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Whing: Oxford United not worried by high stakes
THERE has been no hint of panic in the Oxford United changing room, despite seeing their cushion over the sides outside the play-offs eroded to just goal difference, according to Andy Whing.
Easter Monday’s 2-2 draw with Torquay United followed defeats to Morecambe and Northampton, allowing eighth-placed Crewe Alexandra to reel them in.
The U’s have conceded late goals in their last two games and the run gets no easier tomorrow with the visit of Gillingham, the highest scorers in npower League Two.
But Whing dismissed any suggestion the players were beginning to get edgy, pointing to strong performances in their last two outings.
He said: “If you think it’s slipping away you dig yourself into a hole and everyone gets frustrated and a bit nervous.
“I think if you take the last two games there’s no reason why we can’t carry it on and get the win we deserve.
“We’ll win more than we lose if we keep doing that.”
Gillingham are also experiencing a hiccup at a critical stage of the season.
Just one win in six games has seen them slip off the pace and defeat would almost certainly end their play-off hopes.
Whing compares the clash to United’s home game against Rotherham United at the Kassam Stadium last month, when a 2-1 win inflicted serious damage on the Millers’ promotion hopes.
He said: “Rotherham were-n’t far behind us and we pushed them away, so hopefully we can do it to Gillingham.
“A win would pretty much knock them out, but we don’t really want to think like that – three points would keep us in the play-offs and look to catch Cheltenham.”
United boss Chris Wilder agrees a victory would spell the end for Andy Hessenthaler’s side, who won the reverse fixture 1-0 in October despite finishing with nine men.
He said: “We know it’s a tough game and there’s a lot of pressure on us, but there’s a lot of pressure on our opponents as well because their season finishes really if we win.
“I do believe we’re one of the best teams in the league, but for one reason or another we find ourselves in this position.
“But we know if we can keep producing there’s still a hell of a lot to play for.
“With Gillingham the talk at the start of the season was they’d assembled the best group of players they’d had for a long time.
“We know what’s coming and what Andy will be saying, but they would swap positions with us in a heartbeat.”