Date: 15th September 2011 at 5:24pm
Written by:

The manner of Barnet`s 2-0 victory over Plymouth Argyle on Tuesday night has split opinion between supporters of the North London club. Some felt that a scrappy victory over a side who had only netted 3 times prior to the encounter merited probing of Lawrie Sanchez`s tactics, whereas others argued that such negativity after a first win in 7 warranted a more positive reaction. In any case, Oxford United`s visit to Underhill this Saturday is likely to give a much fuller indication as to the ability of the Bees` squad.

It is often said it is only after 10 League games that the table begins to take shape. Although billed as potential promotion candidates, Oxford have endured a mixed start to the campaign seeing them lodged in 11th place following a 1-0 victory away to Dagenham on Tuesday night.

Their season began with 1-0 defeat at high-flying Rotherham, a point against Bradford and a convincing 2-0 success over Shrewsbury at the Kassam Stadium. Chris Wilder`s men and notably James Constable then endeared themselves to the United faithful as the striker bagged a brace in the 2-1 derby win at Paulo Di Canio`s Swindon.

However, Wilder`s men failed to build on the momentum and only picked up 2 points from a possible 9 before 17 year old West Ham loanee Robert Hall netted on his debut as The U`s took all 3 points from John Still`s men 3 days ago.

With the table still very cramped, a win could see the U`s rocket to 3rd on Saturday and there is considerable expectation amongst fans that automatic promotion is a distinct possibility for the 2010 conference play-off winners.

In James Constable they have a prolific striker at League 2 level, whilst the experience of Peter Leven and Michael Duberry offer ample protection to a back 4 that conceded 70 goals last season. With a considerable fan base, and a modern (if only 3 sided!) ground to match, the potential for the club to play at a higher level is clear for all to see.

Barnet have neither the fan base or the stadium, but there are streaks of quality shining through their young squad. Izale McLeod has started the season on fire, and if Mark Marshall and Sam Deering can recapture their excellent early season form, Barnet have attacking options to worry any side.

Injuries are still playing a major role in Lawrie Sanchez`s defensive selections as neither Danny Leach nor Darren Dennehy can yet be relied on to play a full 90 minutes. With Jordan Parkes and Danny Senda still to fully convince, it is likely Barnet will need to score more than 1 goal to win the game.

With a healthy turn-out expected, many will be able to witness first-hand what could be an intriguing battle between the two sides. Barnet appear to play better against more positive, attacking teams, and so will be relishing the chance to pit themselves against a solid League 2 outfit, while Oxford will undoubtedly be looking to find some consistency and justify their pre-season tag as promotion contenders.

In what we hopefully be a refreshing change from Plymouth and Accrington, it should be an open and exciting game with goals and attacking football from both the U`s and the Bees.