JAKE Wright fears a repeat of Oxford United’s late collapse two seasons ago after their campaign hit a new low with a 3-0 defeat at Chesterfield.
The damage went far beyond the result, which extended their wait for a win to half a dozen games, as United finished with just eight men.
Tom Newey and Michael Raynes were sent off in the space of two minutes and Johnny Mullins was stretchered off after United had used all three substitutes.
It all came after the visitors had gifted Chesterfield a 2-0 lead inside the opening 16 minutes.
The U’s suddenly look anything but promotion candidates and the dramatic loss of form is reminiscent of their 2011-12 campaign, when a place in the play-offs was squandered in the run-in.
Wright admitted he was concerned about history repeating itself.
The United captain said: “I fear that because I don’t want it to happen.
“I think it’s good to have that because it’s in the back of my mind and still burning inside of me.
“It really hurt us then and I don’t want it to hurt us again.
“The lads who were here need to let everyone know how bad it was because it spoilt your summer.
“When you get in such a good position you need to make sure you go and do something because these years don’t come about often.
“A lot of teams will just peter out in this league season-in, season-out and they won’t achieve anything.
“We’ve got a really good chance this year, now we are in this position we can’t chuck it away.
“It would really hurt me to chuck it away again and we need to make sure we don’t.”
Wright’s comments came a fortnight after his previous post-match interview, which followed another 3-0 defeat, at Rochdale.
The centre back made it clear at Spotland that he and the players backed caretaker boss Mickey Lewis to get the manager’s job full-time.
Since then the side have failed to halt a slide in results, which is now their worst run for almost 18 months.
Wright rejected any suggestion the uncertainty over the manager’s position had contributed to the decline in results.
“Players have to be stronger than that,” he said.
“It would be easy for me to say ‘I don’t know who is in charge’.
“I don’t think it should affect it, you need to be stronger as a player and you have to go out and do your job.
“It doesn’t matter what’s happening. I don’t think it has affected us and if it has we are mentally weak.
“I just think we haven’t played well enough.
“I don’t know why, we’ve been working really hard and everyone wants promotion, but at the moment it doesn’t look like that.”