FOR the final instalment of the top six feature Oxford United’s local reporter shares his view on the promotion race.



What’s left: Shrewsbury (A), Fleetwood (H), Burton (A), Peterborough (H), Lincoln (H), Stevenage (H), Exeter (A).

How it started: After battling relegation last season when Liam Manning joined the club in March, the club came into this season with huge expectations of promotion but Liam Manning quickly turned this on its head as he propelled the club to the top of table. Manning departed the club in November for Bristol City after just 15 games leaving the U’s in second, three points behind leaders Portsmouth at the time.

How it’s going: Manning’s replacement Des Buckingham has had mixed results since his arrival at the Kassam Stadium but going into the Easter period his side sit just inside the play-off spots after only winning just three of their previous 10 league games. There have been four draws in that run meaning the U’s took 13 points from a possible 30.

Gut feeling: If United continue with their current form and points per game ration since the turn of the year it will be hard to see them keep a play-off spot, however, there have been some decent results and it is clear there is enough talent in the squad for them to go on a winning run as we saw at the beginning of the season which started so brightly.

Star and saviour: Cameron Brannagan has been excellent this season as per usual, chipping in with nine goals and nine assists as he continues to be United’s all-action star. Whether it be set piece duties, his wide passing range, or energy in the middle of the park, there is, quite simply, no replacement for Brannagan in the U’s midfield.

Worry lines: Inconsistency will be the main factor is stopping United getting a play-off spot. If Buckingham can find a way to spark a run of form, then the U’s should find themselves in the top six come the end of the season.