Howe plotsi more gloryi with Cherriesi WILDER: I WANT SOME WARRIORS AT OXFORD
OXFORD boss Chris Wilder is targeting a sturdier breed of player after signing a new contract at the Kassam.
Widely expected to challenge for promotion to League One this term, injuries to key players have hampered the U’s chances and they have rarely been out of mid-table.
Now, with a host of players set to leave, Wilder is determined not to suffer the same fate again after being handed a new one-year deal by ambitious chairman Ian Lenagan.
“We’re obviously disappointed to finish outside the play-offs,” insisted the former Sheffield United full-back, who took charge of the U’s in 2008 and led them out of the Conference.
“But we’re not far off, only four points shy. With a more settled side, a more robust side that can handle the rigours of League Two, I think we’ll be there.
“If you look at our selections over the season, it hasn’t been settled. At the start, three of our best players – Peter Leven, Michael Duberry and Andrew Whing – weren’t available until October. Then there were others along the way.
“So I need to go out and get players who can play 30 or 40 games a season. Then we’re not changing the side and we’ll get a little bit of continuity.
“We’ve not won enough tight games and we’ve not put teams to bed. Get those things right – plus another 15 goals or so – and I think we’ll be challenging.”
Wilder has faced hostility from sections of the Oxford crowd and earlier this season admitted he had been “hurt” by the abuse.
But the U’s chief says they have been more supportive in recent weeks.
“The fans have generally been very good,” he added. “It’s just modern football now – people seem to want success instantly. It’s never quick enough.
“But we’re trying to do things in a sustainable way. The chairman wants this club to live within its means. Any manager will always want another player, but we live in an age when finances are tight.
“We’ve seen clubs plummet – Plymouth, who are in our league, Portsmouth who will be next season – through overspending.
“I did understand the frustration because I felt it aswell. But we finished on a high and there was a good atmosphere after the last game.
“That shows you what it can be like and I think they’ve generally been very sympathetic to the problems we’ve faced.”
LOAN STAR: Ravel Morrison, left, celebrates a Birmingham goal with Mitch Hancox Iss 162: April 28, 2013