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Oxford United will handle heat at the top, says Wilder
OXFORD United will have no problems coping with the added pressure of being league leaders, according to manager Chris Wilder.
United head to Torquay United this weekend top of Sky Bet League Two on goals scored following victories from their opening games against Portsmouth and Bury.
It will be several weeks before the table begins to settle down, but Wilder welcomed the fast start.
The U’s boss has no issue being in the spotlight and drew a comparison between his side and last season’s champions Gillingham.
He said: “People talk about the first ten games of the season, but there’s 30 points to play for and we want to pick up as many as possible.
“Nobody ever turns a win down, so if it means you’re top of the league then so be it.
“Gillingham handled it and I look at their team and ours and we have footballers who can handle winning.
“You can see them after the winning goal against Bury and they were all together, it was a great reaction.
“It’s a long old season, but you’d rather be at the top than the other end.
“We’ve beaten two decent sides and we expect a tough test at Torquay.
“You couldn’t have asked for a tougher start, but we have managed to get points on the board, which is massive for everybody.”
The bright start has mirrored last season, when United led the way with three straight league wins.
Supporters will be hoping the similarities end there, as the side went on to lose six in a row to plummet down the table.
Wilder thinks the experience will help manage expectations this time, but believes the revamped squad are far better placed to sustain a challenge than last season’s injury-hit line-up.
“I don’t think we ever let it get to us, but it’s just the team wasn’t strong enough last year,” he said.
“Even going into the second and third games we knew that underneath the XI we weren’t very strong.
“It came to light when we were having people who had been out all pre-season sitting on the bench at certain games.
“We haven’t got that this year, this is a new group of players and they deserve to be up there.”
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