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United bid to bridge gap
Chris Wilder is hoping tonight’s trip to Elland Road will inspire Oxford United to a new level and produce a memorable cup shock.
There are more than 40 places on the league ladder between the sides, with Leeds United odds-on to progress in the Capital One Cup second-round tie.
But the U’s are intent not to just make up the numbers after winning all three of their npower League Two games and taking the scalp of Bournemouth in the first round.
Wilder is used to other teams lifting their standards when visiting the Kassam Stadium and is looking for a similar impact at the 39,000-seater venue tonight.
The United boss said: “Teams come and see our ground and raise their game, so it will be a role reversal for us by going up there and raising our game at a fantastic stadium in front of good support – that’s what we’ll be looking to do.
“I’m sure there will be a shock somewhere on the night and it’s up to us to see if we can produce that.
“I want them to go out and experience what it’s like to play at Championship level, especially the younger ones.”
United’s chances have not been helped by a mounting injury problem.
Deane Smalley (groin) and Jake Forster-Caskey (ankle) are both doubts after picking up knocks on Saturday.
Lee Cox is definitely ruled out with a groin strain, while five other first-team players have been out since the start of the season.
Youth teamers Dave Lynn and Sam Long made the trip north with the squad yesterday and are likely to be included, among the substitutes with first-year professional Tyrone Marsh.
“It will be a great experience for them,” Wilder said.
“I’d have loved for us to be at our strongest, but it is what it is, so there will be opportunities for a couple of other players looking to stake a claim.
“I should imagine there’s no greater stage than to go up to Leeds United and for them to play well individually.
“If I was a player, I’d like to be pushing the manager to say ‘I want to force my way into your plans’.”
Leeds have also made a good start, winning three of their four games so far this season.
Manager Neil Warnock is likely to make changes to give fringe players the chance to impress.
Leeds Utd: from Kenny, Peltier, Drury, Lees, Pearce, Austin, Norris, Diouf, Becchio, Varney, McCormack, Ashdown, Kisnorbo, White, Brown, Byram, Poleon, Gray, Pugh, Nunez.
Oxford Utd: from Clarke, Batt, Raynes, Wright, Capaldi, Potter, Chapman, Heslop, Rigg, Constable, Pittman, Brown, McGinty, Smalley, Forster-Caskey, Evans, Marsh, Lynn, Long.