WES Thomas is relishing the chance to go up against the best defence in the English Football League today as he attempts to get one over an old teammate.

Oxford United kick off the festive period with a tough test at home to Sky Bet League One leaders Wigan Athletic.

The Latics are odds-on to win the title, partly because of a formidable defensive record which has seen them keep a dozen clean sheets in 21 games.

Their back four includes Chey Dunkley, who turned down several contract offers at United last season before joining Paul Cook’s side as a free agent.

Thomas is raring to go as he looks to add to his eight goals this season.

He said: “This is one of the games I’ve probably been looking forward to the most.

“I want to play against the best teams in the league and do well against them – there is that bit more motivation going into this game.

“Chey’s a good player and has been a bit of a loss for us, but I’m confident I can do well against him.

“I’ve played against him in training.

“Hopefully I can get the ball into my feet or there are some good ones in behind, then I’m confident in doing well.”

And the individual battle between the pair will be worth keeping an eye on.

Thomas said: “If I get a moment to speak to him I will, but we probably won’t talk too much about what’s going on. It will be more after the game.

“There might be a bit of banter and some challenges going in.

“He’ll be trying to get into my head and I’ll be trying to get into his.

“It’s one I’m looking forward to and hopefully I get the better of him.

“It doesn’t bother me if they’ve got the best defensive record, I still feel like I can score in that game.”

Wigan’s only injuries are to long-term absentees Shaun MacDonald and Craig Morgan, while Ryan Colclough is available again after recovering from a virus.


Oxford Utd: from Eastwood, Tiendalli, Williamson, Mousinho, Ricardinho, Ledson, Ruffels, Henry, Payne, Rothwell, Thomas, Obika, Van Kessel, Mowatt, Napa, Xemi, Carroll, Martin, Shearer.

Wigan Ath: from Walton, Byrne, Dunkley, Burn, James, Morsy, Evans, Colclough, Jacobs, Powell, Grigg, Massey, Hunt, Toney, Roberts, Power, Bruce, Elder, Sarkic.