OXFORD BLOW AS BALDOCK RETURNS TO DONS
IN A season where very little has gone wrong for Oxford United, head coach Michael Appleton admits the recall of defender George Baldock by MK Dons is a genuine blow to his Johnstone’s Paint Trophy plans.
Oxford host League One Millwall in the second leg of the southern area final on Tuesday night holding a handy 2-0 lead. Kemar Roofe’s double at the Den a fortnight ago put them in control of the tie.
But they will be without full-back Baldock, who has been recalled early by Dons from his season-long loan following a string of impressive performances, much to Appleton’s frustration.
“It is unfortunate from our point of view,” he said. “George has been magnificent for us.
“I’m frustrated, but the reality is nothing surprises me in football these days and I just want the best for George and the best for Oxford United.
“Darryl [chairman Darryl Eales] spoke to MK Dons a couple of weeks ago and said we would like to sign him permanently if it were possible, but it was not an option. They did not entertain it.”
Baldock first joined the U’s on loan last January before signing a season-long deal in June. He has made 34 appearances this term.
After helping Oxford to the JPT area final, as well as an FA Cup giant-killing over Swansea and a strong run in League Two, Appleton can see the fans’ disappointment at Baldock’s departure.
“I completely understand their frustrations with it, but the reality is he is not our player,” said Appleton.
“If he does go back to MK Dons and plays as a regular in the Championship then I think myself, the staff and hopefully all the fans will probably take a little bit of pride in the fact that when players come here they leave as better players.”
GONE: George Baldock