|Constable celebrates at the County Ground|
With Swindon flying high at the top of League 2 and on a nine game winning run before their game against Burton Albion tonight, they will head into the game as favourites, but form really does go out of the window in these matches, and Oxford, on a six match unbeaten run themselves, will know that they have every chance of taking the three points.
The last time these sides met on Oxford soil was back on the 8th December 2002, in the FA Cup second round, where a single Jefferson Louis goal was enough to send Oxford through to the third round to face Arsenal, the champions of England at the time. The two clubs then didn't meet again for an astonishing 3178 days, just 4 months short of a decade. So as you would expect, the match was eagerly anticipated by both sets of fans, and the 2707 Oxford fans who made the trip were not left disappointed, as their main man in attack James Constable bagged a brace, and they left the County Ground with victory for the first time in over 38 years.
I've seen a few of my fellow Oxford fans attacking the current manager of the club, Chris Wilder, and his tactics, while I've seen many Swindon fans exclaiming their love for their current boss Paolo Di Canio. To me it seems ludicrous for any Oxford fan to call for the head of Wilder, as although we may not be quite matching our rivals, he's taken us from the Conference, and turned us into serious promotion contenders in just over three years on an extremely tight budget, where as I think a lot of the praise for Di Canio is over the top, as anything can be done with a bit of money to help along the way. But I think it's safe to say if Oxford leave the Kassam on Saturday three points better off, then Wilder will again be seen as a hero, for the remainder of the season at least.
Although many signs leading in to the game may suggest Swindon are favourites, Oxford will head into the game with the support of over 10,000 fans behind them, a force that can propel any team to victories, especially against their rivals. But whichever way the result goes, this game is more than just a game of football, and it's about a whole lot more than just picking up three points, it's about the pride of the football club, and the passion of the fans who follow it.