Match preview: Stevenage v Oxford United

Graham Westley shouts from the sidelines

Graham Westley shouts from the sidelines - Credit: Archant

Stevenage manager Graham Westley is looking forward to a clash that “holds a lot of history” for both clubs.

Boro pipped the U’s to Football League promotion back in 2010, although Oxford did make it through the Conference playoffs to join Westley’s men in League Two.

A 1-0 win at Broadhall Way all but secured the title for Stevenage in that particular campaign.

February 2011’s goalless League Two draw is the last time the two sides met in Stevenage but Westley is expecting a similarly close game.

Westley said: “The fixture has got some history the fixture in terms of the Conference title when we went head-to-head and fortunately managed to come out on top.

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“There have been some really competitive games down the years. It is up to us to keep the form going that we have shown when we have played at home.

“We have always been a strong side at our place but they have been in the market this week with some big investments in players. You look at the contracts that they are paying out and you can see on a serious note, they mean business. I am in no doubt it will be a tough game.”

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While Boro boast an unbeaten home record that stretches back to October 4, a 1-0 defeat to Luton Town, Oxford have won just three games on the road this season, although are unbeaten in their last five away league games.

Consequently, Westley will be hoping for another strong home performance to see off the resurgent visitors.

He said: “I hope we don’t see too much from the dangers they offer.

“We need to make sure we prevent the ball getting to players that are likely to do anything with it and it is up to us that, if the ball does reach those players, we nip their threat in the bud.

“They have the lad [Danny Hylton] up front who has scored a few goals and we will have a better chance if we keep players like him quiet.”

Home advantage this weekend means Westley will receive less ridicule than he endured during last Saturday’s late defeat at Shrewsbury.

The manager, who questioned away sides disciplinary records when visiting Greenhous Meadow prior to their Shropshire visit, was given vollies of abuse from the home contigent.

Westley was not too bothered about abuse from the fans though.

He said: “People make me laugh with their chants.

“I have been called some terrible things over the years. There are just moments in time for me and I don’t really get sucked into that. I just concentrate on the game.”

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