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Garbutt: I Can't Fault My Time at Oxford
Monday, 13th Jan 2020 15:25

Town loanee Luke Garbutt returns tomorrow to the familiar territory of Oxford United’s Kassam Stadium, which was his temporary home last season while he was on loan from Everton.

The fixture, rearranged from earlier in the season because of players’ international commitments, has taken on extra significance with the respective sides sitting in the top six, third and fifth respectively, separated by a mere two points.

While Town dropped down to League One at the end of last season, Oxford finished 12th after a disappointing first half of the campaign left with them too much ground to make up on the leading group of clubs, although they have taken the momentum they gained during a much-improved second half of the season into the current campaign.

Garbutt, who is on a season-long loan at Portman Road from the Toffees, clocked up a total of 36 appearances for Oxford and his four goals were all netted within the space of his final 11 games.

He recalled: “It was an interesting season. We didn’t start too well but towards the back end of the season, probably from this stage onwards, we really kicked on and did really well.

“I can’t fault my time there, especially in the second half of the season. They’re a good bunch of lads and they have really kicked on again this season. I’m not really surprised to see them doing so well because they have carried on from where they left off last season.

“There were signs that they had a capable squad of players because they played a nice brand of football. It has knitted together quite well this season and they carry a real threat.

“But we’ve got to go into every game thinking we are going to win. Player for player I think we are better than them so we’ve just got to make sure that we take care of what the manager wants us to do, which will hopefully lead to more and more wins.

“He’s a very experienced manager, although he’s not that old, and he’s a very good coach. He sets his teams up to play the right way, passing the ball and attacking, so he does all the right things.

“I can’t really give him any more credit than what he’s doing at Oxford at the minute. His approach to the game is shown in what his team are achieving.

“They are playing an attacking brand of football and they are getting results that have taken them to the top end of the table. They will see themselves as promotion contenders and rightly so, which clearly makes it a big game for both of us.

“It could be a case of us letting them come on to us and then, once we’ve got the ball, trying to hurt them on the break. I can see it being a bit cat and mouse to be honest because we don’t want to sit back and let them dictate the play. We want to be on the front foot, pressing them if they are trying to play out from the back.

“We want to win the ball as high up the pitch as we can and threaten their goal. We are going there looking to win and if we can pick up all three points it will not only move us further ahead of them but put us joint top of the table with Rotherham and Wycombe.

“This football club has to go into every game seeking a win. We won’t be going there with any fear – we’ll go to win. I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t.

“Obviously, they are doing very well this season and they are just behind us in the league, but we are going there fully confident on the back of our result against Accrington on Saturday.”

Meanwhile, Garbutt met new team-mate Josh Earl for the first time this morning after he joined up from Preston on a loan through to the end of the season, including the play-offs should he be required, and was impressed with what he saw from the 6ft 4ins defender.

“He’s certainly a big boy and he’s going to be a real asset to the squad,” said Garbutt. “I don’t really know too much about him but we welcomed him this morning and I think he will fit in nicely. Apart from bolstering the squad, he will provide extra competition for places.

“With the style of play that we’re trying to implement at the minute, with three centre-backs and the wider two looking to get forward, I think he will fit in there quite nicely. He looked good in training and I’m looking forward to playing with him.”

Photo: TWTD

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