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

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

Sixth-placed Oxford United will attempt to bounce back from Tuesday’s defeat to Lincoln City when they play host to Stevenage in Friday’s League One contest.

The visitors are currently without a permanent manager after Steve Evans left his role to take over the reins at Rotherham United for the second time in his career.

Match preview

© Reuters

Prior to Tuesday’s meeting with Lincoln, Oxford had claimed four wins in five matches (D1), including three consecutive victories by a combined 13-0 scoreline.

Unfortunately for the U’s, they fell to a narrow 1-0 defeat against their fellow playoff hopefuls, with Daniel Mandriou netting a 47th-minute penalty to fire Lincoln to victory and condemn Oxford to their first defeat in a month.

Although they remain in sixth position, Oxford are just two points clear of Lincoln and three points better off than eighth-placed Blackpool.

For the U’s to secure a playoff spot this weekend, they need to beat Stevenage on Friday and hope Lincoln and Blackpool drop points in their respective matches against Cheltenham Town and Barnsley.

Oxford have the opportunity to complete a league double over Stevenage after a Greg Leigh brace and an Elliott Moore effort guided them to a 3-1 victory in September’s reverse fixture.

Stevenage’s playoff hopes have been all but ended by a poor run of form which has seen them claim just one victory in 10 matches.

They recently beat Barnsley 2-1 to end a eight-game winless run, before they suffered a narrow loss in Saturday’s home clash with relegation-threatened Burton Albion.

Kane Hemmings scored in the 88th minute to halve the deficit after the Brewers had established a two-goal lead, but it ultimately proved to be too little too late, as Stevenage fell to a 2-1 defeat in what proved to be Evans’s final game in charge.

Evans has ended his two-year spell with Stevenage to become Rotherham’s third manager of the season, signing a three-year deal with a club he previously coached between 2012 and 2015.

As a result of Evans’s departure, interim boss Alex Revell will now take charge of Stevenage’s final two matches against Oxford and Cheltenham.

Oxford United League One form:

Stevenage League One form:

Team News

Taye Ashby-Hammond makes save for Stevenage at 2023 FA Cup© Reuters

The U’s will be unable to call upon Kyle Edwards and Will Goodwin, while James Henry could also be absent after missing the defeat to Lincoln with an ankle problem.

Having sat out the last two matches due to an injury issue, Moore will have to be assessed ahead of Friday’s home fixture,

Oxford boss Des Buckingham is also hoping Joe Bennett will be passed fit to feature in the matchday squad following a three-game injury absence.

As for the visitors, they are expected to be without the services of Taye Ashby-Hammond, Luther James-Wildin, Alex MacDonald and Jake Forster-Caskey.

Full-back Dan Butler will begin a three-match suspension after being shown a straight red card in Saturday’s defeat to Burton.

Manchester City loanee Finley Burns was forced at the weekend, and he is now a doubt for Friday’s trip to Oxford.

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

Stevenage possible starting lineup:
MacGillivray; N Thompson, Vancooten, Piergianni; Smith, Freeman, L Thompson, Guinness-Walker; Reid, List, Pressley

SM words green background

We say: Oxford United 2-1 Stevenage

Although Oxford experienced a disappointing result on Tuesday, we think they will bounce back to claim all three points in Friday’s clash against a Stevenage side who could be downbeat following a run of poor form and Evans’s recent departure.

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

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