OWEN Dale is looking forward to the test that awaits Oxford United in the second leg of their Sky Bet League One play-off semi-final.

The U’s will start tonight with the 1-0 advantage secured against Peterborough United on Saturday evening.

Elliott Moore’s second half header proved to be the difference at the weekend, in front of a lively crowd at Grenoble Road.

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Dale said: “It was a special evening. I don’t think I’ve heard the Kassam much louder than that, not since I’ve been here anyway.

“It’s only halfway and it’s only half done. We’ve got to focus on Wednesday and get the job finished.

“I feel like we’re in a great place physically and mentally. The team’s really together and we’re really looking forward to the test Peterborough will give us at their place.

“We’ll be fully prepared and we’re looking forward to the game.

“We focus on ourselves more than anything and what we’re going to do to try and win the game.

“I think it’ll be a really exciting game, and these are the sorts of games you want to be involved in.”


Although United defended well in the second half on Saturday, Dale doesn’t see that being something that can be sustained throughout the 90 minutes this evening.

He said: “In the second half, they had a lot of possession and we defended really well. I think our structure was really good, and the way we worked with each other and how we blocked the gaps was excellent.

“We can’t really do that over 90 minutes, we’ve got to assert ourselves on the game because we’re more than good enough. We showed it in the home fixture earlier on in the season.

“We don’t want to go there and just defend for 90 minutes, that’s not what we’re about. We’ll look to put our stamp on the game.”

Praising the U’s defence, Dale said that protecting their own goal begins with the forward line.

He said: “They’ve been colossus for us recently. I don’t think we’ve conceded many goals at all.

“The back six, including the six and Jamie [Cumming], have been outstanding, but also Sparky [Mark Harris], Ruben [Rodrigues], Murph [Josh Murphy] and Tyler [Goodrham] work tirelessly.

“We’re working so well as a team at the moment, and I think that’s a part of our game that we’ve really improved on.”

Dale is also relishing another battle with the highly-rated Posh left back Harrison Burrows, who was named in the League One team of the season.

“He’s a very good player and we’ve got to show him that respect, but we’re not scared of anyone,” said Dale.

“They have good players, but we have good players too. We’ve really come into our own at the back end of the season after a tough period.”