JAMES Constable will be treating Oxford United ’s trip to Bristol Rovers tomorrow as “just another game” despite the prolonged interest in him from the Pirates this summer.
The U’s turned down two bids from their npower League Two promotion rivals earlier in the close season, but the 27-year-old remains a target.
Manager Mark McGhee has reiterated Constable – known as Beano – remains on his radar, but has admitted if a reported third bid fails the club will look elsewhere.
The striker felt speculation around an approach from Swindon Town, which was accepted by the U’s, affected his performances after turning it down in January.
But now, after a summer spent recharging his batteries, Constable intends to ignore the rumours and concentrate on giving United a good start.
“It doesn’t make too much difference, it’s a game I look forward to and it’ll be like any other,” he said.
“We’ve got tough games coming up, especially at Bristol Rovers as the first league game.
“We’ll just take every game as it comes, hopefully we can get a result at Bristol and then we can start looking forward from that.”
Scoring the 27 goals needed to become the U’s all-time top scorer remains a powerful incentive to stay for the former Shrewsbury and Walsall striker.
Constable would need to have his best season in front of goal to break the record by May, but is certainly looking for much more than the 11 goals he scored in the last campaign.
He said: “I’d love to get in the mid-teens and up towards the 20s.
“If I just keep doing that and getting in the right place at the right time hopefully the goals will come.”
The service to the front man should improve from the second half of last season, with Alfie Potter back fit on one flank and new signing Sean Rigg impressing on the left wing.
And it is the new arrivals this summer which have given Constable the most optimism for the campaign ahead.
He said: “The new boys have done great, it’s unusual to have so many lads come in and bed in straight away like we’ve had – they all get on with everyone and have performed well.
“It’s exciting times, I’ve been here a while and to see the new lads coming in and between us we’re quietly confident we can get off to a decent start and have a good season.”