

diverboy says...

GW not the man for the job
Gw out now
GW not the man for the job Gw out now diverboy
  • Score: -17

9:03pm Wed 26 Mar 14

Richard Wickson says...

Sadly the solid defence we had earlier in the season has fell apart. We were assured that as players came back from injury things would only get better, instead things have collapsed, the defence now looks like a rabbit caught in a trucks headlights, the only uplifting thing from recent games is that the younger lads, Bevans and Long have come out better than the senior players. Midfield has been non existent, simple as that. Up front as always we have struggled dreadfully, even the early promise shown by Connolly has evaporated because of poor supply. The Southend game has left me thinking we may not win again this season. As I have said several times, 9th place beckons yet again.
Sadly the solid defence we had earlier in the season has fell apart. We were assured that as players came back from injury things would only get better, instead things have collapsed, the defence now looks like a rabbit caught in a trucks headlights, the only uplifting thing from recent games is that the younger lads, Bevans and Long have come out better than the senior players. Midfield has been non existent, simple as that. Up front as always we have struggled dreadfully, even the early promise shown by Connolly has evaporated because of poor supply. The Southend game has left me thinking we may not win again this season. As I have said several times, 9th place beckons yet again. Richard Wickson
  • Score: -3

9:16pm Wed 26 Mar 14

Richard Wickson says...

Yellow Snowball wrote:
It's odd because until mid-Feb, OUFC had the only unbeaten away record in all four divisions and the best League 2 defence in terms of goals conceded. I've not been able to attend any matches this season, so given what's happened in the last six or so weeks, am I to assume that we'd been given an entirely false impression of the team's defensive ability? Or were these impressive stats all down to that much-criticised Mr Wilder!?
Wilder is now looking like he was the sole reason this team was in the top few. Simple as that, whilst I thought they could have done slightly better under him, that is won more home games it's now become apparent that Lewis and Melville obviously contributed little if anything and the points we had accumulated were purely down to Wilders influence. What's happened since he left is little short of shocking. Players that looked half decent under his management now look quite poor. We cannot defend anymore so that proves it was his influence not Mad Dogs or Melvilles that had us as the meanest defence in Division 4. Obviously we have never been prolific in front of goal so nothing's changed there. Like others on here I think Waddock needs time to assess things and probably won't keep many that are out of contract as he showed at Aldershot he likes nimble, quick players that can run and pass, we don't have many that do that here at present!
[quote][p][bold]Yellow Snowball[/bold] wrote: It's odd because until mid-Feb, OUFC had the only unbeaten away record in all four divisions and the best League 2 defence in terms of goals conceded. I've not been able to attend any matches this season, so given what's happened in the last six or so weeks, am I to assume that we'd been given an entirely false impression of the team's defensive ability? Or were these impressive stats all down to that much-criticised Mr Wilder!?[/p][/quote]Wilder is now looking like he was the sole reason this team was in the top few. Simple as that, whilst I thought they could have done slightly better under him, that is won more home games it's now become apparent that Lewis and Melville obviously contributed little if anything and the points we had accumulated were purely down to Wilders influence. What's happened since he left is little short of shocking. Players that looked half decent under his management now look quite poor. We cannot defend anymore so that proves it was his influence not Mad Dogs or Melvilles that had us as the meanest defence in Division 4. Obviously we have never been prolific in front of goal so nothing's changed there. Like others on here I think Waddock needs time to assess things and probably won't keep many that are out of contract as he showed at Aldershot he likes nimble, quick players that can run and pass, we don't have many that do that here at present! Richard Wickson
  • Score: 0

11:40pm Wed 26 Mar 14

Eraser says...

Richard Wickson wrote:
Yellow Snowball wrote:
It's odd because until mid-Feb, OUFC had the only unbeaten away record in all four divisions and the best League 2 defence in terms of goals conceded. I've not been able to attend any matches this season, so given what's happened in the last six or so weeks, am I to assume that we'd been given an entirely false impression of the team's defensive ability? Or were these impressive stats all down to that much-criticised Mr Wilder!?
Wilder is now looking like he was the sole reason this team was in the top few. Simple as that, whilst I thought they could have done slightly better under him, that is won more home games it's now become apparent that Lewis and Melville obviously contributed little if anything and the points we had accumulated were purely down to Wilders influence. What's happened since he left is little short of shocking. Players that looked half decent under his management now look quite poor. We cannot defend anymore so that proves it was his influence not Mad Dogs or Melvilles that had us as the meanest defence in Division 4. Obviously we have never been prolific in front of goal so nothing's changed there. Like others on here I think Waddock needs time to assess things and probably won't keep many that are out of contract as he showed at Aldershot he likes nimble, quick players that can run and pass, we don't have many that do that here at present!
As I've said in other posts - the problem is much deeper than just the manager. We've had too many defensive minded coaches for years and absolutely no-one to develop creativity or ability in the final third. GW has the knowledge to make a good team - but he needs the right players and backroom staff to help him deliver. He got Aldershot promoted with record points . He also kept QPR in the championship as caretaker and took Wycombe up - so he is no mug. Please IL, loyalty is admirable but ML and AM need to go. GW MUST be allowed to rebuild everything - otherwise he's a figurehead and shackled in the same way as CW. There is no room for sentiment in business.
[quote][p][bold]Richard Wickson[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Yellow Snowball[/bold] wrote: It's odd because until mid-Feb, OUFC had the only unbeaten away record in all four divisions and the best League 2 defence in terms of goals conceded. I've not been able to attend any matches this season, so given what's happened in the last six or so weeks, am I to assume that we'd been given an entirely false impression of the team's defensive ability? Or were these impressive stats all down to that much-criticised Mr Wilder!?[/p][/quote]Wilder is now looking like he was the sole reason this team was in the top few. Simple as that, whilst I thought they could have done slightly better under him, that is won more home games it's now become apparent that Lewis and Melville obviously contributed little if anything and the points we had accumulated were purely down to Wilders influence. What's happened since he left is little short of shocking. Players that looked half decent under his management now look quite poor. We cannot defend anymore so that proves it was his influence not Mad Dogs or Melvilles that had us as the meanest defence in Division 4. Obviously we have never been prolific in front of goal so nothing's changed there. Like others on here I think Waddock needs time to assess things and probably won't keep many that are out of contract as he showed at Aldershot he likes nimble, quick players that can run and pass, we don't have many that do that here at present![/p][/quote]As I've said in other posts - the problem is much deeper than just the manager. We've had too many defensive minded coaches for years and absolutely no-one to develop creativity or ability in the final third. GW has the knowledge to make a good team - but he needs the right players and backroom staff to help him deliver. He got Aldershot promoted with record points . He also kept QPR in the championship as caretaker and took Wycombe up - so he is no mug. Please IL, loyalty is admirable but ML and AM need to go. GW MUST be allowed to rebuild everything - otherwise he's a figurehead and shackled in the same way as CW. There is no room for sentiment in business. Eraser
  • Score: 3

