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Wilder impressed by Oxford United strike duo
CHRIS Wilder highlighted the performances of his strike partnership after both scored in Oxford United’s 2-1 win against Port Vale, writes DAVID PRITCHARD.
Alfie Potter and Deane Smalley have rarely played as a front two, but the pair have clicked since being brought into the side at the expense of Tom Craddock and James Constable last week.
Potter, who netted the only goal of the game at Gillingham last Tuesday, opened the scoring with a cool finish on Saturday.
And Smalley won the game for United on 76 minutes with a precise finish, which was his first since suffering a groin injury in October.
Wilder was very satisfied with the performances of the two 24-year-olds.
He said: “I thought Alfie’s performance was excellent and caused them all sorts of problems.
“And after Deane got his goal, for the next ten minutes he was running away from people – he was superb.
“He was back to the start of the season when he was being really positive. “He’s a good player, but he’s had problems and you can’t produce your best when you’re not fit – but he’s getting there and I thought he was a major problem.”
The win against Vale completed a stunning few days for United, who have beaten the league’s top two sides.
United’s manager was especially pleased with the way his side closed out the game after Sean Rigg had a penalty saved, but was keeping his feet firmly on the ground.
“Nothing’s been said in the changing room, I’m not jumping on players’ backs and saying they’re the greatest,” he said.
“We’ve won a tight game that could have gone either way. “Maybe looking at it, I wouldn’t have been disappointed if we had drawn, but I’m delighted that we’ve won. “We finished the game off really well. We kept the ball and made some really good decisions.”
The U’s boss also confirmed Adam Chapman was substituted just before half-time for tactical reasons, rather than injury.
He said: “Whingy came on to give us a bit of strength and experience. “I thought he was immense.”