“Ex-Gull Joe Oastler is a real leader, club captain and well liked by all”.
Oxford City supporter Mark Neal returns to answer TorquayTalk’s questions once more about United’s next opposition:
Hi Mark, this is our second Q&A with you this season – how has 2018-19 gone for Oxford City since you beat us in August?
We had a very mixed start to the season. A few defeats to begin with but an impressive win against Torquay at home sparked a winning run of 3 matches. Poor September followed. Then a good FA Cup run and a revival in league led to an unbeaten December and up towards play offs.
What have been your highlights of your season so far?
Impressive 3-3 draw at Tranmere in the FA Cup 1st Round. We led twice in the second half but just couldn’t hold on. We went on a 6 match winning run in December which shot us up into the play offs.
Who are the key players we should look out for this Saturday and why?
Kabongo Tshimanga is our top scorer in all competitions this season with 23 goals. Craig King has kept many clean sheets this season and is improving each week after he came back into the game this time last year. He has just signed a new contract with us until end of next season.
You have a couple of ex-Gulls in Joe Oastler and Bobson Bawling, how are they doing at City?
Joe Oastler is a real leader, club captain and well liked by all. Talented defender who isn’t afraid to put his foot in, but a very capable footballer who loves the passing game and bringing the ball out. Bobson Bawling came in and did very well for us at first but has been coming off the bench quite a lot, a very useful player who has pace about him.
What’s your recent form like heading into the TUFC fixture?
Recent form has been very sketchy, with a few narrow defeats and a depleted squad due to injuries and suspensions. Have to say in our last 3 league defeats we have been unfortunate with a number of decisions – but that is football.
Do you think United’s loss last Saturday will help City, or are you expecting a baptism of fire from ‘The Gulls’?
I am expecting a baptism of fire from both teams. City cruelly lost to Gloucester City last weekend, despite playing with ten men thanks to a rather harsh decision. We dominated but just couldn’t get past a stubborn back line. As for Torquay they have been on a cracking run and will want to put last weekend at Bath behind them very quickly.
What tactics do City employ and how do you think they’ll approach the game at Plainmoor?
We will play our usual game. Passing game easy on the eye and counter attack Torquay if you have lots of possession – but I’m expecting us to take control in the midfield and push on with our quick passing game. Hopefully the pitch is in fine fettle and suits us.
Have Oxford added to their squad yet this month and are you expecting imminent incomings?
We signed Ryan Case last week who is a versatile player, previously at Bath City before injury. He can play across the back line and also in midfield. We have been in the market for another winger and forward to support Tshimanga but nothing has happened just yet.
Will you have many away fans travelling down to Torquay?
A good away following usually consists of about 25-30 of us. I reckon we will have a similar number for this longer than usual trip.
And finally, what’s your match prediction for the weekend – can you repeat the result from August?
Oxford City to win 3-2. Thanks for that Mark, we can agree to disagree on the match prediction! Good luck for the rest of your season – Dom
“They’ve been on an excellent run, but we definitely don’t need to fear them” – Mark Jones – Oxford City Manager