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Oxford promotion must be springboard - Chris Wiilder

By Steve Marshall
BBC Sport at Wembley

Oxford United manager Chris Wilder
Wilder took charge of Oxford in December 2008

Oxford United boss Chris Wilder says the club must use their Blue Square Premier play-off win as a springboard to climb the Football League.

The 1986 League Cup winners clinched promotion to League Two after four years in non-league with a 3-1 win over York at Wembley.

Wilder said: "With the history of this club it should not be in this position and it can't be in this position again.

"Hopefully we can use this as springboard. I'm proud of the players."

Oxford, who finished third in the Blue Square Premier, seemed to be cruising after two goals in five first-half minutes from Matt Green and James Constable put them in charge.

But an own goal from goalkeeper Ryan Clarke just before the break made for a nervy second half before substitute Alfie Potter wrapped up victory with the U's third in stoppage time.

And Wilder was proud of the way his players kept their nerve, particularly after the long-time leaders were overhauled by champions Stevenage and Luton at the top of the table in the closing weeks of the season.

"There is a lot of pressure playing for this football club," he said. "But getting big crowds and having a big stadium doesn't mean a big budget.

The desire and character to finish it off today was there for everyone to see

Oxford boss Chris Wilder

"We have done it predominantly with good players who have experience of the league. The character of the players has been first class.

"I was never going to turn down the start we had, then over Christmas we had a couple of games called off and lost some momentum.

"Credit to Stevenage, the way they finished the season was unbelievable, but we took a lot of stick even though we finished with 86 points.

"We did not have a big slump, just that another team ran faster than us and was better than us at the end of the season.

"We've had criticism and we've had to handle that. We got over the disappointment of losing the league at Stevenage with a good run at the end of the season.

"We were written off, but we played well at Rushden, took it back to our place and then the desire and character to finish it off today was there for everyone to see."

For York boss Martin Foyle another season in the top flight of the non-league beckons.

He believes his side will be better for this experience - but warned that winning promotion could be harder next year.


"Defeat is hard to take," he said. "Once we got the goal back we knew we would have a chance but we could not get that second goal.

"The players have given me everything and I've got a very deflated dressing room.

"We are a bit behind Oxford in terms of quality and experience, but with the FA Cup and FA Trophy runs we had, and getting to the play-off final, it's been a magnificent season.

"Hopefully the players will be stronger for this experience. Most of them are under contract for next season, including Richard Brodie, who we are talking to about a new one.

"I want to bring in some players with more experience of the Conference because it's completely different to the Football League.

"But it is going to be harder next season because I already know Grimsby's and Darlington's budgets, and Fleetwood, who are coming up, are moneybags.

"So, it will be harder but I think the points you need to get into the play-offs will be a lot less."

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see also
Oxford United 3-1 York City
16 May 10 |  Non League
Carruthers ready to face Oxford
13 May 10 |  York
Oxford set for Wembley showdown
12 May 10 |  Oxford Utd
York eye Football League return
12 May 10 |  York
U's will focus on winning - Lewis
11 May 10 |  Oxford Utd
Constable eager for Wembley win
08 May 10 |  Oxford Utd
BBC Non-League Show
21 Jul 08 |  Non League

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