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Southend United v Oxford United – Roots Hall Stadium – Sky Bet League One – Saturday 3pm
Southend United v Oxford United – Preview:
SOL CAMPBELL has urged his Southend United players to become a tight-knit group to turn their desperate Sky Bet League One season around.
A rare victory, earned last time out against a much-changed AFC Wimbledon side in the leasing.com Trophy lifted some of the gloom hanging over Roots Hall Stadium. However, Campbell’s men now face a daunting test against free-scoring Oxford United side who have found the net on 33 occasions so far this season.
“We’ve got to get in a situation where we go into games and we can compete, and we’ve got to work harder than everyone else,” Campbell explained to www.southendunited.co.uk.
“We haven’t got the luxury of being mid-table, we are where we are.
“We’ve got to start turning losses into draws and draws into wins.
“From now until the end of the season it’s going to be a hard road.”
Campbell continued: “We’re putting the lads through their paces so they can withstand any pressure, go toe-to-toe with opposition and compete. That’s key.
“I don’t think we’ve been in that situation for a long time. It’s a gradual process and changing the mentality, the fitness, how we look at games and how you look at football as players.
“We are in it together, the only way we’re going to get out is we all club together, work hard for each other and by building that spirit that comes with working hard, winning games or getting a draw from a tough game.
“We’ve got to build all these things from now until the end of the season.”
The former Tottenham and Arsenal defender was buoyed by Southend’s performance against Wimbledon, adding: “For me, that was more than a win for us.
“It gave us confidence in the sense that we can play football, we can score goals and we can win a game. Those elements all in that game and the performance was very good. It was excellent.
“People wanted to link up, pass, run, willing to make space for each other and the team mentality was great in the game.
“Yes, it was a dead rubber, but for us it was more about the performance and getting a win for the first time in a long time under our belts, regardless of the competition.”
Meanwhile, Oxford United boss, Karl Robinson, expected a tough encounter for his charges: “We know Southend will be difficult,” he said.
“Oxford’s record there is poor, mine is the same, but we know that Southend are going to be better than they have been and we will look at them in-depth but also make sure we are right ourselves.
“We know the first 15 minutes are going to be massive and it’s not going to be nice and pretty. We just have to be ready for the fight.”
Southend United v Oxford United – Head to head:
Southend United won: 24
Oxford United won: 21
Southend United v Oxford United – Last five meetings (all competitions):
February 14, 2017 – League One
Oxford United 0-2 Southend United
November 25, 2017 – League One
Southend United 1-1 Oxford United
April 14, 2018 – League One
Oxford United 2-0 Southend United
October 6, 2018 – League One
Southend United 0-0 Oxford United
December 26, 2018 – League One
Oxford United 0-1 Southend United
Jeevesie’s prediction: Southend United 0-3 Oxford United