ELLIOTT Moore says the current Oxford United side is mentally stronger than last season – with that strength set to be tested following a tricky start to 2022.

The U’s followed up the 1-1 draw at home to Cheltenham Town on New Year’s Day with 2-0 defeats away at Lincoln City and Wycombe Wanderers.

Those results have seen United slip outside the Sky Bet League One play-off places, albeit by the narrowest of margins.

Plymouth Argyle sit in sixth position and are level with the U’s on points, goal difference and the number of goals scored.

Both teams have won 12 and drawn seven in the league, with United’s extra game being a defeat, although it is the head-to-head record which in fact separates the sides.

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The U’s will look to claw back into the top six this afternoon with a positive result against Sheffield Wednesday, who themselves are one place and three points behind United.

Moore said the game will be a chance for his teammates to prove their mental strength and rectify recent results.

“We’re always going to have difficult times in the season, whoever the team is,” he said.

“Compare this to last season, we kind of went the opposite way where we didn’t start off great and then ended up getting some momentum.

“We’re on a bit of a dip, but it’s up to us to put it right and start getting the results we need. 

“We’ve shown throughout the season that we’re mentally stronger compared to last season, especially with the times that we’re in.

“Hopefully we have a bit more certainty this week and we can show it on the pitch.”

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If the U’s are to get back to winning ways, it will mark a first league double over the Owls since the 1973/74 season.

United’s dramatic lane win at Hillsborough in October remains one of the highlights of the campaign so far, and Moore wants to back it up with a win in front of home support.

He said: “I think they’ll want to get one over us. We put in a very good away performance and hopefully we can put in a very good home performance. 

“The away game was there to show people around that we’re here to stay and we can compete with the big teams. It’s our chance to show we can still compete.”

This afternoon’s match will also be Wednesday’s first visit to the Kassam Stadium, with a crowd of more than 10,000 expected.

Moore said the high attendance will be a boost for the players.

“Any noise and the fans getting behind you to push you on is massive for us,” he said.

“We can feel that as players. The difference is unbelievable, going from having no fans to hopefully a full house will be unbelievable.”