Preview: Exeter City vs. Oxford United – prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday’s League One clash between Exeter City and Oxford United, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Mid-table Exeter City take on playoff hopefuls Oxford United at St James Park on Saturday afternoon in League One.

While the hosts are guaranteed to be competing in this division once again next season, the visitors are outside of the playoff spots on goal difference, leaving everything to play for on the final day.

Match preview

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After finishing 14th last season, Exeter have once again solidified their spot in the middle of the table for this season, only being able to move as high as 10th and as low as 14th depending on results on the final day.

They have marginally improved upon their campaign last time around as they have already picked up five more points with one game still to play.

The fact they are so high up the table is impressive in itself after they found themselves firmly in the relegation battle around the halfway point of the season, but an impressive run of form in recent weeks has seen them rise up the table thanks to six wins and three draws in their last nine.

Gary Caldwell‘s men will now be looking to extend that run into the beginning of next season with a victory against an Oxford side who are fighting tooth and nail for a playoff spot.

The visitors have been in and around the playoff positions all season and had moved into sixth with a brilliant 5-0 win over Peterborough United a fortnight ago.

However, a disappointing loss against playoff rivals Lincoln City followed by a draw with Stevenage has allowed Lincoln to draw level going into the final day of the season, with Oxford currently outside the top six due to an inferior goal difference.

Des Buckingham‘s men will still fancy their chances of finishing in the playoff spots though, with Lincoln coming up against champions Portsmouth, while Barnsley, who are just one point ahead of Oxford in fifth, are currently on a run of five games without a win and face Northampton Town on the final day having taken the extraordinary step of sacking their manager with their top-six hopes still hanging in the balance.

The visitors will have to keep an eye on Blackpool’s result against Reading on the final day as well, with the Tangerines just a point behind as they look to squeeze their way into the top six.

Exeter City League One form:

Oxford United League One form:

Team News

The hosts will have to change their side from the one that beat Northampton last time out, with Ryan Woods being sent off for violent conduct and Dion Rankine being forced off with injury.

Demetri Mitchell also remains sidelined by a long-term injury that has prevented him from making an appearance since October.

The visitors will remain without Kyle Edwards and Will Goodwin, while James Henry may be back in the fold after making a substitute appearance against Stevenage following an injury.

Joe Bennett also returned to the bench in the previous match after being out since the beginning of the month, and the defender could be called back into action for this one.

Exeter City possible starting lineup:
Sinisalo; Aimson, Fitzwater, Jules; Purrington, Carroll, Kite, Niskanen; Harris, Alli, Richards

Oxford United possible starting lineup:
Cumming; Stevens, Long, Brown, Leigh; Brannagan; Browne, Rodrigues, Goodrham, Murphy; Harris

SM words green background

We say: Exeter City 1-3 Oxford United

While Exeter are coming into this match on a brilliant run of nine games without defeat, the added incentive of a playoff place for Oxford Utd makes us believe they will win this one.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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