Tuesday, 2 August 2011

OUFC Season Preview 2011/12

Written for The Guardian's League Two blog. Disappointingly, not used due to an editorial double-booking error.

After an encouraging first season back in the Football League, this is the year that Oxford United will be looking to make a move.

The U's finished five points adrift of the play-offs in May, with manager Chris Wilder suggesting that his side were fifteen goals short of the necessary standards at each end of the pitch.

There is a real belief that these issues have been addressed over the summer months. The experienced trio of Tony Capaldi, Andrew Whing and Michael Duberry have arrived to reinforce the back-line, with Jon-Paul Pittman and Deane Smalley expected to provide further fire-power having signed from two of last season's promoted teams.

Wilder's transfer coup, however, is likely to be midfielder Peter Leven. The midfielder shocked MK Dons fans by dropping a level this summer, but should thrive at the heart of Oxford's passing game.

An undefeated US tour has been backed up by home victories against MK Dons, Everton and Birmingham City, giving Oxford fans cause for optimism ahead of the new campaign.

If the new faces can help the raw potential within last season's squad to fulfil its promise, there is no reason why Oxford United can not be challenging the promotion places at the end of the season.

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