Argyle face Oxford for third round spot
Former Plymouth players Mackie and Nelson likely to feature for the U’s in FA Cup clash
FORMER Plymouth Argyle pair Jamie Mackie and Curtis Nelson will be out to prevent the Pilgrims from reaching the FA Cup third round on Saturday.
Mackie and Nelson are set to line up for Oxford as they make returns to Home Park.
They have already beaten the Pilgrims this season, both getting on the scoresheet in a 2-0 League One win at the Kassam Stadium in October.
Argyle assistant manager Paul Wotton admitted the rematch in the FA Cup second round was ‘a game we are desperate to win’.
Not only would lift it spirits after the 2-0 league defeat away to Shrewsbury Town in midweek, it would earn the club £54,000 in prize money.
There would also be the po- tential for a money-spinning televised tie against top Premier League opposition in the third round at the start of January, so there is a lot at stake when Argyle and Oxford come up against each other.
Wotton said: “Oxford have been on a decent run of late. They had a good win (4-2 at home to Rochdale) on Tuesday night.
“They play decent football and they are an attacking threat. I know Jamie Mackie very well and we know what he will bring.
“Curtis Nelson is at the back so that’s two players who Plymouth Argyle fans will know.
“It’s a home game, which is all we could ask for in the cup, and a chance to hopefully get one of the bigger teams in the next round.
“But we are under no illusions that we are in for a tough game on Saturday.”
Only five points separate 22nd-placed Argyle and Oxford in 17th in the league table so it should be a close contest between them.
Wotton said: “I think in rounds one and two, when you are playing against opposition of your level or below, then they are all winnable games.
“I’m sure Oxford will be thinking the same thing. There are tons of benefit of getting through to the next round and it’s a game we are desperate to win.”
Mackie and Wotton were team-mates at Argyle during the club’s Championship days.
Now aged 33, Mackie has made a total of 14 starts and six substitute appearances for Oxford after signing in the summer.
His first goal for Oxford came against Argyle in the league encounter between the sides.
Mackie was also on target when the U’s won 3-0 away to Forest Green Rovers in their FA Cup first round replay.
Wotton said: “Jamie is a winner. I’m sure he will be looking forward to coming back.
“One thing with Jamie, he has always kept himself fit and he has always worked very hard in training.
“When you do that, it’s no coincidence the longevity of his career.”
The prize of a place in the third round draw on Monday evening is an enticing one, with memories still fresh of when the Pilgrims were paired with Liverpool in 2017.
A win against Oxford would also give Argyle a timely boost going into an important period of league games in the run-up to Christmas.
Wotton said: “It would give everyone a lift, of course, and it’s great to see who you get in the draw on the Monday night.
“It’s exciting, but that’s just pre-empting things. We have got to get through the game on Saturday first.
“Hopefully we are sat there watching the draw on Monday night.”
He added: “You haven’t got to go too far back in the memory banks for the Liverpool games, so that’s motivation enough I think.”
Jamie Mackie will be a familiar face to many Plymouth Argyle fans when they take on Oxford United at the weekendDAVE ROWNTREE/PPAUK