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Oxford United secured their eighth home league victory of the campaign when they comfortably beat AFC Wimbledon 3-0 on Wednesday night.
Mark Sykes and Matthew Taylor gave the hosts a two-goal lead at half time, before Sam Long‘s strike on the hour mark sealed all three points for Karl Robinson‘s men.
That result has seen the U’s climb up to fifth in the League One standings, seven points behind league leaders Sunderland with a game in hand.
Oxford have a poor head-to-head record against Saturday’s opponents Cheltenham as they have failed to win any of their last eight meetings, including a 1-0 defeat away from home earlier this season.
However, victory for Robinson’s side on New Year’s Day would help consolidate their place in the playoffs, as they aim to finish in the top six for the third successive season.
Unlike Oxford, Cheltenham were unable to fulfil their fixture against MK Dons on December 29 due to an outbreak of coronavirus as well as a number of injuries to first-team players.
Head coach Michael Duff, who missed the 2-0 defeat to Plymouth Argyle on Boxing Day after testing positive for COVID-19, is hoping to return to the dugout this weekend and will be keen to see his side end their poor run of form.
The Robins have failed to win any of their last six matches across all competitions and have struggled defensively in the process, conceding a total of 18 goals which is more than any other side in the division during this period.
Oxford United will be without Alex Gorrin (knee), James Henry (calf), Jamie Hanson (hamstring) and Joel Cooper (hip) due to injury.
Winger Dan Agyei is set to remain in self-isolation after testing positive for COVID-19 before the win against Wimbledon.
Taylor, who has scored seven goals in his last nine games across all competitions, is expected to lead the line once again and he could be supported in attack by Gavin Whyte and Ryan Williams.
As for Cheltenham, Watford loanee Mattie Pollock is one of several first-team players in self-isolation, so it remains to be seen what team is selected by Duff this weekend.
The Robins faithful will be hoping that their top scorer Alfie May, who has netted seven times this season, is available to play in attack alongside Andy Williams, while midfielder Liam Sercombe will be looking to force his way into the first XI ahead of Callum Wright.
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Oxford United possible starting lineup:
Eastwood; Long, Moore, Thorniley, Seddon; Brannagan, Kane, Sykes; Whyte, Taylor, Williams
Cheltenham Town possible starting lineup:
Evans; Long, Boyle, Freestone; Blair, Sercombe, Chapman, Thomas, Hussey; May, Williams