CHRIS Wilder has challenged Oxford United to handle the added res-ponsibility of being league leaders when they take on a fired-up York City today.
Maximum points from the opening three games has put the U’s top of npower League Two on goal difference.
Although it is early in the season, the United manager believes his side’s position gives the game an extra edge for their opponents.
Wilder thought Plymouth lifted their game for the 2-1 defeat at the Kassam Stadium last Saturday and feels it will be more of the same against York.
He said: “We’re fully expecting there to be a fantastic, positive atmosphere from the York fans. “They’re a team that’s competitive off the back of a win and a free week, which they will be glad of. “They will be looking to follow it up with a good win, coupled with the fact we’re top of the league – it always bring that extra little bit to teams.
“But I’d rather be a scalp than not, so we have to handle that and we have done so far really well.”
It is the first meeting between the two sides since United beat City 3-1 in the Blue Square Premier play-off final in 2010.
Gary Mills’s side, who returned to Wembley and claimed promotion last season, have improved with every league game so far and won 3-1 at Barnet last weekend.
The Minstermen signed three players this week, although only defender Clarke Carlisle is expected to start today.
While York had a blank week, United lost 3-0 at Leeds in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday.
But Wilder does not think the defeat will have a negative impact on today’s game.
He said: “The players are disappointed, but gave a good account. “The reaction of the support is something you can gauge performances by and they kept going right to the end for us. “Hopefully, we’ll take another sizeable following up there and get the result that we all want.”
United’s squad should be significantly stronger than midweek.
Deane Smalley and Jake Forster-Caskey should both be available after missing out with minor groin and ankle injuries picked up against Plymouth.
Tom Craddock was an unused substitute at Elland Road, but is also in contention to start after overcoming a couple of niggles.
Oxford Utd: from Clarke, Batt, Raynes, Wright, Capaldi, Chapman, Heslop, Forster-Caskey, Potter, Constable, Rigg, Brown, McGinty, Boateng, Smalley, Craddock, Pittman, Marsh.
York City: from Ingham, Oyebanjo, Carlisle, C Smith, Fyfield, Parslow, Mclaughlin, J Smith, Coulson, Walker, Chambers, Blanchett, Doig, Musselwhite, Challinor, Bullock, McReady, Blair, Potts, Dobie, Taylor.