Alfie Potter is taking nothing for granted as he attempts to claim a place in Oxford United’s XI for the start of the season.
The U’s kick-off their campaign a week today with a home tie against Bourn-emouth in the Capital One Cup.
Just two friendly matches against non-league opposition remain in pre-season, starting with a trip to Blue Square Bet South side Eastleigh tonight (7.45).
Many felt manager Chris Wilder named the likely XI for Bournemouth with his starting line-up in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat against Cardiff City. Potter began the game and scored for the second time in as many friendlies, but the 23-year-old is not resting on his laurels.
“No one is going to read (anything) into the starting XI,” he said. “I think everyone’s done really well this pre-season and put their name into the hat, I’m sure the gaffer’s still not made his mind up and there are still two games left.
“There are a lot of forwards and everyone’s scored in pre-season.” United have six senior forwards in the squad, plus youngster Tyrone Marsh, giving Wilder plenty of options.
Potter, who missed the second half of last season with a broken ankle, welcomed the rivalry. “That’s how it’s got to be, if we want to be challenging at the top of the table we need competition for places,” he said.
“You can’t rely on the same starting XI all the time. “If you put in a couple of bad performances, someone is going to come in and take your place. “Everyone wants to be in the XI for the start of the season, so we’ll be doing all we can to make sure they’re there. “
The gaffer and the coaching staff make sure standards never slip in training, I think there’s a great work ethic.”
United are likely to name an unchanged squad for tonight’s game, although those players who have featured most regularly so far may be rested.
Wilder has been pleased with pre-season so far and expects selection to be tricky for Bournemouth.
He added: “I’ve said to the players I think every one of them has put themselves forward.
“You usually get slow burners or lads that come flying out of the traps but I think they’ve all started really well and have made a case to play.”
Oxford Utd: from Clarke, Batt, Raynes, Wright, Capaldi, Cox, Chapman, Forster-Caskey, Constable, Potter, Rigg, Evans, Tafazoli, McGinty, Craddock, Harris, Smalley, Pittman, Brown.
Eastleigh FC: from Dovey, Nelson, Forbes, Hughes, Jordan, Elphick, Ademola, McMahon, Peacock, Reason, Williams, Green, Shaw, Southam, Scannell, Kudjodji.
Former U’s defender Ben Purkiss, 28, has joined npower League One side Walsall.