Injuries will dictate Chris Wilder ’s selection today as Oxford United look to end
their four-match losing run at home to Bradford City.
Wilder has only lost four straight league games once before in almost four years at the Kassam Stadium , but another defeat today would be the club’s
worst league run since October 2004.
Adam Chapman and Jon-Paul Pittman are set to miss out after picking up ankle and hamstring problems in the 2-1 defeat at Cheltenham Town on Tuesday.
It adds to an already lengthy list of injured players.
The biggest headache comes in midfield, with Jake Forster-Caskey unlikely to feature after spending a week in bed with a virus.
In Chapman’s absence, it leaves the U’s withthe out-of-form Simon Heslop and Lee Cox, who only returned from injury in midweek himself, as the squad's only fit central midfielders.
It will almost certainly mean Peter Leven and Harry Worley are included in the squad even though they have only just returned to full training.
The other key selection choice is at centre forward, where James Constable could be brought back in favour of Deane Smalley, who spent the
second half of last season on loan at Bradford.
Wilder admitted it was likely to be a case of waiting to see who was able to play.
The United manager said: “I can’t do anything other than that, we have to see what we’ve got and if people have to play out of position or do specific jobs they’ve got to get on with it.”
It is hardly ideal preparation for a side which is low on confidence.
Despite the problems, the U’s boss made it clear it was more important than ever to stick to his principles.
He said: “Of course we’re always looking to improve, I’m not saying we won’t be open to new things and we’re always tweaking things to make us better at our jobs. “But it’s no good changing the
style, we’re a passing team and it’s done OK for us in the past. “We can switch formations around but I’ve always said we try to play through teams – there will be no change of style.”
The Bantams sit fifth in the table following four wins from their last six league games.
By comparison they have few injury worries, with the main question mark over Jon McLaughlin. The goalkeeper suffered a thigh injury in Tuesday’s 3-1 home win against Morecambe and is likely to be
replaced by Matt Duke.
Oxford Utd : from Clarke, Batt, Raynes, Wright, Capaldi, Heslop, Cox, Potter, Smalley, Constable, Craddock, Rigg, Boateng, O'Brien, Brown, Worley, Leven, Marsh.
Bradford : from Duke, McArdle, Davies, Oliver, Meredith, Atkinson, Jones, Doyle, Reid, Hanson, Connell, Hines, Darby, Ravenhill, Wells, Thompson, McHugh.