Ar­gyle face Ox­ford for third round spot

For­mer Ply­mouth play­ers Mackie and Nel­son likely to fea­ture for the U’s in FA Cup clash

Western Morning News - - Sport -

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

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