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Des Buckingham: Quotes From the Week

Des Buckingham

After another league draw and ahead of another important fixture, we’ll take a look at some of the important quotes from Oxford United head coach, Des Buckingham.

Des Buckingham Quotes From the Week

‘He Needs to Keep Learning’

On Tuesday, Des Buckingham addressed the development of defender, Stephan Negru.

The 21-year-old was a key part as the U’s kept a clean sheet against Wycombe but has made errors in recent draws against Reading and Northampton.

Despite that, and injuries aside, Buckingham believes he is on the right track. He said: “He needs to keep learning, firstly from Elliott Moore, who is a wonderful role model.

“Elliott’s still young himself, but to have someone like Elliott, as club captain, to be around day-to-day, will help serve him in his development.

“Then, to continue developing his own playing style with the coaches, and the way we want him to play.

“Whether he plays in place of Elliott, as we saw at the weekend, or whether he’s used in a different system, like we have done in a back three at times, that’s two different ways he can play.

“As a young player trying to forge your career, when you’ve got senior players in front of you, it can be difficult.

“The pleasing thing is that Steph is one of many good people here. He knows what he’s here for and he’s working very hard on his game.

“When he gets his opportunities, which he has got since I’ve been here, he’s ready to step in and step up, because he needs to contribute.”

‘It’s Frustrating to Leave With What We Thought Was Going to be Three Points’

Later that evening, Oxford were held to another draw after conceding a late equaliser against Northampton.

The U’s took an early lead and regained their advantage on 81 minutes but were pegged back twice, with the second goal coming in stoppage time.

After the game, Buckingham said: “We wanted to start fast. In the last couple of games, we’ve been a little bit slow to get going and then finished strong.

“We went with a bit more of an attacking line-up, and you saw that with the formation and the players on the pitch.

“To get the goal after six minutes put us on a good front foot. They scored from their only chance, and it was us playing it out from the back, trying to play a way through them, with a mistake for them to equalise.

“And then in the second half, we’ve done enough with the changes, to get ourselves back in front.

“Then it’s making sure we manage those final few minutes of the game, to come away with the three points.

“I think there’s a big hint of offside in the equaliser, but there’s still a lot more we can do better after that moment.

“It’s frustrating to leave with what we thought was going to be three points, and leave with the one.”

‘We’ll See How He Is and Take It From There’

Against the Cobblers, Oxford lost key player Cameron Brannagan to injury. The midfielder slid in for a challenge but came off the worse.

Despite playing on, Buckingham was forced to bring his star player off the field.

“He was a little bit concerned when he went down, but the medical team cleared him of all the tests they did on the pitch,” Des Buckingham said after the game.

“He was okay in himself to continue. He gave it a go but just wasn’t comfortable in the end. We’ll see how he is and take it from there.

“It’s a worry but we’ve got Jay Matete here, and we brought Josh McEachran on, so we’ve got cover in those positions.

“You never want to be without players like Marcus McGuane and Cameron Brannagan because whether they’re starters, or people that come on, they have a massive impact on what we want to do.”

‘It’s Down to Those Three or Four to Fight Amongst Themselves’

One player that has been omitted from the last two matchday squads is winger, Tyler Burey.

The 23-year-old had impressed off the bench before being handed his first start against Portsmouth, which was followed up against Reading and Blackpool.

However, he was replaced at half-time against the Seasiders and is yet to feature since.

Buckingham said: “We’ve gone from having no wingers three or four weeks ago, to now where we’ve got Tyler Goodrham and Owen Dale coming off the bench, and Billy Bodin can play there too.

“We’ve pushed Greg (Leigh) up there, so we’ve got three or four options. It’s down to those three or four to fight amongst themselves within training, and get themselves firstly in the matchday squad, and have an impact when they get a chance in the games.

“He’ll (Burey) get that, but it’s important he shows that on the training pitch. He’s been very good around the group, but it’s just a numbers game with everybody else back.”

‘He Should Be In Full Contention for Saturday’

Providing an update on Brannagan, Des Buckingham said: “He’s a little bit sore on his knee, but should be okay for Saturday.

“He’s gone and done an individual session and the intention is for him to train tomorrow, as long as the pain goes away, which it looks like it will.

“He should be in full contention for Saturday. If he’s fully fit, then yes, absolutely he’ll start.”

Buckingham also spoke on the injuries to Elliott Moore, Marcus McGuane and Fin Stevens, adding: “Elliott is unlikely for the weekend, but Marcus and Fin are both back in contention.”

’75 Points Will Be Enough to Make the Play-Offs’

Oxford United are currently fifth in League One, on 57 points, meaning another 18 points will be required from their final 12 games if they are to hit the 75-point mark, according to Buckingham.

He said: “We think that if we look at how the league is trending, that 75 points will be enough to make the play-offs, and then 90 to get automatics.

“That’s a target, but I think there’ll be a target for everyone trying to make those positions.

“When I look back across the last three games, at Blackpool, we’ve had a really good chance to win the game with a header that’s come off the post from Billy Bodin.

“I didn’t think we played particularly well at Wycombe, but we’ve done enough to come away with the result, and there was a penalty for me, that wasn’t given, that could’ve given us three points.

“The other night, we were two or three minutes from leaving with another two points instead of one.

“It’s those moments that are very important, but we know that will change. We’ve seen the impact that whether it’s from the start, like on Tuesday night, we can come flying out of the blocks and get goals early, rather than having to react like we had done in previous games.”


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