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Oxford United keeper Clarke out to keep it clean
9:00am Saturday 17th August 2013 in U's News
Ryan Clarke wants a first clean sheet of the season as Oxford United look to maintain their strong opening at Torquay United this afternoon.
The U’s are one of four sides in Sky Bet League Two with maximum points from their opening two games and top the table on goals scored.
There have been few areas of concern for Chris Wilder’s men in victories against Bury and Portsmouth, but Clarke has conceded in both games.
The U’s goalkeeper is hoping the wait ends this afternoon and thinks if the new-look back four can get it right,the visitors will leave with maximum points.
“A clean sheet’s the priority for me in every game and we want as many as possible,” he said.
“The experienced boys have come in at the back and have been rock solid.
“You know what you’re going to get with them and they all love defending, putting their bodies on the line.
“It’s great to see them do that and if we can shut up shop at the back I think we’ve got enough players in the team that can go on and win the game for us.”
United beat a relegation-threatened Gulls side 3-1 at Plainmoor in March.
But the Devon club have made some big changes to their squad over the closed season and are unbeaten so far after successive 1-1 draws.
Clarke said: “Even though it’s going to be tough, it’s great to go into it on the back of two wins and in a positive frame of mind.
“They’ve had a lot of changes in the summer and not lost their first two games, so they have a bit of momentum.
“But we’re looking forward to it and hopefully we’ll take a good following down there.”
United’s only doubt is over Dave Kitson (shoulder) and if he is fit to play manager Chris Wilder is expected to name an unchanged side.
James Constable is the most likely replacement if the striker does not recover from the knock.
Torquay are without Dale Tonge, who is suspended after picking up two bookings in the 1-1 draw at Morecambe last weekend. Tom Cruise or ex-U’s player Lee Mansell are favourites to fill in at right back.
Otherwise Gulls boss Alan Knill has no injury concerns, with striker Elliott Benyon in contention for a return to the squad after suffering bruising to his brain in a collision against Swindon Town last week.
Oxford Utd: from Clarke, Hunt, Mullins, Wright, Newey, Potter, Whing, Rose, Rigg, Kitson, Smalley, Constable, Marsh, O’Dowda, Williams, Davies, Hall, Ruffels, Raynes, Bevans, Crocombe.
Torquay Utd: from Rice, Cruise, Downes, Pearce, Nicholson, Mansell, Harding, Chappell, Bodin, Hawley, Ball, Benyon, Lathrope, Cameron, Thompson, Yeoman, Sullivan, Poke.
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