Dawn. The sun rises over a club that has experienced a famine of success on a biblical scale. This afternoon the resurrection is to begin. Certainly optimism is without measure around the club but the bookies have the Yellows and Stevenage Borough as joint favourites for the title. The resources of Oxford against the experience of Borough, it seems.

Oxblogger’s default position for any new season is optimism, but this year it is more expectation. The expectation is that we will be challenging for the title, though at this level (and the level above) specific positions are open to a range of factors outside the immediate control of the team; weather, referees etc. Expectation is that we will end At The Top; whether that be on top or in the play-offs.

With friendlies not revealing that much about the potential of the team (they never do), today’s game against Halifax should provide a useful stiffener for the rest of the season. A game against one of the lesser teams, Forest Green Rovers for example, could have proved a bit of a cold shower; a win would have created false confidence, a draw or loss would have demolished the fragile positivity that surrounds the club at the moment.

With the Shaymen finishing 4th last season, like Oxford they represent one of those ‘nearly League’ clubs who will harbour aspirations of a promotion charge. A win today will give a reasonable indication of our pre-season billing.

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