11:50pm Wed 26 Mar 14

Bumble08 says...

Confidence is massivley low at the moment and that needs to be the biggest change. We still have one of the best squads of players in the league,they just need the belief back. Wright has looked half the player he was at start of the season, Mullins is a miss as I think they make a good pairing at the back for us, newey has been good for us most of the time this season and he's back soon, unfortunalty hunt is a square peg in ever single round whole. Potter, Williams and rig can all give teams problems on there day, wasn't to long ago when rig and Williams destroyed teams with their wing play. Problem is we have to many players that are the same, mainly strikers. Kitson back to goal, constable back to goal, smalley back to goal, crying out for a moody and rush combo again. We'll finish 6th this season and hope he can get us up for the play offs.. Wembely, wembely come on!!!!!!
Confidence is massivley low at the moment and that needs to be the biggest change. We still have one of the best squads of players in the league,they just need the belief back. Wright has looked half the player he was at start of the season, Mullins is a miss as I think they make a good pairing at the back for us, newey has been good for us most of the time this season and he's back soon, unfortunalty hunt is a square peg in ever single round whole. Potter, Williams and rig can all give teams problems on there day, wasn't to long ago when rig and Williams destroyed teams with their wing play. Problem is we have to many players that are the same, mainly strikers. Kitson back to goal, constable back to goal, smalley back to goal, crying out for a moody and rush combo again. We'll finish 6th this season and hope he can get us up for the play offs.. Wembely, wembely come on!!!!!! Bumble08
  • Score: 0

1:05pm Thu 27 Mar 14

Doctor69 says...

I do think Wilder going has played a part. He managed to get better results out of his mediocre squad than Lewis could manage. That being said, we were still a poor team under Wilder, and the away run masked over things a lot.

GW is in a very tough position as he has inherited a poor squad, with little in the way of creativity, and confidence very low, but are in a false position. His job is to keep OUFC in the play offs - which in reality I, and many others now think he will struggle to do.

Hopefully GW can work a minor miracle and turn our form around. If not, lets hope he uses the remaining games to get a really good feel of the squad and freshen it up over the summer. He has experience at going up the lower leagues, lets hope he can further build on that here.
I do think Wilder going has played a part. He managed to get better results out of his mediocre squad than Lewis could manage. That being said, we were still a poor team under Wilder, and the away run masked over things a lot. GW is in a very tough position as he has inherited a poor squad, with little in the way of creativity, and confidence very low, but are in a false position. His job is to keep OUFC in the play offs - which in reality I, and many others now think he will struggle to do. Hopefully GW can work a minor miracle and turn our form around. If not, lets hope he uses the remaining games to get a really good feel of the squad and freshen it up over the summer. He has experience at going up the lower leagues, lets hope he can further build on that here. Doctor69
  • Score: 1

5:45pm Thu 27 Mar 14

adlibber says...

I hope GW is given more time than Barker had at Pompey! sacked today after 108 days in charge! Waddock has little to lose this season because he's only just arrived but he will need backing next season if we are to progress. I still don't get the Wilder thing here. He failed to progress since promotion to the league and we dropped out of play off spots for the last 2 years yet wilder seems to be absolved from any blame? Lewis was a predictable disaster and for that Lenagan has to hold his hands up. I agree with other posters that confidence in the players has simply drained away and if Waddock manages to turn this around in time for a play off spot he deserves a lot of credit. Personally I think our season is over. I do fear dwindling attendances next season if we're still in league 2 and Lenagan doesn't support Waddock with investment in better players.
I hope GW is given more time than Barker had at Pompey! sacked today after 108 days in charge! Waddock has little to lose this season because he's only just arrived but he will need backing next season if we are to progress. I still don't get the Wilder thing here. He failed to progress since promotion to the league and we dropped out of play off spots for the last 2 years yet wilder seems to be absolved from any blame? Lewis was a predictable disaster and for that Lenagan has to hold his hands up. I agree with other posters that confidence in the players has simply drained away and if Waddock manages to turn this around in time for a play off spot he deserves a lot of credit. Personally I think our season is over. I do fear dwindling attendances next season if we're still in league 2 and Lenagan doesn't support Waddock with investment in better players. adlibber
  • Score: 1

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