A big game, but at the same time, not. In the greater scheme of the season, this will have little significance but it is first versus third, maybe even a title decider, well, influencer a least. There’s a Chris Wilder factor; Oxford fans protest too much about how irrelevant he is.
In some senses this is a battle of philosophies. New-Oxford is all modern and high-tech – act like a Premier League team and you’ll perform like one. Wilder’s Oxford was all about the right style in the right place. Every meeting with Wilder is a bit like showing off your new girlfriend to your old one. in the hope of proving that you were right to split up in the first place.
I don’t buy that Wilder was negative at Oxford; until the trials of London Welsh and the pitch took over, we played fast attacking football. It was only in the latter years that we had to keep the ball off the ground as much as possible. What’s more, his latest charges are the highest scoring team in the division.
I do think that we’re probably a better football team than Northampton because I think we’re the best football team in the division. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean we’re the best equipped to beat the teams we’re facing. We have shown a weakness for defending balls into the box, but we’ve shown that we can also play teams off the park particularly if they come to play rather than defend. I doubt Northampton, in their current position will come for a point.
Let the philosophies clash.