LEAGUE ONE

AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

STAR FOOTBALL PREVIEW Fri: Oxford United v Stevenage

Oxford United will be looking to take a big step towards securing a place in the League One play-off places on Friday night when they take on Stevenage, who have been rocked by a shock departure this week, writes JOE CITRONE.

Des Buckingham’s Oxford had been on great form of late, dragging themselves back into play-off contention with a run of four wins in five – which included a sensational 5-0 thrashing of fellow promotion hopefuls Peterborough United.

However, that positive run was halted on Tuesday night by a resilient and organised Lincoln City side who, via a slightly contentious penalty, managed to find the crucial goal in a 1-0 win over the U’s that kept their own play-off aspirations alive.

It is still in the hands of Buckingham’s side, though, and a victory on Friday night would go an awful long way in their fight to keep themselves in the top-six and their dream of promotion to the Championship alive.

A man who was completely written off last season, and told he was surplus to requirements in the summer, but who has been vital in Oxford’s play-off push in recent weeks is tricky winger Josh Murphy – twin brother of Newcastle United’s Jacob.

He was simply unstoppable in that 5-0 demolition of Peterborough and a man that Stevenage will need to keep an eye on on Friday night. If he’s allowed as much freedom as he was against the Posh, expect him to cause carnage on that left-hand side.

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Oxford United v Stevenage
League One
20:00 Sky Sports Football

HEAD-TO-HEAD RECORD
(Maximum 10 matches)
SEP 2023 LEAGUE ONE Stevenage 1-3 Oxford
OCT 2021 FOOTBALL LEAGUE TROPHY Oxford 1-2 Stevenage
AUG 2017 FOOTBALL LEAGUE TROPHY Stevenage 2-6 Oxford
MAR 2016 LEAGUE TWO Oxford 1-1 Stevenage
OCT 2015 LEAGUE TWO Stevenage 1-5 Oxford
JAN 2015 LEAGUE TWO Stevenage 0-2 Oxford
SEP 2014 LEAGUE TWO Oxford 0-0 Stevenage
MAR 2011 LEAGUE TWO Oxford 1-2 Stevenage
FEB 2011 LEAGUE TWO Stevenage 0-0 Oxford

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In recent days, Stevenage have been rocked by the departure of manager Steve Evans, who completely unexpectedly and out of the blue, left the club on Wednesday to rejoin recently relegated Rotherham United.

Evans had been highly successful at the Lamex Stadium; guiding Stevenage to automatic promotion from League Two last season before immediately leading them to a play-off push in their first term back in the third-tier.

This news, therefore, will have rocked them and it will be fascinating to see how the players respond on Friday night. It may leave them rudderless and leaderless or it could see them stick together for the last two matches and even galvanise them.

The team will be led by club favourite Alex Revell, who will inevitably receive decent backing from the travelling contingent of Stevenage supporters making the trip to the Kassam Stadium on Friday night.

Oxford are 10/11 favourites to win on Friday, which perhaps seems a touch short, but the U’s will fancy their chances if they can deal with the pressure of such an important match.

The U’s, if they can get going, are a team capable of scoring lots of goals – they scored thirteen without reply in the three games before they met Lincoln – and that’s why I am appealed to Oxford and over 2.5 goals at 21/10 with starsports.bet.

I also like the look of Murphy, who as I explained earlier is in red-hot form, to get on the scoresheet anytime, which you can back at 10/3 with starsports.bet.


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