MIKE Williamson has challenged his Oxford United teammates to show they are contenders this season by producing the right response tomorrow.

Pep Clotet’s side had a bad day at the office last weekend when they crashed to a 3-1 defeat at Blackpool.

It was out of character with what United had produced in Sky Bet League One this season and they have a chance to make amends when Walsall visit the Kassam Stadium.

The experienced Williamson believes there is enough quality in the squad to challenge for promotion, but knows successful campaigns are built on shrugging off setbacks quickly.

He said: “You learn a lot more from defeats and it’s the character that will determine the bounce back.

“If we are going to be up there (this season), which I believe we will be, that’s what we’ll do as a group.

“One thing that’s not in doubt is our spirit, we’ve got a lot of characters in there, honest lads who want to work hard and they won’t shy away from the battle.

“We’ve had a few hours on the training ground to make sure we rectify it and we’ll go again on Saturday.”

He added: “From what I’ve seen we have definitely got the nucleus to have an exciting season.

“I think we need to iron out a few creases and the gaffer has identified a few things we need to work on.”

United improved in the second half at Blackpool, where Clotet switched to a back three for the first time this season.

Williamson, who was flanked by John Mousinho and skipper Curtis Nelson, believes the experiment worked well enough to make it worth considering repeating this season.

He said: “It’s something the gaffer has looked at and we have got the personnel.

“I think it was effective, because in the second half we had better situations and got ourselves back in the game.”