Scout report: The key Oxford United strengths that Sunderland must be wary of

Sunderland travel to Karl Robinson’s Oxford United on Saturday hoping to make it 3 wins on the spin after the effective display against Rochdale on Tuesday evening.

What should Sunderland expect from Oxford United?
What should Sunderland expect from Oxford United?

What will the home side be set up like on Saturday, who will likely be included in the starting XI and which players do Sunderland need to keep an eye on? We explore that in this weekend’s scout report:

How are Oxford currently doing?

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Oxford are currently 10th in League 1, coming off the back of a 2-2 draw with Burton Albion in midweek. Despite sitting in mid-table below Sunderland, they have still managed net more goals so far this season – 47 in total.

However, they have managed just one win in their last five games and sit five points off of the play offs at the moment but currently have three games in hand.

Oxford have just suffered two defeats at the Kassam Stadium this season, so Saturday's game will be a tough test for the Black Cats.

Who are key members of Oxford’s squad?

One of their more experienced men is striker Jamie Mackie, who signed for Oxford in 2018 after spending most of the previous eight years at Queens Park Rangers. He netted against Sunderland in December 2011 in a 3-2 defeat for the London club.

Another one to watch is talented Welsh youngster Ben Woodburn, who progressed through Liverpool’s youth system and has also bagged 10 international caps at just the age of 20. Sunderland failed in an attempt to bring him to the Stadium of light in 2018 when Chris Coleman was in charge.

Midfielder James Henry is their top goalscorer with nine league goals and 11 in all competitions.

However, one of their most talented men at the top end of the pitch is on loan West ham United midfielder Nathan Holland who scored a superb equaliser against Newcastle in their FA Cup replay.

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The Gaffer

Karl Robinson spent six years at MK Dons and two at Charlton Athletic before joining United in the latter stages of the 2017/18 campaign after the sacking of previous boss Pep Clotet.