PREVIEW: Saturday’s visitors Oxford have shown what a good run of form can do

Oxford United vs Chesterfield - Ched Evans contests a header - Pic By James Williamson
Oxford United vs Chesterfield - Ched Evans contests a header - Pic By James Williamson
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Saturday’s visitors Oxford United appear to be a side capable of building the kind of momentum Chesterfield need in the League One run in.

The U’s beat crisis club Charlton 1-0 on Tuesday night thanks to Conor McAleny’s goal.

It takes them to within six points of the play-offs and with two games in hand.

Dave Pritchard is the chief sports writer at the Oxford Mail and says a recent run of form has made it a successful season.

Check out the form guide, betting tips and statistics ahead of Saturday’s game.

“When Michael Appleton’s side click they are a tough team to stop and before last week’s game against Southend United they had lost just twice in 19 games,” he said.

“The run saw them progress to the FA Cup fifth round, Checkatrade Trophy semi-final and lift them away from trouble in League One to the fringes of the play-off race.

“They have players who can mix it physically, but are most effective when given the chance to play.”

Oxford United weren’t anywhere near as busy as the Spireites in the January transfer window, but did get a couple of new faces in, including Conor McAleny who played for Town boss Gary Caldwell at Wiga last season.

“January was more about keeping hold of their main players rather than bringing in several players, so it was a relatively quiet month,” said Pritchard.

“Toni Martinez joined on loan from West Ham and has shown flashes of why they paid £2.4m to Valencia for him last year.

“The striker scored 17 minutes into his debut against Newcastle United in the FA Cup and struck again against Middlesbrough last weekend.

“McAleny, a deadline day loan signing from Everton, has been used out wide for the most part, but looked far more dangerous when deployed through the middle against Boro late on at the Riverside.”

And in contrast to Chesterfield, who have just brought in their third custodian to play between the posts this season, Pritchard says Oxford have been able to rely on one man.

“Goalkeeper Simon Eastwood has been United’s player of the season. He’s not missed a minute and his form has seen him earn a new contract.

“Marvin Johnson has been in excellent form, and Ryan Ledson is only 19 but the central midfielder has found another couple of gears since the new year. He loves a tackle but has quality and is likely to go to the U20 World Cup with England this summer.”

Chesterfield are unbeaten in six league outings against Oxford United.

The U’s have the fifth best defensive record in the division, while Chesterfield have the third worst.

Likely line-up (4-4-2): Eastwood; Edwards, Dunkley, Nelson, Johnson, Sercombe, Lundstram, Ledson, Maguire, Hall, Martinez.