Preview: Wycombe Wanderers v Oxford United
Wycombe Wanderers entertain Oxford United on Saturday in their 3rd league game of the season.
It's early days but the league table currently shows Wycombe in 3rd place with 4 points and Oxford in 19th with 1 point, both teams having played 2 games.
This is Wycombe's 18th season since joining the football league but it's only the 7th time the two clubs have shared the same division, the Chairboys having played at a higher level than Oxford for 7 seasons while the U's have had the upper hand for 4.
In the 6 seasons that the two clubs have competed in the same division, Wycombe have finished higher than Oxford on 5 occasions.
The Us are back in the football league after an absence of four years during which they finished 2nd, 9th, 7th and 3rd in the Conference before finally clinching promotion with a 3-1 win over York City in May's play-off final at Wembley
So far they've enjoyed mixed fortunes with a goalless draw at Burton and a home defeat to Bury surrounding an impressive 6-1 Carling Cup victory over Bristol Rovers.
Wycombe have made a solid start and are yet to concede a league goal as they attempt to win promotion back to League One at the first time of asking.
Last week's goalless draw at Stockport may have been disappointing from a spectator's point of view but it was by no means a bad result at bogey ground Edgeley Park, and as long as the Blues' tendency to wilt in the second half (see also Morecambe) is quickly rectified, there's every reason to continue to be optimistic.
Having scored goals for fun in pre-season, it's perhaps a useful reality check for Wycombe that keeper Nikki Bull has been their star performer so far. Were it not for him, the Blues certainly wouldn't have collected four points from their opening two games and the mood would probably be somewhat different.
It's becoming apparent that the downside to manager Gary Waddock's refreshing brand of attacking football is that Wycome often leave themselves wide open at the back. Entertaining fare for the casual observer, but heart-stopping stuff for Blues' fans, particularly if their side is off the boil offensively as happened at Stockport on Saturday.
In defence, Waddock will have a difficult decision to make if Dave Winfield is fit for selection against Oxford. Leon Johnson replaced him against the Hatters and his impressive display was reminiscent of the cool and collected performances he regularly put in during the Peter Taylor promotion season.
Up-front, the questions remains the same. With Ben Strevens contributing a lot more to the team than just goal-poaching, his place currently looks the most secure, which leaves Waddock with the choice of either Jon-Paul Pittman or Scott Rendell to fill the second spot.
Rendell is currently struggling to make his mark and it seems the harder he tries, the more he gives the ball away. The choice for Waddock is whether to persist with his big-money signing in the hope that he comes good sooner rather than later, or whether to exploit the hot goalscoring form that Pittman has shown since pre-season before he too goes off the boil.
On the evidence so far, there's not much to choose between the two in terms of tracking back, but Pittman offers the team more pace and is currently in better form.
Whoever Waddock picks, this is sure to be a full-blooded game between two local sides in front of what is likely to be the Chairboys' biggest crowd of the season.
Oxford's season so far
LG2: Burton (A)...............Drew 0-0
Ccp: Bristol Rovers (H)......Won 6-1
LG2: Bury (H)....................Lost 1-2
Wycombe's season so far
LG2: Morecambe (H).......Won 2-0
Ccp: Millwall (H)..............Lost 1-2 (AET)
LG2: Stockport (A).........Drew 0-0
Oxford's summer signings
Simon Eastwood (Goalkeeper) Huddersfield
Steven Kinniburgh (Defender) Rangers *
Harry Worley (Defender) Leicester
Ben Purkiss (Defender) York City
Jake Wright (Defender) Brighton *
Leigh Franks (Defender) Huddersfield (on-loan)
Simon Heslop (Midfielder) Barnsley
Asa Hall (Midfielder) Luton
Mitchell Cole (Midfielder) Stevenage
Ritchie Baker (Midfielder) Bury
Alfie Potter (Midfielder) Peterborough *
Matt Green (Striker) Torquay *
Danny Philliskirk (Striker) Chelsea (on-loan)
* on-loan at Oxford last season - now signed permanently
Wycombe's summer signings
Nikki Bull (Goalkeeper) Brentford
Dave Winfield (Defender) Aldershot
Danny Foster (Defender) Brentford
Andy Sandell (Defender) Aldershot
Alan Bennett (Defender) Brentford
Marvin McCoy (Defender) Wealdstone
Kieran Murtagh (Midfielder) Yeovil
Ben Strevens (Striker) Brentford
Scott Rendell (Striker) Peterborough
Oxford Goal Stats (3 games in all Competitions)
Goals Scored (Total).........7
Goals Conceded (Total).....3
Goals Scored (Away)........0
Goals Conceded (Away)....0
Wycombe Goal Stats (3 games in all Competitions)
Goals Scored (Total).........3
Goals Conceded (Total).....2
Goals Scored (Home)........3
Goals Conceded (Home)....2
Oxford's Top Goal Scorers (All Competitions)
Wycombe's Top Goal Scorers (All Competitions)
Scott Rendell.............1 (inc 1 pen)
Oxford Shooting (Top-3)
Jack Midson..........7 on-target...3 off-target...0 against woodwork
James Constable...5 on-target...4 off-target...1 against woodwork
Asa Hall................2 on-target...4 off-target...0 against woodwork
Wycombe Shooting (Top-3)
Kevin Betsy...........2 on-target...5 off-target...0 against woodwork
Gareth Ainsworth...2 on-target...1 off-target...0 against woodwork
Lewis Montrose......2 on-target...1 off-target...0 against woodwork
Oxford........24 on target...14 off target.....1 against w'work (Rank-2)
Wycombe......9 on target...12 off target.....1 against w'work (Rank-18)
In 14 previous meetings there have been 7 wins for Wycombe, 3 for Oxford and 4 draws.
At Adams Park there have been 4 wins for Wycombe, 2 for Oxford and 1 draw.
1994/95 LG1: Wycombe 1 Oxford 0
1995/96 LG1: Wycombe 0 Oxford 3
1999/00 LG1: Wycombe 0 Oxford 1
2000/01 LG1: Wycombe 3 Oxford 1
2004/05 LG2: Wycombe 1 Oxford 1
2005/06 LG2: Wycombe 2 Oxford 1
2006/07 FAC: Wycombe 2 Oxford 1
The Man In The Middle
Saturday's referee is Anthony Taylor from Manchester who was recently promoted to the Select Group of Referees and took charge of his first Premier League match last weekend. His most recent Wycombe game was last September's 1-1 draw at Hartlepool. So far this season he's issued 1 red and 6 yellow cards in 1 game.
On this day in history - 21st August
Oxford........Played 10 - Won 0 - Drawn 4 - Lost 6
Wycombe.....Played 4 - Won 1 - Drawn 1 - Lost 2
Wycombe 2 Oxford 1