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Smalley to lead Oxford United charge
DEANE Smalley is ready to shoulder the burden up front as a threadbare Oxford United head to Hartlepool United tomorrow.
With Dave Kitson suspended, James Constable injured and Tyrone Marsh needing a late fitness test just to make the bench, Smalley is the only available striker in the club’s professional ranks for the Sky Bet League Two clash.
The 25-year-old is still finding his way back to full fitness following a hamstring injury and admitted to struggling towards the end of the 90 minutes in the 1-0 defeat to Chesterfield last weekend.
But Smalley is unfazed by the challenge of leading the line on his own.
He said: “I think that’s part of my game anyway – making the runs in behind and trying to put the ball in the back of the net.
“Whatever my role is on Saturday, I’ll be happy to be wearing the shirt and hopefully I can do a good job for the team.”
He added: “I wouldn’t say there’s any added pressure though (because of the players missing).”
Smalley is likely to play up front with Alfie Potter in behind – a combination which has produced in the past, notably in a 1-0 win at leaders Gillingham in February, when Potter hit the winner.
It is a partnership Smalley enjoys.
He said: “I played quite a few times with me up front and Alfie just behind me.
“It has worked quite well when we’ve played together, so hopefully it will be no different on Saturday.”
Smalley does not believe United’s weakened squad will prevent the side from adding to their tally of ten points from four away games.
He said: “With the way our away record has been, I don’t think we’ll have any problem.
“We didn’t perform that well on Saturday, we all know that and everyone is determined to put it right at Hartlepool.”
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