Appleton has sights on next campaign
OXFORD United manager Michael Appleton admitted he is already planning for next season after leaving AFC Wimbledon with a point.
In a game of few chances, visiting goalkeeper Jamie Ashdown acrobatically kept out Sean Rigg’s volley on the half hour.
Rigg then saw his 86thminute header ruled out for offside before Ashdown once again came to the rescue, clawing out Adebayo Akinfenwa’s injury-time header.
The result means Oxford have now gone four games without defeat and Appleton believes with the right reinforcements the U’s could be a force to be reckoned with next term.
“We defended very, very well and had to defend a lot of crosses and did it manfully,” said Appleton.
“We are just disappointed with our attacking play but that was obvious for everyone to see.
“We just didn’t produce in the final third and I think certainly in the first 25 minutes we had some great opportunities to go and hurt them.
“Wimbledon obviously played better than my team but Neal Ardley is the home manager and he will want three points.
“But I’ve got to be happy coming away from home and getting a point.
“This was an opportunity for players to stake a claim for next season because there is no doubt about it there are going to be hopefully three or four quality additions to what we have already got.”
Akinfenwa went close twice and Ashdon kept out Rigg’s volley on the half hour.
Kemar Roofe almost made the hosts pay for their profligacy, firing a shot just wide after good work down the right just before half-time.
After the break Adedeji Oshilaja was stretchered off after he landed badly on his head when jumping high for a header.
The game petered out, although Wimbledon boss Neal Ardley was more concerned with referee Lee Collins’ officiating in the Oshilaja incident.
“Adedeji has gone to hospital to have everything checked through,” Ardley said. “The physios did a magnificent job and the initial feeling is that he will be fine.
“But we have to rule out anything and they will do all the tests this evening.
“You always have words with the ref, anyone on that pitch could see how horrible it looked. First and foremost it was a foul against Deji, then he goes down and it is clear that he’s done a bad injury and the ref waves play on.
“If you think there’s a serious injury you stop the play.
“To be fair to him he came across after and he apologised he said he got it totally wrong. People make mistakes.”
STAR MAN DANNY ROSE Oxford